How Are Online Therapy Websites Ranked? The Best Web Platform Of 2023
Modern psychology developments have brought unique forms of therapy to the general population, including internet-based interventions and online therapy websites. Through online therapy, clients can meet with a successful therapist from home, take advantage of various treatment modalities, and gain unique online resources.
This year, there are various platforms to choose from. Knowing how these sites are ranked and which sites are the most effective for tele-mental health care can help you make an informed decision on your care plan if you’re considering online treatment.
What Is The Difference Between Online And In-Person Therapy?
Although both in-person and online therapy is offered by licensed therapists with experience in treating mental health concerns, there can be differences in the services and benefits provided. For example, online therapy offers unique advantages that in-person therapy does not, including the following:
- No need for a therapist to rent an office or pay for transportation or parking
- No commute if you’re attending sessions from home
- Reduced cost, often by hundreds of dollars per month
- Therapy for individuals and expats living abroad
- Flexible scheduling options during early morning, late night, or weekend openings
- The choice between phone, video, or live chat sessions
- Unique internet-based adaptations of popular therapy methods
- Printable resources immediately after sessions
- Easy-to-use websites or apps
- Accessibility for those who struggle to leave home or cannot do so
- A wider variety of therapists for those living in rural areas or crowded cities
- The option to choose an LGBTQ, BIPOC, or religious therapist
In-person therapy may also provide benefits in certain situations. For example, suppose an individual is looking for a specific therapy most often practiced in person, like EMDR, Reiki, or animal-assisted therapy. In that case, they might find the most benefits from taking part physically instead of from home.
How Are Online Therapy Platforms Ranked?
There are various factors reviewers and clients might look for when checking online therapist platforms for effectiveness. The platforms reviewed in this article are reviewed based on the following factors.
Every counseling website has unique costs associated with its services, which can depend on therapist availability, location, and expertise. Platforms with a thorough vetting process for licensed and experienced therapists may cost more than those that don’t offer clarity about their hiring processes or therapist credentials.
On average, online therapy may cost from $60 to $90 a session. Most therapy websites also offer financial assistance to those struggling to cover therapy costs. When you sign up, send an email to the client success team and ask about the platform’s financial options. Regardless of pricing, most online therapy platforms are cheaper than in-person therapy, which is averaged around $100 to $200 per session without insurance.
Some platforms may make extra efforts to offer support and social charity to their communities. For example, BetterHelp has donated over 42 million dollars in discounts and financial aid to therapy clients and over 30,000 free months of therapy to communities in need and non-profit organizations as of 2023.
When signing up for a therapy platform, you might consider how they give back to clients and their communities. Finding a company that values its impact can be valuable when considering how its care team might approach support for sensitive clients.
The way therapists are treated, their pay, and the benefits they receive from platforms can also be advantageous to consider when reviewing a platform. Check reviews from therapists through job platforms online to learn more about how employees value their workplace. You can also check a platform’s LinkedIn to see posts from the corporate team on company events, outings, and employee happenings.
For more and more clients, finding immediate support may be one of the benefits of online counseling. A platform that offers a fast therapist matching system within 24 to 48 hours can be more effective than one that doesn’t offer therapist options for weeks or months. Ensuring your therapist fits your schedule can also be valuable.
If you are unable to attend in-person therapy due to working a nine-to-five schedule, you might be able to find a therapist in the early morning, late at night, or on the weekends through an internet-based platform. If a therapy platform does not have many good therapist options in your area or your therapist takes days to respond, it might not be effective.
Reviewing the effectiveness of your chosen therapy platform can be beneficial. One study on the effectiveness of online therapy through the BetterHelp platform found that 71% of participants preferred the intervention to in-person therapy and found it more effective for common mental health symptoms of conditions like anxiety and depression. To find studies on your platform of choice, search for “(platform name) effectiveness studies” online.
Finding a platform with researched and confirmed effectiveness can ensure you are not paying for a service based on unprofessional coaching or therapists without the proper credentials. You can also find further information on a platform’s policies through their company terms and conditions. Many platforms may link to studies that have been done on their services through their blogs, as well.
The features offered by each platform can change the quality of their services. Some platforms may offer more services than others, increasing their cost-effectiveness. Standard features you might find through a therapy website can include:
- Journal prompts and journal features through an app
- Free webinars with licensed therapists
- Worksheets and quizzes offered by your licensed therapist
- Free unlimited messaging with your counselor, with quick responses
- Financial aid
- Blog posts on mental health and self-care
- Therapist biographies for clarity and upfront information
- Client-centered policies
- Lists of resources for clients
- The option to change therapists if you want to
- The option to report mistreatment
BetterHelp and its sister platforms offer the above benefits, and many other online platforms may as well. However, do your research before making a choice. The best therapy websites are the ones that are best able to meet your individual therapy needs.
Individual Therapist Websites
If you choose to work with a local professional from a one-on-one practice or visit a location like a relationship therapy center, there are a few things to look for in order to find a great therapist right off the bat. Since these professionals often manage their own site, you can often learn a lot from the information provided on the home page, about page, and policy page.
Therapist’s websites can help potential clients learn a little bit about the therapist and what counseling services they offer. Website visitors may even be able to scan a blog post or two and learn more about a therapist’s expertise and own life. A successful therapist website gives you a strong impression about the person before you ever actually communicate with one another. However, some people are working off of therapist website examples and spending more time in sessions than in creating their website; use discernment and remember that a website isn’t the only way to get to know a potential therapist.
Some therapists may use search engine optimization (SEO) so that their own website comes up higher when you search for local therapists. However, not all therapists may harness this tool, so don’t be afraid to scroll through your search results in order to find someone you feel is a good therapist for your specific needs. And, of course, you will need to skip past websites for other types of therapy such as speech or physical therapy.
Ranking Online Therapy Platforms In 2023
Based on the above factors, you can find therapy platforms that fit the benefits often requested by clients. Below are the top-ranked therapy platforms for 2023 in no particular order.
Best Overall: BetterHelp
Therapists through BetterHelp can make a competitive hourly rate, and bonuses are often provided (subject to change). BetterHelp has an individual focus and treats adults over 18, which may not benefit couples or teens seeking support. However, there are online therapy options for these groups as well.
Best For Couples: ReGain
ReGain is an online therapy platform with benefits similar to BetterHelp. However, the platform is focused on providing high-quality internet-based couples therapy for married and dating couples. Therapists are trained in popular couples therapy methods like emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and the Gottman method.
ReGain costs $60 to $90 a session, billed every four weeks. The platform also offers couples-focused resources like worksheets, journaling prompts, and webinars. Couples can attend sessions from two separate locations or together and can choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions available to those over 18.
Best For Teens: TeenCounseling
If you are a teen under 19, you might benefit from TeenCounseling. TeenCounseling offers therapy for those aged 13 to 19, requiring parental permission for minor clients under 18. Teens can benefit from worksheets, quizzes, and unique therapeutic support from their counselor. Interventions may be structured around adolescent struggles, and common concerns and treatment plans can be personalized to the teen’s needs.
As many adolescents might prefer online support methods and feel more comfortable online, they could find TeenCounseling’s live chat messaging option beneficial. Through chat sessions, a teen can text back and forth with their therapist for an allotted and scheduled amount of time.
Other Online Therapy Platforms
There are many other types of online therapy platforms available. Before choosing an option, do your research and consider the above ranking factors. If you’re looking for specific support as an LGBTQ+ individual, you can sign up for a therapy platform like PrideCounseling, which offers LGBTQ+ therapists. For family therapy sessions, you might consider using Thriveworks, where family therapists help loved ones work through the complex issues associated with family.
How To Sign Up For Online Therapy
One of the benefits of online therapy through a great therapist website is the option to sign up quickly, often with the option to match with or choose a therapist within 24 to 48 hours. If you’re interested in signing up, you can visit the sign-up pages for sites like BetterHelp, ReGain, or TeenCounseling to get started.
If you’re still unsure about internet-based therapy, note that studies support its efficacy. One review of 17 studies found that online therapy could be more effective than in-person therapy for particular concerns like depression. In addition, you do not need a mental illness to attend therapy. With telehealth therapy, you can meet with a therapist for many concerns, including stress, life challenges, confusion, emotional dysregulation, breakups, family challenges, and much more.
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