Online Chat Therapy: Our Free Online Guide

By Sarah Fader |Updated June 22, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC Counsel The Mind, LLC

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Free Online Therapy: Chat And Talk Therapy Options

Therapists are essential workers that provide the world with an invaluable service through useful insights, emotional support, and helpful advice. Unfortunately, though, not everyone can afford the costs of traditional therapy. Luckily, virtual online therapy services provide affordable treatment for both individuals and couples to heal (for example, online therapy for phobias).

Some sites and the best therapy apps offer confidential sessions in a free online therapy trial via live video and virtual chats with a licensed professional counselor. However, after a limited period, you'll likely be charged a fee.

A person looking for free online talk therapy may find it difficult — and it can be even harder to find free online chat psychotherapy. While a no-cost support group provides human interaction and scheduled group support, it is not the same as meeting with a virtual therapist. Contemporary online therapy provides digital sessions for relationships and marriage, group sessions, community services, and mental health resources and support. Online therapy service can be used to address mental illnesses—such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse—and other mental health concerns. The free online therapy available digitally is likely going to be through organizations that provide no-cost but limited access to no-cost therapists. These completely free services tend to be available through community or nonprofit organizations and might have volunteer listeners. They can be hard to find. But, free online therapy is out there.

Online Therapy Cost (Specifically Chat Services)

The cost for these services depends on which site you’re interested in using. You can find support through affordable digital mental health services by shopping around various sites. Digital mental health chat sessions provide affordable therapy or no-cost therapy and services that are often substantially less than visits to your local therapy center or health center. Your costs will vary based on your treatment plan. There are many affordable and free chat therapy options on the internet for less than it costs to visit your local health center. Digital online therapy costs can be more manageable than traditional, in-office treatment.

Does No Cost Online Therapy Really Exist? 

Yes, most support groups are at no cost, but even the best free online therapy services will likely not be moderated by a therapist. No cost digital chat therapy, virtual community forums, and digital, anonymous chat rooms similarly provide peer support but generally do not include the support or knowledge of a licensed therapist. The no-cost peer support you receive from these sites and services may give you comfort or be helpful but will not include the support that a trained and licensed mental health professional can offer.

A good example of this is 7 Cups. 7 Cups advertises free online therapy services on its webpage, but the free services do not include online therapy by licensed counselors. Instead, you can talk to a volunteer listener for free or engage in any of the chat rooms available on 7 Cups for no cost. Again, though these services may be helpful, they are not the same as getting free online therapy. 

So does free online therapy cost money? Usually, especially if you are looking for counseling with a licensed counselor. If you are looking for other forms of support, then you can find free options more easily. However, there are many online therapy options that are quite affordable.

How Affordable Virtual Psychotherapy Actually Compares To Free Online Psychotherapy

While it may be difficult to find the quality services you need when looking for free therapy options, it's easy to begin online therapy services here at BetterHelp. Paid or free online therapy is a great way to take care of our mental wellbeing and offers access to online chat therapy services with licensed therapists seven days a week, which is not the same as free online therapy options that don't give you access to experienced and licensed experts.

No Cost Options

If you're looking for no-cost online therapy for mental health concerns, your ultimate goal is to get relief and learn coping strategies, whether you’re looking to address a mood disorder, substance abuse, or another mental health challenge. Although free online therapy services might not be possible, there are affordable therapy options available online. Seeking a service like ours at BetterHelp (despite it not being free) includes access to an online psychologist licensed to treat you with whatever you’re facing.


free online therapy; man drinking tea while sitting at desk and looking at laptop

If you have questions about digital free therapy, email us at contact@betterhelp.com. These sessions from virtual therapy services can be conducted from the privacy of your own home or anywhere else that you feel safe to open up.

BetterHelp's Services, Platform, And Counselors

All BetterHelp professionals are licensed, which you won't get with free psychotherapy. To have the best experience, you need to speak to qualified therapists, which means the person has a license, is trained in psychology, and can provide effective online therapy for mental health conditions, like severe depression and substance abuse, and emotional support for other mental health-related concerns. Who wouldn’t want to receive the best online therapy treatment possible? That’s what BetterHelp aims to provide, not no-cost support groups aiming to help people manage anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or other concerns.

Professional therapists at BetterHelp are licensed and experienced in treating people just like you through online therapy services; they are not unpaid volunteers. Degrees range from psychologists (Ph.D. / PsyD), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), and LPCs. You can find a therapist who meets your needs. All BetterHelp providers have over 2,000 hours of related work experience.

While it is not free therapy online, BetterHelp provides a variety of options for affordable online counseling services with a licensed therapist, regardless of whether you have health insurance for therapy. The cost of therapy through the online therapy service BetterHelp ranges from $60 to $90 per week (billed every four weeks), and it is based on your location, preferences, and therapist availability. Once your payment has been securely processed, BetterHelp will begin searching for an appropriate therapist to help you with your needs. If at any time you wish to change your therapists or the services you are receiving, you can do so by heading to “Manage Settings.” You can cancel your membership at any time, for any reason, during your online therapy work.

Fees for online therapy services are reasonable compared to traditional in-person therapy. And online therapy is a great alternative for many vs. meeting with a mental health professional in person. Peer-reviewed studies like this one show that online therapy provides strong support for people while lowering traditional barriers to therapy: cost, location, and scheduling. Key features of the BetterHelp app include live chat sessions, over-the-phone therapy sessions, and video sessions; the ability to message your therapist outside of sessions; and access to useful mental health resources.

Paid and No Cost Psychotherapy Options For You 

There are many different forms of online therapy to try with a licensed therapist, which is different from joining free online therapy chat groups. For example, CBT is an effective form of mental health treatment that you can utilize for substance abuse, anxiety, and other mental health challenges, sometimes for no cost, even if you don't have health insurance.

When you first meet with your therapist, you can discuss what affordable or free online therapy treatment options are available and what works best for you and your needs in your life. Just like with in-person or traditional therapy, there are many ways to get help through no-cost or affordable online therapy services, for both adult and youth ages. Your sessions in virtual counseling services might use exposure therapy or psychodynamic treatment. When you sign up, you will complete a digital counseling questionnaire to identify what your mental health needs are.

Free Online Therapy - Sign Up For Chat In Psychotherapy Support Groups

There are so many ways to access paid or free virtual talk therapy. You may choose to work with someone in private practice or via free online therapy support groups. BetterHelp offers only quality online therapy sessions, and you can start chatting with a licensed professional immediately via video sessions, phone chat, or messaging anywhere. Using BetterHelp is easier than ever as you can access your sessions via iOS or Android devices. Start chatting with a therapist immediately to get support and begin your path to better mental health! Signing up for paid or no-cost online therapy is as easy as creating a new email address and logging in. A licensed therapist is available for you via video or text chat. BetterHelp therapists are experts at helping clients relieve symptoms of mental health issues.

BetterHelp's privacy policy assures that all video and phone chat sessions between you and your licensed therapist remain confidential, unlike no-cost virtual groups or other no-cost solutions. While not free, BetterHelp offers affordable payment plans. Once you sign up, you will be matched with a digital therapist who meets your needs within 48 hours, with most matches happening within 24 hours. Then you can begin sharing your mental health concerns and set up a live session from wherever you have internet access. And you can move at your own pace with your online therapy sessions as you receive professional help.

When Isn't No Cost Online Chat Therapy Suitable?

Remember, professional online therapy is designed to manage chronic mental health symptoms of conditions like bipolar disorder, social anxiety, substance abuse, and others, which is something you cannot find in no-cost online therapy with wellness professionals or life coaches. Many free online therapy services are not true therapy with licensed professionals but simply advice. They should not be used for serious situations like suicide prevention. This kind of e-counseling support helps you to mitigate the effects of long-term mental health issues and is not intended to replace emergency treatment or even what you might get from no-cost online therapy or a free in-person support group with strangers.

Learn more about people who have experienced a better life as a result of improved mental health through online therapy, which you can read more about here. BetterHelp therapists adhere to a strict privacy policy, and your information is kept confidential, as all therapists on BetterHelp are required to be HIPAA compliant. With BetterHelp, you can access professional help discreetly and affordably.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.

BetterHelp Online Therapy

"I was skeptical about this type of therapy but Leah made me feel confident from the beginning with her straightforward profile, thoughtful questions, and rapid responses. I feel that she truly sympathizes with my situation but also holds me accountable for finding solutions."

"Cole has been a great fit for a counselor for me. He is down to earth and doesn't sugarcoat anything. He quickly identified an emotional problem for me, which allowed me to continue researching it on my own as well as using the practical techniques he suggested. Just putting a name to it was tremendously helpful! He follows up when I haven't responded in a couple of days and keeps me on track toward my target. The format fits my availability. I appreciate Cole's communication style, suggestions, and unwavering support."

Conclusion On Free Online Therapy Options

Learn more about BetterHelp’s online therapy service by visiting us on the web. Find BetterHelp on social media such as Pinterest, Instagram, Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter. Contact a BetterHelp specialist at contact@betterhelp.com, or talk to your therapist today.

Still interested in free online therapy? Take back the control of your mental health with low-cost therapies.

How can I get free therapy?

You may be able to find free or low-cost mental health resources and support with trained volunteer listeners or through a crisis text line or nonprofit organization. However, if you are experiencing a life-threatening mental health crisis, it's important to get to the nearest emergency room immediately (call 911 in the United States).

Can I talk to a psychologist online for free?

Online mental health professionals like psychologists typically do not offer free counseling services or free counseling sessions which feature cognitive behavioral therapy through video chat or messages. The mental health care options detailed above are some of the only therapy services available for free. There are several low-cost mental health resources for challenges like anxiety, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, and emotional support available online, but be sure to check the privacy terms to ensure your health information is safe before diving into the mental health support offered by these services.

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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.