Should You Use Free Online Therapy?

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated March 23, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When you find yourself juggling multiple mental health concerns such as stress, work, relationships, or mental and physical health issues, it can be helpful to speak with a therapist or an online psychologist. Many people find that when they need to vent, a consistent listening ear proves to be a beneficial support system for overcoming the concerns they’re facing.  When you can't find someone to talk to about mental health support, or aren't sure how to ask for help, it can be daunting trying to find support, especially if you're skeptical about online therapy. You may want to vent to a friend or loved one about what you’re experiencing, but they may not always be available or know how to help. Connecting with a therapist online can be a positive first step in getting the guidance you need when you’re experiencing challenges or emotional distress.

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When Is No-Cost Online Therapy Suitable?

Professional online therapy is designed to manage chronic mental health symptoms of conditions like bipolar disorder, social anxiety, substance use disorder, depression, and more. This is something you cannot find in free online counseling with wellness professionals or life coaches. So, if you need services for a serious mental illness, free online services might not be ideal for your situation and needs. In some cases, insurance will cover same-day appointments.

Many free online therapy services are not true therapy with licensed professionals, but simply agents hired to offer advice. Free services 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.

If you or a loved one are 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.

If you’re looking for advice, a starting point for getting affordable online therapy, or have general questions about mental health counseling, online free mental health support can be beneficial. 

Online Therapy: Chat And Talk Therapy Options

Therapists are essential workers that provide the world with invaluable service through useful insights, emotional support, helpful advice, and assistance.

However, many people may not be able to afford the costs of traditional in-person therapy when dealing with mental health challenges. Online therapy services provide affordable treatment for both individuals and couples to heal and explore ways to overcome their unique struggles. 

BetterHelp is one of the best online therapy services that provides affordable mental health treatment in comparison to in-person office visits. This is because they remove the travel expenses that come with commuting to an appointment. Here are the various ways clients can engage with BetterHelp’s interactive mental health solutions:

Live Chat Sessions

BetterHelp has the option for clients to use online chat conversations to communicate with an online therapist in real time. This way, participants can enjoy the convenience of receiving mental health care in live chat rooms without the pressure of being on camera or speaking. Clients can schedule a live session with their licensed therapists in advance according to both their schedule and the therapist’s calendar.  

Live Phone Sessions

Live phone sessions are another option for those who prefer to speak on their cell phone or landline. Clients can organize a time with their therapists and join a therapy room to take the call. The therapist prompts the client to start the session and asks for a phone number to initiate the call. 

Live Video Sessions

A third option for mental health services that many users prefer is live video sessions with a therapist or video therapy, which is comparable to Skype. This face-to-face setting allows clients and therapists to see and hear each other which may be a preference for some clients. 

Online therapy works by providing digital sessions for relationships and marriage, group sessions, community services, and mental health resources and support groups. Online therapy services can be used to address mental illnesses—such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder. Different platform interfaces exist depending on the user’s age and needs, meaning there are options for everyone to choose from.

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

BetterHelp's Services, Platform, And Counselors

All BetterHelp professionals are licensed experts in their field. BetterHelp’s aim is to help people more easily access professional therapy and manage anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, intergenerational trauma, and other mental health concerns.

Professional licensed therapists at BetterHelp are licensed and experienced in treating people through online therapy services. These treatment professionals use evidence-based cognitive and behavioral techniques to help individuals work through their mental health challenges. Their degrees range from psychologists (Ph.D. / PsyD), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), and LPCs. Furthermore, BetterHelp providers have over 2,000 hours of related work experience.

While it’s not free therapy online, BetterHelp provides a variety of options for affordable online counseling services with a licensed therapist, regardless of whether a client has health insurance for therapy or not.

The mental health support offered includes video and phone chat options as well as opportunities for participating in an educational online course. 

The cost of online counseling at BetterHelp ranges from $60 to $90 per week (billed every four weeks) and is based on location, preferences, and therapist availability.

If at any time a client wishes to change their therapists or the services they are receiving, they can do so by heading to “Manage Settings.” Clients can also cancel their subscriptions at any time and for any reason.

Fees for online therapy services can be more affordable compared to traditional in-person therapy because clients don’t need to travel for a session.

Moreover, online therapy can be a positive alternative for many participants who don’t wish to meet a mental health professional in person. On the other hand, if you are opposed to intrusive procedures, you can pursue healing choices such as CAM therapies. Although it may not be your doctor's or therapist's suggested technique, some people find it useful and successful.

Online Therapy With BetterHelp

BetterHelp online therapy offers only quality online counseling chat and therapy sessions, and participants can start chatting with a licensed professional after creating an account via video sessions, phone chat, or messaging from anywhere. 

Using BetterHelp is easier than ever as clients can join sessions via iOS or Android devices. Start chatting with a therapist to get support and begin your path to healthier mental well-being. Though BetterHelp is not free, it does offer affordable payment plans.

Once a client signs up, they will be matched with a digital therapist who meets their needs within 48 hours, with most matches happening within 24 hours. Then, clients can set up a live session from wherever they have internet service. Participants can move at their own pace with their online therapy sessions as they receive professional help.

You can read more about people who have experienced a more positive life as a result of improved mental health through online therapy here. All you must do to get started is take a brief survey.

The Efficacy Of Online Therapy

Peer-reviewed studies show that online therapy provides strong support for people experiencing mental health challenges. Additionally, web-based interventions remove traditional barriers to therapy such as cost, location, and scheduling. Key features of the BetterHelp app include live chat sessions, over-the-phone therapy sessions, video sessions, and the option to message your therapist outside of sessions. 

Counselor Reviews

"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."


Free online therapy services do not always have true mental health experts available to chat. Instead, they may only be a starting point for receiving support and care. If you have a serious mental health disorder, are experiencing severe symptoms, or having suicidal thoughts, it’s vital to seek emotional support and immediate in-person attention from a licensed medical provider. For all other concerns, you may be able to take back control of your mental health with low-cost therapy options.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

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.
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