What Are The Best Online Therapy Sites?

By Nicole Beasley

Updated December 07, 2018

Reviewer Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC Counsel The Mind, LLC

Over 90 million Americans have some type of mental health disorder, which is about one out of every five people. The subject of mental health has always held a bit of a stigma or embarrassment, making it hard to convince some people to get the help they need. Of those that do finally make an appointment, more than half of them will end up canceling or they just do not show up.

With online therapy, those who are having trouble getting help may feel more comfortable than face to face therapy. In fact, many online therapy sites offer chat sessions without video. Those who are camera shy can text online with their therapist, email, or speak on the telephone. Some of the best online therapy sites offer all these options as well as video conferencing. Learn more about a few of the online therapy sites below.

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BetterHelp is recommended by the American Psychological Association (APA), partners with the American Medical Student Association, Mental Health America, and the International Society for Mental Health Online. They are also the world's largest mental health resource website, offers a 256-bit SSL securely encrypted site, has over 2,000 licensed therapists, and offers a whole range of options such as:

  • Text messaging with your counselor
  • Live chat with your counselor
  • Live phone conversations with your counselor
  • Video conferencing with your counselor

With BetterHelp.com, you do not even have to give your real name if you do not want to and can remain anonymous through the entire process. The only information they will ask for is your emergency contact information in case of an emergency. As of October 2017, they have conducted over 17,586,939 sessions and have 11,018 testimonials from real clients. Their counselors are not only professional and licensed, but are also trained, experienced, and accredited.

A study done by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute determined that BetterHelp is as effective as traditional face to face therapy and 98% of their clients made significant progress. You will even see BetterHelp promoted by ABC, the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, the Atlantic and Psychology Today. Their plans have an affordable price with unlimited daily chats, live chat options, and free phone calls. All you have to do is answer a few questions online and they will match you with a therapist within 24 hours. If you do not like that therapist, you can change any time you want, no questions asked. No appointments are necessary and you can message your counselor at any time of day by text on the BetterHelp encrypted platform.

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TalkSpace has licensed therapists with over 3,000 hours of experience in counseling each and they offer the same platforms for e-counseling. With their 24/7 available messaging, you can write in whenever you want to vent, and your counselor checks the room twice a day, so you will get an answer within 12 hours. TalkSpace also offers couples therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and chat rooms. They offer teletherapy, texting, video chatting, and chat rooms with over 1,000 professional and licensed therapists. To give you a good idea of how Talkspace works, they will assign you to a matching agent for a free initial consultation. First, you get an assessment, then you choose a plan, they help you find the best therapist for you, and you can start messaging them immediately. Their plans range from an average of $35 to $75 per week, depending on the type and plan you choose.

7 Cups of Tea

When you need to chat, 7 Cups of Tea will link you with a listener or a therapist that suits your needs. They also have fun activities that will help boost your mood. Whichever you feel like doing, 7 Cups of Tea offers several choices such as one-on-one chatting, group chats, forums, self-help articles, and over 100 mental health and relaxation videos. The difference with 7 Cups of Tea is that they are free, and their "therapists" are called listeners because they are not officially licensed. Some of them are students in the process of getting their license and some are volunteers who want to help. However, all their listeners must pass a vigorous background check. 7 Cups of Tea has provided over 16 million conversations for people who needed to talk, and they are there for you whether you are going through a rough time or just need to chat with someone who will listen. They have listeners who have life experience based on your specific issues or affiliation. Also, you can join a group chat room and just chat without worrying about being judged by anyone. They cover all subjects such as love, relationship issues, life skills, addiction, abuse, anxiety, stress, depression, and the opportunity to just vent about your day. Their website is very user friendly so even the most inexperienced computer or smartphone user can navigate to where they want to go.

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This website has over 1,000 therapists to choose from, have an average of 30,000 visitors per month, and have an 80% success rate for those clients who used Breakthrough as directed. They provide therapy for just about every type of mental health issue such as anger management, depression, anxiety, postpartum stress disorder (PPSD), bipolar disorder, parenting, addiction, and even if you just want to vent. Breakthrough offers messaging, online video and phone chatting. You can search for a therapist by specialty, insurance type, provider type, or location. They are very professional and accept many insurance providers. Their plans start at $50 per hour, which is a bit more than the other mental health resources mentioned but this may be due to the broader insurance acceptance. They are recommended by the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Oprah Winfrey, and The Boston Globe.

My Therapist

MyTherapist.com is an online counseling platform with psychologists, therapists, social workers and counselors who all have either a Master's Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. Each of them has been certified by the state they practice in and have at least 2,000 hours and three years of experience. They offer text messaging, live video or phone chats, phone calls, and video conferencing. Some of the specific topics they provide therapy for include grief counseling, parenting, depression, relationship issues, stress and anxiety, LGBT issues, family therapy, posttraumatic stress disorder, addiction, and eating disorders. MyTherapist.com is available to help you right now and offer plans that start at $170 per month.

Types of Online Therapy

Just as there are many different online mental health resources, there are also different types of online therapy. Some of the most common include:

  • One on One Online Therapy: This is where you talk to a licensed professional therapist or counselor online. There are many ways to do this such as through Facetime or Skype, chat rooms, email, texting, instant messaging, and even talking on the phone. These types of therapy sessions are good for all types of issues such as depression, anxiety disorder, stress, borderline personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, and just about any other mental health condition.
  • Group Counseling Online: This is when a group of individuals meet with a counselor or therapist online to talk about their concerns, share their feelings, and learn new coping methods that can help them. This is good for many types of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.

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  • Marriage and Family Counseling Online: This type of counseling works when your relationship with your partner or other family members is compromised or complicated by issues like addiction, abuse, extramarital affairs, financial hardship, mental health issues, or anything else. You will likely see a therapist or counselor online together with the other family members as well as individually.
  • Substance Abuse Therapy Online: If addiction is a problem, substance abuse therapy online is a good way to help. For those going through serious withdrawal, this is not a good option and you would have to go to inpatient therapy. However, if you are a recovering addict needing some additional counseling, this type of therapy is great because you do not even have to leave your house to talk to someone and they are usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Group Chat Rooms: Many people do not like to use group chat rooms because they usually do not have a licensed therapist or counselor running the group. Also, some people do not feel comfortable talking to strangers about their personal issues. However, a lot of people find it much easier to talk to people they do not know and will probably never see again. There are many types of group chat rooms for subjects such as depression, anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, etc.

Regardless of which site you choose, you should always read all the rules and requirements and check out their reviews first. Make sure they are a reputable company before you talk to anyone. Check them out with the American Psychological Association, your state counseling or therapy licensing board, or another reputable psychological source.

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