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Maintaining healthy relationships can be challenging. In order to communicate better, many partners find themselves turning to couples counseling. But in-person visits aren’t always an option, whether that’s due to transportation limitations, scheduling, or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

ReGain Counseling is an online relationship counseling platform that specializes in relationship and marriage therapy, in addition to individual counseling.

Read on to learn how it works and whether it’s a good fit for you and your partner.

ReGain offers relationship counseling with licensed therapists specifically for partners or married couples. The platform is accessible via desktop, tablet, or phone.

You and your partner can sign up to the same account and have access to the same counselor. All the information and communication are accessible to you both and the counselor.

The primary way you can communicate with your counselor is via text message in a virtual room. However, you also have the option of video conferencing and phone calls.

That being said, at this time, three-way calls aren’t an option, so both you and your partner would need to be in the same location if you want to use this feature.

You can get started either through ReGain’s website, or the app. You will be charged for its services only once you’re matched with a counselor, so you won’t pay while you wait to be connected.

Signing up

The first thing you’ll be asked to do is complete a questionnaire in which you’ll choose to enroll in either individual or couples counseling.

The questionnaire has a series of questions about your situation, what issues you’re having, what you want to gain from counseling, and what you’re looking for in a counselor.

You can invite your partner to join you during the sign-up process as well, but if you’d like to invite them after you’ve already been matched with a counselor, or have already started counseling, you can. All you have to do is click “Invite Partner” at the top of the screen.

In ReGain, you can remain anonymous, if you choose to. All you have to do is enter a nickname instead of your full name during the sign-up process. You will, however, have to include an emergency contact, which is only shared with your counselor.

Matching with a counselor

Once the questionnaire is completed and submitted, you’ll be sent to a payment screen. Once you’re matched with your counselor, you’ll be notified via email. This can take a few hours up to a few days, depending on the counselor’s availability.

Each counselor will have their own approach to therapy, and it’s important to find one you feel will best support you. If you feel your counselor isn’t a good fit, you’re welcome to request a new one.

ReGain room

Once matched, you and your counselor (and your partner, if they’re joining) will have a dedicated and secure room, which looks similar to a chat room. This is where you’ll communicate with your counselor, and where all your messages will be stored. This room is open 24-7, so you’re free to send your counselor a message at any moment.

You can write about yourself, your relationship concerns, and questions you have. Your counselor will login to the same room, read your messages and respond with feedback, insights, suggestions, and additional questions.

There may not be an immediate reply, but according to ReGain, counselors do their best to communicate in a timely manner.

There’s no limit on the number of messages you can send and receive. You can have longer sessions all at once or shorter exchanges throughout the week.

ReGain counselors are trained and accredited. All of them are either licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, or professional counselors.

ReGain counselors hold master’s or doctoral degrees and have been certified by their state’s board.

While each counselor’s experience, expertise, and background varies, they all specialize or have an interest in relationship counseling. They also have at least 3 years of experience and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.

All counselors are independent providers and aren’t employed by ReGain.

ReGain is for people who want to improve their relationships, whether there are concerns with communication, intimacy, or trust. ReGain counselors can help you prevent or navigate a separation or divorce, or work with you on personal issues.

It’s unclear whether ReGain works with nonmonogamous couples, so keep this in mind if you decide to pursue counseling here.

ReGain is for adults only and for those who don’t have a legal guardian, so you’re not able to have a counselor work with your child.

ReGain can’t replace in-person therapy for certain circumstances. Counselors can’t make a diagnosis, prescribe medication, or work with you if you have a court order.

This service isn’t meant for those in crisis, in emergencies, or who are experiencing domestic violence.

ReGain isn’t suitable if you are having thoughts of suicide or have thoughts of harming yourself or others. It does, however, provide emergency resources in these circumstances.

There haven’t been many studies showing that text-based therapy is more beneficial than in-person therapy. Additionally, when it comes to text-based relationship therapy, there isn’t any research at all.

However, with relationship therapy, in general, a 2014 review of 20 studies showed some benefits long after counseling, including relationship satisfaction and communication. A 2011 study showed that couples therapy improved relationship distress, as well as depression symptoms.

Regardless, many ReGain users seem to be happy with the service, scoring it a 4.7 out of 5 stars, and lauding it with more than 2,900 reviews on the Apple app store. One user said, “It has made a huge difference in our lives.” Other users have said they requested a new counselor after deciding the first wasn’t a good fit and were then happy with the second.

Other users have described the initial questionnaire as “a nightmare of a process,” and several others reported long wait times in their counselors returning their messages.

The cost for ReGain counseling can vary depending on your location, preferences, and the availability of your therapist, and ranges from $60 to $90 per week. This includes unlimited messaging and phone or video chats.

There’s no free trial or free version of ReGain, so you’ll be billed out of pocket every 4 weeks, either by PayPal or credit card. However, you’re able to easily adjust your payment plan or cancel your subscription at any time.

ReGain doesn’t take insurance.

ReGain has high security standards. All messages between you and your counselor are secured and encrypted by banking-grade 256 bit encryption.

In the event of data being stolen or used inappropriately, all databases are encrypted and scrambled.

Lastly, you also have the option to get rid of any messages by clicking the “Shred” button next to each message, so it no longer shows up in your account.

There are pros and cons to online relationship counseling. If you aren’t able to do therapy in person and want help improving your relationships. ReGain might be right for you. Don’t use it for crises or if you’re being physically abused.

If you and your partner(s) want to give ReGain a try, get started here.

Risa Kerslake is a registered nurse and freelance writer living in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters. She writes extensively on fertility, health, and parenting issues. You can connect with her via Facebook, her website, and Twitter.