If therapy on your time and in your own space sounds appealing, you’re not alone.

While not the right solution for everyone, online therapy (aka telehealth) is quickly becoming one of the top ways people seek mental health services.

Whether you’re new to therapy or curious about how online counseling works, you’ll want to take some time to research what’s available. With that in mind, here are our 10 recommended picks for online therapy.

We considered many criteria when selecting the best online therapy platforms including:

  • all mental health professionals were licensed psychotherapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists
  • a simple sign-up process
  • positive customer feedback
  • flexible payment options and fees
  • a range of subscription options and services
  • some accepted insurance
  • therapists had a wide range of expertise including anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues, substance misuse, grief, and eating disorders

Talkspace

Talkspace online therapy

With over 3,000 licensed therapists and multiple subscription plans, Talkspace takes the spot for best overall online therapy.

After signing up, you’ll complete an assessment and choose your payment plan. Then a consultation therapist will match you with several therapists and you’ll choose the one that fits your needs. You’ll begin working with them within a few days.

Therapists treat a variety of conditions or concerns including:

In addition to individual counseling, they also offer specific services for couples and teens. Plus, Talkspace Psychiatry offers personalized psychiatric treatment and prescription management from a licensed prescriber.

Cost: Talkspace has several subscription plans available, with prices ranging from $65 to $99 per week. These plans include text, video, audio messaging, and live sessions. Some subscribers express frustration about having to sign up for an entire month of services, which means you’ll still be billed for the month if you cancel early.

Coverage: If you have an employee assistance program (EAP) with behavioral health benefits, you may be eligible for coverage. Check with your employer.

BetterHelp

Betterhelp online therapy

BetterHelp has access to over 12,000 licensed, accredited, and experienced counselors. The company excels at matching therapists to your individual needs and preferences.

BetterHelp’s licensed psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists specialize in areas like:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • relationships
  • parenting
  • addiction
  • grief
  • eating disorders
  • life transitions
  • religion

BetterHelp also offers individual, couples, and family counseling. Sessions with your therapist take place via video conferencing, exchanging messages, chatting live, and speaking over the phone. Users rave about the live sessions, with many saying it’s the reason they chose BetterHelp.

After completing a questionnaire and setting up your account, a computer program will match you with a therapist for your specific needs. Typically, this takes about 24 hours, and you always have the option of requesting a different counselor.

Cost: Costs range from $40 to $70 per week (billed monthly).

Coverage: BetterHelp doesn’t accept insurance so you’ll pay out-of-pocket for counseling services. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify and you can cancel your membership at any time.

Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com bases its entire operation on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a top pick when treating a variety of mental health conditions like:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • alcohol and drug problems
  • eating disorders
  • phobias

CBT helps you identify, challenge, and overcome negative or unhelpful thinking and develop behavior modifications that help you think and interact more positively.

Online-Therapy.com uses a toolbox of resources including worksheets, an online journal, a 30-minute weekly live chat with your therapist, and messaging. Some users express concern about therapists only being available Monday through Friday for 8 hours a day, compared to other sites that offer 24/7 support.

Cost: Pricing ranges from about $32 to $64 per week, depending on the plan you choose.

Coverage: They don’t accept insurance, but new subscribers get 20 percent off of their first month fees.

Amwell

If you’re looking for an online telemedicine platform that offers care for physical and psychological health, consider Amwell.

With online doctor or therapist visits available 24/7, Amwell is a great site for one-stop shopping. Here’s how it works: Create an account, choose the doctor or therapist that works best for you, then schedule a visit via their web-based or mobile app program.

Amwell provides counseling for:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • PTSD or trauma
  • life transitions
  • couples therapy

Cost: The cost of a psychologist or counselor visit varies from $99 to $110 based on the therapist (either master’s degree or doctorate in their field) and lasts about 45 minutes. They also offer online psychiatrists who can prescribe medications.

Coverage: If your health insurance plan provides coverage for mental health services, your out-of-pocket costs may be lower. Amwell doesn’t provide a subscription-based service. If you need to see an MD for other health conditions, the price of a medical doctor’s visit is $79.

MDLive

MDLive, a comprehensive telemedicine platform, has a division specifically for psychiatry services that offers both counseling and prescription management with a board certified psychiatrist.

Providers can help with:

  • anxiety
  • addiction
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • PTSD and trauma
  • panic disorders
  • grief and loss

It takes about 15 minutes to set up an account with MDLive. Once registered, you can search through their network of psychiatrists and choose the one that’s right for you. When you’re ready to schedule an appointment, you can choose between secure online video, phone, or the MDLive app.

Cost: The cost to see a psychiatrist is quite a bit higher than a counselor. You can expect to pay $284 for your first visit and $108 for each follow-up appointment. They also offer counseling sessions with a licensed therapist at a lower cost than a visit with a psychiatrist, which is a nice feature if you need to transition from a psychiatrist to ongoing sessions with a therapist. MDLive doesn’t offer a subscription-based service.

Coverage: If your health insurance plan provides coverage for mental health services, your out-of-pocket costs may be lower.

7 Cups

Affordable online therapy, free 24/7 emotional support, and chat rooms with people who understand what you’re going through make 7 Cups one of the largest emotional support systems.

Specialties and areas of expertise include:

  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • bipolar disorder
  • depression
  • family
  • grief
  • parenting
  • substance misuse
  • trauma

Cost: Online therapy and counseling with licensed therapists are $150 per month — significantly less than other online therapy platforms. Plus, 7 Cups offers emotional support and access to speak to a trained volunteer (not a licensed counselor) at no charge. This option is appropriate for support and to help connect you with services.

If you need more in-depth treatment, you should opt for the paid subscription plan with a licensed therapist. After creating an account, you will choose the free version or paid subscription. If you go with the listener (free), you’ll have access immediately. The subscription option requires more information to help match you with the right therapist.

Coverage: Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance.

ReGain

When you need couples counseling, you want a licensed therapist that’s trained in dealing with relationship issues, which is why ReGain is the top pick for best online therapy for couples.

All therapists are licensed and include accredited psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, or licensed professional counselors.

After completing a questionnaire, the automated system will match you with a therapist. Two users share an account and participate in live sessions with the therapist together. If one person needs to speak privately to the therapist, an individual session is scheduled. They don’t support 3-way live sessions, so both partners need to be together in the same room to communicate with the therapist in real-time.

Cost: Costs range from $40 to $70 per week, and this includes both partners.

Coverage: Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance.

Teen Counseling

Teen Counseling, an online platform just for teens ages 13 to 19, offers live chats, phone calls, video conferencing, and messaging in a “private” counseling room with a licensed therapist.

Some of the issues therapists can address during counseling sessions include:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • depression
  • bullying
  • eating disorders

Although parents don’t have access to this room, a therapist must report abuse and if the teen is a danger to themselves or others. Parents can complete the registration process, which includes being matched with a licensed counselor. Your teen will receive a code inviting them to join their private room.

Cost: Costs range from $40 to $70 per week.

Coverage: Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance.

Pride Counseling

At Pride Counseling, therapists recognize that the LGBTQ community deals with mental health issues at a disproportionately higher rate and want to make help accessable for everyone.

After you sign up, you’ll be matched with a counselor who fits your objectives, preferences, and the type of issues you’re dealing with. All their counselors specialize in the LGBTQ community, but different counselors have different approaches and areas of focus.

Areas of expertise include:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • depression
  • trauma
  • family conflicts
  • relationships
  • eating disorders

All therapists are licensed and include accredited psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, or licensed professional counselors. Counseling sessions take place with your therapist via video conferencing, phone calls, chatting live, and exchanging messages.

Cost: Costs range from $40 to $70 per week.

Coverage: Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance.

Doctor On Demand

Not sure you want to commit to a subscription plan? No problem. Doctor On Demand offers single video chat sessions with trained mental health professionals who are licensed psychiatrists and therapists.

After an initial assessment, you can browse their selection of psychiatrists and therapists and book an appointment.

Areas of expertise include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • trauma
  • postpartum depression
  • anger management

If medication is part of your therapy, a psychiatrist can order electronic prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice. They also have appointments available with medical doctors for other physical conditions.

Cost:

  • Psychology: $129 for a 25-minute consultation; $179 for 50 minutes
  • Psychiatry: $299 for initial 45-minute consultation; $128 for 15-minute follow-up

Coverage: Doctor On Demand accepts insurance. Check with your provider to see if your plan is approved.

There’s no doubt that therapy is expensive. The average out-of-pocket cost for a session can range from $75 to $150. Fortunately, online counseling — in many cases — is more affordable.

If your insurance covers mental health services, start by contacting them to see if the provider you’re interested in is part of their network. You’ll also want to find out if the online platform you’re using takes insurance. Many of them do not, so it’s worth looking at a few different sites to see if one fits your needs and takes insurance.

Some top online therapy programs offer different subscription plans to make counseling more affordable. Some private therapists who provide online counseling offer a sliding scale, with some willing to lower costs as much as 50 percent.

The other place to check is with your employee assistance program (EAP). Many employers offer mental health benefits as part of their EAP package.

Finally, community-based behavioral health clinics offer services for free or at a low cost to anyone who qualifies.

Like in-person therapy, online therapy is a counseling session with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist, but instead of meeting in an office, your sessions take place at home.

How your therapist leads a meeting is up to you, with the most common forms of delivery being live videos, phone calls, and messaging. And the best part? Many providers are available morning, afternoon, or night, and on weekends, making therapy more accessible than ever.

For some people, this method of counseling may take some time to get used to. But for others, virtual visits will be the reason they start and stick with therapy.

If you already have a therapist that offers online counseling, you’re set. But if your counselor doesn’t offer virtual sessions or you’re new to therapy, there are plenty of online providers and platforms available.

Not all mental health issues are suitable for online services

Although licensed therapists can treat many conditions online, there are times when an in-person visit is more appropriate. Severe mental health issues that require a treatment team may not be suitable for online services. This includes suicidal thoughts and harm to others.

If you’re thinking about harming yourself or others, or you know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, call 911, or seek emergency medical attention.

Healthline

Online therapy is making mental health services accessible and more affordable for many people.

With the ability to see a counselor at your convenience and in your own home, virtual visits may become the new norm, at least for a while.