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Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
Our medical experts vetted the options to find the best online therapy services. BetterHelp, Talkspace, MDLive, Teen Counseling, Pride Counseling, and SonderMind are among those that made the grade. Read on for the details.
- Best overall: BetterHelp | Skip to review
- Best network of therapists: Talkspace | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Online-Therapy.com | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for mental and physical health: Amwell | Skip to review
- Best for online psychiatry: MDLive | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for your budget: 7 Cups | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for couples: ReGain | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for teens: Teen Counseling | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for LGBTQ+ community: Pride Counseling | Skip to review
- Best online therapy for single video sessions: Doctor on Demand | Skip to review
- Best variety of therapists: SonderMind |Skip to review
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 — also known as 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 top 11 recommendations for online therapy.
Online therapy, or teletherapy, involves remote therapy sessions that you do via video calls, chat rooms, email, or telephone. It has spiked in popularity ever since therapists expanded their offerings to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people prefer teletherapy because it’s often more convenient, private, and affordable than face-to-face sessions. Online platforms also help make therapy more accessible to people who have time constraints, must stay at home, or live in remote areas.
Online therapy isn’t for emergencies
If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, or call 911 or local emergency services.
Our team of medical experts carefully vetted each online therapy service. They considered the medical credibility, business practices, and social impact of each platform to ensure they meet our high standards.
A mental health professional from the Healthline Medical Network medically reviewed this article to provide insights, offer advice, and verify that the medical content is accurate.
We considered many criteria when selecting the best online therapy platforms, including:
- mental health professionals who are all 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
- insurance coverage
- financial assistance
- therapists with a wide range of expertise, including anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues, substance use, grief, and eating disorders
In early 2022, Healthline’s Consumer Insights team conducted a study to learn what online therapy users value the most. Based on our findings, we concluded that many participants turn to online therapy for:
- relationship issues
We also found:
- Pricing is a key component in choosing the best online therapy platform.
- Common complaints from online therapy users include not feeling like they were being heard or feeling like there was a lack of trust.
- Convenience, accessibility, and immediate access to a therapist are all important factors in picking a good online therapy program.
We kept all of these factors in mind when deciding on our list of the best online therapy services.
- Why we chose it: BetterHelp has the largest network of qualified therapists and a user-friendly platform. It’s easy to switch therapists and cancel your plan. Plus, the company provides financial assistance to qualified individuals.
Read our review of BetterHelp.
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 was one of the top online therapy services in our study. Users ages 18 to 24 also found it appealed to LGBTQIA+ needs.
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.
BetterHelp pricing and insurance
Prices range from $60 to $90 per week, billed monthly. BetterHelp does not 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.
- Website and mobile app are easy to navigate.
- You can choose between messaging, live chatting, speaking on the phone, or video conferencing with your therapist.
- Financial aid is available.
- Therapists can’t diagnose conditions or prescribe medication.
- The service isn’t covered by most insurance companies.
- The service isn’t meant for use in a crisis.
Best network of therapists
Why we chose it: Talkspace offers several communication platforms, therapy options, and flexible subscription plans. Plus, the company can prescribe medication and accepts insurance.
With over 3,000 licensed therapists and multiple subscription plans, Talkspace takes the spot for the best network of mental health professionals.
After signing up, you’ll complete an assessment and choose your payment plan. Then, a consultation therapist will match you with several therapists. You’ll choose the one that fits your needs. You’ll begin working with them within a few days.
Talkspace was one of the top online therapy services in our study. Participants said the platform stood out because of the offered external suggestions, like journaling, habit tracking, and gratitude journaling.
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.
Available 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.
Talkspace pricing and insurance
Talkspace has several subscription plans available, with prices ranging from $69 to $129 per week. Psychiatry services cost $249 for an initial evaluation and $120 for follow-up sessions. However, if you’re planning on paying with insurance, you’ll have to talk to your benefits provider to find out what your co-pay is.
If you have an employee assistance program (EAP) with behavioral health benefits, you may be eligible for coverage.
- You have constant access to your therapist.
- You may find texting to be more comfortable than in-person sessions.
- Talkspace offers discounts for paying biannually or quarterly.
- Talkspace is covered by a number of insurance networks (you can find the list here).
- Payments aren’t on a sliding scale.
- Time zone differences with your therapists can be a hindrance to fast communication.
- If you’re planning on paying with insurance, you’ll have to talk to your network to find out what your co-pay will be.
Best online therapy for CBT
Why we chose it: Online-Therapy.com uses CBT to treat a range of mental health conditions and behaviors, making it great for self-improvement. Treatment includes yoga, meditation, and worksheets.
Online-Therapy.com bases their entire operation on CBT. This approach is a top pick when treating a variety of mental health conditions.
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 per day, compared with other sites that offer 24/7 support.
Online-Therapy.com pricing and insurance
Prices range from $39.95 to $79.95 per week, depending on the plan you choose. They do not accept insurance, but new subscribers get 20 percent off their first month’s fees.
- You receive an online course in CBT.
- The app and website are user-friendly.
- You’re given worksheets that include daily feedback from your therapist.
- You’ll likely have to pay out of pocket.
- They don’t offer 24/7 support options.
- The company doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau profile.
Best online therapy for mental and physical health
Why we chose it: With a user-friendly platform and the ability to select your healthcare professional, Amwell is our top pick for mental and physical health services. You have the option to hide your view of your face during sessions.
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.
Sessions last about 45 minutes. Your therapist will have either a master’s degree or doctorate in their field. They also offer online psychiatrists who can prescribe medications.
Amwell pricing and insurance
The cost of a psychologist or counselor visit varies from $109 to $129 based on the therapist. If you need to talk with a medical doctor for other health conditions, the visit costs $79. If your health insurance plan provides coverage for mental health services, your out-of-pocket costs may be lower.
- You’re able to choose between a therapist or psychiatrist depending on what you need.
- Amwell offers more than just therapy. They also have doctors available to treat other health conditions.
- Your visit may be covered by insurance.
- They don’t have a subscription option.
- Some reviewers say they have encountered technical difficulties.
- Amwell offers fewer communication options compared with other services.
Best for online psychiatry
Why we chose it: MDLive provides treatment with a psychiatrist, lets you choose your provider, and provides low cost prescriptions.
MDLive, a comprehensive telemedicine platform, has a division specifically for psychiatry services. Their psychiatry division offers both counseling and prescription management with a board certified psychiatrist.
MDLive received positive reviews in our study thanks to high satisfaction in finding a therapist, provider ability, and therapists’ understanding of patient needs.
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.
MDLive pricing and insurance
MDLive does not offer a subscription-based service. To see a psychiatrist, you can expect to pay $284 for your first visit and $108 for each follow-up appointment. If you have health insurance and your plan provides coverage for mental health services, your out-of-pocket costs may be lower.
- 24/7 unlimited access to a doctor.
- Members can save up to 85 percent on prescription medications.
- Some employers include MDLive as part of their group benefits.
- MDLive doesn’t offer subscription plans.
- The price of seeing a psychiatrist is higher than other similar services.
- They don’t offer email or chat support options.
Best online therapy for your budget
Why we chose it: Offering free services and a low cost monthly plan, 7 Cups is our top pick for affordable online therapy. The platform provides counseling, emotional support, and peer support.
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.
Plus, 7 Cups offers emotional support and access to speak with 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, opt for the paid subscription plan with a licensed therapist. After creating an account, you’ll choose the free version or paid subscription. If you go with the trained volunteer option, which is free, you’ll have access immediately. The subscription option requires more information to help match you with the right therapist.
7 Cups pricing and insurance
Costs for online therapy and counseling with licensed therapists are $150 per month. Services offered by this site are generally not covered by health insurance.
- The “freemium” model is well liked by users.
- You can speak with a trained volunteer at no charge.
- The service offers a free group chat between users.
- The app has been reported to have a lot of bugs.
- Reviewers say some volunteers are inexperienced and not the most attentive.
- Unless you pay, you’re not getting professional help.
Best online therapy for couples
Why we chose it: With counselors who specialize in relationships and plenty of satisfied clients who report positive outcomes, ReGain is our top choice for couples therapy.
When you need couples counseling, you want a licensed therapist who’s trained in dealing with relationship issues. This 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, and licensed professional counselors.
After you complete 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 with the therapist, an individual session is scheduled. They don’t support three-way live sessions, so both partners need to be together in the same room to communicate with the therapist in real time.
ReGain pricing and insurance
Prices range from $60 to $90 per week, and this would include a client and their partner. Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance.
- All ReGain counselors specialize or have an interest in relationship counseling.
- One or both partners can participate in counseling at no extra cost.
- The service offers a 1-week free trial when you begin.
- The service doesn’t support three-way live sessions, so you and your partner need to be in the same place.
- ReGain isn’t suitable for court-ordered counseling.
- It’s unclear whether ReGain works with non-monogamous couples.
Best online therapy for teens
Why we chose it: Teen Counseling is a good resource for teens, parents, and guardians. The platform has therapists who specialize in finding solutions to teen issues and encouraging positive changes.
Read our review of Teen Counseling.
Teen Counseling is an online platform just for teens ages 13 to 19. They offer live chats, phone calls, video conferencing, and messaging in a “private” counseling room with a licensed therapist.
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.
Teen Counseling pricing and insurance
Prices range from $60 to $90 per week. Services offered using this site are generally not covered by health insurance.
- All sessions are confidential.
- Counselors specialize in dealing with teen issues.
- The “rooms” are open 24/7.
- The service isn’t suitable for court-ordered counseling.
- Teen Counseling isn’t suitable for use in an emergency.
- Counselors can’t provide a diagnosis.
Best online therapy for the LGBTQ+ community
Why we chose it: This therapy option offers a safe, supportive space for LGBTQ people to obtain mental health care. Pride Counseling connects you to an LGBTQ-affirming therapist.
Read our review of Pride Counseling.
At Pride Counseling, therapists recognize that the LGBTQ community deals with mental health conditions at a disproportionately higher rate and want to make help accessible 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 serving the LGBTQ community, but different counselors have different approaches and areas of focus.
All therapists are licensed and include accredited psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors. Counseling sessions take place with your therapist via video conferencing, phone calls, chatting live, and exchanging messages.
Pride Counseling pricing and insurance
Prices range from $60 to $90 per week. Services offered by this site are generally not covered by health insurance.
- All counselors have experience and interest in helping the LGBTQ community.
- The written messages between you and your counselor are available for you to reread.
- The app and website are easy to navigate.
- The service isn’t suitable for minors.
- Your counselor will not be able to provide a diagnosis or prescribe medication.
- The service isn’t suitable for use in an emergency.
Best online therapy for single video sessions
Doctor on Demand
Why we chose it: Doctor on Demand is our top pick for people who want to do single sessions instead of subscribing to a plan. The platform provides psychologists and psychiatrists. You can also connect to a healthcare professional for health and wellness checkups.
Read our review of 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.
Users in our study appreciated that Doctor on Demand is a one-stop shop for both therapy and psychiatry, ultimately providing a great value.
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.
Doctor on Demand pricing and insurance
Psychology appointments are $129 for a 25-minute consultation and $179 for a 50-minute consultation. Psychiatry appointments cost $299 for an initial 45-minute consultation and $129 for a 15-minute follow-up.
Doctor on Demand accepts insurance. Check with your insurance company to see if your plan is approved.
- Licensed professionals have an average of 15-plus years of experience.
- Psychiatrists can order prescriptions from your pharmacy of choice.
- No subscription is necessary.
- Some users report technical issues.
- No email or chat support options are available.
- Fewer therapists are available compared with other online services.
Best variety of therapists
Why we chose it: You can meet with a therapist virtually or in person. Additionally, after completing a questionnaire either online or over the phone, you’ll be matched with a therapist in your state, but you ultimately decide whether they’re a good fit before meeting them.
Read our review of SonderMind.
SonderMind’s platform is easy to navigate thanks to its simple signup process. You start by answering a few questions about who you are and what you’re specifically looking for in therapy, which can be done either online or over the phone.
After that, SonderMind will match you with a local therapist in your state within 24 to 48 hours. You decide whether you’d like to meet with them or find another therapist.
Once you’ve decided on a therapist, you can make an in-person or virtual appointment. It’ll usually take around 1 to 2 days to make an appointment once you’ve been matched with someone.
If you have additional questions about anything SonderMind offers, the platform’s Wellness Coordinators are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Time. You can call them at 844-THERAPY.
SonderMind pricing and insurance
SonderMind accepts a variety of insurance networks, including:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Kaiser Permanente
- United Healthcare
Pricing depends on whether you plan to use insurance. According to the website, the best way to find out your insurance copay is by contacting your network and asking about your behavioral health benefits. You can also use an employee assistance program (EAP), HSA, or FSA.
If you don’t plan to use insurance, SonderMind’s FAQs page says you can expect to pay around $85 an hour.
- You can choose your therapist.
- In-person or virtual sessions are available.
- A variety of insurance networks are accepted.
- Pricing is on the more affordable end of the spectrum, even without insurance coverage.
- Virtual appointments are done on HIPAA-compliant software, and sessions are never recorded.
- The helpline isn’t available on the weekends.
- Some reviewers expressed difficulty with billing their insurance, and said the billing team was slow to respond.
|Best for||Price||Accepts insurance?||Therapy formats||App available?||Prescribes medications?|
|Talkspace||choosing a flexible payment plan||$69–$129 per week||yes||• audio|
|BetterHelp||getting matched with licensed counselors||$60–$90 per week||no||• audio|
|Online-Therapy.com||starting or continuing with CBT-based counseling||$39.95–$79.95 per week||no||• audio|
|Amwell||getting care for both your mental and physical health||$109–$129 per visit||yes||• audio|
|MDLive||receiving help with online psychiatry and medication management||$108 per session||yes||• phone|
|7 Cups||keeping counseling costs low||$150 per month||no||• chat|
|ReGain||couples||$60–$90 per week||no||• chat|
|Teen Counseling||teens||$60–$90 per week||no||• chat|
|Pride Counseling||members of the LGBTQ+ community||$60–$90 per week||no||• chat|
|Doctor on Demand||single video sessions||$129–$179 per session||yes||• video||yes||yes|
|SonderMind||picking your own therapist||around $85 per hour||yes||• video|
• in person
- It’s convenient: With many platforms, you can meet with your therapist via phone call, messaging, or live video from the comfort of your own home.
- May be more accessible: Depending on the platform you choose, it may be easier to make appointments outside typical business hours, find the right therapist, and receive consistent access to them via texting or messaging.
- May be less expensive than in-person therapy: Online therapy can be cheaper than in-person therapy, depending on the treatment or plan you’re seeking.
- Some platforms offer homework and activities: If you want to get more out of your online therapy experience, some apps and websites allow your therapist to assign homework and activities specific to your treatment between appointments.
- Insurance won’t always pay for online therapy: Some insurance networks don’t yet recognize online therapy, so you may have to pay out of pocket depending on your coverage. Additionally, some teletherapy platforms don’t accept insurance, either.
- It’s not typically suitable for more severe mental health conditions: Some mental health conditions, like eating disorders or addiction, are better suited for in-person or group therapy than online therapy.
- It’s not for emergency mental health situations: It’s best not to rely on online therapy for emergencies. In the case of a mental health crisis, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, or call 911.
- Requires consistent access to the internet: Online therapy requires a consistent, reliable internet connection and a smart device or computer. Additionally, public computers and Wi-Fi networks are not the best ways to access online therapy because of privacy concerns.
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. The most common forms of delivery include live videos, phone calls, and messaging. And the best part? Many professionals 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 who offers online counseling, you’re set. But if your counselor doesn’t offer virtual sessions or you’re new to therapy, plenty of online services and platforms are available.
Teletherapy is good for people who prefer a range of communication formats and are comfortable using technology to communicate and disclose personal information. It’s important to have a quiet, private area, a functional device, and a strong, reliable internet connection.
Online therapy can be beneficial for a variety of people and conditions. It can address several types of issues and feelings, such as:
- relationship issues
- self-esteem issues
- big life changes
Online therapy is also suitable for people who:
- feel more comfortable in their own environment
- are unable to leave their home due to a disability or health condition
- lack transportation access
- live in a rural or remote area
- have a busy or changing schedule
- want an affordable therapy option
While online therapy can be a great option for some groups of people, it’s not suitable for everyone. For one, it’s not a good fit for use in emergencies or mental health crises. In these cases, call 911 or the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. You can also text 988 and access support through its website.
To access any only therapy platforms and your therapist, you’ll also need a consistent connection to a computer or smartphone, and Wi-Fi.
Some platforms also don’t provide legal documentation for court-ordered therapy.
While text therapy can be helpful, it’s not a perfect fit for everyone. Some people miss face-to-face contact, while others feel more comfortable outside of the house.
While there are many similarities between online therapy and in-person therapy, there are some differences to expect. The main one is that appointments will primarily be done via video or phone call or even messaging.
Matching with a therapist
Like face-to-face therapy, you may have the opportunity to pick your therapist. This depends on the platform you use, though, since some options match you with a mental health professional who best fits your needs and goals.
However, some teletherapy platforms allow you to sift through a list of available therapists and counselors.
Your first appointment
Also like in-person therapy, your initial appointment may consist of getting to know one another. Your therapist may ask you questions about:
- what you’re looking to accomplish in therapy
- any traumas or triggers
- whether or not you’ve been to therapy before
- if you’ve been diagnosed with any mental health conditions
- if you’re currently on any medications for mental health conditions
- any goals you have moving forward
If you filled out any questionnaires or intake documents prior to meeting, your therapist may go through your answers with you to ensure everything is correct.
Communicating with your online therapist
Some people tend to prefer online therapy because all communication is done virtually. This will ultimately depend on the platform you choose, your therapist, and any subscriptions you’ve signed up for. You may have the ability to chat via messaging or audio call between sessions.
For many users, online therapy is more convenient if you have consistent access to a computer or smartphone. However, don’t expect your therapist to respond immediately if you don’t have a scheduled appointment. In some cases, it can take them hours or days to reply.
To choose an online therapy platform, think about which issues you want to focus on and your goals. Decide your communication preference and how often you wish to have sessions and their duration.
Questions to ask when comparing professionals:
- What does the plan include?
- How much does the subscription cost?
- What is the price for add-ons?
- What are the cancellation and refund policies?
- Are all therapists licensed?
- What does the therapist matching process entail?
- Is it possible to switch therapists?
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 you have insurance that covers mental health services, start by contacting them to see if the service 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 companies do not, so it’s worth looking at a few different sites to see if one fits your needs and accepts 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 EAP. Many employers offer mental health benefits as part of their EAP package.
Finally, community-based behavioral health clinics offer free or low cost services to anyone who qualifies.
Is online therapy effective?
Plenty of research supports the effectiveness of online therapy. In general, live video calls are most similar to face-to-face therapy sessions and offer the most benefit.
Many people appreciate the variety of available communication formats, such as text, video calls, and chat rooms. A
What kind of therapist is right for me?
To determine the best type of therapist for your needs, consider your main reason for having therapy and whether you require a diagnosis or medications.
There are different types of mental health professionals, including the following:
- Psychologist: Psychologists offer psychotherapy that relates to behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. Psychologists have a doctoral degree, typically a PhD or PsyD, and can provide psychological testing in order to diagnose and provide treatment recommendations. In most states, they’re unable to prescribe medications.
- Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is either a doctor of medicine (MD) or osteopathic medicine (DO). They diagnose and treat mental health conditions and can prescribe medications.
- Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT): LMFTs have a master’s degree. They provide counseling to families and married couples to resolve specific concerns and treat mental health conditions. In some states, LMFTs can diagnose mental health conditions.
- Licensed professional counselor (LPC): An LPC has a master’s degree. They treat mental health conditions, and in some states, can diagnose them.
- Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): LCSWs have master’s degrees in social work and are licensed to provide diagnosis and counseling services to clients.
Does insurance cover online therapy?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more insurance companies have begun to cover online therapy. Online therapy coverage depends on your insurance plan, the therapist you choose, and state regulations.
Does Medicare cover virtual counseling?
Medicare is now covering online therapy for all Medicare members. Medicare Advantage plans also cover online therapy. When it comes to Medicaid, your coverage depends on your state. You can call the number on your Medicaid card for more information.
Is virtual counseling secure and confidential?
There are personal and financial privacy considerations to think about when using online therapy. Read the website for details about how each platform manages security and protects your information.
Companies should offer transparency regarding how they collect and use your data. Reach out to the platform if you have specific questions regarding privacy and confidentiality, so they can clarify any gray areas. Find out the process for deleting your account data if you cancel your plan.
Online therapy platforms on this list follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) federal guidelines to encrypt information and keep health data private. For example, companies encrypt all messaging systems and don’t record video calls.
However, HIPAA laws may not prevent companies from sharing some of your personal data that you submit to an app, questionnaire, or chat box, especially if you do so before you start an account.
According to Consumer Reports, online therapy platforms may provide information to third parties, including Facebook.
Companies can use this data for targeted ads and marketing research, which is something to consider when dealing with sensitive information. Your profile information may also be visible to users if you use an app to connect to a community support group.
BetterHelp, in particular, is currently being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for potentially sharing personal information with social media sites like Facebook and Snapchat.
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.