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Increased demand for online therapy has created more affordable and accessible alternatives to in-person therapy. Here are the best options for you that won’t break the bank.
- Best overall: BetterHelp
- Best for insurance: Talkspace
- Best for overall wellness: Amwell
- Best for teenagers and their parents: Teen Counseling
- Best for couples: ReGain
- Best for LGBTQIA+ community: Pride Counseling
- Best for specialized help: Online-Therapy.com
- Best for free or low cost support: 7 Cups
- Best for crisis help: Crisis Text Line
Online therapy isn’t new, but it has definitely become more popular as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has made all of us spend more time at home, whether that’s working from home, taking online classes, or well, seeing a therapist.
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What’s more, moving therapy online has removed many of the barriers that kept people from finding help in the past. You no longer have to make time in your busy day or commute out of your way to a therapist’s office.
In fact, you no longer even have to see a mental health professional in your same town or city (though it’s good to be aware that therapists are typically only allowed to practice in the state or states that they’re licensed).
Best of all, most online therapy sessions are more affordable than face-to-face, private ones.
The only problem? There are a lot of online therapy options out there, so it can be tough to find one that offers quality and an affordable price tag. That’s why we put together this list to help you find affordable options.
When creating a list of the best affordable online therapy options, we kept these things in mind:
- Price. This was a biggie for this list. Of course, affordability is relative because everyone is working with different budgets. But every service listed below is less expensive than a typical in-office session.
- Ease of us. How do users access their therapist, and what technical issues may they face?
- User reviews. What are current users saying about the quality of service?
- Therapist qualifications. Who are the counselors? What makes them qualified? How do they interact with clients?
- Therapist accessibility. How often can you check in and engage with your therapist?
With BetterHelp, you get access to a wide network of licensed therapists and mental health professionals that you can chat with live over instant messaging, phone, or video. Based on a survey, BetterHelp will pair you with a therapist they think will be a good match, but you can always change if you don’t like who they pair you with.
Counseling is available for individuals, couples, or teenage subscribers, and the rates are relatively affordable. The subscription cost for BetterHelp can run you between $60 to $90 per week based on your location, preferences, and any additional services that you might want to add on. However, they don’t take insurance.
Best for insurance
In an effort to make it more affordable to talk with a licensed professional, Talkspace has worked with insurance providers to make sure that their service is covered by numerous different health insurance plans.
Talkspace may also be covered under your employer’s employee assistance programs (EAP) if they have a policy in place. If you think the cost of Talkspace therapy is included or discounted through your employer or insurance health plan, talk with your human resources representative or call the member services department on your insurance card.
Talkspace offers a few different membership plans that start at $260 per month for unlimited messaging and daily replies from your therapist. Additional plans include unlimited messaging and one 30-minute live video session a month for $316, and a plan with unlimited messaging and four 30-minute live video sessions a month for $396.
Best for overall wellness
With Amwell, you not only get access to telehealth therapy sessions with psychologists, but you can also get online appointments with psychiatrists, nutritionists, lactation consultants, and urgent care for nonemergency medical issues.
This makes Amwell a one-stop resource for keeping up with both your mental and physical health, especially since all the professionals can work with each other if you want them to (i.e., in case you need medication).
Therapy sessions are about 45 minutes each and are available for kids between the ages of 10 and 17 with parental consent. Plus, sessions are covered by many insurance providers to help keep your costs down. You might even be able to pay $0 with insurance or a low copay.
Even without insurance, you can also keep your costs down for therapy sessions by picking a therapist with different certifications. For example, the cost of each therapy session is $109 if you select a professional with a master’s degree, or $129 if they have a doctoral degree.
Best for teens
Teen Counseling aims to help teenagers learn the coping skills they need to navigate the many unique stressors that they face growing up, such as bullying, anxiety, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. The service matches each teen to a therapist depending on their specific needs, though you can request to switch if necessary.
They also offer this help at a pretty low cost: between $60 and $90 per week, depending on your location and therapist availability.
Counseling is also available to adults seeking parenting advice. Inviting your teenager to join your sessions is completely optional. You can invite them at any time.
Best for couples
Built specifically with couples in mind, ReGain offers accessible and confidential counseling to help improve relationships. This service matches couples with licensed mental health professionals to meet over video calls and discuss their progress in a shared chat room.
Everything written in the chat room is saved for reference and is visible to both partners and their counselor. However, ReGain doesn’t allow for three-way video calls, so partners will need to be together for live video sessions.
ReGain allows both partners to start right away or for one partner to start therapy sessions and invite the other partner to join later on. This service also allows you to create a nickname in the system for anyone who is uncomfortable sharing their real name.
Best of all: This subscription-based service only costs about $60 to $90 per week for both partners.
Best for LGBTQIA+ community
Pride Counseling is an online therapy service that allows users to connect with mental health professionals with experience and expertise helping LGBTQIA+ people. Users are assigned a counselor who they can contact by text, phone call, or video call.
After signing up for a membership, you’re given a private online room to leave messages and interact with your counselor.
A membership with Pride Counseling is relatively affordable, costing $60 to $90 per week, depending on your location and counselor availability. However, Pride Counseling services aren’t covered by your insurance provider.
Best for specialized help
Online-Therapy.com takes a cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) approach to treatment, which is a well-researched form of online therapy to treat depression. It allows patients to learn how to recognize and avoid unhelpful thoughts and behavior patterns that negatively affect their lives.
Not only do they offer traditional talk therapy, but they also have specialized training courses to help you manage mental health issues, such as anger, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. They also offer a series of worksheets, yoga and meditation videos, a digital journal, and an activity plan to help keep your progress on track.
Online-Therapy.com also offers a sliding scale of prices to help make their services fit most people’s budgets. Prices begin at $39.95 per week for text-based therapy and go up to $79.95 per week if you want two weekly video calls and express replies from your therapist. There’s a 20% discount off your first month for whatever plan you choose.
Best for free or low cost support
If you’re working with a very tight budget, 7 Cups may be the best option. They offer a free 24-7 chat system that pairs you with a trained listener. Even though the listener isn’t a licensed therapist, these volunteers want to help reach people in need and listen to them without a time limit.
Their website also offers a wide Q&A section where you can post questions and receive answers and support from other users. Specialized chat rooms are also available to discuss specific issues with people going through similar experiences.
Just keep in mind that anyone can post a reply to your question, and that the replies may include unsupported or even harmful medical advice. It’s best to check with a healthcare professional before trying something suggested by another user.
7 Cups also offers a paid therapy option that’s still pretty affordable and lets users chat with a licensed counselor. The cost is $150 per month.
Best for crisis help
The Crisis Text Line is a free service that responds to text messages from people in a crisis. This service, made up of volunteers, is available to anyone in a painful emotional crisis or thinking about ending their own life.
These volunteers aren’t licensed therapists and can’t offer medical advice, but they’re there to listen, support, and help bring you back to a calmer, cooler state.
If you feel like you’re in a crisis and need to reach out to someone who will listen, you can text a message to 741741 in the United States and Canada.
You will be connected with a trained volunteer in just a few minutes who will help you and lend their support until you feel that you’re in a safer space to end the conversation.
Online therapy has made it easier to find help from licensed professionals from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule.
While there isn’t a substitute for one-on-one evaluations, online services have opened up avenues for healing to people who were previously unable to access a qualified therapist due to cost, geography, or some other barrier.
We realize that “affordable therapy” means something different from person to person based on their personal financial situation. What can be affordable to someone may be unreachable to someone else.
Don’t be ashamed of looking for help, especially if you’re unable to find a service that fits your budget at first.
You can also ask your therapist if they offer a sliding rate scale based on income or if they could recommend someone who offers a sliding scale.
Money shouldn’t be the final barrier between you and the mental health therapy that you need and deserve.
If you’re unable to afford therapy, there are resources for when you can’t afford therapy, an extensive list of support groups that you can explore and join online, and other discounted or free therapy options. For example, DRK Beauty Healing aims to connect women of color with five free sessions with a licensed mental health professional.