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Hoping to build a stronger, more satisfying partnership? Online marriage and couples counseling can help.

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If you’re considering marriage or couples counseling, you might feel hesitant, unsure what to expect, or a little self-conscious about the issues leading you to explore therapy.

Seeking professional support doesn’t mean you’ve failed at your marriage or partnership, though. It means you care enough about your partner to make the effort a thriving union requires. Think of counseling as a tool that helps you find and shore up any cracks in your partnership before they spread.

Online counseling can help you take the first steps toward strengthening your partnership — on your schedule, from the comfort and security of your own home.

If you want to jump directly to the sections for each platform, you can click the links below.

Conflict in a relationship is both normal and healthy. You and your partner won’t agree on everything, no matter how much you love each other or how long your relationship has lasted. Yet, while conflict itself is perfectly natural, you may find it difficult at times to address it in productive and healthy ways.

If you end up avoiding disagreements entirely because you fear making the situation worse, tension and stress in your partnership will likely only increase. But you can learn to resolve conflict respectfully and maintain your connection with your partner.

Support from a trained counselor can make this process easier. Internet-based approaches work in much the same way as in-person counseling, but they increase access for couples facing barriers like scheduling limitations, work responsibilities, or health concerns.

Wondering about the difference between marriage and couples counseling and couples or relationship therapy?

While they’re pretty similar, counseling tends to prioritize problems and areas of conflict affecting daily married life, from division of household responsibilities to infidelity recovery to intimacy issues.

Therapy, on the other hand, tends to look more at the past to help you figure out what may cause ongoing issues.

To create our list of the best online marriage and couples counseling services, we looked for services with:

  • established websites
  • availability across the United States, rather than only one or two states
  • a privacy policy explaining how the service protects your confidentiality and secures information
  • detailed information on therapists’ minimum qualification requirements
  • positive user reviews

Plus, Psych Central vets all brands and products we review. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read about our editorial process and product selection.

You’ll notice most services don’t accept insurance, but that’s fairly standard for marriage and couples counseling. Insurance typically won’t cover relationship counseling unless it’s a recommended treatment for a diagnosed mental health concern.

Best marriage counseling overall

ReGain

  • Cost: $60–$90 weekly
  • Therapy format: Message, phone, video (partners must be in the same location)
  • Accepts insurance? No
  • Nationwide? Yes

ReGain, a BetterHelp sister site, provides only relationship counseling. Its staff includes marriage and family therapists as well as psychologists, social workers, and counselors. All specialize in relationship counseling and have experience working with romantic partners in need of support.

Therapist matching is automated, but you can switch counselors if you feel they’re not a good fit.

Once you match, you can begin sending messages and scheduling live sessions, alone or with your partner. Most of your communication will take place during your joint session, though you can book individual live sessions if needed.

Reviewers generally praise ReGain. Many people note the professionalism, kindness, and experience of their counselors and say the service truly made a difference in their relationship.

Why we chose it

ReGain is a well-established therapy platform whose qualified professionals specialize in relationship counseling.

What we like

  • ReGain offers a 24/7 private chat room to encourage an ongoing dialogue with your therapist.
  • All therapists are experienced in relationship therapy.
  • You may schedule individual chat sessions to talk with your therapist one-on-one.

What to look out for

  • ReGain doesn’t accept insurance.
  • For a live session, you and your partner need to be in the same place. Three-way communication isn’t possible. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but may not be ideal for long-distance relationships.
  • Your therapist is selected for you, but you can switch if needed.

If you’re interested in learning more, consider reading our in-depth review of ReGain.

Best for soon-to-be-married couples

Growing Self

  • Cost: $125 per session with advanced, licensed clinician; some therapists offer income-based sliding scale rates beginning at $55 a session
  • Therapy format: Video
  • Accepts insurance? No, but out-of-network claims may be possible
  • Nationwide? Yes

You’ve heard of marriage counseling, but how about premarital counseling? This specialized, short-term approach focuses on:

  • conflict resolution skills
  • family planning goals
  • family of origin traditions
  • intimacy
  • and more

Research suggests premarital counseling programs can help you have a more successful relationship, and Growing Self agrees. The service’s trained and experienced therapists offer premarital counseling along with other types of relationship and marriage counseling and coaching.

These services are available nationwide, and certified therapists also offer online support in 13 states. Fees depend on provider experience.

Growing Self also offers free consultations and solution sessions, which are one-time coaching experiences that help you craft a plan of action for your unique relationship.

Why we chose it

Growing Self’s online premarital counseling program helps you and your partner identify your relationship’s strengths and problem areas to equip you for a successful marriage.

What we like

  • Growing Self offers a free consultation visit.
  • Same-day appointments are often available.
  • The online premarital program is offered across the United States and internationally.
  • Some therapists offer sliding scale rates.

What to look out for

  • Some services may not be available nationwide.
  • No subscription plans available.

Best for your budget

Rethink My Therapy

  • Cost: $129 monthly
  • Therapy format: Video, phone
  • Accepts insurance? No
  • Nationwide? Yes

Along with therapy for various types of life challenges and mental health concerns, Rethink My Therapy counselors also offer relationship and marriage support.

You can usually make your first appointment within a week, so you can start working on your relationship right away.

Since you can choose your own therapist (and switch if necessary), you’ll have an easier time finding a good match right from the start. You can also book multiple sessions a month, depending on your therapist’s availability.

Why we chose it

Rethink My Therapy offers convenient and affordable relationship therapy with a 7-day free trial period.

What we like

  • Rethink My Therapy offers a free 7-day trial to see if this service is right for you.
  • Subscription plan offers unlimited video and phone appointments (based on counselor’s availability).
  • Many therapists offer flexible weekend or evening appointments.

What to look out for

  • Insurance isn’t accepted.
  • Appointments are scheduled and may take up to 7 days.
  • The provider network is relatively small.

Best for round-the-clock support

Talkspace

  • Cost: $99 weekly
  • Therapy format: Video, messaging
  • Accepts insurance? Yes
  • Nationwide? Yes

Some couples find it most helpful to talk through marital problems as they come up. If that’s the case for you, Talkspace’s relationship service may be a great fit. This online therapy platform offers you and your partner regular access to support instead of once-weekly sessions.

Once you’re matched with a therapist, you can send messages 24/7. Your therapist will typically respond within a day to help you address concerns. You can also add video sessions for live support.

Many users recommend Talkspace relationship therapy, praising its convenience and experienced, helpful professionals.

Why we chose it

Talkspace is an ongoing subscription service that allows you to message your therapist 24/7 as new relationship issues occur.

What we like

  • Talkspace accepts insurance.
  • No appointments are needed.
  • You can send text, audio, picture, and video messages 24/7.
  • Therapist will reply within a day.

What to look out for

  • Your therapist might not respond to your messages right away (typically within a day).
  • The message-based therapy may make it more difficult to develop a strong therapist-client relationship.

Best for LGBTQIA+ partnerships

Pride Counseling

  • Cost: $60–$90 weekly
  • Therapy format: Video, messaging, live chat, phone
  • Accepts insurance? No; out-of-network claims may be possible
  • Nationwide? Yes

If you or your partner are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, you’ll likely experience many of the same relationship issues as any other couple, but you may face a few unique challenges as well.

Yet not every relationship therapist has the training to support the needs of LGBTQIA+ clients with sensitivity and care.

Pride Counseling online therapy for couples, however, offers low cost and flexible counseling with therapists who have specialized training in both relationships and LGBTQIA+ support.

This service does match you with an initial therapist, but you can switch if you feel they’re not a good fit.

Why we chose it

All therapists at Pride Counseling are experienced in common LGBTQIA+ matters.

What we like

  • Pride Counseling therapists hold at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of experience.
  • Providers include a range of professionals: psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers, and counselors.
  • All therapists specialize in LGBTQIA+ support.

What to look out for

  • Insurance isn’t accepted.
  • Most providers won’t give recommendation letters for hormone therapy or gender affirming surgery.
  • Therapists don’t diagnose conditions or prescribe medication.

Best if you’re unsure about therapy

OurRelationship

  • Cost: One-time fee of $50, or $199 with coaching
  • Therapy format: Online lessons, phone, video, and chat coaching
  • Accepts insurance? No
  • Nationwide? Yes

Know you’d like to make some changes in your marriage? Feel a little less certain about the time and financial commitment therapy requires? OurRelationship’s evidence-backed self-help program may be worth considering as a “starter option” for relationship support.

The program typically takes no longer than 2 months, and the coaching option covers support for 2 months. You can choose between specialized programs for relationships in which partners have the same gender or different genders.

The service recommends working with your partner but also offers an individual program if your partner isn’t fully on board. You can even start with a free sample lesson to make sure the self-help format is a good fit.

Why we chose it

OurRelationship’s self-help format allows you to explore relationship therapy without the formalities and cost of working with a therapist.

What we like

  • Self-help format allows you to complete the material in your own time.
  • Coaching help is available.
  • A free sample lesson may help you determine whether it’s right for you.
  • Specific programs available for military couples and same-gender couples.

What to look out for

  • OurRelationship coaches are not licensed therapists.
  • The self-help format cannot substitute for therapy with a licensed counselor.

PriceInsurance accepted?Available nationwideTherapy format
ReGain$60–$90 weeklynoyes• message
• phone
• video
Growing Self$125 per session with licensed therapist; sliding scale availablenoyes• video
Rethink My Therapy$129 monthlynoyes• video
• phone
Talkspace$99 weeklyyesyes• video
• messaging
Pride Counseling$60+ weeklynoyes• video
• messaging
• live chat
• phone
OurRelationship$50 program alone; $199 with coachingnoyes• online lessons
• phone
• video
• chat

If you didn’t find what you were hoping to see in this article, here are some tips on finding an online marriage or couples counseling service that works for you:

  • Payment. Before choosing a relationship therapist, consider your price range and the various payment options that online services typically offer. Would you rather pay for individual appointments or through a weekly or monthly subscription plan?
  • Counselor credentials. Does the therapist have relational training and, if so, what types of training have they completed? How much experience would you like your therapist to have? Do you want to work with a PhD, or is a therapist with a master’s degree just fine? Are you open to working with a relationship coach? (Keep in mind that coaching isn’t usually regulated, and there’s no licensing board to monitor issues regarding ethics, harm, or abuse that may occur.)
  • Medium. How do you want to communicate with your therapist? Do you prefer live video sessions, talking on the phone, or texting?
  • Accessibility. How often do you want to speak with your therapist? Several times a week? Once a month? Do you want a therapist you can text anytime you’d like?
  • Time. How much time do you need to dedicate to counseling? Would you rather have a 45-minute session once per week? Or 15-minute conversations twice a month?

Is online marriage or couples counseling right for my partner and me?

For many couples, getting married (or just moving in together in a committed relationship) means spending more time together than ever before. This increased physical closeness can certainly lead to increased emotional closeness, but it can also illuminate key areas of difference that may lead to conflict.

Couples counseling can help you work to explore and address situations creating problems in your relationship, whether they’re relatively minor or somewhat more significant. You don’t need to be married. Anyone in a long-term partnership can benefit.

Counseling can help in the following situations:

  • You consistently experience difficulties with clear, effective communication.
  • You have trouble relating but still love each other and want to stay married or committed to each other.
  • One or both of you have cheated or had an affair.
  • You don’t know how to discuss outside stressors affecting your relationship.
  • You disagree on parenting approaches.
  • You’re engaged and want to address goals and put together a toolbox of conflict resolution skills for concerns you may face down the line.
  • A lack of physical or emotional intimacy has created distance.
  • You entered the marriage with different sets of expectations and want to establish common ground.

While relationship therapy can help you explore the ways previous relationships and family patterns affect your relationship, couples counseling tends to focus mostly on current issues. This can make it an effective tool when you know you don’t want to end your partnership.

That said, for counseling to work, both partners need to commit. If one of you lacks the motivation or has already checked out mentally, you probably won’t see much improvement. Couples counseling also may not succeed when one partner:

  • wants to keep secrets or continue an affair
  • has difficulties with honest communication
  • wants out of the relationship

Couples counseling isn’t recommended when your relationship involves abuse. Abuse is a matter of power and control, not a relationship issue. If you’re experiencing abuse, individual therapy can offer space to get guidance on potential next steps and create a safety plan.

Online counseling can help you access support while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, but it also has benefits when work commitments require you to spend regular time apart. Many online platforms offer support to partners in two different locations.

Is online marriage counseling effective?

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, relationship counseling can have many benefits for not only your marriage but also your overall well-being.

Research from 2013 also suggests teletherapy, or online therapy, is an effective approach that can increase access to care. Some couples may even find an online format more helpful. Feeling comfortable in your own home may make it easier to focus on the therapy process, for example.

In fact, according to a 2020 study involving 15 couples receiving online counseling, a majority found it easy to connect with their counselor and had an overall positive and beneficial experience. Some even said the distance offered by the online format helped them feel more in control.

To maximize your success with online therapy, look for a therapist who:

Should I attend online couples counseling with my partner or solo?

You’re all set to show up and do the work, but your partner seems less interested. What next?

An open conversation offers the opportunity to explain why you think therapy might be a good option and get more insight into their reservations.

Couples counseling generally works best when you both participate. That said, you can still do it alone. An experienced counselor can offer guidance on relationship skills and strategies for communicating with your partner more effectively.

What are alternatives to online couples counseling?

The services we’ve featured above may not work for everyone, but you still have options for support.

Other helpful options for improving communication and strengthening your relationship include:

In-person therapy can also help if you find it hard to find an online counselor with the experience and skills you’re looking for. Many therapists who primarily offer office sessions now offer teletherapy options in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In need of a culturally sensitive counselor? Consider searching for a therapist who offers online sessions through:

Looking for a counselor who specializes in open or non-monogamous relationships or marriages? Try searching online therapist directories or the Polyamory-Friendly Professionals Directory for therapists who offer teletherapy options.

Online marriage or couples counseling can help improve your relationship, whether you’ve been married 2 weeks or together 10 years. It doesn’t need to be a last resort, either. It can help you and your partner find solutions early on.

Counseling won’t help you resolve every incompatibility, like different desires for children or the ideal location to live. Still, it can bring these concerns into the open so you can determine the best path forward.