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Looking for convenient, affordable alternatives to in-person therapy? Here are the best options that won’t break the bank.

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Online therapy isn’t new, but it has definitely become more popular as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s subsequent stay-at-home orders and the rise in remote work.

In fact, a study published in January 2021 shows that approximately 67.32% of psychologists were doing all their clinical work completely online, with many projecting that they’d continue to conduct about one-third of their clinical work via telepsychology after the pandemic.

What’s more, the move to offer therapy online has removed many of the barriers that kept people from finding help in the past. You no longer have to make as much 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 the town or city you live in (although therapists are typically allowed to practice in only the state(s) where they’re licensed).

Best of all, most online therapy sessions are more affordable than face-to-face 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. That’s why we put together this list to help you find the cheapest therapy possible.

Online therapy, also known as e-therapy or teletherapy, is any form of psychotherapy or counseling services conducted over the internet.

Many online therapy services offer live video calls and private chat rooms that can simulate the in-person therapy experience to make the sessions just as effective. Some therapists also offer services through:

  • video calls
  • phone calls or voice communication (without video)
  • text
  • chat

Research shows that online therapy is an effective tool for people dealing with stress, anxiety, or other mental health conditions.

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

When creating our 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 use. How do users access their therapist, and what technical issues (and fixes) 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?
  • Vetting. All services have been vetted to ensure they meet Psych Central’s medical, editorial, and business standards.

Best access and availability

BetterHelp

  • Price: $60–90 a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text, chat, voice, video

With BetterHelp, you get access to a wide network of licensed therapists and mental health professionals whom you can chat with live over instant messaging, phone, or video.

Based on your responses to a survey, BetterHelp will pair you with a therapist they think will be a good match. You can choose to change therapists at any time, but it may be best to give one a few sessions to see if they’re what you were hoping for.

Counseling is available for individuals and couples, and the rates are relatively affordable. The subscription cost for BetterHelp can run from $60 to $90 a week, depending on your location, your preferences, and any additional services you might want to add on. However, they don’t take insurance.

Why we chose it

BetterHelp is the largest therapy platform worldwide, offering an increasing number of highly qualified therapists.

What we like

  • Therapists have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
  • The service has a flat monthly fee, and you can try it for free for 7 days.
  • It’s available in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • You can stay anonymous.

What to look out for

  • BetterHelp doesn’t work with insurance providers.
  • Therapists cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medications.
  • The platform doesn’t offer court-ordered therapy.

Best for insurance

Talkspace

  • Price: $65+ a week
  • Insurance accepted: yes
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text, voice, video

In an effort to make it more affordable to talk with a licensed professional, Talkspace has worked with insurance providers to make sure their service is covered by many health insurance plans.

Talkspace may also be covered under your employer’s employee assistance program (EAP) if they have a policy in place.

To find out whether the cost of Talkspace therapy is included or discounted through your employer or insurance plan, you can talk with your human resources representative or call the member services department on your insurance card.

Talkspace offers a few 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 per month for $316 or unlimited messaging and four 30-minute live video sessions per month for $396.

Why we chose it

Talkspace is unique in that they try to work with various insurance providers, as well as some EAPs. They also offer several subscription plans to best match your budget needs.

What we like

  • Talkspace room is available 24/7.
  • You can choose to connect with your therapist in real time via video, audio, or chat.
  • Talkspace is available in all 50 United States and Canada.

What to look out for

  • Therapists are available only 5 days a week.
  • Psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled medications such as Adderall or Xanax.
  • Text- and chat-based methods of therapy don’t work for everyone.

Best for all ages and stages

Amwell

  • Price: $109+ per session
  • Insurance accepted: yes
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: video

With Amwell, you not only get access to telehealth therapy sessions with psychologists, but you can also get online appointments for non-emergency medical issues with:

This makes Amwell a one-stop resource for keeping up with 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 ages 10 to 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 keep your costs down by picking a therapist with certain credentials. 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.

Why we chose it

Amwell offers a one-stop resource for many of your healthcare needs. With Amwell, you can see a physician for your sore throat and schedule an appointment with a therapist to talk about your anxiety.

What we like

  • There is no extra charge for weekends, holidays, or nights.
  • Amwell works with insurance companies.
  • It serves children ages 10 to 17 with parental consent.

What to look out for

  • Healthcare and mental health professionals at Amwell cannot treat emergencies.
  • Amwell cannot take the place of your primary care physician.
  • Professionals at Amwell cannot order lab tests or prescribe controlled substances.

Best for teens

Teen Counseling

  • Price: $60–90 a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text, chat, voice, video

BetterHelp’s sister site Teen Counseling aims to help teenagers — ages 13–19 — learn the coping skills to navigate the many unique stressors they face while growing up, such as:

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: $60 to $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.

Why we chose it

Teen Counseling is an online platform specifically designed to connect teens and parents with a licensed therapist.

What we like

  • The flat membership fee covers therapy for both parents and young adults.
  • Therapists have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
  • Parents and teens are given separate chat rooms where they can talk with the therapist privately.

What to look out for

  • This is not a crisis line for teens.
  • It cannot be used for court-ordered therapy.
  • Teen Counseling does not accept insurance.
  • Therapists cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medications.

Best for couples

ReGain

  • Price: $60–90 a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: video, chat

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 $60 to $90 per week for both partners.

Why we chose it

ReGain matches licensed therapists with couples (and individuals) to deliver relationship therapy via video calls and a shared chat room.

What we like

  • Though it’s geared toward relationship therapy, it’s available to individuals and couples.
  • All therapists have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
  • Your ongoing written dialogue with your therapist is saved so you can review previous advice.

What to look out for

  • Three-way calls are unavailable, so couples must be together for video conferencing.
  • All written communication in the chat room is visible to both partners.

Best for LGBTQIA+ community

Pride Counseling

  • Price: $60–90 a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text, chat, voice, video

Pride Counseling is an online therapy service that allows users to connect with mental health professionals experienced in helping LGBTQIA+ folx. Users are assigned a counselor whom 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 insurance providers.

Why we chose it

Pride Counseling is specifically designed to help those in the LGBTQIA+ community, whether they just need someone to talk with or have questions about:

What we like

  • A private chat room is available 24/7. If desired, you can also schedule a “live” chat session with your therapist.
  • All therapists specialize in the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • All therapists have at least 3 years and 1,000+ hours of hands-on experience.

What to look out for

  • This is not a crisis line.
  • Therapists have varying credentials and approaches.
  • Most therapists won’t provide a letter of recommendation for hormone replacement therapy, though it is up to the individual therapist.

Best for specialized help

Online-Therapy.com

  • Price: $39.95+ a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: video, voice, text

Online-Therapy.com takes a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to treatment, which is a well-researched form of online therapy to treat depression. It allows people to learn how to recognize and avoid unhelpful thoughts and behavior patterns that negatively affect their lives.

In addition to traditional talk therapy, Online-Therapy.com offers specialized training courses to help you manage mental health issues such as:

To help keep your progress on track they also offer a series of:

  • worksheets
  • yoga and meditation videos
  • digital journals
  • activity plans

Online-Therapy.com has a sliding scale of prices to help make its 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 whichever plan you choose.

Why we chose it

Online-Therapy.com offers specialized training courses based on your individual mental health needs, as well as helpful learning tools like:

  • worksheets
  • videos
  • tests

What we like

  • The platform offers three subscription plans, depending on your needs.
  • All plans include daily therapist replies Monday through Friday.
  • You can find a daily journal, videos, and tests to reaffirm the concepts.

What to look out for

  • Therapists may have varying credentials and experience levels.
  • Not all subscription levels include live video conferencing with a therapist.

Best for free or low cost support

7 Cups

  • Price: free (or $150 a month for therapy)
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: chat

If you’re working with a very tight budget, 7 Cups may be the best option. It’s a free 24/7 chat system that pairs you with a trained listener. The listeners are not licensed therapists — they’re volunteers who want to help reach people in need and listen to them without a time limit.

The website also includes a wide Q&A section where you can post questions and receive answers and support from other users. Specialized chat rooms are 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.

Why we chose it

7 Cups is a good option if you’re on a limited budget and need someone to talk with. They can connect you with a trained listener, or you can access a specialized chat room and talk with other users who are facing similar issues.

What we like

  • Chatting with a trained listener is free.
  • You can chat with other users facing similar issues.
  • Therapy with licensed professionals is available for $150 per month.

What to look out for

  • Listeners are not licensed therapists.
  • Some listeners may give better (or worse) advice than others.
  • This is not a crisis line.

Best for crisis help

Crisis Text Line

  • Price: free
  • Insurance accepted: not applicable
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text

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 who is in a painful emotional crisis or thinking about ending their own life.

These volunteers are not licensed therapists and can’t offer medical advice, but they’re there to:

  • listen
  • support
  • 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.

Within just a few minutes, you will be connected with a trained volunteer who will help you and lend their support until you feel that you’re in a safer space to end the conversation.

Why we chose it

The Crisis Text Line allows you to immediately connect with a trained volunteer if you’re having a mental health crisis.

What we like

What to look out for

  • The service is not a substitute for therapy.
  • It’s available only in the United States and Canada, but affiliate services are available in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

BrandPriceInsurance accepted?
BetterHelp*$60–90 a weekno
Talkspacevpt$65+ a weekyes
Amwellv$109+ a sessionyes
Teen Counseling*$60–90 a weekno
ReGainvc$60–90 a weekno
Pride counseling*$60–90 a weekno
Online-Therapy.comvpt$39.95+ a weekno
7 Cupscfree (or $150 a month for therapy)no
Crisis Text Linetfreenot applicable

vavailable on video, tavailable on text, c available on chat, pavailable over phone/voice
* available on all 4

How much does therapy cost on average?

An hour of therapy may range from $65 to $200 or more. If you use insurance, your copayment may range from $5 to $50 or more.

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. Still, it’s good to keep in mind that sliding scale spots often fill up quickly, so you may need to be patient until you find a therapist who has a slot available.

Are online therapists cheaper?

If you’re paying out of pocket, online therapy is often cheaper than in-person therapy. But prices vary, depending on factors such as:

  • which services you use
  • the credentials of the therapist
  • how often you speak with a therapist

Are there free online therapy options?

If you’re unable to afford therapy, you can explore:

For example, DRK Beauty Healing aims to connect Women of Color with five free sessions with a licensed mental health professional.

Online therapy has made it easier to find help from licensed professionals from the comfort of your home and on your schedule.

While there’s no 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 to each person based on their financial situation. What is affordable to one person may be inaccessible to another.

You can feel empowered to seek help, especially if you’re unable to find a service that fits your budget at first. Money shouldn’t be the barrier between you and the mental health therapy you need and deserve.

Additional resources

If our list doesn’t match what you’re looking for, or if you’re looking for a therapist with a certain cultural background or specialization, consider these tools to find support: