Let’s face it, from time to time we all need to talk to someone. And depending on what is going on, that person may need to be a professional.
Plenty of individuals have a counselor or therapist on speed dial. But what about those needing more one-of (or first-time) therapy sessions? For many who need to talk with someone, but aren’t in the habit a bottleneck appears: when you most need someone to talk to, you often have the least amount of time in which to talk.
Sound familiar? It does to us, too. And that’s why we’ve utilized our years of experience vetting, researching, and ranking health products to present our ranking of the top online mental health and therapy on-demand services.
Many online mental health and therapy services offer on-demand 24/7 services that are data-driven, highly convenient, and more affordable than traditional options. Ever thought you can find a new counselor in a matter of minutes, all from wherever you happen to be? Well you can with this year’s pick for the best online mental health and therapy services.
Best Overall: Betterhelp.com
Betterhelp.com hasn’t been “in the game” of online therapy services as long as rivals like Talk Space. But they have had plenty of experience and offer perhaps the most flexible and wide-ranging online therapy platform we’ve seen. This service has been used by close to 700,000 clients and offers access to close to 5,000 licensed, credentialed therapists.
As with many comparable services, you start your Betterhelp process with a brief questionnaire to help match you with a therapist who has experience with situations like yours. Clients and therapists are typically matched within 24 hours. And therapists are available immediately for talking via chat, non-live messaging, phone, or video. The inclusion of non-live messaging and phone communication is unique among the top online therapy providers. And we love the additional flexibility these communication methods provide.
Pricing for Betterhelp has a lower starting point than most competitors at $40/week, with their top-tier service just $5 more expensive than the entry-level service of competitors ($70/week).
Over time Betterhelp has also partnered with two of the other entries on our list to focus on teen counseling (through TeenCounseling.com) and couples counseling (through regain.us).When viewed in its totality, Betterhelp offers a wider range of price points, communication methods, and tailored services for teens, couples, and individuals than any other online therapy service out there.
- Entry-Level Pricing: $40/week
- Therapy Types: Messaging, live chat, phone, video, Therapy for Teens, Therapy for Couples
Runner-Up Overall: TalkSpace.com
Talkspace.com was one of the earliest online therapy providers on the scene, and has been matching individuals with remote therapists since 2012. Today the service has connected over one million individuals with therapists and provides one of the most flexible and affordable services online.
At Talkspace you’ll start by filling out a questionaire assessing what is going on, what you hope to work on, and what your preferences are regarding a new therapist. Based on your answers, Talkspace will match you with a therapist.
The online therapy giant contracts with over 5,000 licensed therapists, and has therapists who focus on specific communities and needs including LGBT issues, veteran issues, couples therapy, and more.
Once you’re matched with a therapist you can select a plan. Talkspace’s introductory plan starts at just $65/week and includes unlimited text messaging with your therapist. All messages are fully encrypted and placed in a private chat room that only your therapist and yourself see. Your therapist will respond in one to two sessions a day, and you can even schedule video chats in advance. With $65 likely being less than the cost of a single traditional therapy session, it’s hard not to see the value here.
- Entry-Level Pricing: $65/Week
- Therapy Types: Text and Video-Based Therapy, Therapy for Teens, Therapy for LGBT Issues, Therapy for Veterans, Therapy for Couples, Therapy for Business
Best For Teens: TeenCounseling.com
TeenCounseling.com, presented by BetterHelp.com offers over 2,000 licensed therapists who specialize in helping adolescents aged 13-19. This service can be set up by a parent or a child. And though interactions between a child and counselor are confidential, parents will be notified if an intervention is necessary. As with BetterHelp.com, pricing is moderate and once you’re signed up you get unlimited interactions with your counselor. Specialty areas include teen-specific issues such as self-esteem, eating disorders, bullying, and other issues. Though parents should note that TeenCounseling will not work with teens who hold an official diagnosis. If you feel that your teen may be in need a diagnosis, however, this service can serve as a great “gatekeeper” to assess the validity of your thoughts.
Parents or teens may sign up for this service which initially starts with an in-depth questionnaire to match the teen up with a licensed counselor. As with other BetterHelp services, TeenCounseling provides messaging, live chat, video, and phone counseling available at any time that a counselor is “on the clock.” Pricing is moderate compared to other services available and ranges from $40-$70/week depending on how many live sessions or video chats you would like access to.
- Entry-Level Pricing: $40/week
- Therapy Types: Phone, Text, Video-Based Therapy
Best For Couples: Couples Therapy Inc.
This entry was a close call between Regain, a partner of BetterHelp.com, and Couples Therapy Inc. We decided to choose Couples Therapy Inc as the dynamics of couples therapy is complicated, and Couples Therapy Inc provides the most in-depth analysis of your situation we could find online. Though a smaller operation than others online, Couples Therapy Inc utilizes 24 couples therapists of great pedigree in their operations. Of their therapists, many have taught at the university level, been researchers, or have been program directors at graduate schools. Unique focus areas offered by Couples Therapy Inc include a focus on those who live rurally, those who are expats looking for care comparable to that of their home country, and “super commuter” couples who live in separate nations.
Your time with Couples Therapy Inc starts with an in-depth analysis called The Gottman Relationship Checklist. This analysis tool consists of 480 questions that you and your partner complete and that details a wide range of dynamics related to your intimacy, friendship, how well you know your partner, how you manage your emotions, and your conflict style. Results from this test are only available to your therapist and are HIPPA compliant. This test is the gold standard for pinpointing challenges and opportunities with a couples’ dynamics.
As we mentioned before, Couples Therapy Inc focuses on couples who have or are moving internationally, as well as couples who currently live in different nations. On this matter, they speak from experience, with a team who have moved all over the world for work, and who collectively speak 12 languages (presently English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Afrikaan). Couples Therapy Inc meets across 11 time zones worldwide, and also offers the service of “fly me a therapist” in which therapists for the company routinely travel to locations in which clients live. Additionally, intensive weekend couples retreats are available starting at $3,000. In short, if you or your couple are looking for the gold standard of remote (or in-person) couples therapy, Couples Therapy Inc is the way to go.
- Starting Price Point: $145 (per session)
- Therapy Types: In person, by phone, by video chat, analytical, international, full-service
Best For Seeing a Psychiatrist: LiveHealthOnline.com
A sizable portion of those seeking mental health help are on or need to explore psychiatric medical options. For many going through stressful times, seeking out much-more-readily available counselors can be hard to schedule. This is even more of an issue for psychiatrists. In many in-person settings, you’ll need to gain a referral and schedule a visit when your psychiatrist is available. This can be a major deterrent to those with busy schedules. That’s why we’ve chosen to include Live Health Online’s online psychiatry service.
As you likely won’t need 24/7 access to a psychiatrist, pricing and options for Live Health Online’s service are different from others in our list. You can sign up when you want, and typically can gain an initial consult with a psychiatrist in less than 2 weeks (typically a shorter period of time than in person). Initial consultations cost $175 without insurance, while follow-up appointments cost $75. Unlike in typically psychiatric visits, you do not need a referral to gain access to a psychiatrist through Live Health Online
Alongside Live Health Online’s psychiatric offerings, psychologists are available. Clients may choose either option for talk therapy. And in the case of psychiatric visits, patients with existing diagnoses as well as prescriptions that need to be refilled (or assessed) may be talked through.
- Starting Price Point: $75 (for follow up visits)
- Therapy Types: Video chat, phone chat, Psychiatric, Psychological, Prescriptions Available, On-Demand, Not-Subscription Based