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You can find affordable therapy on a budget with sliding scale therapists, health insurance, and therapy subscription services. All our options cost under $110 per session.

This article explores ways people can choose affordable therapy options online and the different platforms available for counseling.

If a person is in a mental health crisis, they should not use online therapy and should contact emergency services instead. Online therapy may not be suitable for those with severe mental health conditions.

Suicide prevention

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711, then 988.

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Medical News Today has tested some of the services below. Reviewers may have received trials from the brands for free, which does not influence their review. All opinions are the reviewers’ own. Some editors preferred to remain anonymous for their review due to the sensitive nature of the services.

Below, we compare each of the online therapy options for price, the services offered, and the type of sessions a person can choose from.

PriceServices offeredTypes of session
Crisis Text Linefree with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon cell phone planssupport through messagingmessaging
BetterHelp$65 to $90 a week• counseling• live messaging
• video calls
• phone calls
ReGain$65 to $90 per week• couples therapy
• counseling
• messaging
• video calls
• phone calls
7Cupsfree or $150 a monthcounseling• live online chat
• messaging
Talkspace$69 to $109 per week• counseling
• psychiatry
• couples therapy
• teen therapy
• live messaging
• video calls
• phone calls
Online-Therapy.com$50 to 100 per week• couples therapy
• counseling
• live sessions
• messaging
Findtreatment.govfreepeople can search for treatment facilities onlinedoes not apply
Open Path Psychology Collective$65 one-time membership fee, then between $30 to $70 per sessionpsychotherapyonline or in-person

Medical News Today has carefully vetted each online therapy provider to ensure they do not pose any safety risks to individuals.

The vetting team looked at several factors before writing this article, such as:

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: The companies offer transparent information on the coverage they can provide and their standard of care.
  • Best practices: The companies use licensed healthcare professionals and are HIPAA compliant.
  • Indicators of trust: The companies have third-party regulations and certification of security standards.
  • Reputation: The companies have not received any warning letters from the Federal Trade Commission, have no pending or past lawsuits, and have a high rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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There are various criteria to consider when looking for affordable therapy:

  • Cost and insurance: Some companies operate on a subscription-based service that allows people to cancel at any time. Health insurance could reduce the overall cost, but some individuals may not be eligible for mental health services under some insurance plans. Therefore, a person should confirm their coverage with an insurer or employer before seeking therapy.
  • Reviews: A person can use impartial services such as BBB or Trustpilot to check a company’s reviews and reputation.
  • Credentials: Some counseling services allow individuals to view their therapists’ qualifications, experience, and specialties.
  • Ease of use: Many therapists host online sessions via video, phone, or instant messaging chats, which individuals may find more convenient than traditional therapy. People should consider which of these therapy formats they would find most suitable for their needs and preferences.

People can also find affordable or low cost therapy in various forms and locations. In some instances, these support resources may be free.

Employee assistance programs

Employee assistance programs (EAP) aim to enhance the personal and professional well-being of an organization’s employees. EAP services are free and confidential.

Programs may provide personalized consultations, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up appointments.

College, university, and school support

College, university, or school counseling centers usually provide low cost or free therapy on an individual basis. While they may offer a limited number of sessions, they may also help a person find ongoing therapy in the local area once they have used up their free sessions with their college, university, or school.

Community mental health clinics

These clinics provide support in the community to people managing mental health conditions. This support can take the form of care or treatment on a short- or long-term basis.

Healthcare professionals with different specialisms tend to work together within community mental health clinics to support individuals’ mental health care needs.

Sliding scale therapists

Some therapists offer their services on a sliding fee scale. This means that people who can afford to do so will pay the full price, while those who can afford less will pay a reduced rate. There may be several different payment tiers on a sliding fee scale to accommodate different levels of financial means.

Research conducted in Iran has shown that when therapists offer counseling on a sliding fee scale, it can help provide a level of financial protection and increase the use of healthcare services among people with limited financial means.

Local support community centers

Local community centers can be a suitable place for a person to find out how to access affordable mental health services in their local area.

As an additional benefit, individuals may find other forms of social support in a community center like this, such as a physical activity class or a group focusing on specific interests or hobbies that they can take part in regularly.

Clinics and hospitals

While some people may have concerns about the cost of clinics and hospitals, it is important to note that some facilities offer free or low cost therapy options.

People can visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website to find a health center offering low cost or free mental health support.

Places of worship

Faith leaders tend to provide emotional, social, and spiritual support to their congregants as part of their role. While they do not necessarily receive official training in dealing with mental health conditions, they can still be a valuable source of support.

According to the American Psychological Association, some religious institutions, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, work with psychologists to improve the mental health support they can offer their communities.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that people feeling down or having difficulty sleeping should engage in self-care activities to ease their symptoms. These include:

However, an individual may consider contacting a therapist if their symptoms do not improve or last more than 2 weeks or if they experience any of the following:

If a person feels suicidal, they should not rely on online therapy. Instead, they should inform someone they trust and contact emergency services or one of the mental health crisis helplines below.

Sometimes, someone may wish to speak with specific doctors or organizations for support. In these cases, they may consider helplines and hotlines, such as the:

If someone feels they are not getting the support they need through online therapy, they can speak with their primary care doctor to discuss alternative options. These options may include support groups, college or employer mental health services, and lifestyle changes.

Learn more about types of therapy.

Below, we answer some common questions about online therapy.

If a person cannot afford therapy, they can focus on performing small acts of self-care, which positively affect their mental health. For instance, 30 minutes of walking a day can improve a person’s mood, along with eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.

Apps providing meditation and breathing exercises can also help improve mental well-being. Additionally, staying connected to people, such as friends and family, who can provide emotional support can help.

The cost of therapy varies widely, depending on the type of therapy a person seeks, where they are, the credentials of their therapist, if their treatment would require medication, if they have insurance, and the type of coverage their insurance plan might provide. The cost of the online providers discussed in this article ranges from $45 to $299 per week, placing $100 in the low- to mid-range of the spectrum.

Therapy can be expensive. Certain federal agencies, can provide support to help people find low cost health services, such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If a person can no longer afford therapy, they may ask their therapist if they offer a sliding scale payment structure. This may mean they can reduce the cost of their therapy. Providing services on a sliding scale allows people to pay a set amount according to what they can afford instead of charging a flat fee for everyone, regardless of their financial situation.

People may also be able to access free or low cost therapy through, for example, employee assistance programs, college, university, school support, or local services in the community.

Although therapy can be expensive, there are resources available to help people find free or low cost mental health care. Some healthcare professionals offer sliding fee scale options. Support groups, community health centers, and state agencies can help connect people to mental health care options they can afford.

The weekly cost of counseling through BetterHelp is $65 to $90 weekly. Some options in this article cost less, such as OnlineTherapy.com, Open Path Psychology Collective, and 7Cups. However, a person needs to carefully compare the costs, criteria, and offerings of these different providers to see which best suits their needs.

Additionally, a person can also seek out other free or low cost options for mental health care.

Many companies offer affordable therapy options online, which can be suitable for individuals who prefer or need to attend virtual consultations.

Some offer subscription plans, allowing a person to choose the number of appointments required.

Individuals can also check whether their insurance plan covers telehealth and online therapy services.

However, online counseling is not suitable for people who have suicidal or self-harm thoughts, as they require immediate urgent care.