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Online therapy allows people to communicate with qualified therapists from their homes. The cost depends on the therapist’s credentials and experience, but many companies offer subscription plans, and some insurers cover mental health care.

This article explores the different types of therapy available and how individuals may recognize that they need to see a therapist. It also describes factors that could help people choose affordable therapy options online and the different platforms available for counseling.

An individual can attend different types of therapy, including:

During therapy sessions, therapists use different methods to help their clients, such as talking therapies, helping manage negative thoughts, interacting with others, and mindfulness techniques.

Learn more about the types of therapy here.

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.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

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.

Click here for more links and local resources.

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Below are some companies that offer affordable therapy sessions online.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

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

Best for young people: BetterHelp

  • Cost: between $60–$90 a week
  • Services: group and individual therapy
  • BBB grade: A-
  • Trustpilot score: 4.6 out of 5 stars

BetterHelp offers counseling sessions for individuals, couples, and teenagers. The platform requires a person to complete a questionnaire so the company can pair them with a therapist.

An individual can talk with a therapist via instant messaging, phone, or video chat. This may benefit younger people and those who prefer different communication methods.

BetterHelp also offers:

  • group sessions
  • easy scheduling features
  • digital worksheets to support the counseling process

The platform works with licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and counselors.

Individuals can cancel their membership at any time. However, health insurance plans do not usually grant coverage for BetterHelp services.

Read our review of BetterHelp here.


  • according to reviews, sessions are very convenient
  • people found the therapists helpful and supportive


  • some people state the company continued to charge after they canceled their subscriptions
  • others found online counseling too impersonal
  • healthcare professionals on this platform cannot prescribe medication
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Best for insurance coverage: Amwell

  • Cost: between $109–$279 per session
  • Services: counseling and psychiatry
  • BBB grade: B
  • Trustpilot score: 1.9 out of 5 stars

Amwell’s therapists provide counseling for various mental health conditions, including:

A person can choose a therapist with a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in their field. Appointments with a therapist holding a Master’s degree cost $109, while sessions with a therapist with a doctorate in their field costs $129.

An initial psychiatry assessment visit costs $279, with follow-up sessions costing $109.

The company also has physicians and psychiatrists who can prescribe medication and manage urgent care.

Amwell works with many insurers, and a person should contact their insurance provider or employer to check their benefits.


  • Amwell accepts insurance
  • healthcare professionals on this platform can prescribe medication
  • reviewers state they received a diagnosis and treatment plan quickly


  • some people found that Amwell could not prescribe the medication they needed
  • the cost can be higher than in-person visits
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Best for couples counseling: ReGain

  • Cost: between $60–$90 per week
  • Services: individual and couples counseling
  • BBB grade: F
  • Trustpilot score: 3.3 out of 5 stars

The ReGain platform offers therapy sessions for individuals and couples by matching them with a licensed mental health care professional.

Couples do not have to be in the same location to have couples therapy.

Once people log on to the website, the company’s chat room saves all written information for reference, but only the counselor and individuals or partners have access.

ReGain operates a subscription-based plan and does not currently work with private medical insurers.

Read our review of ReGain here.


  • some people note that the therapists helped with communication skills
  • some reviewers say Regain helped them recover from traumatic experiences


  • some people note that the counselors have their video turned off during appointments, making the therapy feel impersonal
  • others could not fix an appointment with a counselor
  • Regain cannot prescribe medication
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Best for psychiatry: Doctor on Demand

  • Cost: between $79–$299
  • Services: counseling and psychiatry
  • BBB grade: A
  • Trustpilot score: 1.3 out of 5 stars

Doctor on Demand by Included Health is a platform specializing in physical and mental health conditions.

It offers therapy sessions with licensed mental health specialists qualified to help individuals with anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress. A person can also chat with a psychiatrist who can provide therapy sessions and, if necessary, prescribe limited medications. Should individuals require a prescription for a controlled substance, such as anxiety medications, they may have to attend an in-person appointment with their doctor.

Doctor on Demand prices depends on the session length or therapist type, for example:

  • Board certified clinician: A 15-minute consultation costs $79.
  • Psychologist: A 25-minute consultation costs $129. A 50-minute consultation costs $179.
  • Psychiatrist: An initial 45-minute consultation costs $299. A 15-minute follow-up costs $129.

A person can check if their insurance covers Doctor on Demand’s telehealth visits during registration.


  • accepts some insurance plans
  • prescribes medication if necessary
  • some reviewers say they could see their doctor quickly, and scheduling appointments was easy


  • some reviewers state doctors do not always attend appointments
  • some customers found it difficult to communicate their needs to the doctors
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Best free service: 7Cups

7Cups offers free therapy sessions with trained volunteer listeners. These listeners are not qualified therapists but receive some training from 7Cups.

Learn more about where to receive free therapy here.

A person can also schedule appointments with licensed therapists. These sessions cost $150 a month.

7Cups may be best suited to people looking to try therapy for the first time, those on a very tight budget, or those who would like a more casual way to express and explore their feelings.


  • offers free and paid services
  • reviewers found the environment supportive


  • a person will need to pay to speak to a healthcare professional
  • some reviewers raised concerns about chat moderation, stating offensive chats continued without intervention from the company
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Best for teens: Talkspace

  • Cost: starting from $69–109 per week
  • Services: individual therapy, couples therapy, teen therapy, psychiatry
  • BBB grade: B
  • Trustpilot: 1.3 out of 5 stars

Talkspace offers therapy for individuals, couples, and teens, as well as psychiatry services for those who require medication.

The company also states it has healthcare professionals specializing in serving the LGBTQIA+ community and veterans.

People must complete a questionnaire, and Talkspace will connect them with a therapist within 48 hours.

Talkspace accepts insurance coverage. People can also use their FSA and HSA accounts.

Read our review of Talkspace here.


  • accepts insurance
  • serves a wide range of people of all ages
  • prescribes medication


  • some people waited longer than 48 hours for the company to connect them with a therapist
  • some reviewers say that the therapists did not turn up to appointments
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Best for a large toolbox: OnlineTherapy.com

  • Cost: $50–$110 per week
  • Services: individual and couples therapy
  • BBB grade: no BBB profile available
  • Trustpilot score: no reviews available

OnlineTherapy.com offers a large therapy toolbox, including live therapy sessions, yoga, activity plans, and journaling.

The platform states it uses CBT. Additionally, the company is international, so sessions are available for people worldwide.

The company offers three plans:

  • Basic: This plan provides unlimited messaging and a therapy program. It costs $50 per week.
  • Standard: This plan provides one weekly live session in addition to the services in the Basic plan. It costs $80 per week.
  • Premium: As well as the services in the Standard plan, people have access to two weekly live sessions. This plan costs $110 per week.

OnlineTherapy.com does not accept insurance. However, people may be able to file for reimbursement.


  • offers several plans with different price points
  • has a wide range of therapy tools
  • international access


  • does not accept insurance
  • does not prescribe medication
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Best directory for addiction treatment: Findtreatment.gov

  • Cost: free
  • Services: directory of healthcare professionals
  • BBB grade: no BBB profile available
  • Trustpilot score: no Trustpilot profile available

Findtreatment.gov is a free directory that helps connect people with healthcare professionals that specialize in addiction recovery.

While it does not offer therapy sessions, people can search for treatment centers in their state. The website also clearly states what type of insurance and funding each center accepts.


  • people can filter by location, type of care, type of therapy, and more
  • offers clear information about what type of funding and insurance each facility accepts


  • does not offer therapy, but does help people find therapists within their budget
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Best for students: Open Path Collective

  • Cost: $30–$70 per session
  • Services: wellness courses, counseling
  • BBB grade: A+
  • Trustpilot score: no Trustpilot profile available

Open Path Collective is a nonprofit that connects people to therapists based on their ZIP code. People can choose to attend online or in-person sessions.

People need to pay a one-time fee of $65 to access lifetime membership to this organization. After this, people can choose from a range of affordable therapy sessions. If a person opts for an appointment with a student intern, they will pay $30; otherwise, each session will cost $40–$70.

Open Path Collective states that its wellness courses are especially beneficial to students, as they offer a more affordable way to form good mental health care habits.


  • offers more affordable therapy than some other options
  • offers wellness courses for those who cannot afford therapy


  • people have to pay a fee before using the service
  • the most affordable therapy options are with student interns, not qualified healthcare professionals
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Best for mental health emergencies: Crisis Text Line

  • Cost: free
  • Services: instant messaging
  • BBB grade: no BBB profile available
  • Trustpilot score: 2.6 out of 5 stars

Crisis Text Line is a free service that allows individuals to connect with a volunteer crisis counselor. People can choose to text, message online, or use WhatsApp.

This may be particularly beneficial for people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are having another mental health emergency. People connect quickly to a volunteer who can offer help and advice.

People can text the word HOME to 741741 to immediately chat with a trained volunteer. Services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to people who live in the United States.


  • provides fast access to trained volunteers
  • offers a range of contact methods


  • while trained, the volunteers are not therapists
  • suitable for emergencies rather than ongoing mental health care
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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
BetterHelpbetween $60–90 a weekcounseling• live messaging
• video calls
• phone calls
Amwellbetween $109–279 per session• counseling
• psychiatry
video calls
ReGainbetween $60–90 per week• couples therapy
• counseling
• messaging
• video calls
• phone calls
Doctor on Demandbetween $79–299 per session• counseling
• psychiatry
video calls
7Cupsfree or $150 a monthcounseling• live online chat
• messaging
Talkspacestarts at $69 per week• counseling
• psychiatry
• couples therapy
• teen therapy
• live messaging
• video calls
• phone calls
OnlineTherapy.comstarts at $50 per week• couples therapy
• counseling
• live sessions
• messaging
Findtreatment.govfreepeople can search for treatment facilities onlinedoes not apply
Open Path Psychology Collectivebetween $40–70 per session, and $65 membership feepsychotherapyonline or in-person
Mental Health Americafreesupport group resourcedoes not apply
Crisis Text Linefreesupport through messaging messaging

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).
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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 anytime. Health insurance could reduce the overall cost, but some mental health services are not eligible 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 like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Trustpilot to check a company’s reviews and reputation.
  • Credentials: Some counseling services allow individuals to view their therapists’ qualifications, experience, and specialisms. This may allow a person to estimate fees.
  • Ease of use: Many therapists host online sessions through video, phone, or instant messaging chats, which individuals may find more cost-effective.

People who want support coping with a mental health condition can consider online therapy. It may be especially suitable for people who cannot easily access in-person sessions or prefer greater anonymity when speaking to a therapist.

Young people, couples, and adults can all benefit from online therapy.

People who do not have access to the internet or a reliable connection may not find online therapy appropriate. Additionally, those with no private space to have their sessions in may not find it easy to have therapy online.

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

Sometimes, a person 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 should speak with their primary care doctor to discuss alternative options. This may include support groups, college or employer mental health services, and lifestyle changes.

Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about online therapy.

Is an online therapist qualified or certified?

Therapists who hold online therapy sessions have the same credentials as those who see clients in person.

They often have a Master’s degree, PhD, Psy.D., or Doctor of Psychology qualification in their field.

A person should prioritize services that use qualified mental health professionals.

Is the session information shared or confidential?

A person’s information is confidential during an online therapy session, but therapists may keep session notes for reference.

However, if the client has suicidal ideations or a severe mental health problem that requires urgent care, the therapist is authorized to contact the police or an urgent care facility.

Additionally, a person aged under 18 years old may require consent from their parent or caregiver to sign up for counseling.

Is online therapy for everyone?

According to the APA, online therapy sessions can benefit a person as much as in-person visits.

However, the organization advises against using online companies if a person has or could have a severe mental health condition that requires immediate attention, such as schizophrenia or addiction.

Are online therapists cheaper?

Online therapy can be cheaper than in-person therapy if a person pays out of pocket. Prices can vary depending on a person’s location, the therapist’s experience, and the service a person uses.

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 visits with the therapist.

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.