We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Online group therapy combines professional psychotherapy treatment with peer support through messaging or audio or video calls.

This article explores the purpose, process, and various aspects of online group therapy. It also discusses five of the best providers of online group therapy.

Quick links

Many therapists have moved their practices online to keep their clients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online therapy is like in-person therapy, but therapists stay in touch with a person through video calls or other online methods of communication. Therefore, it is necessary to have a reliable internet connection.

Online therapy is available for individuals, couples, and groups.

A 2020 meta-analysis found that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is as effective as in-person CBT for treating conditions such as anxiety and depression.

A trained and licensed mental health professional gathers people together to conduct group therapy. The therapist provides group members with psychotherapy services and guides their interactions and conversations.

Members of the same group typically have difficulty navigating similar issues, concerns, or conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or grief. Group therapy can also help participants build interpersonal skills.

Moreover, group therapy provides peer support and individual empowerment through shared experiences. Group members receive feedback from different perspectives. Some people in group therapy may also benefit from feeling that they are not alone.

The authors of a 2019 study investigated the efficacy of a 7-week mobile- and web-based group therapy program for treating depression. The participants reported a reduction in depression symptoms and an improvement in their overall health. The improvements remained stable over a 3-month follow-up period.

Due to its recent surge in popularity, online group therapy is readily available. However, those looking to sign up for this service may not know where to begin.

People may wish to consider the following when looking for an online therapy group:

  • Group’s focus: People can join a group whose members navigate the same issue or mental health condition.
  • Personal goals: An individual should consider what they hope to gain by joining the group. Online group therapy providers should explain the group’s structure and approach. They may also explain the kind of support a member can expect to receive to help them achieve their objectives.
  • Therapist’s credentials: Those seeking online group therapy will benefit most from joining a group led by a trained group therapist, most preferably a certified group psychotherapist.

Group therapy works best when it is the right fit for a person. Individuals seeking group therapy will know for certain that a group is right for them once they join that group.

How we choose products and services

Medical News Today chooses providers that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: Providers suit a range of budgets.
  • Suitability: Providers offer online group therapy for different issues and mental health conditions.
  • Reputability: Providers offer help of trained mental health professionals.

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

Catalyss Counseling

For a variety of specialized groups

Catalyss Counseling offers counseling both online and in person. The company is based in Colorado and offers individual and group therapy.

There are currently seven online groups:

  • Meaningful Connections Group
  • Women’s Support Group
  • Men’s Support Group
  • A Better Tomorrow: Postpartum Support Group
  • Grief Support Group
  • Recovering Perfectionists Group
  • Relationship Process Group

People undergo screening in an initial group intake appointment. This is to ensure that each member is in the right group for them.

A person usually joins a group with 8–10 sessions. Other groups, however, are open-ended, so people can attend group meetings for longer.

Catalyss Counseling accepts health savings account and flexible spending account cards. More information about fees is available on its website.

The initial group intake appointment costs $150, and each group session costs $40–55.

Circles

For lower budgets

Circles is an online therapy platform that specializes in group therapy. Licensed therapists and certified coaches lead live video sessions on a variety of topics, including:

After the platform matches a person with a group, they can attend weekly group meetings. The service also provides unlimited text messaging with the therapist and between group members.

Circles does not provide any information about insurance on its website.

Membership for this platform costs $30 per week. The company also offers a 7-day free trial.

Grouport

For small group sizes

This provider also specializes in group therapy. Licensed therapists lead groups with no more than 12 members, focusing on a range of mental health conditions, such as:

Sessions last 1 hour and occur on a weekly basis.

Grouport does not accept insurance. However, the company provides forms that a person can submit to their insurance provider — if they have one — for reimbursement.

Membership for this platform costs $35 per week.

7 Cups

For free 24-7 chat rooms

This platform offers confidential online group therapy with licensed therapists covering a range of mental health issues, including:

It also provides free 24-7 chat rooms with volunteer listeners and other members. A person can use the chat rooms without purchasing a membership if they prefer. However, online group therapy is available only with paid membership.

7 Cups does not provide any information about insurance on its website.

Membership for this platform costs $150 per month.

BetterHelp

For higher budgets

This platform matches individuals with the right therapy group by asking a number of questions during the sign-up process.

Licensed professional therapists lead sessions that take place in live video chat rooms, telephone conversations, and chat rooms.

Mental health issues and conditions that BetterHelp therapists can help with include:

People can find details about health insurance and reimbursement on the BetterHelp website.

Therapy plans cost $60–90 per week.

The table below compares the providers we outlined in the previous section.

ProviderFeaturesMain advantageCost
Catalyss Counselingseven specialized groups
licensed therapists
individual and group therapy
in-person and online groups
video meetings
specialized groups$40–55 per session
Circlesspecializes in group therapy
licensed therapists
certified coaches
extensive group offerings
video meetings
unlimited text messaging
less costly than competitors$30 per week
Grouportspecializes in group therapy
licensed therapists
small group sizes
video meetings
capped group sizes$35 per week
7 Cupslicensed therapists
24-7 chat rooms
expansive group offerings
video meetings
free 24-7 support chat rooms$150 per month
BetterHelpclient-therapist matching service
licensed therapists
video meetings
phone conversations
chat rooms
security and usability$60–90 per week

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about online group therapy.

What is the difference between group therapy and support groups?

The main difference is that online group therapy is led by a licensed therapist who offers psychotherapy services.

People who moderate online support groups are not necessarily trained mental health professionals and may simply work to guide the group’s discussion. Many online support groups are peer-led.

How do I choose the best online group therapy?

Individuals interested in online group therapy should search for a group that focuses on their specific needs and concerns.

They should also look for groups led by trained and reputable professionals. Some platforms allow people to try different groups until they find the right fit.

What are the benefits of online group therapy?

Online group therapy can save a person time, as they do not have to travel to meet with the group.

Also, it is often more accessible and affordable than in-person therapy.

Does insurance cover online group therapy?

Most online group therapy providers do not accept insurance, but they do offer reimbursement forms that a person can fill out and submit to their insurance provider, if they have one.

It is of note, however, that some insurance companies started covering online therapy services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online group therapy has gained popularity in the past couple of years.

Research suggests that online therapies are as effective as in-person therapies. Many online platforms provide quality online group therapy services that are affordable.

A person may wish to contact a doctor to discuss their mental health needs and what type of therapy would be most suitable for them before they commit to any type of support.