Mental health is as important as physical health, but 70% of the people who need mental health care don’t have access to traditional in-office therapy. Helping to bridge this gap, online therapy allows you to talk to an online counselor from the comfort of your own home via text messages or live video sessions. While it’s not the right solution for everyone, its benefits are hard to ignore.
Many people prefer virtual counseling to get the help they need because it’s often a more convenient, private, and affordable option than face-to-face sessions. It’s also a more affordable and accessible way to get professional mental health support anytime and anywhere. Online therapy is a good option for people who otherwise can’t get help, whether because of finances, location, or busy schedules.
And don’t forget that research has shown that teletherapy is just as effective as traditional therapy and counseling and can produce similar therapeutic outcomes. Common issues that are successfully treated online include anxiety, depression, stress management, burnout, relationship problems, sleep issues, life changes, trauma and PTSD, grief, eating disorders, and substance abuse.
When it comes to online therapy services, the number of choices is huge, so finding the right platform can be a difficult task. Online therapy is far from a one-size-fits-all, and the best approach is to look for a therapist or online therapy platform specific to your needs,
To help you find the support you need, experts from therapy-reviews.com did extensive research and compared the most popular online therapy platforms. Here are their top picks for the best online counseling and therapy services 2022. From depression to OCD to relationship challenges, these therapy websites and apps can set you up with a licensed counselor directly from your home.
Calmerry – Best Online Counseling Platform Overall
- Unlimited text and audio messaging and live video sessions
- Licensed therapists specialize in treating a wide range of mental health issues
- Quick matching with therapists by Calmerry staff
- Multiple subscription plans
- Friendly and helpful support team
- You can switch therapists for free
- Easy to navigate website with good resources
- Free mood tracker and journaling app
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android
- No free trial
- No psychiatrists or medication management
Calmerry is a relatively new online counseling platform that connects clients with licensed mental health professionals from their state via messaging and live video sessions. Calmerry services are available for individuals and couples in all 50 states. Clients don’t choose their therapist, but they can switch to a different provider without paying an additional fee.
All Calmerry providers are clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, or marriage and family therapists with a master’s or doctorate degree in their field. Calmerry therapists can help with a variety of mental health problems, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, trauma, PTSD, grief & loss, and relationship issues.
The platform is a good option for people looking for emotional support, self esteem therapy, and those who want to find a counselor who has experience working with LGBTQ+ community.
Clients can contact their therapist and manage their account through their personal portal, which organizes everything they need: subscription details, scheduling, messages, and therapy performance. All Calmerry users have access to Reflection Helper, a free chatbot designed to help them track their mood and create journal entries to self-reflect on their mental health journey.
BetterHelp – Best if You Prefer Messaging
- Individual, couples, and teen therapy
- Access to licensed therapists via phone, chat, or video
- Unlimited messaging therapy
- Large provider network
- Easy to change therapists
- Financial aid is available for those who qualify
- Informative website
- Is not covered by insurance providers
- No medication management services
- Only one subscription plan available
Being one of the leading online therapy platforms, BetterHelp offers service for individuals and couples. It boasts a huge network of providers who have gone through an exhausting vetting process. They specialize in addressing different mental health and emotional issues, including stress, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders, family conflicts, LGBTQ+ issues, grief & loss, and more. All staff bios are listed on the website so you can check them out and get a sense of who your counselor could be.
The platform uses an algorithm to match you to a provider, but you can request to change a therapist if they’re not a good fit for you. You can also cancel your subscription any time. The services aren’t covered by insurance, but you can apply for financial aid when you sign up.
BetterHelp only offers one subscription plan that includes unlimited text or audio messaging with your therapist and weekly 30- to 45-minute live video or phone sessions. It also offers more than 20 live interactive group seminars each week and an online journal with some prompts to write down your thoughts and feelings.
Online-Therapy.com – Best Self-Guided Program for CBT
- Self-guided program based on CBT
- Unlimited messaging with an assigned licensed therapist
- Therapists respond to messages within 24 hours, on weekdays
- All therapist bios are posted on the website
- Anonymous and private
- Discount for first month available
- No couples or group therapy offered
- Doesn’t accept insurance
- Therapists are only available Monday through Friday for 8 hours per day
- Doesn’t operate in every state
Online-therapy.com is a HIPAA-compliant platform dedicated entirely to cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s an evidence-based approach that helps people identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT is effective when treating a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, phobias, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug issues.
The service offers 3 subscription plans based on clients’ individual mental health needs. All of them include an eight-section CBT program with 25 worksheets. Besides daily contact with a therapist (weekdays via messages), there’s a toolbox of useful resources to help you, including interactive worksheets, a daily journal for tracking emotions and thoughts, an activity planner, tests, and even yoga videos.
You can access these tools from your dashboard and complete the program at your own pace. . Your therapist will also give you daily weekday feedback on your progress if you finish any of the activities in the portal.
Online-therapy.com is a good option if you’re self-motivated and/or looking for a cheap online therapy option. It may work well for you if you have a mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, or high levels of stress that would benefit from CBT-based therapy.
Talkspace – Best Online Therapy Covered by Insurance
- Unlimited messaging and live video sessions
- Psychiatry options
- Multiple payment plans
- Individual, couples, and teen therapy
- You can pick your therapist from recommended suggestions
- Employee assistance programs available
- Resource library
- Medication management services
- No free trial
- Response time depends on the individual therapist
- No group counseling available
Talkspace is a well-known subscription-based virtual therapy service that has a large, diverse staff of licensed therapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and nurses. The platform connects you to licensed therapists based on their expertise. The therapists offer support for adults, teens, and couples and cover a range of mental health needs, including stress, anxiety, and depression as well as trauma, grief, substance abuse, eating disorders, LGBTQI+ specific topics, and more.
Talkspace also offers personalized psychiatric treatment and prescription management from a licensed prescriber, so if you are interested in psychiatric services, you may consider it as a potential provider.
You can choose from several subscription plans that are more affordable than private practice. The communication options include weekly 30-minute video therapy sessions and unlimited text, audio, and video message interactions with a therapist. The therapists are expected to respond to a client’s unlimited messages a couple of times a day. TalkSpace accepts some insurance plans and some companies’ Employee Assistance Programs.
MDLive – Best for Online Psychiatry
- Talk therapy and psychiatry
- Licensed therapists have an average of over 10 years of experience
- You can choose your own provider
- Offers medication management
- Accepts some insurance plans
- Mobile apps for Android and iOS
- Rather expensive without insurance
- No monthly subscription option
- Therapist and psychiatry availability and wait times vary by state
MDLive is primarily a general-purpose platform for online medical help, but it also offers teletherapy. MDLive employs licensed mental health therapists providing talk therapy and board-certified psychiatrists who go through a background check for licensure, training and education, and work history.
The therapists can provide treatment and support for many common issues, including anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma & PTSD, panic disorders, phobias, grief & loss, relationship issues, addiction, and more. They all go through specialized telehealth training in communication, diagnosis, and treatment by phone or video.
Clients need to sign in and can search for therapists by specialty, gender, language, and/or available date. Typically, you have to request an appointment time and wait for the therapist or psychiatrist to get back to you, rather than booking an appointment immediately.
You can communicate with your therapist or psychiatrist using audio or video via computer or app. If you need different types of medical tests or care, your therapist can refer you to other specialists within the MDLive platform.
Because of its flexibility, affordability, and convenience, online therapy is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to connect with mental health professionals. There are a lot of online therapy platforms, but not all of them are created equal.
If you’re considering giving online therapy a try or just interested in learning more, we recommend taking some time to do your own research and look for services that only employ licensed mental health professionals.
And remember that your relationship with a counselor matters far more than the online therapy platform you use to connect with them. The best teletherapy platform for you is the one where you can find a therapist you click with.