An integral part of one’s wellness, mental health is often considered taboo in most societies. However, we have come a long way in understanding its implications and the best ways to deal with it. Various efforts have been made to safeguard one’s mental wellbeing, including mental health care and treatment. There are also measures put in place for its prevention.
Nowadays, there is a growing trend of mental health and therapy services that are available online. These services aim to make therapy more accessible to those who need it, whether for mental health advice and treatment or counseling. Availing of mental health therapy online is convenient too. One does not have to leave their home on the day of their appointment, which could also substantially reduce out-of-pocket costs. This kind of service is highly beneficial to those who have apprehensions about speaking with a therapist face-to-face. After all, it could be extremely difficult to look someone in the eye and reveal one’s worries and fears.
Online services for mental health and therapy could be done in a variety of ways. Options can range from instant messaging, email, live chats, video conferencing, and even phone calls. These kinds of services are also known as e-therapy, e-counseling, or cyber-counseling.
The method differs from one service to another. Some offer real-time services through phone calls and text messages, while others operate on a time-delayed format through email.
The advent of technology makes these services all the more accessible. You can use a desktop, laptop, tablet, and even smartphone. The latter gave birth to apps that need to be installed in smartphones, often for free.
Perhaps, more than ever, online mental health therapy has become even more relevant today. The pandemic transformed the way people acquire their mental health care. However, it is important to note that online mental health services will remain valuable to those who seek help and aim to get better even before or after the pandemic.
Taking Advantage of Online Mental Health and Therapy Services
Experiences with online therapy could vary from place to place. It largely depends on the platform that offers the service. But most of them offers the following benefits:
Many people might be skeptical about online therapy services for fear of privacy breaches. But this method is as reliable as the in-person therapy most of us are accustomed to. The process is still subject to one’s confidentiality and consent. One has the freedom to take a step back and stop their session if they feel uncomfortable or any other valid reasons. Online therapy services are committed to protecting one’s private information, keeping one’s data confidential at all cost.
As mentioned before, online mental health therapy services are convenient. One can set an appointment with a therapist at a schedule that suits them best. Even better, they do not even have to shop up in the physical location to attend their session as they can do it right at the comfort of their homes.
Any form of therapy can cost one money. However, online mental health and therapy services are significantly cheaper compared to their traditional counterpart. Not only will one save money. They will also be able to make the most of their time, having the freedom to skirt around their tight schedules without worrying about travel time. They have the flexibility that can rarely be found in face-to-face sessions. People who live far from mental health resources would greatly find this method useful.
Online therapy had been around for decades. Most of these took root from online mental health forums where psychologists and psychotherapists advise those who seek it. One of its kind was Psych Central, a publication and forum established by John Grohol. Another psychologist named Leonard Holmes offered advice online for free with the option of money donations.
Eventually, many platforms offered fee-based counseling with sessions charged per hour. They made use of chat rooms to communicate with clients. In the present day, most mental health therapies are offered via smartphone apps. Clients can send a text, a video, or even a voice message when the need arises. Some services make use of Skype calls and other video-conferencing tools.
In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was passed by the congress, aiming to determine whether an online therapy service complies with the law and operates within ethical means.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
While it has its share of challenges, online mental health and therapy services are just as effective as their conventional counterparts. Some patients reported having received better outcomes with online sessions compared to face-to-face ones.
Licensed therapists and counselors conduct therapy. They went through the same education and training as traditional therapists. They also abide by the rules and guidelines set by relevant governing bodies to ensure their clients’ safety.
It is important to remember, though, that online therapy would not suit everyone. Exceptions include more serious mental illnesses like substance addiction and other advanced psychiatric conditions ranging from severe depression to schizophrenia.
As responsible clients, one should always discuss their options with their doctor. In many cases, online therapy can be a good supplement to traditional treatment options. Online therapists can support patients in working through the challenges they face to their mental health.
It is always ideal for conducting thorough research on one’s options before delving into a new mental health therapy method. It could be as easy as perusing websites and online reviews to provide one with ample information and insights.
With that said, we have listed ten online mental health and therapy services that could be a good fit for those who need them.
- Teen Counselling
- Doctor on Demand
- 7 Cups of Tea
- Pride Counseling
Aiming to bypass the barriers of mental health therapy, Talkspace has made therapy not only affordable but also greatly accessible and convenient. This online and mobile therapy company caters to patients’ needs by offering comprehensive health treatment options. They have licensed therapists who provide support to those who want to live a healthier and happier life. You can send them a text message, audio message, photos, or video messages in a private chat room. Their in-house therapists are well-trained in different areas of expertise, including anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders, relationships, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and so much more. They also offer services like couple therapy and teen therapy. Aside from 24/7 access to the services, you are allowed to switch therapists at no extra cost.
As a subscription-based therapy service, patients and clients must pay for the plan that best suits their needs. They have monthly, quarterly, and biannual plans that allow one-on-one private chat. For example, in Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus, you could get the monthly plan for $260, with services including text, video, and audio messaging, and a therapist on standby five days per week. While their plans are subscription-based, there is no contract whatsoever. You can cancel their subscription at any time. What more, the online service has forged partnerships with several health plans that allow employees to get online therapy through their company’s employee assistance programs (EAP). Talkspace is now accepting insurance. All you need to do is check with your insurance company or employer to see if Talkspace is covered.
Specializing in couple counseling, ReGain has a host of certified trained professionals who help couples work through their married life and relationship troubles. Among the resident therapists at ReGain include accredited psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, and even clinical social workers.
What makes it stand out from other online therapy services is that they do not charge extra for two-person counseling. Couples are even allowed to attend the therapy together, regardless if they are physically in the same place or not through texting. You can go through your relationship challenges with certified therapists, from infidelity to communication problems. You need to sign up in ReGain and choose the plan that is most suitable for your needs. You will share a joint account with your partner, allowing you both to communicate with your therapists together. However, if wishes to speak with a therapist privately, it can also be possible to request a private session.
Another great feature of this service is its commitment to one’s privacy. During the digital sign up, you do not have to divulge your full name or contact information. You can go by a nickname, which will be logged onto the system. The therapy service will only ask for emergency contact information, which will be kept safe and can only be accessed by your counselor if you or someone else is in danger.
The cost can range from $60 to $80 per week. It is usually billed every four weeks. It is good to note that membership can be canceled at any time.
Known as the world’s largest counseling service that is 100% online, BetterHelp offers support from a range of professional, licensed, and vetted counselors. They are experts in dealing with various mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, stress parenting, family conflicts, and many more. The service prompts one to answer a few questions, which can help match one with a counselor that fits their needs, preferences, and issues they are dealing with. If the therapist is not a good match, one is encouraged to switch to a different one. The counseling services cover various needs, with available sessions for individuals, couples, and teens.
The communication between a patient and therapist could be done through instant messaging, chat, phone, and video conferencing. It should be emphasized that phone and video sessions might incur additional fees, so one should make sure of this before requesting a live session. What is great about this online therapy platform is its flexibility. One does not need to schedule appointments. The service can be accessed anytime and anywhere. However, if one wishes for a live session, there is also an easy option to schedule one.
The plan could last for a few weeks or months, depending on one’s needs. Based on one’s location, preferences, and therapist availability, the counseling cost can range from $60 to $80. It is good to note that subscriptions can be canceled anytime.
Specifically created for teenagers, this online platform features a licensed, accredited and experienced network of counselors. They can help teens deal with a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, bullying, trauma, relationships, and so much more. These counselors provide the same professionalism and quality that one would expect from their traditional counterparts. The service is available online through various devices like computers, tablets, and smartphones.
The process is pretty simple. You can get matched with a professional counselor by answering a set of questions that delves deep into your therapy needs. There will be two separate, private session environments given to the parent and the teen. If you are a parent, you can easily sign up to the site and get matched with a therapist. You can invite your child by sending a code through email or text message. The counselor assigned to you can work with you as long as you need, but if you wish to change counselors, all you need to do is request it. Communication with counselors can be done in four different ways: text messaging, live chat, phone calls, or video conferencing.
The counseling service pricing starts from $60 to $80 per week and billed every four weeks. You can cancel your membership anytime, too. Unfortunately, services for this site are not yet covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Other health insurance companies, however, could be honored as long as the services are covered. It is best to check with your provider first before pushing through with the subscription.
One of the most efficient telemedicine sites, Amwell provides support and counseling with professional doctors, trained therapists, family counselors, and many more. The online service is available 24/7 through their doctor on-demand feature. Like the other online therapy services, Amwell requires you to set up an account and choose the services you need. You have the option to set up an appointment with your preferred therapist after you have reviewed their biography.
The platform is not subscription-based, which means you have to pay for each session. The cost is around $99 to $110 per 45-minute therapy session. It can be expensive, but it is quite reasonable to consider how their online therapists provide 24/7 service. Some health insurance providers are accepted and could give you a lower price for the services offered. It is best to key in your insurance details to know your out-of-pocket costs before signing up.
Doctor on Demand is another online platform that offers a variety of counseling and therapy services. You can have access to a host of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and other medical experts who are available 24 hours of the day. They have a team of experienced and licensed psychiatrists and therapists from different backgrounds and specialties. They can help you deal with issues like anxiety, depression, postpartum, relationships, trauma and loss, and many more. With over 15 years of experience under their belt, they are proved to be experts in what they do. Perhaps, their best feature lies in their effort to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and create your unique treatment plan.
Signing up is fast and easy. All you need to do is fill out the online form with your information like email and birth date. After creating your account, you will be taken to a page to set up your profile. You will also be able to find out whether your health insurance provider is covered. There is no subscription plan, so the fee is per session. The cost per session is $128.
Doctor on Demand is one of the few online therapy platforms that offer free mental health assessment for those who are unsure whether to seek professional help or not. Their free test will take less than 2 minutes to complete.
An online therapy provider, 7 Cups of Tea, is a good place to start for those who are not yet decided whether to see a therapist or not. It is unique of its kind because of its free offer of trained listeners. Anyone can enjoy this service by signing up and requesting the first available listener. You can speak to the trained listener through chat, allowing you to be anonymous. They also offer scheduled group support sessions that deal with specific issues like relationships, depression, stress, anxiety, and many more. They have a team of listeners geared specifically towards teens, along with dedicated community forums and chat rooms.
But if your preference is to connect with a licensed therapist, you can also do so by paying the subscription at $150 per month. You will be matched to an experienced therapist who can best help you with your needs. The price covers unlimited messages to your therapist. It is important to note that therapists can only reply once or twice a day from Mondays through Fridays. Communicating with your therapist is done through chat in a private chat room. As part of their commitment to your privacy, the 7 Cups of Tea does not store the data from your correspondence with your listener or therapist.
MDLive has a division that offers help and support on many mental health concerns such as stress, anxiety, grief, loss, relationships, sadness, and intimacy, among many others. The process to get the online service is simple. All you need to do is to register for free and download the app. You will then be given a chance to search through the network of certified psychiatrists and therapists and schedule an appointment. You can speak to them through the phone, video, or the MDLive app, making it convenient for you as you need not drive to a clinic to get your concerns heard.
You have the choice whether to see a psychiatrist, which usually costs more or a therapist. Their licensed therapists are a good option for those who are transitioning from a psychiatrist. Counseling sessions with a psychiatrist cost $284 for the first visit and $108 for the subsequent appointments. Unfortunately, the platform does not offer subscription-based options. While it is quite expensive compared to other online therapy services, the service quality makes up for the cost. What more, you can also lower your out-of-pocket costs if your health insurance has coverage for mental health services. It is best to check with them first so you can be sure before you engage their services.
Specializing in mental health and identity issues, Pride Counseling is an accessible online platform for anyone who needs help, most especially the members of the LGBTQ community. The services offered are not only affordable and convenient but also discreet, ensuring your privacy is safe. They have an array of counselors who are licensed, trained, and accredited. Most of them are psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers, and professional counselors experienced in their fields.
The process starts by signing up. After that, you will be matched to an available counselor who fits your issues and objectives. They emphasize the importance of finding the right counselor for you, but if the first match does not suit you, you also have the option to switch counselors. The counselors are oriented with the LGBTQ needs, but they have specializations that tackle different issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, addictions, eating and sleeping disorders, anger, trauma, family conflicts, and many more. The process of matching you with a counselor can take a few hours or a few days, depending on the counselor’s availability.
There are many ways for you to communicate with your counselor. It can be through exchanging text messages, chatting live, speaking over the phone, or video conferencing. You have the option to use any of these based on your needs and convenience. The cost per week ranges from $60 to $80, billed weekly. While Medicare or Medicare does not generally cover the services, other health insurance companies do. You might be able to get partial or limited coverage. To avoid incurring costs, you may not be able to afford, it is best to check with your insurance provider before pushing through with the online sessions.
Composed of a team of dedicated online-based consultant therapists, Online-Therapy.com aims to provide emotional support to those who need it. They base their operation on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a psychotherapeutic approach commonly used in treating mental health problems. If you sign up, you will be given full access to their online therapy program. This includes information and tools that can help you identify and overcome your issues. The subscription allows you to contact your therapist from Mondays through Fridays. On top of this, you are also entitled to a daily journal and activity plan, yoga and meditation videos, and tests that allow you to track your progress.
Those who sign up for the premium subscription have unlimited communication with their therapists through two 30-minute live sessions every week. Remember that these live sessions are available as video, voice, and text chat. The basic subscription plan is charged per week, starting at $32. While they do not accept insurance, you can enjoy a 20% discount on your first month, which is a considerable amount. Of course, there are also options to upgrade or cancel your subscription plan as needed.