Best Online Therapy: Top 6 Online Counseling Programs 2021

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People experience stress triggers every day, which can sometimes lead to mental health issues. In these cases, it’s best to turn to a professional mental health expert for help. However, people are often afraid or sometimes incapable of hiring a qualified therapist.

If you’ve been postponing getting the help you need, there is now an easier way to find a qualified therapist through online counseling. Online therapy platforms work with licensed therapists while protecting privacy and confidentiality. Some sites even feature access to providers on demand when immediate help is needed. What more could you want?

What Is Online Therapy?

Before you decide on the best online therapy platform, let’s explore the question, what is online therapy?

Online therapy can be defined as obtaining mental health services and support via the internet, which is sometimes referred to as e-therapy or e-counseling. These services are offered through a variety of options such as video chats, messaging, online chats, email, text messaging, and more.

Depending on the online therapy platform, you may be able to access help though a mental health app in addition to the website. Since more people are using mobile phones, it makes sense to have apps allowing people to access licensed therapists across platforms.

6 Best Online Therapy Sites of 2021

  1. Betterhelp – Best for Thoroughly Vetted Therapists
  2. Talkspace – Most Comprehensive Platform
  3. Online-Therapy.Com – Best for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  4. Calmerry – Best for Confidential Sessions
  5. Self-therapy Journey – Best Internal Family Systems Therapy
  6. ReGain – Best for Couples

1. Talkspace

Pros:

  • It is easy to switch therapists
  • Live chat sessions are available
  • Offers excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Matching with a therapist can be a lengthier process

Click here to sign up Talkspace service at the best price

Talkspace earns the spot as the top brand on our list. That’s because this online therapy platform has the experience and expertise that other online therapy services just don’t have.

The company has been around for over eight years and has amassed a network of some of the best mental health professionals. Even those who want a doctor on demand should consider using it.

The company has helped over a million people so far. Additionally, Talkspace offers counseling by professional family therapists who are trained to help mend relationship issues.

Setting up an account with the company is easy. You just complete a simple questionnaire and then wait for the operators to match you with a licensed therapist. If you find that you do not like the assigned therapists, switching therapists is easy.

Using the service is also easy as the company offers live video sessions and unlimited messaging therapy. These are vital tools important to ensuring you receive the help and medical management you need, when you need it.  The company does not mention if it can accept insurance, but rates are reasonable.

2. Betterhelp

Pros:

  • The platform is easy to use
  • Many communication methods are available
  • Worksheets are provided to track progress

Cons:

  • Response times can widely vary among therapists

Click here to sign up Betterhelp service at the best price

Betterhelp offers over 12,000 licensed professional counselors to choose from to provide you with a wide array of choices including doctors on demand and teen counseling. All therapists have over three years of experience, so you can be confident that you will connect with a tried and true professional.

The signup process is straightforward even for individuals who have not used online counseling before. During account set up you briefly supply pertinent information and create a nick name. After the application is processed, the new user is then matched with a counselor. At times, the matching process can take 24 hours or more, however, you can be sure that you will connect with a counselor who is experienced with the issues you wish to process.

Betterhelp offers a variety of ways to receive counseling including live sessions, video sessions, phone calls, and messaging. You can always pick the method you feel is appropriate and safe for you.

The company offers many services including online therapy for kids, licensed marriage and family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and much more. All the online counseling services are confidential.

3. Online-Therapy.com

Pros:

  • Many communication systems
  • Uses licensed therapists
  • Offers therapy for depression, phobias, and addiction

Cons: 

  • Does not accept health insurance

Click here to sign up Online-Therapy.com service at the best price 

Of all the online therapy platforms we reviewed, this one offers free therapy sessions with a licensed mental health professional before you subscribe for premium access.

The best part is that the platform also offers cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. This is a popular online or in-person therapy that is meant to help people with anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and more. This therapy is also helpful for teen counseling when the patient needs to modify negative behavior.

Licensed therapists use phone calls, live sessions and videos, among other methods to keep in touch with patients. The same applies to the licensed marriage and family therapists who are available to help clients work through family issues.

It stands out among online therapy sites because of its use of journals and worksheets. Such tracking devices are vital for helping the patient see their progress. Also, this service offers mental healthcare professionals with availability on a variety of schedules allowing access when help is needed most.

4. Calmerry

Pros:

  • Offers an app and website
  • It is HIPPA compliant
  • Has multiple session types

Cons:

  • Therapists can be slow to respond

Click here to sign up Calmerry service at the best price

Calmerry is among our choices for online therapy platforms because it offers an easy-to-use interface and experienced mental health professionals who are ready to attend to you – including doctor on-demand services.

If you have found that in-person therapy is not for you, consider these online therapy sessions from Calmerry. Studies have shown that the convenience of attending these best online therapies has helped many of those who have not had positive in-person therapy experiences in the past.

Calmerry is relatively new in the industry, but that has not prevented it from gaining traction. Many people find it helpful for a variety of mental health conditions as well as teen counseling.

The company offers a wide array of communications methods. You can either consider using the website or an app to talk to the therapists. This allows many people to use the platform across different devices with ease. You can also decide to use video therapy or message therapy or combine them. Live sessions are available. Licensed professionals are also available to prescribe medications as needed.

Review the company website to find the details included with each package. For maximum flexibility, the company offers both weekly and monthly charges to access their counseling services.

5. Self-therapy Journey

Pros:

  • Multiple systems available
  • You can view reports through worksheets
  • Work with licensed therapists

Cons:

  • The platform may seem outdated

Click here to sign up Self-therapy Journey service at the best price

This is among the online therapy services founded by Jay Earley, a psychotherapist with over 40 years of experience in the field. It is because of this experience that clients are confident in his methods for mental health care.

The company’s main methods include pattern systems and internal family systems therapy. Many positive client reviews show that these systems have helped them more than traditional therapy.

The company approaches your mental health care through stages. Through this method, you can address a variety of issues including mental health problems, eating disorders, and more. You may also experience better medication management compared to what is sometimes available with traditional in-person therapy.

The company offers several important materials such as self-paced worksheets, video therapy, and messaging. You can also receive a customized report based on how the licensed counselors have been covering your sessions, which is unique to this online therapy site.

Once you join the platform, you will have access to an online community and discussion groups. You can even talk to family therapists who can handle any other related issues you might be experiencing.

6. ReGain

Pros:

  • Therapists are experts in marriage counseling
  • No extra charge for couples attending the sessions together
  • The video chat quality is impressive

Cons:

  • Response times can sometimes exceed the recommended 24 hours

Click here to sign up ReGain service at the best price

Mental health care is also vital for couples. That is where ReGain comes in.

ReGain has received several positive reviews about how it has helped couples manage their family and mental health issues. Some even claim that the platform is better than the traditional therapy they have previously used.

When registering on the platform, you can choose the goals that you want to achieve by the end of the program, which you will, of course, explore more in depth during in-person sessions.

The website has a nice network of licensed marriage counselors and licensed clinical social workers. Their aim is to use communication tools such as video chat to facilitate video therapy for couple’s miles away.

The unlimited messaging therapy ultimate package provides you with easier communication with your counselor. Of course, many people also swear by the live video sessions. Sessions can be used for more than just couples counseling. Counselors are available to help clients work through individual issues such as eating disorders. There is no limit to what you can engage on. What is important is that you use the sessions to better your quality of life.

How about the charges? Sessions fees range from $60 to $80 weekly.

What Conditions Does Online Therapy Treat?

Online therapy can effectively treat the following conditions:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • OCD
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • PTSD
  • Phobias
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Depression

If you have experienced any of these situations, make a point of signing up with on an online therapy platform for help.

How to Choose The Right Online Therapist

Here are some general guidelines if you are in the market to choose an online therapist.

Type of Communication During Therapy

One of the biggest variables to consider is the method that the therapist uses to conduct the virtual therapy session. Licensed therapists will mostly use options such as video sessions, online messaging, text messaging, phone calls, live chats, and more. Communications methods vary by company.

Cost & Insurance Coverage

The choice of an online therapy platform will often depend on price. Research the cost of the services and if the company can accept insurance. Sometimes you can decide a platform is a good fit, but their services are so expensive that you need financial assistance. In this case, it would be best if the company accepts health insurance to avoid the burden of spending too much money on online therapy.

Scheduling & Availability

Online therapy platforms source therapists across time zones. So, you will need to work with the company and the individual therapist to coordinate availability and schedules that work for you both.

Credentials

Just because it is online therapy, it does not mean you get advice from just anyone. The people offering the advice should be licensed therapists or licensed counselors.

Where possible, ask for certificates. You may have noticed that therapists have several initials after their names. Such initials include LCSW, LMFT, LCDC, LPC, Ph.D., and more. From the initials, you can research the provider’s field of expertise to help determine if that therapist is a fit for you.

Specialty & Approach

Online counseling sites classify their licensed therapists into different groups. The groups are vital for ensuring that a person can obtain online therapy from a person with experience in the field that best fits their particular counseling needs.

Also, what are the methods a therapist uses for therapy? If their methods have positive reviews by others with issues similar to yours, you can have more confidence in the therapist’s abilities to address your unique situation.

Personal Preferences

Even for online therapy, people still have personal preferences for what they are looking for in a therapist. These may revolve around the gender, age, and religion of the person offering therapy services. Some clients feel that if someone is older, then he or she may have more experience. So, it is all about picking who makes you feel comfortable.

Where to Find an Online Therapist

Whether you are looking for mental health or marriage and family therapists, you need people who know what they are doing. So, to find an online therapist, consider also going through the best online therapy platforms.

Some of the top online therapy companies are Talkspace, Self-therapy Journey, ReGain, Betterhelp, Calmerry, Online-Therapy.com, Pride Counseling, and more.

Takeaway: Is Online Therapy Effective?

We have looked at our choices for the best online therapy platforms above. But the question most people have is if online therapy is effective for mental health. We can confidently say that such therapy services can be quite effective if you use reputable platforms. Even if it is virtual therapy, research shows that you can improve your situation.

Just remember, qualifications are important, so, make sure that the company you choose can prove that their therapists are licensed. It is now up to you to pick the best online therapy platform for you, and go for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are online therapists licensed professionals?

Yes. All the companies listed in this guide vet their therapists to ensure they are licensed. You can take them as licensed therapists offering their services online rather than in-person therapy.

2. Is online therapy safe and confidential?

For best results, always choose a top-rated company that can guarantee your patient confidentiality.

3. Can an online therapist prescribe medication?

Yes. Since the online therapist is licensed, he or she can evaluate the symptoms, create a treatment plan and prescribe medication.

This article has been supplied by a paid advertiser. Content has not been independently verified by Los Angeles magazine.