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Getting to an in-person therapist can be tricky: it is often expensive, and juggling a commute and possibly childcare logistics can compound your stress. Thankfully, there is now an abundance of affordable online therapy options that can help you navigate difficult or uncertain times in your life. This type of therapy can support you in improving your relationships not only with those closest to you, but with yourself as well—and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Online therapy offers easier access to mental health treatment, especially for people in rural or remote areas, those with physical limitations, those with more limited financial resources, and those with schedules simply too busy to fit much more in. Plus, many states now require insurance providers to cover online therapy just as they would traditional therapy sessions. Even if you don’t have insurance, the fact that online therapists have fewer overhead costs means they can often offer more affordable treatment options.
That’s why we evaluated 55 online therapy companies and 25 directories to find the services that offered access to highly qualified mental health providers at more affordable prices. Here are the services we recommend.
Most Affordable Online Therapy of 2023
- Best Overall: Brightside
- Best With Insurance: Amwell
- Best Without Insurance: Online-Therapy.com
- Best for Psychiatry: Talkiatry
- Best for Under 18: Talkspace
- Best for Flexible Scheduling: BetterHelp
- Best for Couples Counseling: ReGain
- Best for Group Therapy: Circles
- Best for Substance Use Disorders: Mindful Care
- Best Directory: Open Path Collective
Best Overall : Brightside
- Price: $95 per month for psychiatry/medication management; $299 per month for unlimited therapist messaging and four video therapy sessions; $349 per month for both therapy and psychiatry/medication management
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes
- Types of Therapy: Individual therapy with a very strong focus on treating anxiety and depression
While many e-therapy companies try to be everything for everybody, Brightside sticks to what it does best: treat anxiety and depression with both medication and talk therapy. And it does this impressively well. With a range of service plans and a solid insurance setup, we found it to offer consistently excellent service at an affordable price.
In-depth intake questionnaire helps with accurate assessment
Automatic therapist matching makes for no-stress sign-up
Messaging feature allows you to contact therapist outside of appointments
Free self-care lessons offer excellent additional support
Safe and responsible medication policies
Accepts insurance in all 50 states
No same-day appointments
Can’t choose your own therapist
Responses from customer service can take well over 24 hours
Will not treat people with ADHD, substance use disorder, BPD, or schizophrenia
Anxiety and depression are among the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Brightside specializes in these diagnoses, and offers professional treatment that is highly specific and consistent using both medication and therapy options (either separately or combined).
Brad Kittredge founded Brightside in 2017 with some colleagues after his father had a difficult time finding help for his depression. In a few short years, the company has quickly become one of the credible stars of the online therapy world. Today, Brightside is available to adults in all 50 states, and its provider network includes psychiatrists, physicians, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and therapists; all have several years of experience.
Sessions at Brightside take place over Zoom. The first one is 45 minutes long; subsequent sessions are 30 minutes. All these sessions can be easily scheduled (and rescheduled) through the patient portal. You also get unlimited messaging support and guidance to help you build skills and feel better.
Brightside focuses exclusively on treating specific mental health issues. It treats all types of depression, including major depressive disorder (MDD), postpartum depression (PPD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD); bipolar II; anxiety; phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); panic disorders; seasonal affective disorder (SAD); and insomnia.
If appropriate, Brightside provides prescriptions for nonaddictive medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Its providers do not prescribe controlled substances like Xanax, Klonopin, or Ativan.
Many users find Brightside's self-care lessons to be very effective in supporting and integrating what they discuss in therapy sessions. Therapists largely practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and give CBT-based homework.
Brightside offers three plans:
- Medication: $95 per month; includes a comprehensive, remote psychiatric evaluation and ongoing provider support and monitoring of your care, including any necessary adjustments
- Therapy: $299 per month for unlimited messaging and four monthly video therapy sessions with a licensed therapist who helps guide you through a personalized program using evidence-based approaches (you can purchase additional video appointments with your therapist for $59 per session)
- Medication + Therapy: Combining both plans costs $349 per month (a $45 savings)
Although Brightside is intended to be affordable out-of-pocket, it does accept insurance in all 50 states. It is in-network with the following insurance plans:
- Optum/UnitedHealthcare (in select states with national rollout coming soon)
- Anthem CA
It also accepts health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) cards, allowing you to use pre-tax funds to pay for medical services. All therapy subscription payments are non-refundable. Your therapy subscription fee is billed monthly on the same day each month and you can cancel your plan at any time.
Overall, Brightside has a high level of user satisfaction. In our user survey, 90% of users reported a positive overall experience and 93% rated its psychiatry/medication management services positively. One of our testers said they absolutely loved their therapist and was able to develop a rapport with them very quickly. In addition, 71% of users said Brightside was a good value for money, 44% agreed it was affordable, and 79% felt their provider met all or most of their needs. The main complaints seem to be response time on customer service, which some users felt could be improved.
Best With Insurance : Amwell
- Price: $109 to $129 per session, depending on therapist’s level of expertise
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes, accepts 126 insurance plans
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, family, LGBTQ+
Amwell provides high-quality physical and mental telehealth care on demand, while keeping these services more affordable by accepting 126 different insurance plans, the most of all of the companies we reviewed.
Accepts many different forms of insurance
No monthly subscription commitment
Easy to switch therapists
Easy cancellation process
Price per session is below the national average
Website isn’t very user-friendly
Unable to view therapist bios until sign-up
Unclear which therapists provide couples therapy during sign-up
Amwell is one of the largest telehealth companies in the world and provides a wide range of services, including both physical and mental healthcare, making the company a one-stop shop for many health needs. It also has by far one of the most extensive insurance coverage networks of all teletherapy providers we evaluated.
Brothers Ido Schoenberg, MD, and Roy Schoenberg, MD, MPH, founded Amwell in 2006 as a telehealth company, but have since expanded its offerings to include mental healthcare. It now provides individual online therapy for adults, adolescent therapy for ages 10 to 17, couples therapy, family therapy, pregnancy/postpartum therapy sessions, menopause counseling, and psychiatry.
The company offers a quick sign-up process and provides an easy scheduling system that allows therapy seekers to receive support as efficiently as possible.
Therapy sessions typically last 45 minutes; actual session times can vary since there is up to a 10-minute wait time. All Amwell doctors, including psychiatrists, can prescribe medication, but controlled substances like benzodiazepines cannot be prescribed via telehealth.
At Amwell, you pay per therapy session you book, so there is no monthly subscription. The out-of-pocket price depends on the level of expertise your therapist has. An online therapy session with a provider with a master’s degree is $109, while a session with a therapist with a doctorate is $129. These prices hold across therapy services, meaning you won’t be charged more for couples or family therapy. As for psychiatry, an initial online visit costs $279, but follow-up visits are $109. As noted, Amwell accepts 126 insurance plans. Check with your insurance company to find out your co-pay and coverage details.
In our survey, 88% of users reported being satisfied with their overall experience at Amwell, and the same percentage said it was an improvement compared to similar services they’d tried in the past. Additionally, 78% agreed it was a good value for money and 66% said it was affordable. Users appreciated the extensive insurance coverage and the ability to pay per session.
Best Without Insurance : Online-Therapy.com
- Price: $50-$110 a week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples
The hallmarks of Online-Therapy.com are affordability and convenience. Its holistic services are perfect for self-motivated individuals and couples who need extra support around negative thinking (especially if they have an interest in cognitive behavioral therapy) or require flexible scheduling.
Affordably priced subscription
Discount offered for first month
All therapists practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Therapy sessions via video, voice, or text chat
Offers individual and couples therapy
Lots of resources in addition to therapy sessions (yoga videos, virtual journaling)
Matches you with a therapist
Therapists only available Monday through Friday
Does not accept insurance
Cannot pay per session
No medication management offered
Lack of diversity in therapists
Carl Nordstrom founded Online-Therapy.com in 2009 when he decided he wanted to make cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) a mainstream and accessible option for people looking for mental healthcare. With a very affordable entry-level tier priced at just $50 a week, he did just what he set out to do. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that focuses on identifying negative thought patterns and replacing them with more helpful ways of thinking. It has been shown to be successful in treating anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and some personality disorders.
At Online-Therapy.com, services go beyond individual and couples sessions conducted through video, phone call, or live chat. The company also offers private messaging with your therapist and a virtual mental health program filled with worksheets, yoga videos, and a virtual journal, plus a library of regularly updated articles on topics such as holiday anxiety, coping with burnout, and improving communication in your relationship. The company regularly posts educational content that takes a holistic approach on social media.
Prices are shown for weekly sessions, although clients are billed monthly.
- Basic tier: $50 a week; includes unlimited messaging with your therapist, the eight-section CBT program, and access to worksheets, yoga videos, online journal, activity plan, and daily replies from your therapist on worksheets on weekdays
- Standard tier: $80 a week; includes one 45-minute session conducted via video, text, or voice, in addition to everything included on the basic tier
- Premium tier: $110 a week; includes two 45-minute therapy sessions, as well as everything included in the basic tier
- Couples therapy tier: $110 a week; includes one 45-minute couples therapy session conducted via video, text, or voice, plus access for both of you to everything in the basic tier
While Online-Therapy.com does not accept insurance, clients can use HSA or FSA funds to pay for treatment.
In our survey, 85% of users reported a positive overall experience with the service, and 90% rated therapist qualifications highly. What’s more, 51% rated the service as affordable, and 79% said Online-Therapy.com offered good value for the money. Online-Therapy.com is often compared to BetterHelp and Talkspace, but most of our users noted they chose Online-Therapy.com for the wide range of additional holistic support services it offers.
Best for Psychiatry : Talkiatry
- Price: Co-pay will depend on insurance coverage
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes, insurance is required
- Types of Therapy: Individual adult and child psychiatry/medication management
Despite how many online therapy companies keep popping up, very few offer psychiatry or medication management and even fewer specialize in it. Talkiatry focuses on psychiatry and its medication management is comprehensive and responsible—far from one-size-fits-all.
Accepts multiple insurance plans
Initial appointments are one hour long and comprehensive
Prescriptions sent directly to your pharmacy
You can choose your own psychiatrist
Switching to a new psychiatrist is simple
Clear, easy-to-navigate website
Not accessible without insurance
Not available in every state
Talk therapy only provided with referral
Medications don’t ship to your home
Talkiatry specializes in psychiatry. At your initial 60-minute session, you’ll be evaluated by your provider. They will then devise a treatment plan to address your specific needs, which may include prescribing medication. During regular, 30–minute follow-up sessions, you can discuss any adjustments or changes to your treatment plan and/or medications. If your plan includes medication, your psychiatrist will prescribe and manage it, sending prescriptions directly to your pharmacy. If deemed necessary, your psychiatrist may refer you to a therapist for talk therapy.
The company shines because it operates like a medical practice: all psychiatrists are employees of Talkiatry, not independent contractors, and the company is not a referral network. The quality of the providers is exceptional, the intake process thorough, and the insurance coverage ample. Psychiatrists overall are significantly less likely than doctors in other specialties to accept insurance, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Only 55% of psychiatrists accept private insurance, compared with 89% of other doctors, making Talkiatry a standout.
Talkiatry was founded in 2020 by triple board-certified psychiatrist Georgia Gaveras, DO, and Robert Krayn. After a home invasion left Krayn with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he found the process of finding a psychiatrist to be unnecessarily difficult and expensive. He created Talkiatry to be more accessible: it takes most major insurance plans and has completed over 220,000 patient visits since its founding.
Some psychiatrists also have additional expertise in treating people of certain age groups or ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds, as well as the LGBTQ+ community. Talkiatry can accept patients as young as age 5. Some providers speak multiple languages or use specific therapeutic techniques, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Talkiatry does not accept direct payment from clients: its website is very clear that you must have insurance coverage to access care. Talkiatry is not a monthly subscription service. You pay per session booked with your psychiatrist, plus the cost of any medication you are prescribed. Your actual costs with depend on session length, the complexity of your needs, and your specific insurance plan. Talkiatry accepts insurance plans from:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
Because Talkiatry works directly with your insurance company, you don’t see the cost per session when signing up, but when you input your insurance information, you will get an estimate of your co-pay.
Overall, Talkiatry clients are incredibly satisfied with the service. In our survey, 95% of users said their overall experience was good, very good, or excellent, and 87% said they would recommend the service to a friend. What’s more, 85% of users said the company was an improvement compared to similar services they’d tried in the past.
Best for Under 18 : Talkspace
- Price: $69-$109 a week
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, teen
Talkspace makes it easy and affordable for tech-savvy teens to access virtual mental healthcare through various formats, including messaging, live chat, audio, and live video sessions. Its phone app is streamlined and works well.
Promotional codes for new users
Numerous ways to contact your therapist
Available in all 50 states
Accepts many health insurance plans
Easy to switch therapists if needed
Chooses therapists for you
Family sessions not available
No sliding scale options
Most affordable plan is messaging-only and text therapy may not always be effective
Talkspace was founded in 2012 and has since grown into one of the nation’s largest teletherapy companies, having served one million people and counting. In 2019, Talkspace began offering therapy to teens ages 13-17, from therapists experienced in working with this age group and licensed to do so. The company asserts its services are available to 40 million Americans via health insurance.
Therapy sessions can be conducted via asynchronous messaging, live chat, audio message, phone call, or live video session, all via the web portal on the website or through the Talkspace app. Teen therapy services are similar to individual services, but you must upload a video of your parent or guardian approving of you using Talkspace. Many different packages are offered, meaning that most clients can find one within their budget. Talkspace also provides psychiatry and medication management.
Therapy approaches used by Talkspace therapists include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), emotion-focused therapy (EFT), exposure therapy, grief counseling, humanistic therapy, and somatic therapy. Talkspace is not suitable for teens dealing with suicidal ideation or dissociation. But for flexible, affordable online therapy for teens that uses convenient platforms that teens are comfortable with, Talkspace does a better job than most companies.
Talkspace accepts most major health insurance plans, such as Aetna, Cigna, Premera, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. It does not accept Medicaid or Medicare. For those paying out-of-pocket, know that though the pricing is listed per week on the website, you’re actually billed every month. Available plans include:
- Messaging therapy: Starts at $69/week; includes unlimited messaging, with daily weekday therapist responses
- Messaging + live therapy: Starts at $99/week; includes four live therapy sessions a month via live chat, phone, or video call and unlimited messaging
- Messaging + live therapy and workshops: Starts at $109/week; includes messaging, four live sessions per month, and access to weekly workshops
- Psychiatry The initial evaluation costs $249 per session; follow-up appointments are $125 each.
Promotional codes are often available on the sign-up page in a top banner. It’s also easy to search if your insurance is accepted right during sign-up by entering your member ID.
In our survey, 90% of users rated their overall experience with Talkspace as good, very good, or excellent, and 92% rated therapist qualifications positively. In addition, 58% agreed it was affordable and 76% said it was a good value for the money. Some surveyed users said they felt that their therapist was overworked or distracted during sessions.
Best for Flexible Scheduling : BetterHelp
- Price: Varies depending on location of client; average of $60 to $90 per week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual, teen, couples
With over 31,000 therapists in its network and services available, BetterHelp offers a lot of options to find you a therapist who can work with your schedule.
Available in 50 U.S. states and internationally
Matches you with a therapist quickly
User-friendly website and app
Easy to change therapists if necessary
Can pay with HSA/FSA card
Prices vary based on demand and location
Only see your cost during sign-up
Does not accept health insurance
Only one plan available
Cannot buy additional live sessions per month
BetterHelp was founded in 2013, and since then, the company has become one of the biggest therapy companies in the world due to its convenience, relative affordability and massive reach across all 50 states. If you indicate you are a student, veteran, or low-income, you can be considered for financial aid.
BetterHelp focuses exclusively on individual talk therapy, even though on the site you will see buttons for individual, couples, and teen therapy. When you click on the Couples or Teen buttons, you will be redirected to the ReGain or Teen Counseling homepages, respectively (these are BetterHelp sister companies).
With just one subscription option, signing up easy. Talk therapy sessions are 30 minutes long. You can message your therapist at any time in the app or web portal.
BetterHelp's services are often short-term solutions, ideal for therapy seekers in the midst of a life transition or just in need of some extra support.
BetterHelp only offers one subscription plan, which costs around $60 to $90 per week (though it bills monthly). But when you go to its website, you may see a different price. BetterHelp uses surge pricing, meaning the cost of services changes based on where you are and how much demand there is for mental healthcare at any given time.
The company does not accept any insurance plans, but often offers promo codes for new users on their first month's subscription.
Many users appreciate the company’s worldwide reach and huge provider network, as it can quickly match users with a therapist. In our survey, users mentioned technical difficulties with low volume on video calls, but general satisfaction with the professionalism of the therapists. Overall, 86% of users surveyed said their experience at BetterHelp was good, very good, or excellent, and 76% of users said their provider met all or most of their needs. In addition, 58% of users reported the service was affordable and 73% said it was a good value for money.
Best for Couples Counseling : ReGain
- Price: Varies based on location, preferences, and therapist ability; average is $60 to $90 per week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Couples
ReGain exclusively works with licensed therapists with expertise in couples and relationship issues, and offers an in-depth therapist matching service to help you find the right fit from the start.
Specializes in couples therapy and relationship issues
In-depth therapist matching process
Easy to switch therapists
E-journal you can share with your therapist and partner
Doesn’t accept health insurance
Prices vary based on demand and location
Don’t see your exact cost until sign-up
Not available outside the U.S.
Owned by BetterHelp, ReGain was founded in 2016 as its specialty online relationship platform, designed to encourage couples to “regain” companionship, trust, passion, communication, and intimacy. The company offers video, audio, and text therapy with licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional therapists, or clinical social workers to couples experiencing relationship issues. ReGain is available in multiple languages in all 50 U.S. states.
The average cost of marriage counseling in the United States can be $75 to $150 per hour, all the way up to well over $200 per hour, making Regain a much more affordable option for couples.
ReGain subscriptions provide couples with weekly live virtual therapy sessions via video or phone. The first live session is 45 minutes long and subsequent sessions are 30 minutes. Between sessions, you and your partner can message your therapist at any time in a private portal and attend individual therapy sessions to discuss relationship issues.
ReGain’s therapists use various types of therapeutic approaches, from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to sex therapy and attachment therapy. Many of the therapists are specifically trained to offer affirming care to members of the LGBTQIA+ community; ReGain works with couples of all genders and sexual orientations.
The company does not accept insurance. A ReGain subscription typically costs $60 to $90 per week, billed every four weeks. All BetterHelp-owned companies engage in surge pricing, meaning that they charge more for services in areas where mental healthcare is in higher demand. You won’t know your exact cost until after you’ve begun the sign-up process, but you will know before you are asked for any payment information. Prices vary depending on your location and therapist availability. ReGain offers income-based scholarships to offset the cost of care for those who qualify.
Reviews for ReGain online show overall positive feedback from users who feel they were able to work with qualified therapists who were a good fit for them. In our survey, users mentioned that their therapist always replied to messages within 24 hours with genuinely helpful responses. Overall, 77% of users we surveyed rated their ReGain experience as good, very good, or excellent. In addition, 61% found the service affordable and 80% said it was a good value for money. Plus, 80% of our surveyed users said that they were able to match with a therapist that met all or most of their needs.
Best for Group Therapy : Circles
- Price: $79 per month
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Group only
Circles offers online weekly group therapy meetings led by trained mental health professionals for grief/loss or separation/divorce at an affordable monthly price compared to traditional therapy. The company also offers free peer support groups covering an even wider range of issues.
Focused, therapist-led support for grief, loss, separation, and divorce
12-week group sessions foster consistency
You can message group members and facilitator outside of sessions
First week is free
No one-on-one therapy offered
Only for adults 18 and older
Does not accept insurance
Circles provides weekly group therapy meetings facilitated by therapists for grief/loss or separation/divorce. Each group is capped at no more than 10 participants. You are assigned to a group, or “circle,” together, all as new participants, after answering intake questions. Each circle follows a 12-week program. Before your first meeting, you can meet privately with your circle facilitator for a one-on-one introductory call.
You can message the facilitator through the app as often as you need to. Group therapy should be seen as a complement to one-on-one therapy, not a replacement. It can also be useful for milder or more temporary mental health concerns. Hearing from others who have similar experiences can be very affirming and reassuring.
Circles recently expanded its offerings to include an array of free peer-led mental health support groups on a wide range of topics, such as grief, divorce/separation, narcissistic relationships, sobriety, infertility, caregiving, cancer, veterans' issues, body image, parenting, LGBTQIA concerns, disability, and chronic illness.
A Circles subscription gives you access to weekly virtual group therapy meetings and unlimited facilitator chat. It costs $79 per month. Since it’s a 12-week program, users are encouraged to commit to three months of service, but you can cancel anytime. A free trial gets you one meeting for free. Financial assistance is also available to those who need it.
Overall, our surveyed users were very satisfied with the quality of Circles’ group therapy. One user mentioned the impressive ability of the facilitators to guide discussions, read people, and keep the group focused. In our survey, 80% of users reported a positive overall experience at Circles, and 83% rated therapist qualifications positively. When it came to cost, 59% of users said they found the service affordable, and 80% said it was a good value for money.
Best for Substance Use Disorders : Mindful Care
- Price: Services range from $35 to $150 per session
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes
- Types of Therapy: Individual, group
Mindful Care is one of the first online mental health companies on the scene to offer same-day services. This avoids a long wait time to see a mental healthcare provider, targeting substance use clients who may otherwise end up self-medicating or self-harming.
Accepts insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid
Same-day and next-day appointments available Sunday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Providers are very responsive via email
Easy-to-follow internal referral process
Scheduling appointment by phone can take a while
Only available in six states
Can’t always choose your provider
Mindful Care provides in-person and online mental healthcare in three main areas: psychiatry/medication management, therapy, and addiction recovery. Most clients are experiencing anxiety, depression, mood disorders, life adjustment concerns, and substance use disorders. Mindful Care offers same-day appointments in the form of 20-minute "MicroTherapy" sessions, ideal for clients with substance use issues who need urgent, affordable support. There are medication-assisted treatments and coaching available for alcohol and opioid use disorders.
The company also offers individual longer sessions and weekly 60-minute group therapy sessions that provide comprehensive support from a tight-knit group of participants. Each group addresses a different need, such as anxiety, anger management, or substance use—you can choose which recurring weekly session you want to do. Group therapy is an opportunity to learn from and support others experiencing similar situations, and is a very affordable therapy option for those who don’t have insurance.
Mindful Care currently sees over 10,000 patient visits a month, but currently only serves clients in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York. It is looking to expand.
Mindful Care’s psychiatric services are available to anyone over the age of 12, but individual and group therapy, as well as substance use counseling, are only for adults.
At Mindful Care, the out-of-pocket costs depend on the services you’re signing up for.
- Psychiatry: $175 for an initial evaluation; $75 per 20-minute follow-up
- Group therapy: $35 per 60-minute weekly session
- Individual therapy: $150 for an initial evaluation, then $50 for 20-minute sessions; $100 for 40-minute sessions
Mindful Care accepts insurance and will verify your provider and out-of-pocket cost before your appointment. This may mean no or low cost per session.
Overall, Mindful Care clients are very satisfied. Many users surveyed noted they especially appreciated the group therapy, sharing that the hour-long session was a good amount of time to really dive into issues and to give participants the platform to voice their feelings. In our survey, 92% of users reported overall satisfaction with their Mindful Care experience, and 82% said their provider met all or most of their needs. In addition, 53% of users rated the service affordable and 74% said it was a good value for money.
Best Directory : Open Path Collective
- Price: $30-$70 per session
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, family
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is a nonprofit nationwide network of over 20,000 very diverse mental health professionals dedicated to providing in-office and online mental healthcare. We chose to honor Open Path Collective here because it offers a steeply reduced rate to clients in need.
Diverse and large group of therapists
Available in every U.S. state and in Canada
Fixed fees that only raise if your income does
Will not submit to your insurance company
So many therapists to choose from can be overwhelming
Cannot use if you are well-insured or not low-income
A nonprofit in partnership with over 20,000 mental health clinicians in private practice throughout the United States and Canada, Open Path Collective provides middle- and lower-income clients with access to a network of affordable mental healthcare providers through a sliding scale rate (a rate that adjusts to your income level). The collective intends to be a service for those who earn under $100,000 a year, providing affordable therapy to those who need it the most.
Availability depends on individual therapists, but with so many to choose from, it’s easy to find a scheduling match. You can search for therapists licensed in your state who offer online or in-person appointments. Other search criteria include session cost, therapist specialties, therapist race or ethnicity, languages spoken, and therapeutic modality. Open Path shines when it comes to diversity in both its therapists and its clients—the website boasts that it welcomes all races, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Open Path lists approximately 21,000 therapists in its directory.
Psychotherapy sessions run between $40 and $70, and lower to $30 for sessions given by student interns. As long as there is a financial need, a $65 lifetime membership will lock in these rates for you with any of Open Path's network providers.
Open Path is a nonprofit organization that uses the one-time membership fee to sustain a small support staff, maintain its website, pursue grants and other avenues of funding, and recruit new therapists.
While some therapists accept HSA or FSA payments, they will not submit to an insurance company on your behalf or provide you with a superbill. Open Path allows credit, debit, or check payments for the one-time $65 membership fee. Individual Open Path therapists have varied billing methods.
Open Path’s clients appreciate its reasonable rates that are locked in for life. Many users in our survey expressed satisfaction with the abundance of diversity in the therapist network. In our survey, 90% of users rated Open Path Collective as good or very good overall, and 74% said they were able to find a therapist who met all of their needs. What’s more, 81% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options at Open Path, and 77% rated therapist payment options as good or very good.
Affordability means different things to different people, but it shouldn’t just mean cheapest. All of the companies we listed provide a great balance of low cost and high quality. But overall, Brightside offered the most consistently impressive and reliable care—both in the sessions themselves and the additional resources provided through the user portal—at a reasonable price. While it may seem limited in its treatment scope, its specificity allows it to offer evidence-based, high-quality care for some of the most common mental health issues using both medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Regular check-ins to rate your levels of depression and anxiety also help you track your progress. While it is not the lowest-priced service listed here, we feel that for the quality of service provided, it is a standout.
For those who need more urgent care, Mindful Care could be a good choice. For those with less serious issues who are looking for a free peer support group or low-priced group therapy, try Circles.
Compare the Most Affordable Online Therapy
|Company||Price||Insurance Accepted?||Types of Therapy|
|Brightside Best Overall||$95-$349 per month||Yes||Individual|
|Amwell Best With Insurance||$109-$129 per session||Yes||Individual, couples, family, LGBTQ+|
|Online-Therapy.com Best Without Insurance||$50-$110 a week||No||Individuals, couples|
|Talkiatry Best for Psychiatry||Depends on insurance coverage||Yes, and required||Individual psychiatry /medication management, referral for talk therapy|
|Talkspace Best for Under 18||$69-$129 a week||Yes||Individual, couples, teens|
|BetterHelp Best for Flexible Scheduling||Averages $60-$90 per week||No||Individual|
|ReGain Best for Couples Counseling||Averages $60-$90 per week||No||Couples|
|Circles Best for Group Therapy||$79 per month||No||Group therapy, peer support groups|
|Mindful Care Best for Substance Use Disorders||Services range from $35 a month to $150 per session||Yes||Individual, group|
|Open Path Collective Best Directory||$30-$70 per session||No||Individual, couples, family|
How to Choose the Best Affordable Online Therapy
Comparing Affordable Online Therapy Platforms
There are various factors to consider when choosing which online counseling is best. These include:
- Price: The session or subscription price listed on a website is only one factor to consider when signing up for therapy. Obviously, if you have insurance coverage, finding a company that accepts your insurance is a priority; be sure to confirm with your insurance company that it will cover the cost of service and what your co-pays will be. Also, see if there are any hidden membership fees, cancellation fees, or other add-on costs. On the flip side, also see if there are any free trials or scholarships or sliding scale fees available (do some digging in the FAQs section). When in doubt, contact customer service.
- Topic: If you already have a diagnosis or know what you want to cover in therapy, that can help narrow down your company choices. Some programs are only for eating disorders, some just for relationship issues, some only for alcohol use disorder, and some just for sex therapy. If you are just beginning your therapy journey, you may want to try a more general teletherapy company.
- Scheduling: Do you get to schedule directly with your therapist or through the company? Is it through an easy-to-use scheduling portal or by email? How easy is it to change an appointment, and do online reviews mention if the company’s therapists often cancel appointments at the last minute? Check to make sure the company has appointment times that fit your schedule and whether there are fees for canceling appointments.
- Location: Not all services are available in all states, and therapists can only provide care in the states in which they are licensed. Some companies, like those owned by BetterHelp, have varying prices depending on your location.
- Method of communication: Does the company offer therapeutic support through a chat system, text messaging, phone call, or video call? Be honest with yourself—if you are the type of person to always leaves voicemails instead of texts, don’t expect yourself to automatically feel comfortable with a therapy chat system just because it may be a less expensive option.
- Ease of switching therapists: Is it a “no questions asked” situation if you want to switch, or do you have to have a possibly uncomfortable conversation directly with your first therapist? Can you choose your new therapist or will one be chosen for you?
Can Online Therapy Be Both Affordable and High-Quality?
Some estimates suggest 70% of Americans can’t access traditional, in-office therapy because of various obstacles, including cost, lack of public transportation, and therapist shortages. Online therapy can be offered at a lower cost than in-person therapy because of much lower overhead for the therapists. Research has suggested that online therapy can be just as effective as face-to-face sessions. The therapists are often highly qualified, with master’s degrees or even doctorates in their specialty.
How Do I Assess an Online Therapy Company’s Value for Money?
There are many factors to think about when choosing a company and deciding if it offers sufficient value for the cost. You'll want to consider session length and frequency, therapist qualifications, online resources offered, additional features or perks, range of communication methods, scheduling flexibility, cancellation fees, etc.
“Determining a company's value for the money depends on what services you'd need. If you feel like messaging services would be sufficient and you don't need any in-person sessions, a low-cost subscription plan that includes unlimited messaging with a therapist might feel like the best value,” Hannah Owens, LMSW, told Health. “On the other hand, if you feel like you would benefit from longer video sessions, a company that charges a bit more for this service might be the best value for you, as you'd be receiving the level of care you need.”
What Types of Online Therapy Are There?
Most services offer adult individual therapy, and some offer therapy for children, teens, families, couples, and group therapy. Several companies focus on a particular age group, identity, or diagnosis/issue. Online therapists can help you with a wide range of issues, from depression and anxiety to eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some companies offer only talk therapy and some only psychiatry/medication management, while a few offer both.
You’ll also want to consider whether you prefer a larger company with more therapists in case you need to try a few different providers before you find the best fit, or if you’d prefer a more boutique feel with a company that offers more personalized service but has a much smaller pool of therapists. If you already have a diagnosis, that will make finding the right specialized provider for you easier. If you are just starting therapy, a more generalized therapy company with a wide range of providers and specialties may be your best bet.
Is There Affordable Online Counseling for Families?
Open Path is a nonprofit collective that offers family counseling at a fixed fee rate that increases if your income does. Its goal is to make counseling, including family counseling, accessible to low-to-middle-income families that are not insured.
“There is absolutely affordable online counseling for families—Thriveworks comes to mind specifically, as it both accepts insurance and has fairly low out-of-pocket rates,” said Owens. “Look for services that say outright they provide family therapy and whether or not they accept insurance.” Still, you’ll want to confirm with your insurance company that it will cover family therapy and ask if there are any special conditions that must be met in order for the service to be covered, such as a diagnosis or primary care referral.
What If I'm Having Thoughts of Harming Myself?
Online therapy isn’t for emergency mental health situations. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm warrant more immediate action.
Dial 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifelife, to speak with folks who are trained to provide support to anyone experiencing suicidality. No, the police are not called unless safety measures cannot be agreed on with the caller. The Suicide & Crisis Lifelife is aware that involving emergency contacts can lead to traumatic situations for some individuals, which is why it is the last resort.
For the hearing impaired, dial 711 before 988 or use your preferred relay service before dialing in.
Here are other resources for those in crisis:
- The CRISIS Text Line: This is a confidential text line available to you 24/7 if you ever need immediate assistance and prefer the comfort of a text (or WhatsApp) thread. If you text “HOME” to 741741, you’ll be connected to a trained crisis counselor via live messaging. These crisis counselors are there to provide support, not medical advice. Sometimes this support takes the shape of a referral, and in cases of imminent risk, where the texter and crisis counselor can’t come to an agreed-upon plan of safety, the supervisor may contact emergency services.
- The Samaritans: This is a 24-hour, completely confidential hotline that’s available to those in crisis and the people who are supporting someone in crisis. It doesn’t use caller ID or call tracing so you can remain anonymous. You can call this hotline day or night at 212-673-3000. While there’s no mention of nonconsensual active rescue, they do conduct a risk assessment at the beginning of every call to determine your mental state.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Online Therapy More Affordable Than In-Person?
Because online therapists don’t have costs to consider such as a formal office space or commuting time and expenses, many can and do offer the same care they would in-person at a lower price.
Can Online Therapy Be Affordable Without Insurance?
Mental health should be prioritized, as it affects every other aspect of your life. That being said, if you don’t have insurance, it can still be accessible by using a company that offers financial aid, sliding scales, etc. And because online therapists have fewer overhead costs, online therapy is often less expensive than in-person sessions. Just because an online therapy company doesn’t accept insurance doesn’t mean it’s not affordable: many companies save money by not having to work with insurance and try to pass on these savings by offering lower-than-average cost subscriptions or sessions.
Is There Affordable Online Therapy for Addiction?
Yes! Mindful Care, which we listed above, is the first mental health company offering same-day services. It’s focused on providing affordable psychiatric care, group therapy, and individual therapy, and specializes in addiction recovery. Many insurance companies will cover addiction therapy, including Medicare and Medicaid.
“Many online therapy companies that don't specialize in addiction per se still offer reliable and affordable addiction treatment as part of their services,” said Owens. “These providers also have experience in addiction and substance use.” Many of the more general telehealth companies will have providers on staff who can help with addiction and substance use disorders.
Are There Affordable Online Counseling Services for Kids and Teens?
We want to highlight Talkspace, which makes it easy for teens to access virtual mental healthcare through the format of their choosing that they feel most comfortable with, including messaging, live chat, audio, and video sessions through a streamlined app. The company takes insurance and also offers promotional codes to make therapy for those under 18 more affordable. Other companies on this list, such as Amwell, treat people ages 10 and up, and Talkiatry offers online psychiatry for ages 5 and up so long as you use insurance.
We assessed 55 online therapy companies and 25 online therapy directories along with surveying approximately 100 users from each company and directory to determine which was best in each category. We also considered factors like cost, insurance acceptance, confidentiality, therapist qualifications, service features, and specializations. We then consulted subject matter experts on our findings to ensure the final list was as thoroughly vetted as possible. One major qualifying criteria used when vetting providers is the diversity offered in the therapist pool. An important part of the healing process is being able to feel seen and understood, and many clients work more comfortably and effectively with BIPOC therapists or those who understand gender/sexual identity issues.
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