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Traditionally, therapy took place in a psychologist’s office, but things have changed. In recent decades, online therapy has become more and more popular—and not just for its live video sessions. You can also message, live chat, or text your therapist too, depending on what teletherapy service you sign up for.
Text therapy can be a great supplement to face-to-face or video sessions, but it can also be effective on its own, depending on your reason for seeking therapy. It may also be a good option for someone who is experiencing Zoom fatigue, is living with social anxiety, is d/Deaf, or whose schedule is too unpredictable to allow for in-person, video, or audio sessions. So to help you find the best text therapy services, we evaluated 55 online therapy platforms, surveyed 105 users at each, and signed up for the services ourselves. Here are the ones we recommend for group support, live chat, asynchronous messaging, journaling, and more.
Best Text Therapy of 2023
- Best Overall: Talkspace
- Best for Live Chat: BetterHelp
- Best for CBT: Online-Therapy.com
- Best for Under 18: Teen Counseling
- Best for Couples: ReGain
- Best for Group Support: Circles
- Most Affordable: 7 Cups
- Best for Multiple Diagnoses: LiveHealth Online
- Best for Journaling: E-Therapy Cafe
Best Overall : Talkspace
- Price: $65+ per session
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, teen
At Talkspace, you can opt for a text-only plan that lets you chat with your therapist as if you were texting a friend: anytime and anywhere. We love that there are no appointments necessary with this plan unless you want to upgrade.
Flexible plan allows you to send messages 24/7
Live chat sessions also available, depending on the plan
Every membership plan includes text therapy
Easy to switch therapists
Company accepts numerous insurance plans
Therapist response time can vary
Adding live chat sessions requires a more expensive plan than text-only
No matter what plan you sign up for, one of the key features of Talkspace is that users are able to message their therapist at any time. This makes it a fantastic option for someone who is seeking therapy solely via text, or a person who would prefer a hybrid setup that also includes live sessions.
Founded in 2012, Talkspace is a well-known online therapy platform—and for good reason, in our opinion. It offers therapy for individuals, couples, and teens, as well as psychiatry services. You also have the flexibility to decide what kind of therapy plan works best for you when you sign up, whether that’s text-only, a combination of text and live sessions, or text, live sessions, and workshops. You can even add psychiatry services. That said, we think the emphasis on text therapy is what really makes it stand out.
If you sign up for the text-only plan, which is the lowest-priced plan, you’ll have access to a secure chat room with your therapist where you can send text, videos, pictures, and audio messages for support any time you need it. Your therapist will then respond to the message once they are available. Back-and-forth asynchronous messaging can continue from there until you feel satisfied with the conversation. There are no appointments or face-to-face obligations with this plan.
If you sign up for one of the higher-tiered plans, you’ll have the same access to asynchronous messaging, as well as live sessions. Live sessions can be held over video, phone, or live chat—which is particularly useful for someone who is hesitant to engage in face-to-face therapy. Live sessions do require the user to schedule appointments, but messaging through the confidential chat room is available at all times.
Talkspace offers three therapy plans for individuals, couples, and teens:
- Messaging therapy starts at $69 per week and includes unlimited asynchronous text, video, and audio messaging with therapist responses five days a week.
- Video + messaging therapy starts at $99 per week and includes unlimited asynchronous messaging as well as four live 45-minute sessions per month (live chat, video, or phone).
- Video + messaging + workshops includes messaging, four live sessions per month, and access to therapy workshops; this plan starts at $109 per week.
- Psychiatry evaluations are $249 and follow-ups are $125 each; these can only be video sessions.
Users can pay for Talkspace out of pocket, and the platform is in-network with several insurance plans including Cigna, Optum, and more, if you have coverage.
Talkspace scored among the best of the 55 companies we surveyed, with 90% of respondents reporting an overall positive experience with the platform. Additionally, 92% believed their therapist’s qualifications were either good, very good, or excellent, and 82% said they were either likely or very likely to recommend Talkspace to a friend. While one of our reviewers didn’t have a great experience with their first therapist match, they appreciated how easy, and quick, it was to switch to someone else. They were also able to message their therapist as soon as they were matched with them.
Best for Live Chat : BetterHelp
- Price: $60 to $90 per week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual
BetterHelp offers more therapy formats than many of its competitors, including live chat sessions that can be scheduled in advance and are held in secure chat rooms. Additionally, between live chat sessions, members can engage in asynchronous chats with their therapist as needed for extra support.
Users can choose text, video, or audio sessions
Asynchronous messaging available between sessions
No membership fees and canceling is easy
Exact pricing can be difficult to determine and could change
You don’t get to choose your provider
Does not accept insurance
Sometimes, if you’re, say, traveling a lot, live chat is the ideal way to connect with your therapist. But other times, you may prefer a face-to-face video call. The teletherapy giant BetterHelp gives users the option to attend therapy sessions via a number of different communication platforms: video, audio, or live chat. Its live chat option is available through the app or patient portal on the website. All users have to do is log into their account, enter their message “room,” and start chatting.
To get started, you fill out a questionnaire that will help the company identify what condition(s) you are seeking treatment for and your preferred method of therapy. Once the system has collected all of this information, you are matched with a therapist who you can then schedule a session with via the app or patient portal. If the therapist doesn’t end up being a good fit, you can request a new match.
While your membership is active, you are able to schedule one therapy session a week via video chat, audio call, or live messaging. Between sessions, you can asynchronously message your therapist as much as you’d like (though therapists are not on call 24/7, so response time can vary).
BetterHelp has been around since 2013 and offers users access to more than 25,000 licensed providers. However, it’s important to note that in 2022, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden opened an investigation into the company’s privacy practices, and it is currently ongoing.
BetterHelp offers only one membership plan that ranges from $60 to $90 per week—exact pricing will depend on your location and your therapist’s availability. You’ll be billed every four weeks, or you can request to be billed on a quarterly basis. Cancellation is quick and easy—simply go to your account settings and go through the steps to cancel your membership. As long as these steps are completed before the next billing cycle, you won’t be charged again.
In our survey, 86% of users had an overall positive experience with the platform and 76% felt their therapist met all or most of their needs. One reviewer said the therapists they worked with were “compassionate, provided professional knowledge relevant and helpful to the issues I brought up, and responded to my messages quickly and thoughtfully.”
Additionally, when asked if they were satisfied with therapist options on the platform, 77% of users surveyed said they were either satisfied or very satisfied, and 87% of users felt the platform’s therapist’s qualifications were good, very good, or excellent.
Best for CBT : Online-Therapy.com
- Price: $40 to $88 per week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples
Online-Therapy.com is one of the few services that focuses its support on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—which is proven to help people develop coping skills. You can opt to have live chat sessions instead of video calls, you get regularly assigned journaling activities, and you are able to message your therapist outside of sessions.
Daily journaling activity
Option to have therapy sessions in live chat format
Access to messaging feature to chat with your therapist between sessions
Therapists are only available eight hours a day, five days a week
No medication management
Does not accept insurance
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to help a number of psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and is designed to help patients change their thinking patterns and behaviors.
Online-Therapy.com was founded in 2009 by Carl Nordstrom, who wanted to make CBT accessible and affordable to more people, and its live chat option is a big part of that.
Online-Therapy.com offers a whole CBT program that includes journaling, yoga, worksheets, and therapy sessions—which can be done via live chat. You also have the option to message your therapist outside of sessions, plus other CBT-specific therapy tools.
The premium tier plan gives you access to live therapy sessions, unlimited texts with your therapist (some plans include express replies), eight CBT sections—including 25 worksheets, daily worksheet replies (Monday through Friday), yoga and meditation videos, journaling, activity plans, tests, and a secure platform.
The program is made up of eight parts that users can work through at their own pace (though Online-Therapy.com suggests checking in at least once a month to keep up momentum). There are three individual therapy plans offered, two of which include live therapy sessions that can be done over video, audio, or live chat, and one plan for couples.
Online-Therapy.com does not accept insurance, but it has three individual plans as well as one couples therapy plan:
- Basic is $40 per week and includes unlimited messaging with a therapist, eight-section CBT program including 25 worksheets, daily worksheet replies Monday through Friday, yoga and meditation videos, journaling, activity plans, and tests.
- Standard costs $64 per week and includes all of the benefits of the basic plan plus one 45-minute therapy session per week (video, audio, or live chat).
- Premium is $88 per week and includes all of the benefits of the Basic and Standard plans, except it comes with two 45-minute therapy sessions per week and “express replies” from your therapist.
- Couples therapy is $88 per week and includes the same benefits of the Standard plan plus a 45-minute couples therapy session.
Eighty-five percent of survey respondents report having an overall positive experience using Online-Therapy.com and 82% said they were either likely or very likely to refer a friend to the platform. Additionally, 72% felt their therapist met all or most of their needs and 90% felt therapist qualifications on the platform were either good, very good, or excellent.
Online-Therapy.com’s accessible pricing also stands out. One of our reviewers noted it’s “a unique platform that provides excellent value for its price. Its affordability and wealth of coping tools set it apart from some of its competitors.”
Best for Under 18 : Teen Counseling
- Price: $60 to $90 per week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual
Teen Counseling gives users access to therapists who specialize in treating teenagers in an age-appropriate way. Teens who prefer text therapy over live sessions have the option to attend appointments via live chat and are able to asynchronously message their therapist any time outside of sessions.
Platform dedicated to teen therapy
Users have the option to attend sessions via live chat
Teens sessions are kept confidential from their parents (unless a major concern arises)
Insurance is not accepted
Not all therapists are LGBTQIA+ affirming
Teen Counseling is one of the few online therapy platforms that is focused solely on treating teenagers ages 13-19, helping them cope with conditions such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, bullying, anger, and more. Therapists on the site are specifically trained in working with patients at this stage of life and are equipped to deliver therapy in an age-appropriate way, as the needs of a 13-year-old might differ significantly from those of a 19-year-old.
The setup at Teen Counseling is similar to that of its parent company BetterHelp in that there are no membership tiers, and patients (or their parents) are charged weekly and billed every four weeks. Each user has access to weekly sessions with their therapist, which can be done via video, audio, or live chat, as well as unlimited messaging between sessions. Teens have their own dedicated messaging space with their therapist that is kept confidential from their parents. That said, parents will always be notified if there is something concerning happening with their child.
Teen Counseling does not work with insurance providers and has one payment plan available to users. Patients are charged between $60 to $90 per week (pricing depends on location and therapist availability) and billed every four weeks, with the option to request quarterly bills.
Survey respondents were overall pleased with Teen Counseling. 85% rated their experience with the platform as good, very good, or excellent. Additionally, 76% of respondents said their therapist met all or most of their needs, and 71% said they were likely or very likely to recommend the platform to a friend. One of our reviewers, a parent of a teen, said their teen “enjoyed talking to his therapist” on TeenCounseling, and that their child felt like his provider “was giving him ‘a different way of looking at things’ that he hadn’t thought about before.”
Best for Couples : ReGain
- Price: $60 to $90 per week
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Individual, couples
ReGain allows users to regularly message their therapist between sessions, meaning both partners can chat with their therapist in the same group chat—a unique feature on this list. This hybrid approach is quite useful, especially for couples where one partner has more anxiety about face-to-face therapy than the other.
Couples and therapist share access to a joint chat room
Therapists can send worksheets and other support materials
Option to set up individual sessions with a therapist
Pricing isn’t always straightforward
No live chat option, only asynchronous messaging
Some couples may find it easier to share how they’re feeling through text rather than face-to-face. ReGain offers a unique, hybrid approach to couples therapy that includes live video sessions as well as unlimited asynchronous messaging between sessions. It’s an excellent way for couples to stay in touch with their therapist any time they need extra support, and is especially useful for couples who can’t be in the same room at the same time for therapy.
ReGain was founded in 2016, and its parent company is the well-known platform BetterHelp. Unlike BetterHelp, ReGain’s focus is entirely on relationships. It offers couples and individuals the opportunity to work with providers who specialize in relationships via video sessions and text therapy.
Couples sign up for ReGain under one account, but they can each access meetings and the messaging center separately from their own devices. Once they’re signed up, they meet with their therapist for a live session once a week and then check in as much or as little as they’d like between sessions through the message center. Both partners are able to see any message the other sends to the therapist through their shared account, which affords the opportunity to respond and engage in the conversation. Therapists are not on call 24/7, though, so the couple may have to wait a bit before they receive a response from their provider.
ReGain does not accept insurance, but it does strive to keep costs affordable to users. There is only one membership plan that ranges from $60 to $90 per week, depending on the couple’s location and their therapist’s availability. The couple will be billed for their sessions every four weeks (or they can request to pay quarterly, instead). To cancel, members simply have to cancel their account before their next billing cycle.
One of our reviewers seemed to get a lot out of their session on ReGain. They wrote, “The therapist we ended up meeting with was professional, listened to us, and was able to meet our needs. She worked with us to create goals based on our experiences and provided us with worksheets and activities that fit in with those needs.”
This experience is in line with our survey respondents, too; 77% said their overall experience with ReGain was positive, and 71% said they’d recommend the service to a friend. Therapist satisfaction was also high, with 80% of users saying ReGain met all or most of their needs.
Best for Group Support : Circles
- Price: Free to $79 per month
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Group counseling
Unlike most other online therapy platforms we reviewed, Circles’ primary focus is on group therapy. In addition to weekly sessions and drop-in calls, users have unlimited access to a group text chat where they can message other members for support whenever they need it.
Basic group support is free
Users have access to group chat 24/7
Three methods to connect with group members including text chat
Paid membership required to join a group led by a mental health professional
No option for individual therapy
For someone looking for group support through text, Circles is the best option among the companies we surveyed. The whole purpose of the platform is to bring people together in groups where they can share their stories and experiences, and not feel alone. Users have three different ways to connect with fellow group members, one of which is through live chat.
The platform was founded in 2018 and originally called 7 Chairs, but changed to Circles in 2020. The company’s mission is to provide users with an environment where they can create connections with others who are going through or who have gone through similar life experiences—and to make access to this support affordable.
Users can join Circles for free, in which case they’ll have access to group audio calls, live chats, and meetings that are all led by group moderators. There’s a paid option as well, Circles+, where members are given access to smaller groups with vetted members led by mental health professionals. With this option, you get the same access to audio calls and 24/7 live chat, but the small, intimate group meetings are done via video chat over the course of a 12-week period. We love that members who want to take advantage of the 24/7 chat feature aren’t required to sign up for the paid membership in order to do so.
The one drawback to Circles is that, while it does offer fantastic group support, there are no options for users who want individual therapy in addition to regularly meeting with a group.
Circles does not accept insurance, but has two affordable membership options:
- A free membership, which comes with 24/7 group chat access, unlimited anonymous drop-in calls for audio meetings, and the option to join several groups based on your needs
- A Circles+ plan, which is $79 per month (members can try a meeting free before signing up). With this plan, members get all of the free features as well as access to small groups of 10 vetted people with weekly video meetings led by a mental health professional; this is a 12-week program.
80% of our survey respondents reported an overall positive experience using Circles, and 77% felt that all or most of their needs were met through therapy. More than three-quarters of users were happy with the number of good-quality provider options Circles provided, and 82% said therapist diversity was either good, very good, or excellent. One of our reviewers found Circles to be very beneficial for their mental health, saying, “I felt very heard, supported, and emotionally buoyed by the sixty-minute session.”
Most Affordable : 7 Cups
- Price: $0 to $150 per month (depending on type of therapy)
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Peer support, individual therapy
7 Cups offers a live chat platform that is free for all users. This service helps bridge the financial gap for potential users, who can also access unlimited one-on-one chats with a mental health professional for an affordable fee.
Access to 24/7 live chat is completely free
Chat one-on-one or in group chats
Option to add on individual therapy for adults aged 18 years and older
All free chats are with peers and trained volunteers, not mental health professionals
Volunteers are not specialized in any specific areas of support
If you’re looking for an affordable, accessible text therapy option, 7 Cups is the service for you, since it gives users access to 24/7 live chat with mental health support at no charge. Members can join in a group chat with peers if they’re looking for a sense of community, or they can connect one-on-one with one of 7 Cups’ trained volunteers.
7 Cups (formerly called 7 Cups of Tea) was founded in 2013 by Glen Moriarty, PsyD, in an effort to make peer support more accessible to a wider user base. Today, 7 Cups is available in 189 countries and has more than 320,000 trained volunteers.
The company is equipped to help teens (13-17 years old) as well as adults. Teens have their own dedicated community spaces and volunteers have been trained to interact with them in an age-appropriate, supportive way. Adults 18 years old and up, in addition to access to free 24/7 live chat, also have the option to sign up for the online therapy program. It’s a flat-rate membership that connects users to a dedicated licensed mental health provider who they can text as often as they’d like through asynchronous messaging.
At 7 Cups, 24/7 group and one-on-one chats with volunteers are free to all users. 7 Cups also offers unlimited messaging with an online therapist to members 18 years old and up for $150 a month. It does not partner with any insurance companies.
In a 2021 survey, 85% of users said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options at 7 Cups, 76% said the therapists’ qualifications were good to excellent, and 66% said the care they received was good or excellent. The platform remains incredibly popular in more than 150 countries and continues to recruit trained volunteers to meet the demands of its customer base.
Best for Multiple Diagnoses : LiveHealth Online
- Price: $80-$95 for therapy; $75-$175 for psychiatry
- Insurance Accepted?: Yes
- Types of Therapy: Children's, couples, family, individual, medication management, psychiatry, teen counseling
LiveHealth Online specializes in chat therapy and is staffed by mental health professionals who are trained in treating numerous conditions, including coexisting diagnoses. Users have the option to chat with either a licensed therapist or psychologist, so they can get the care that best fits their needs.
Specializes in chat therapy
Providers are trained in treating coexisting conditions
In-network with most Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield plans
Patients can't message their provider between sessions
No providers available for kids under 10
If you’re looking for a one-stop virtual health shop where you can schedule online therapy as well as psychiatry appointments for more than one condition, LiveHealth Online is it.
LiveHealth Online offers both video and text-based therapy as well as medication management that you can access via its website or app. All therapy providers are either licensed therapists or psychologists who are trained in treating multiple conditions, making this platform a great option for someone with more than one mental health diagnosis. And, if you need treatment from a medical doctor for common conditions such as allergies or the flu, LiveHealth has providers for that, too.
LiveHealth Online was launched in 2013 by Anthem, a major insurance provider in the United States. Today, nearly every Anthem and Blue Cross Blue Shield plan covers therapy through this platform, but services are open to anyone, regardless of whether or not they are insured.
Unlike many other online therapy platforms, users do not need to sign up for any membership or subscription to use LiveHealth Online. Each appointment is paid for individually, without any hidden fees or ongoing charges. Chat therapy sessions are scheduled in advance and last around 45 minutes. While this is a great option for anyone seeking professional-level therapy, it’s important to know that there aren’t any plan options for patients who want to switch between video sessions and live chat sessions, and you are not able to message your therapist between sessions.
LiveHealth Online is in-network with nearly every Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan. For patients paying out of pocket, sessions are charged on a pay-as-you-go basis. A 45-minute chat therapy session with a licensed therapist is priced at $80, or patients can opt to see a psychologist for $95 per visit.
In our most recent user survey for LiveHealth Online, 90% of users gave the platform an overall rating of good, very good, or excellent, and 87% said they felt the company was much better, better, or a little better than other online therapy platforms they’ve used in the past. Eighty-seven percent were satisfied with the company’s psychiatric services. One of our reviewers felt her therapist was knowledgeable and had experience with online care. She also felt the session format was more user-friendly than some of LiveHealth’s competitors.
Best for Journaling : E-Therapy Cafe
- Price: $45+ per session
- Insurance Accepted?: No
- Types of Therapy: Relationship, LGBTQ+, emotional support animal letters and therapy, veterans, trauma, college, bridal
E-Therapy Cafe’s e-journaling therapy option may be helpful for those who feel better able to express themselves through writing. These sessions include a journaling prompt and a detailed response with guidance from the therapist within two days of submission.
Three membership options, including pay-as-you-go
You get a new template (prompt) for each journaling session
Therapist response time is usually within 24 to 48 hours
Sessions expire 30 days from purchase
Each journal entry is limited to 700 words
While most online therapy platforms offer various formats for sessions, E-Therapy Cafe is one of the few that includes journaling as one of the options. You can purchase therapy sessions and decide whether you want to use them for video, live chat, or journaling therapy—making this platform one of the best for anyone who prefers the written word over video calls.
E-Therapy Cafe was founded in 2016 and considers itself a “boutique” practice, with a small group of qualified therapists who give each patient treatment that is tailored to their goals and needs. While it doesn’t accept insurance, it aims to provide therapy at an affordable rate, and the option to pay as you go to help make treatment more accessible.
If you opt for journaling therapy, you will fill out a questionnaire that explains a bit about who you are and what you’re hoping to get out of therapy. From there a therapist will send you a “template” (or prompt) to help you work through your feelings as you write. You can write up to 700 words per entry, and once you’re done you simply send the entry back to your therapist—no appointment necessary. Within 24 to 48 hours, your therapist will send a response that includes feedback, insight, and sometimes homework, as well as a new journal template for your next session (should you choose to continue this format).
E-Therapy Cafe offers single sessions or bundles:
- One-time trial for $50 that includes one 30-minute session (chat, video, or 700-word journal entry)
- E-Therapy SHOT is the pay-as-you-go option for $55 per session.
- E-Therapy FOUR includes four sessions (any format) for $196.
- E-therapy EIGHT includes eight sessions for $360.
Sessions expire 30 days after purchase. One session is equal to a 30-minute audio or video call or a 700-word journal entry (if you would like a one-hour video or audio therapy session, you can stack two sessions together).
E-Therapy Cafe performed well in our survey, with 94% of users saying their overall experience with the platform was positive and 82% saying they were likely to recommend the service to a friend. Plus, 90% of users said that they felt their therapist’s qualifications were good, very good, or excellent. One of our reviewers said E-Therapy Cafe is a good option for couples who are looking for “some guidance through a life challenge, and hoping for a little bit of accountability, perspective, and consistent (but short) check-ins.”
So many therapy platforms allow for live chat sessions, which is great for text therapy seekers, but TalkSpace ranks highest on our list. Members have the option to sign up for a message-only plan to start, but change to one with video or audio sessions later on if they feel ready. We also really love 7 Cups for its affordability and because it allows members to connect with someone instantly rather than through asynchronous messaging.
Compare the Best Text Therapy
|Company||Price||Insurance Accepted?||Types of Therapy Offered|
|Talkspace Best Overall||$65+ per session||Yes||Individual, couples, teen|
|BetterHelp Best for Live Chat||$60 to $90 per week||No||Individual|
|Online-Therapy.com Best for CBT||$40 to $88 per week||No||Individual, couples|
|Circles Best for Group Support||$0 to 79 per month||No||Group counseling|
|ReGain Best for Couples||$60-$90 per week||No||Individual, couples|
|Teen Counseling Best for Under 18||$60 to $90 per week||No||Individual, Family|
|7 Cups Most Affordable||$0 to $150 per month||No||Peer support, individual therapy|
|LiveHealth Online Best for Multiple Diagnoses||$75 to $175 per session||Yes||Children's, couples, family, individual, medication management, psychiatry, teen counseling|
|E-Therapy Cafe Best for Journaling||$45+ per session||No||Relationship, LGBTQ+, emotional support animal letters and therapy, veterans, trauma, college, bridal|
Guide to Choosing the Best Text Therapy
What Does Text Therapy Look Like?
Text therapy is a form of therapy where the patient and therapist communicate through written messages, such as live chats, journaling, or asynchronous messaging (similar to general text messaging). Studies have found that text therapy is an effective tool in treating certain mental health conditions and is especially helpful for reaching patients who otherwise may not have access to traditional treatment.
Anyone can engage in text therapy, but the format is especially good for those who feel comfortable communicating this way in everyday life or who experience social anxiety with in-person or video/audio chat therapy sessions.
What Types of Text Therapy Are Offered?
There are several types of text therapy formats, and the best option varies based on the patient using them. Instead of meeting with a therapist in person or over video or audio call, you can opt to conduct your therapy session via live chat, where you and your therapist are “talking” in real-time through a chat platform. Another option is asynchronous messaging, where you send your provider a message when you feel the need and the therapist responds within a reasonable time period (but usually not right away).
There is also the option for journaling, where a therapist gives you a prompt to write about and then provides feedback and guidance based on the journal entry. Another popular form of text therapy is through group chat sessions that are often moderated or led by trained professionals, whether it’s a group open to anyone needing peer support or a closed group of members focused on a specific topic.
Comparing Text Therapy Services
When looking through the many options for online text therapy, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you find the one that’s best for you.
- Price: If you’re hoping to have your therapy covered by insurance, you’ll need to work with a platform that accepts insurance (and check to make sure your plan covers text therapy). For self-pay therapy seekers, online text therapy can range from $0 to $100 or more per session, so you’ll want to compare the different pricing and plan options to find one that meets both your needs and your budget.
- Scheduling: Are you looking for as-needed therapy through asynchronous messaging, or are you interested in scheduled, live chat sessions? If it’s the latter, you’ll likely have to schedule the sessions in advance, so check to make sure the platform offers therapists who are available to chat during the same hours you are.
- Specialty: Every therapist has a list of conditions they treat. If you have a specific diagnosis, look for a therapist who feels confident in their ability to treat that condition over text.
- Communication platforms: When shopping around, consider what forms of text therapy you’d like to partake in, such as asynchronous texting, live chat, or journaling, and look for a platform that provides as many of those options as possible (ideally, find one that meets all of your needs).
Who Is Text Therapy Right For?
There are a lot of people who can benefit from text therapy. For instance, younger people who are comfortable using technology to communicate over text may prefer this method. Those in rural communities where other options may not be available might also need to use text therapy. Additionally, text therapy has been shown to be effective in treating depression, plus studies have found text therapy to be more convenient, affordable, and with less wait time than traditional therapy.
What If I'm Having Thoughts of Harming Myself?
If you are having thoughts of self-harm or are experiencing a mental health crisis, call 911 for emergency services or 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Text-Based Therapy Effective?
As text therapy has grown in popularity, it has become the subject of various studies to determine whether or not it’s effective. It has been shown to be effective for patients without easy access to other means of therapy as well as for depression. Still, studies have also shown that patients without these circumstances or diagnoses are still satisfied with their treatment and have found text therapy to be effective in helping them manage their condition.
How Much Does Text Therapy Cost?
There is a broad range of pricing with online therapy, no matter the format—video or audio, or text therapy. Based on our research, we found that the cost of text therapy can range from free to $100 or more per session. And, if you are insured, whether or not your insurance will help cover the cost will play a significant role in how much you pay out of pocket. In general, rates per session range from:
- In-person therapy: $100 to $200+
- Video or audio therapy: $40 to $150+
- Text therapy: $0 to $100+
What Is “Text Anxiety”?
Text anxiety is when someone experiences a negative physical reaction to text messaging for a particular reason, or for several reasons including trying to decode the messages—since the tone of voice is often lost in the communication, delayed responses, or just the general uncertainty that often comes with texting. A good text-based therapist can help address this anxiety with clear communication, managing expectations, and being open to feedback from the patient.
Does Insurance Cover Text Therapy?
Whether or not your insurance company will cover text therapy depends entirely on the plan you have and the platform you’re using. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more insurance providers cover telehealth appointments, but there are often parameters on what kinds of telehealth visits are approved. That being said, if you find a platform that accepts insurance and offers text therapy, it’s definitely worth looking into because it may be a covered service.
We surveyed users of 55 therapy platforms and 25 online directories and used that data to help us find the best text therapy platforms available. We looked at how many forms of text therapy each platform offered, and considered whether or not the company focused on a specialty, such as CBT or couples counseling. While there are plenty of companies that offer text therapy we felt that some of the more well-known platforms, such as Amwell, Wellnite, and Teladoc, don’t have as much to offer text therapy seekers as the ones that made our list.
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