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Have you been feeling down lately? A little stressed out? Do you feel like you want someone to talk to but you're limited by your local options? Or maybe you just don't have time for extra driving in your busy schedule? No matter what your therapy needs, if you feel like you need help, you deserve it.
Whether you're a long-time therapy patient, or you're looking to turn over a new leaf with your mental health, there are tons of online options to make your therapy journey easier. But where can you get started? There are so many online therapy choices and so many different therapy styles that it can be hard to choose which way to turn.
Thursday, February 2nd
In business since 2013, BetterHelp calls itself the largest online counseling platform in the world. From what we could find, they're right. BetterHelp's counselors offer their services through a variety of methods including online messages, live chat, phone sessions, and video sessions. BetterHelp works on a membership mode -so you pay to be part of the site and get access to their in-house therapists counselors, and psychiatrists.
Mental health membership
Since BetterHelp is a membership model, you will be charged recurring fees to be a member. Their prices range from $60 to $90 per week, charged every 4 weeks. This covers four 30-45 minute sessions a month, which you can choose how to allocate. BetterHelp offers an annual payment option at a reduced rate, which lowers the overall cost. Although they don't offer any free trials, the program does provide easy cancellation of your membership. They also offer some financial aid opportunities if you can't afford therapy and are covered by some private insurance policies.
With over 30,049 individual therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists on their roster, BetterHelp offers professional counseling from accredited and licensed professionals. All counselors at BetterHelp have a master's degree or doctorate in their field and at least three years of professional experience. For additional piece of mind, BetterHelp evaluates all their providers by verifying licensure and requiring an exam that's reviewed by a licensed clinician.
Only the top 25% of applying professionals
Even then, only the top 25% of professionals applying to BetterHelp get in. The company promises that their therapists offer the same professionalism and quality that you'd get with an in-person counselor. Since they operate online, you have a much more flexible and personalized schedule than you could get with in-person visits. You can meet with them wherever you are.
There for what you need
BetterHelp meets a wide range of different mental health needs. The company knows that individuals are diverse and unique, and the site offers just as much variety in the type of counseling. Their range of therapy includes:
Get a recommended match or choose for yourself
Part of what this site does well is match you up with a therapist who best fits your profile. Alternatively, you can search for your own therapist in the BetterHelp directory if you'd rather find someone yourself after your initial match. This is a much easier (and less stressful) process than vetting therapists in-person.
A few limitations
Keep in mind there are a few areas where BetterHelp isn't ideal. BetterHelp is not for individuals who:
Overwhelming positive reviews
BetterHelp is rated well by reviewers, averaging a 4.5-star rating across different sites. They are accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an impressive "A-" rating. The positive reviews note that the service is fast, that they felt the therapist BetterHelp connected them with was a good match, and that BetterHelp's professionals really did help them improve their mental health across a variety of needs. The few less-than-stellar reviews we found related to problems with particular counselors, not BetterHelp itself.
It really is better at BetterHelp
Overall, BetterHelp stands out as an exceptional resource for online therapy. They offer a huge number of vetted and experienced counselors to choose from based on your needs, preferences, and location, along with an affordable and flexible membership plan. With such a large number of positive reviews, and an emphasis on customer-focused policies, BetterHelp earns our highest rating.
Sesame has been open for 5+ years and offers access to online and in-person medical and mental health professionals. The platform offers two options: you can book directly with a therapist or psychiatrist, or you can go through the Sesame Plus membership which makes individual visits cheaper. They offer on-demand appointments and prescription writing through their platform at competitive prices.
Wide fluctation in costs
Like many platforms that connect you with therapists, the final cost for Sesame depends on how much the individual mental health professional wants to charge. Since Sesame offers a full range of mental health professionals from licensed therapists to Ph.D.-holding psychiatrists, the price for a single session can vary significantly. We found rates that typically fluctuated from $100 to $400 per video session.
Save money with Plus membership
However, you can also get the Sesame Plus membership which costs $10.99 per month. This gives you access to a variety of benefits including:
So, while there are still a wide range of fees, you can get reductions to those prices or narrow down your search to more affordable options. We found some of the cheapest single-option therapy sessions as low as $35 per session, so if you're willing to search through the practitioners, you may be able to find some great prices at Sesame.
Safe at Sesame
All of the doctors at Sesame are board-certified. In order to work with Sesame, the doctors and clinicians all provide information about their licenses to practice, their education, and that they have a clean disciplinary record. All of Sesame's healthcare providers, including mental health professionals, are appropriately educated and have met the requirements for experience and safety for the platform.
Wide range of options for therapy and psychiatry
Sesame offers individual therapy, couples therapy, and psychiatry with the ability to provide prescriptions if needed. In each category, you can sift through different mental health professionals. They are presented by location first, and then you can narrow down the options by when you want the appointment, in-person or virtual options, credentials for the professional, language, and gender. If you are looking for a specific type of therapy or a style, you can use the search bar at the top to limit the options only to mental health practitioners who cover the topics that are important to you.
Most mental health topics covered here
Since Sesame works with a variety of practitioners, the topics they offer are as varied as the individuals working for them. Some of the listed topics include, but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, ADHD, couples therapy, sex therapy, stress management therapy, marriage, substance abuse, and career.
A few limitations to be aware of
There aren't a lot of limitations at Sesame, however, it's important to note that some providers won't be licensed in all states. Sesame addresses this by suggesting options within your state and area. They don't appear to serve teens. Also, if you're looking for couples therapy, both members of the couple must attend the session from the same location, even if the session is remote.
Better than traditional healthcare
While there aren't a lot of reviews on Sesame at the Better Business Bureau, the platform is accredited with an excellent "A+" rating. For customer feedback, there are plenty of reviews where Sesame averages about 4.5 stars. Happy customers noted that the service was very easy to use and to book sessions. Some patients noted that they felt more cared for by Sesame than by their regular insurance or healthcare providers. Fast service works for both the medical and therapeutic sides, and even customers with complex disorders like bipolar can get medication quickly through Sesame.
Great all-in-one package
For someone who wants to be able to fit mental health to their needs, Sesame has it all. With either single purchase options, or membership with a variety of health benefits, you can tailor your experience completely. Although some of the psychiatrists on Sesame are expensive, there are also cheaper options on the list, so you can decide what you want to prioritize in order to make ends meet. With offerings for health, mental health, individual therapy, couples therapy, and even the option to provide low-cost prescriptions, there's nothing to lose with Sesame. They are an excellent provider of online therapy needs.
Founded in 2006, HealthSapiens is the most affordable option on this list. They offer 6 visits per month for under $200. Although they are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, they do have an "A+" rating and were voted "Best Subscription Service for Online Doctors" in 2020 and 2021. HealthSapiens' program is a subscription-based service that is available for private therapy and teen therapy. On top of therapy, HealthSapiens also provides medical appointments for a variety of non-emergency medical needs.
HealthSapiens offers a subscription plan, and it's one of the best deals in this review. For 6 live sessions, unlimited text and chat with your counselor, you pay $197 per month. The only additional charges come if you need more than 6 sessions per month. After 6 you'll be charged per session for any extras. This price point is one of the things that sets HealthSapiens apart from its competition. It's objectively the most affordable option in this review.
Lower standard for therapists
Compared with some other online therapy providers, HealthSapiens has a lower standard for counselors to meet in order to be accepted into their service. Specifically, they require a Master's degree in a relevant field and only 1 year of professional experience. This can result in a lower standard of care that you receive, and may help explain why their prices are lower than other services. However, to be fair we did find some customer reviews that rave about their HealthSapiens therapists. We also found some counselors with PhDs in their field and 10 years of professional experience in therapy. So our advice is to keep your eyes open and be careful in who you select.
Focused on counseling
HealthSapiens focuses entirely on counseling, so they don't have any psychiatric or prescription therapy options. However, the program does focus on cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavior-focused counseling approaches. The therapists at HealthSapiens specialize in particular areas of mental health to best serve your needs. Some of the options on HealthSapiens include:
Good reviews, but bad on cancellations
HealthSapiens averages four-star reviews, with most of the positive reviews talking about the helpfulness of 24/7 service and access to mental health assistance. Customers also noted that they were connected with a doctor within five minutes and were able to regularly use the services each week. However, some of the poor reviews noted that it was hard to cancel when they didn't need or want the service anymore. So, while many enjoyed HealthSapiens while they had it, some customers found it difficult to leave when they were finished.
Best value for money
As a service that offers 6 video calls a month for $197, HealthSapiens is the leader in affordable telehealth. With a variety of services, even those that include teen patients, their mental health services stand out as professional and affordable. Although they are not accredited by the BBB, HealthSapiens is an award-winning service. At this price, it is one of our top options for online therapy.
PlushCare is a broker-style site that connects you to telehealth providers. They offer fully online therapy sessions for $149 per month for four sessions. You can connect with doctors and therapists for ongoing care or urgent concerns. They are competitively priced and offer a variety of options including prescription writing for those who need medication to support their mental health. And, they're accredited by the Telehealth Association.
Pick and choose your sessions
The cost for PlushCare is fairly flexible with a pick-and-choose approach. You can pay $149 per month for a package of weekly sessions; or, if you just want one appointment or don't want a subscription, you can book a single session for $169. They also offer a free 15-minute consultation if you want to dip your toes into what PlushCare has to offer. In terms of payment, PlushCare does work with some insurance, but you can't bill the subscription service through insurance, only individual appointments. Further, only doctors can write prescriptions, which require a separate appointment that costs $99.
Find yourself a therapist
PlushCare allows you to select a doctor yourself based on your preferences and available mental health professionals. Every therapist or doctor has a profile that shows you all of their relevant information regarding experience, education, and credentials. It's important to note that not all therapists are licensed in all 50 states, although their therapist list shows that they have some therapists working in all states as well as DC, and they keep adding more to their roster to better serve customers. . Their medical doctors are all certified, and their therapists well vetted. All PlushCare therapists are multi-disciplinary. They use a variety of therapeutic techniques, not just one, and tailor their therapy sessions to your unique needs.
Care types from PlushCare
PlushCare providers use techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation therapy among many others to provide care for your mental health concerns. They specifically focus on depression and anxiety and provide common prescriptions to treat those issues, but they offer therapy for any of your other mental health concerns also. On top of their therapeutic offerings, PlushCare also offers medical assistance; although that is billed separately, you can take care of all aspects of your health in one easy place.
Reviews focus on individuals, not the service
Averaging 4 stars, PlushCare comes in strong with respect to customer reviews. However, most of these reviews are for the medical side of PlushCare rather than the mental health offerings. Still, many reviewers felt positive about the same-day appointment offerings, especially with urgent matters, which was spot on with PlushCare. And, customer ratings on PlushCare's therapy page offer positive reviews about being able to get their prescribed anxiety and depression medication. Many of the positive reviews are about specific therapists, which is most useful to determine who you want to work with.
Great all-in-one option
PlushCare stands out as offering a complete package: medical, therapy, and prescriptions all in one place. Separately they're all very affordable and convenient options, but if you add them all together it does start to get expensive. Fortunately, they do have a variety of therapists with positive reviews across their site. With their all-in-one-place approach and reasonable prices compared to the competition, PlushCare makes it near the top of the list for online therapy options.
Calmerry is a newer therapy platform that follows a subscription model to connect you with licensed therapists online. Calmerry was started in 2020 by US and European experts to make continuous psychological support accessible to all. Not only do they use the online platform to work with your schedule, but their goal is to make therapy easier to afford. Calmerry is backed by a team of licensed therapists that offer text and live video therapy.
Three-tiered payment options
Calmerry stands out from the competition with its three pricing plans. These cover just unlimited messaging, unlimited messaging with one 30-minute video session per month, and unlimited messaging with four 30-minute video sessions per month. Calmerry allows you to pay weekly or monthly for your services. The payment tiers are:
Now, it's important to note that some competitors offer similar prices for longer session lengths; however, the unlimited messaging allows you to get mental health assistance as often as you need, just without the face-to-face discussion.
Quality at Calmerry
Calmerry's network of mental health professionals is complete with fully-certified counselors with specializations in different mental health concerns. Calmerry's therapists utilize evidence-based methods of psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy. With the matching system on Calmerry's site, your answers to the intake questionnaire help Calmerry to connect you to a counselor best suited to your needs. Calmerry does not offer any psychiatry or medication through the program.
Check out the blog
On top of their therapists, Calmerry also hosts a modernized blog with lots of tips and tricks for your mental health that are up to date and offer unique perspectives on different problems. So, if you're feeling a little stressed between sessions, you have access to their supporting materials as well.
Promoting calm across a variety of issues
If you're looking to get into the deep dark stuff, Calmerry is a great place to start. They cover a variety of issues including some of the more troublesome mental health concerns like:
Finding the right match takes time
However, some reviewers felt that their therapist was not assigned through anything other than time zone and availability, and that their needs weren't met by the first therapist they were matched with. So, it might take a little digging to get to the issues you're hoping to solve with Calmerry.
Trial and error = mixed feedback
Reviewers agree that Calmerry is a 4-4.5 star business. Most clients express their happiness with the program and their therapist's willingness to help with individual issues. However, some of the lower-scored reviews mentioned frustration with the matching program. Especially since Calmerry is a newer platform, users noted that it was sometimes hard to find a therapist in their area who covered the exact concerns that the user was hoping to discuss.
Calmerry doesn't rock the boat
There are a lot of great features with Calmerry like their blog and their competitive prices. Calmerry is a good option for someone looking for a low-cost introduction to online therapy. However, if you want regular live sessions, the price at Calmerry goes up quickly. It's a good beginner option if you just want to chat with a therapist through messaging and don't mind missing out on regular face-to-face interactions.
Founded in 2009, Online-Therapy utilizes the theories of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) through an online platform. Rather than meeting with a counselor through virtual sessions, however, this service focuses primarily on self-guided therapy.
Online-Therapy offers services that are divided into 8 separate sections. The sections each include all of the information and tools for a style of therapy that is more self-guided than other options. There are video guides, audio lessons, or text segments for you to follow along with. You also gain access to a daily journal, an activity plan, yoga and meditation videos, and tests to help track your mental health progress. Subscriptions will also include daily contact with a therapist via text messaging and may include at least one 45-minute live session depending on which of the subscription tiers you choose.
Tiered therapeutic approach
Online-Therapy has four tiers of monthly subscriptions:
While this isn't the most affordable option on our list, it does stand out for offering couples therapy, and they frequently offer sales. For example, when you first load the site page, you may be offered a 20% discount for your first month with Online-Therapy.
If you check the "about us" page, you'll see a long list of vetted and promoted therapists offered at Online-Therapy. Each therapist has an extensive bio that includes their education and degree level, their work experience, and what kind of approach they take to therapy. This page even offers reviews from clients about individual therapists, so you can get a clear idea of how people feel their sessions went with each option. Given the number of Ph.D.-level therapists, the vetting system for Online-Therapy is a good one, providing experienced and educated therapists on their roster.
Get started right away
Using cognitive behavioral therapy, Online-Therapy provides voice, video, or text support for subscribers on an individual and couple basis. Clients also receive the option for unlimited text messaging to talk to their therapist at any time during business hours. One of the other standout features is that Online-Therapy immediately matches you with a therapist. You don't have to wait at all to get started. However, some clients have noted that it is frustrating to be matched instead of having the option to choose a therapist directly.
Covers most areas of concern
Whether you're looking for couples therapy or normal individual sessions, Online-Therapy offers a host of therapy topics. With 36 listed topics, they cover most of the major areas of concern. These include:
It's important to note that they don't offer any therapy to customers under 18, and they do not prescribe any medication.
As you might expect, all of the reviews for Online-Therapy are stellar when you scroll through their site. Reviews outside of their webpage are harder to find. There are some downsides to this online therapy platform. For example, you can't use insurance. You can't choose your own therapist. There are no perspectives other than cognitive behavioral therapy. There is no app for the site, and Online-Therapy's customer service is a bit slow. Finally, this service is not offered in all 50 states, so you may not be able to participate remotely. Still, reviewers who offered positive feedback seemed to agree that the worksheets helped them continue thinking about their mental health throughout the week, that the program and site were easy to figure out, and that the CBT was successful for their needs.
Good price if you go basic, but expensive in higher tiers
If you're looking for a service that offers once-a-week sessions, Online-Therapy offers a lot for its price. Unlimited texting plus all the extras that come with the subscription is a good deal for a competitive price. The worksheets in particular are popular with happy customers. Online-Therapy may especially be a good fit for couples. However, if you're not looking for a self-guided program, you want something with affordable regular video therapy sessions, or you prefer a style that isn't CBT, then Online-Therapy might not be for you.
While many other mental health treatments focus on therapy and discussion-based encounters, Mindbloom takes a unique approach to assuaging sensations of anxiety and depression: Ketamine. Used since the 1960s as an anesthetic, this safe medical-grade medication is known for treating suicidal ideation and depression that has resisted other treatments.
A guided experience
With the Bloombox, an at-home program of ketamine lozenges that are shipped to your door, Mindbloom offers a guided experience with the help of in-house clinicians. You also meet with a guide after your ketamine experience. This therapy is ideal for those who are looking for a "more than therapy" solution to depression or anxiety, but don't want to go on antidepressant medication.
Safety comes first
While psychedelics might seem experimental to some, Mindbloom offers real science and a board of medical experts to ensure your safety during your Mindbloom experience. On top of pre-treatment screening to ensure Mindbloom is right for you, Mindbloom also requires a "peer treatment monitor" in your home to keep track of your experience while you are taking the lozenge. They also provide customers with a blood pressure monitor to use with their Bloombox as ketamine can be known to increase blood pressure. Once you've completed your first treatment, you must meet with your clinician to discuss the experience and see if you should continue with the ketamine treatment from there. You'll have to get the clinician's approval in order to receive the next doses for the following treatments (usually after 10 days).
Pricing your ketamine experience
Mindbloom's approach is medically sound and utilizes the best technology for delivering ketamine into your system. Instead of the intravenous method, which is also popular but can cause sudden spikes in ketamine distribution, the lozenge method allows the ketamine to be absorbed smoothly into the body. This offers the best possible experience with the dosage. Mindbloom's care model is designed to be financially accessible at $89 per week for a three-month program.
So what does the process look like? Your Mindbloom experience starts with meeting with a clinician to determine if you are eligible. The clinician will review your health history to make sure you're able to take the treatment safely, and if you aren't a fit, you will receive a full refund. Then Mindbloom sends the Bloombox to your home, which includes ketamine lozenges, an eye mask, a journal, a pen, and a blood pressure monitor. The lozenges can range from 200 to 300 mg depending on your prescription.
Check in when you're done
Then, you begin your experience. Mindbloom recommends preparing a space, like a bed or a sofa, and relaxing with the provided eye mask. The ketamine is taken by mouth and set under your tongue to dissolve. It should last about 1 hour, and Mindbloom provides music to help you get "in the zone." Once you're finished you have another meeting with your clinician to check in, discuss your experience, and plan your "intentions" for the treatment. You can use the Mindbloom app to schedule with your clinician or plan experiences and the Mindbloom team is available 24/7 to assist you.
Mindbloom relief is real
Mindbloom promises an 89% success rate with improved symptoms of depression and anxiety after only four sessions. They've also completed studies that showed ketamine was more effective than psychotherapy, antidepressants, and intravenous ketamine due to the mix of ketamine "slow release" and the counseling included in the Mindbloom program. Reviewers noted that they felt like they'd felt happiness for the first time in years and that they'd found feelings of "peace" that had been missing.
A unique approach but might not be for everyone
For the traditional therapy seeker, Mindbloom seems a little out there. But if you've tried cognitive behavioral therapy and seeing a counselor, and still feel like you're not getting what you need to relieve your depression or anxiety, Mindbloom might be an alternative option worth a try. If you're not interested in traditional prescription antidepressants, ketamine lozenges are legal, medically recommended, and come with a host of safety protocols at Mindbloom. At $89 per week, it can be a little more expensive than traditional therapy on a month-to-month basis. But if you're looking for a nontraditional approach to anxiety and depression, Mindbloom has proven to be a unique and effective option.
Founded in 2017, MyWellbeing is designed to make the already difficult process of therapy easier for you to manage. Functioning as a database-style site, MyWellbeing's service is free to set you up with mental health professionals who match your needs. Every match comes with a free phone consultation to decide if the practitioner is the right mental health professional for you. If you want to get an idea of what's out there in remote therapy, MyWellbeing is a good place to start.
Free to search
As we said, MyWellbeing is completely free. You're not charged anything to search the database, find a match, and complete free phone calls with potential therapists. However, once you select a therapist you will start paying their fees.
Cost of your wellbeing can vary
MyWellbeing partners with their mental health professionals to provide a "pre-negotiated" fee for services which they promise can be as low as 70% less than going outside of MyWellbeing. The prices aren't listed on the profiles, just dollar symbols to give you an idea of how expensive a session might be. However, MyWellbeing notes that most sessions average from $100 to $300 each. It is possible to use your insurance with practitioners on MyWellbeing, and this service also partners with community clinics and institutes where fees are much lower (around $35 per session), and insurance is usually accepted.
Providers may not be available where you live
MyWellbeing offers providers in only 6 states. While there are remote options, there can be problems with providers seeing someone from another state due to licensing requirements. This means that MyWellbeing may not be able to service customers in person outside of the six states listed on their site: California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Easy-to-understand therapist profiles
Since MyWellbeing is more like a database site, they provide a comprehensive list of different types of mental health professionals. Their profiles list their specialties, level of education, and whether or not they offer remote sessions.
What parts of your well-being do they cover?
MyWellbeing offers one of the widest variety of therapy types on our list. Since they are database-style, this makes perfect sense for their business model. In fact, there are 52 individual therapy styles available on their site. Some of their options include:
The jury is out on MyWellbeing
While a lot of their offerings look great, they simply don't have enough reviews to offer a clear perspective on customer satisfaction. With only three video reviews on the MyWellbeing site and nothing from the BBB, we can only go off of what the site promises. Since the site is completely free, it might be worth it to explore some of the therapy options in your area. Just keep in mind that if you don't live in some of the areas listed, even remote therapy might not be an option for you here.
Talkspace is a frontrunner in telehealth therapy. As one of the largest telehealth providers out there, they have a massive cohort of mental health professionals available. With programs that serve individuals, couples, and teens, and that offer prescriptions, this membership-based platform is one of the most robust out there. With several membership types, Talkspace seems to be the best option - until you start digging a little deeper.
Prices are high for what they offer
While a lot of Talkspace's platform sounds amazing, the price is where it really starts to differentiate from the competition. Talkspace's subscription plans range from $276 to $516 per month. However, if you want to use their psychiatry option, this isn't part of any subscription and will be charged per session. Talkspace does accept insurance, so the final price you pay might be less than what is shown on the initial estimate.
5 membership options
The 5 memberships options include:
The psychiatry option, which is billed separately costs $249 for the initial evaluation and $125 for additional sessions. Teens have access to the first three memberships with parental consent.
Extra attention to credentials
All of the therapists at Talkspace are required to have at least one of the following: a license for a clinical social worker (LCSW), a license for a marriage and family therapist (LMFT), a license for professional clinical counseling (LPCC), or a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. All Talkspace therapists have completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of clinical experience and are authorized to work only in the state where they hold their licenses.
Features depend on the package you select
Depending on which subscription you choose, you will have access to unlimited text messaging with your therapist, video sessions, and audio messages. Packages that include live video sessions provide four 45-minute sessions each month. In the couples therapy packages, you get unlimited texting and four 30-minute video sessions per month. And with the psychiatry sessions, you are able to get medication management assistance and focus on helping you get your prescriptions.
Full range of therapy styles
Talkspace therapists can focus on a variety of topics in sessions, including, but not limited to: addiction, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, grief and trauma, mood disorders, PTSD, and LGBTQ+ issues. In terms of methodology, Talkspace therapists have a variety of approaches to therapy including:
Shockingly bad reviews
For a frontrunner program, the reviews for Talkspace are shockingly bad. Averaging one star on both Trustpilot and BBB, Talkspace isn't popular with customers. Reviewers agree that the customer service at Talkspace leaves a lot to be desired. Many customers felt "scammed" by charges for services they didn't receive. Other customers found it difficult to change therapists when they didn't feel like the match was right. Some found the cancellation process either unsuccessful or very difficult to complete without getting charged again. Without a single 5-star review on either site, it's hard to recommend Talkspace.
Sounds great, but doesn't stack up for customers
Despite being a well-advertised option, Talkspace doesn't stack up when we look at customer satisfaction. With their high prices, you'd imagine they'd take customer service more seriously, but the reviews say otherwise. Despite having a great roster of mental health professionals and therapy styles on paper, they aren't delivering what they promise to their customers. So, while Talkspace offers a few extras like teen counseling, it's nowhere near our favorite resource for online therapy.
Brightside Health is a service for online therapy and medication management. In business for 5 years, the site is targeted toward adults with depression or anxiety. Brightside primarily utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address depression and anxiety concerns. Brightside is a monthly subscription service that also offers a medication plan for adults looking for more than just counseling from their mental health service.
Brightside offers a therapy plan and a medication plan. The therapy plan includes four 30-minute video sessions per month. This also includes unlimited private messaging with your therapist. This basic plan costs $299 per month. If you need additional video sessions, they are available for purchase at $59 per session. The separate Medication Plan costs $95 per month, and you still have to pay for the prescription itself either with your insurance co-pay or in full if you don't have insurance. Altogether, Brightside's therapy and medication services cost $349 per month. However, their program is covered by some insurance companies.
Provider network of professionals
Brightside offers what they call a "provider network" which includes psychiatrists, physicians, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and therapists. All of the experienced professionals with Brightside's network have graduated from US medical schools and have current licenses. Brightside also hosts a clinical advisory board that evaluates the professionals and cases at Brightside Health. These board members graduated from top institutions both in the US and overseas.
Brightside's online therapy options are available across the US to adults only. The program's therapy sessions are geared toward individuals who may be experiencing or suffering from:
And, if you take part in their medication program, you can also receive medication for these concerns if your therapist and you believe it will be beneficial.
Some patients are excluded here
However, Brightside will not be a good fit for individuals who fit the following criteria. They recommend seeing a Primary Care doctor if you have:
While a lot of their practices sound good at face value, the clients are saying something different. Brightside Health received a "D-" score at the Better Business Bureau and is not accredited by the BBB. The reviews for Brightside average 1-star ratings and customers agree that Brightside Health is overpriced with unreliable service.
Some reviewers complained about being dropped from the prescription program with no warning, or that the company "holds medication hostage" so that customers don't have access to their meds without seeing a primary care doctor. Further, the short sessions (30 minutes) seem even shorter in practice with some customers complaining about only getting 20 or even 15 minutes of screen time with their therapist. In general, customers don't have many nice things to say about Brightside Health
Not so bright future at Brightside
We're wary of such a large discrepancy in promise vs. delivery. Such overhyped promises set a level of expectation that, quite frankly, Brightside fails to meet. All of this makes Brightside Health a not-so-bright option for your mental health journey.
Telehealth and online therapy have become popular options. Nearly four in ten Americans (38%) have used telehealth services to meet with a medical or mental health professional, up from 31% in previous years. The majority of those who use telehealth or online therapy now started after the pandemic. Most patients are using telehealth through a video format (69%), while 38% have used phone calls only.
While many originally believed that telehealth and online therapy were lower-quality services compared to in-person treatment, the opinion on telehealth has increased by 40% since 2021. The National Center for Health Research found that online therapy is effective for treating trauma, anxiety, and depression. So, no matter what you need from your online session, you can be assured that you're getting the same treatment as an in-person session.
So, how do you choose the best online therapy provider for your needs? There are a lot of factors to consider. If you're not sure where to start your journey, here are a few things to help you decide:
To help you find the right kind of online therapy for you, Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked today's most popular providers across the US. We hope these will make it easy to start prioritizing your mental health in the best way for your needs.
Select any 2 Online Therapy Services to compare them head to head
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