Here at BestOnlineTherapy.com, we research, review, compare and analyze online therapy options and plans to help you find the best online therapy site in 2022. Our aim? To help you understand what online counseling entails, what are the different methodologies, which are the largest and best-known online therapy platforms, and how to decide which is the best online therapy for you (tip: the one that keeps you safe and anonymous if you wish to, while getting an excellent service, with a reasonably good price).
Counseling is already widely accepted, and seen as something almost every individual could benefit from, but virtual therapy is still a relatively new trend in spite of its tremendous growth of online therapy platforms, and telemedicine in general, over the past 2 years.
Above , you can find a basic comparison of our choice of the best online therapy platforms – BetterHelp, Talkspace and Calmerry. These are the 3 largest online therapy sites in the world today who boast the highest number of registered customers and most diverse treatment options, but that does not go to say that a prospective customer in the online therapy space should stick with these options.
View our head to head of the top 2 best rated therapy sites globally here: BetterHelp vs TalkSpace.
As our name suggests – Best Online Therapy is a website dedicated to covering the online therapy field as a whole, and we intend to research every online therapy site which is available to American clients. Our team of experts spend countless hours trying to find the best possible virtual counseling services and plans out there, and our reviews should reflect that in a holistic way.
We fully understand the great responsibility we take by covering mental health related topics 🙏, and so we work as hard as we can not only to present you with the most options to choose from 🙏, but make sure you get accurate information to pick the right online therapy platform for you 🙏. We always remember that while price might be a major factor, safety and proper care are just as important.
If you want to better understand how we review and rate each of these therapy service providers, you can do so by reading further down this page or by visiting our page showing all the online therapy reviews we have on our site.
Keep in mind, just because a company is smaller, or has a lower overall rating, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad choice – some of these sites just specialize in very specific services. So, it might not be the best overall, but still be the right pick for you. If you haven’t found anything you like in the table above, here are a few more options for you to consider:
Our aim is to provide a fair comparison and overview of the online therapy field. We take great care in writing our reviews – there are many options out there, but of course not all of them are good. With online therapy being such a new field, it can be hard to find the best counseling websites, or even just the ones who meet your specific needs and expectations.
Here, you will only find regulated, reputable and HIPAA compliant sites and therapy apps. We employ a team of experts who research, review and compare these online therapy sites on a regular basis. Not only do we keep in direct touch with these companies, but we also conduct surprise anonymous inspections, and never recommend a service we haven’t actually used ourselves first.
Our goal is to constantly tweak and update the information presented here, so you can always be sure you get the full list of best online therapy sites. We base our ratings not only on our own independent inspections, but also from information we gather online, as well as feedback we get directly from our readers.
While there’s no doubt virtually anyone can benefit from counseling, online therapy is still quite different from your traditional face to face session with a psychologist. It is much less formal and not as committal – which makes it easier to start and gives the patient more control over the way it is conducted.
Numerous studies show online therapy can be just as effective as face to face sessions, provided you are aware of the limitations the medium has and manage your expectations correctly. It can be a powerful tool if your plan is to get help with managing day to day life and find yourself needing support while dealing with negative patterns.
The most effective form of online therapy is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), which really benefits from the way virtual therapy is designed. Being able to be in constant communication with your counselor can really help with mitigating the effect negative thoughts and symptoms have on your mental health.
For that reason, online counseling is usually recommended for dealing with mental issues such as depression, anxiety or stress. It is equally effective in dealing with eating or sleeping disorders, or other behavioral issues such as OCD or ADHD. So for example, someone who’s experienced trauma in their past can find relief through an online app and get constant support while dealing with their daily struggles of healing.
That said, you can’t go into online therapy expecting it will solve all your underlying issues and conflicts.
With the PTSD example – online counseling can help you stabilize your condition or help with specific symptoms, but it’s not the ideal way to process past events and move forward. At some point, once you feel ready and strong enough, you’ll have to consider diving a bit deeper by combining app-based CBT treatments with some form of psychodynamic therapy or even psychoanalysis.
Please note – for that reason, online therapy is also not recommended for people who are dealing with severe mental health issues or facing an immediate emergency situation. In such cases, you should see a psychiatrist in person as soon as possible. Once you have been diagnosed and your condition becomes a bit more stable – you can begin getting help online.
Many online therapy sites also offer psychiatric treatment and medical prescriptions. A site such as Brightside offers just that – and can be a great place to start if you feel CBT alone won’t do the trick for you. If you want to combine online and live therapy, you can check out our Sondermind review or this article on how to find the best counseling near you.
While this varies somewhat between therapy sites, the core process is usually the same. After you sign up to the virtual therapy app, you either get matched with a counselor or select one yourself. Then, you send a request to them to book a virtual therapy session, along with your preferred date and time.
Virtual therapists usually respond within a day or two and either accept your booking, or suggest an alternative date if they’re already fully booked. When you sign up to the service, you’ll be asked to fill out a short questionnaire, and your therapist will have a chance to look at it before you meet. They’ll be able to already come prepared for the meeting, and dive right into whatever it is that’s bothering you.
Most sites allow the user to choose between phone or video counseling for their live sessions, but some apps only support the latter. Similarly, most apps offer subscription plans which include 1 weekly session (usually between 40 and 50 minutes long) – but there are some virtual therapy platforms that allow patients more flexibility with that as well.
Almost all of therapy sites we review have a mobile app as well, and you get access to the same therapy services and features as the desktop version. That said, in some cases the therapy app is outdated, and some online therapy platforms don’t even have one. If being able to access virtual therapy through your mobile phone is a priority then we recommend picking one the bigger companies such as BetterHelp or Talkspace. The only smaller therapy site with an excellent mobile app is Online-Therapy.com.
Virtual therapy is widely considered the most effective form of mental health treatment online. Multiple studies have shown it can also be just as effective as in-person counseling. While the differences between these two can be somewhat obvious, they are not as significant as many people seem to believe.
The main advantage of visiting your therapist in their office is that there’s simply no replacement for the level of intimacy and chemistry you’ll be able to develop – not to mention these will happen much faster. Even though many people feel perfectly comfortable communicating remotely – human interaction is inevitably altered when conducted in the virtual space.
On the other hand, the advantages of online counseling are also real. It not only saves you time and money (costing roughly half the price), but also lets you get accessible help whenever you need it. Another important thing is by using virtual counseling services, you get access to tens of thousands of potential therapists you can choose from – and are not limited to a handful of psychologists operating in your immediate area.
Many of our readers are concerned about the quality of service online, especially when it comes to the therapist’s credentials and background. There’s no doubt this is a legitimate concern, which is exacerbated by the fact many virtual therapy apps don’t allow you to view your potential counselor’s profile or background, and some don’t even let you choose the therapist yourself.
Luckily, all of our virtual therapy reviews focus heavily on that area and allow you to get a full grasp of what each platform is all about, what’s the level of the therapists working there, and how their screening process works.
Ultimately, the level of therapy you can expect to find on these sites isn’t a whole lot different than what you’ll find in the “real world”. In fact, there’s a big chance you’ll find the same therapists working both in their clinic and virtually through one of these platforms. Same as picking a therapist for a face-to-face session, picking the right virtual therapist requires some research and preparation.
All therapists who conduct virtual sessions are fully licensed and vetted by their state board. Depending on the platform, and your preferences, you’ll get access to a wide variety of professionals – ranging from coaches and social workers, counselors holding a Masters degree, and of course licensed psychologists and psychiatrists with a PhD in their respective field.
Same as finding a psychologist for a live session, booking a remote session with a therapist is never a simple decision. Even once you have read our reviews and made up your mind as to which site is the best choice for your needs, still you must understand this is just the beginning of the process.
Successful online therapy is just like any counseling service you do face to face – it requires choosing the right therapist. Personal chemistry is obviously something you can’t predict – so if it doesn’t work out the first time, don’t despair! There are a lot of top rated, licensed therapists on all the sites we review, and surely there’s one out there who can help you.
We of course make every possible effort to make the decision easier for you, and increase your chances of finding the right “match” as soon as possible. To maximize your chances of doing so, we have prepared a few easy steps that can help you figure out your priorities and make sure you don’t waste valuable money, time and effort.
The first step for a successful treatment is identifying and setting up realistic goals. If you are simply interested in self growth and someone to talk to, then you’re more likely to prefer the top rated, popular online counseling services featured above.
If, however, you need help with something more specific, then some of the smaller sites might be a better fit. There are excellent sites out there that focus on treating various common issues many of us deal with – such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or addiction.
There are also sites who feature more therapists who specialize in different types of therapy – be it private sessions, marriage counseling, family therapy, relationship therapy, counseling for teens o