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7 Cups Online Therapy Review

Medically Reviewed and Edited by 
Olga Kyrychenko, Psychologist

7 Cups is a unique online therapy site, which is run by volunteers and include a completely free version. This is the only place where you can receive both free and paid therapy

The downside is that no live sessions are available on the 7Cups platform – which reduces the effectiveness of treatment by a lot.

There aren’t plenty of 100% free therapy sites, and 7 Cups is one of the best out there. The issue is, free “therapy” over there is done by non-professionals. I have went through their  “Active Listener” training and found it somewhat inadequate.  

If you are looking for the most affordable therapy solution online – this site might be a good place to start, but if you don’t need to be completely free, there are much better options in the link above or over at our list of therapy sites that take insurance (if that’s an option you have).

This 7 Cups Review will help you figure out whether or not 7Cups is worth your time. Getting the cheapest possible treatment is always appealing, but it should never be your sole consideration. In this review I’ll do my best to explain what i like and don’t like about this site – so you can decide on your own whether it’s worth using or not.

Should I use 7 Cups? ​

Is 7Cups Legit?

7 Cups is a private company operating out of San Mateo, CA. The founder and CEO, Glen Moriarty, is a licensed psychologist turned entrepreneur. His mission is to bring affordable and accessible therapy to every person around the world. The company currently only has 40 employees at their main offices, but is growing at a rapid pace.

7Cups is fully licensed and certified to deal with mental health related issues in the U.S. It is HIPPA compliant and follows the General Data Protection Act. If the numbers the company provides are to be believed, 2 million subscribed users and more than 300,000 volunteers worldwide – this actually makes 7Cups one of the largest online therapy providers in the world. They are 2nd only to BetterHelp who has 3 million users although it is tough to compare a fully commercial company with the 7Cups freemium model).

In case you are curious, the name 7 Cups of tea comes from a famous Chinese poem written around 800 AD by Lu Tong.

7 Cups in Numbers For 2024

Year Founded2013
U.S Based CompanyYes
Number of Licensed TherapistsUnknown
Accepts Insurance?No
HIPAA CompliantYes
Therapy ModesText Only
Available TreatmentsPrivate and Group Counseling
Average PriceFree or $150 a Month
Sign Up TimeLess Than a Minute
Response Time24/7
Mobile AppYes
Customer Reviews82% positive
Our Editorial Rating3 Stars
Current PromotionNone

Top 3 7Cups Alternatives​​

While 7 Cups has a lot of clear upsides, there are also some clear disadvantages to using their services. Specifically, its casual nature might not benefit clients who are looking for a more intense and focused from of therapy. Below you can find the best alternative therapy sites as of now:

BetterHelp - Best Therapy Site

$ 60-90 Per Week
  • More than 33,000 Therapists
  • Our Top Rated Therapy Site
  • Great Platform & Easy To Use
  • Financial Aid Programs

Talkspace - Best With Insurance

$ 69-109 Per Week
  • 2nd Largest Therapy Provider
  • Combine Talk Therapy & Psychiatric Care
  • Best With Insurance
  • $80 Off First Month

Calmerry - Best Affordable Therapy

$ 57-90 Per Week
  • Matched in 24 hours or less
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Affordable Online Therapy Site
  • 30% off First Month

7Cups Rating Breakdown

Overall Rating

Overall Rating - 3 Stars

The best thing about 7Cups is the price. Also, I have found most of the listeners to be very attentive, friendly and kind. That said, we simply can’t give a score higher than this to a therapy site with such limited treatment options.


Price - 5 Stars

If you are looking for someone to listen to you who will let you pour your heart out, here you can do that for free with one of 7Cup’s trained volunteers. You can replace the free volunteer with a licensed therapist and only pay $150 a month. Yes, the therapist will only engage you in chat, but it’s still almost 50% cheaper than the same package over at Talkspace.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options - 2 Stars

The trained volunteers are really great and do their best to provide support, but they are not professional therapists. Even if you opt for the paid version, there’s only so much help you can get by chatting with a psychologist a few times a day.

App and Software

App and Software - 2.5 Stars

7 Cups have a mobile app but it is not very good and has some bugs which make it hard to use. The software on the other hand, runs smoothly and is easy to use. That said, it is all somewhat outdated and lacking in features when compared to other online therapy sites we review.

Customer Service

Customer Service - 4 Stars

Customer support is very good. The site is huge and gets a ton of traffic, so sometimes replies are a bit slow – but still, you can reach them by phone or mail and they are always super friendly and helpful.

Safety and Privacy

Safety and Privacy - 5 Stars

7Cups has been featured on mainstream media, is hipaa compliant and follows strict data safety regulations. You can remain completely anonymous while signing up, as well as when you are chatting with the volunteers. It is as safe as it gets.

How 7Cups Therapy Works

Signing up to 7Cups is really easy and quick. If you only go for the free version, it literally only took me 5 seconds to complete. All i had to do was fill in my email address and choose a password – no other information is required. You can then click the ‘Live Chat with a Listener’ button and get started immediately.

If you click that button, you’ll be redirected to a chat room with Noni – the platform’s automated bot. Noni will ask you a few questions to understand your specific situation, and then proceed to recommend the most suitable available volunteer to help you out. Alternatively, you can click the ‘Browse Listeners’ button to view all profiles and pick one yourself.

I really liked having the option to choose my listener on my own. Being able to view their profiles first, read a bit more about each and see how other users rated them, really improves the chance of finding a good match that can actually help you out. In fact, I liked it so much that I never even bothered with the bot any longer.

If you choose to upgrade to the paid version, you’ll have to provide quite a lot of personal details first. 7Cups wants to know your full name, phone number and complete address. You will then also be asked to provide your payment information as well.

Once payment is complete and you have chosen your preferred therapist, a designated private chat room will be opened for the two of you. You can leave messages over there, and your therapist will read them and reply at least twice a day. Therapists usually reply 5 days a week, but I have found that many of them are much more responsive than the bare minimum guaranteed, which was definitely a pleasant surprise.

That said, I personally find the effectiveness of strictly text based therapy to be limited. The fact that you can’t have live sessions even after you pay is a big issue for me. Talkspace also offers a text only package which costs $30 a week more than 7cup’s, but in return you get a much better platform & app, and thousands of therapists to choose from. If you can also get some insurance coverage (including Medicare and Medicaid) then I personally feel this is very easy choice.

7 Cups Unique Features

Another big difference between 7 Cups and other therapy sites is the social aspect they try to incorporate into the platform. You get badges and perks for making progress on your journey (which normally means just using the site often) and you can also view other profiles and see what they managed to accomplish during their time on 7Cups.

While the badge system is cute, I don’t feel it offers enough substance and value. After all, you didn’t come to a therapy site to compete for milestone achievements with other users right? That said, other social features such as the group chats and the Q&A section can be very useful – they let you interact directly with other people who deal with the same issues you are, which can be very comforting and helpful.

7 Cups Pricing

Free Therapy

$ 0 Per Month
  • Chat With Volunteers
  • Available 24/7 All Days Of The Week
  • You Can Choose Who You Chat With

Paid Therapy

$ 150 Per Month
  • Chat With Licensed Therapists
  • Available 24/7 Five Days A Week
  • Choose Your Own Therapist

Premium Subscription

$ 95
Per Year
  • Paid on Top of Therapy
  • Additional Resources Provided
  • Entirely DIY Focused

All paid subscriptions renew automatically. I had a pretty hard time figuring out how to cancel the auto renewal feature, but was finally able to so by contacting the support team. All i had to do was go to my account setting and cancel the option under “Manage Current Subscriptions”.

7 Cups Therapy Available Treatments

One of the good things about the 7Cups community is its size. There are over 300,000 listeners and 2 million subscribed users – many of which are very active on the Q&A forum, or participate in group chats. This means that no matter the situation you are dealing with, you are extremely likely to find more than one person who can relate and knows what you are going through. Some common issues the site deals with on a regular basis include:

Almost all therapists I encountered on the site specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but there were also a handful offering other forms of treatment such as Psychodynamic therapy or even Psychoanalysis. 

How Do You Become a 7Cups Active Listener?

With more than 300,000 volunteers, you can probably guess the requirements are not very strict. All you have to do is pass a short online training course and then successfully complete an exam. Listeners are then constantly monitored, and their profiles are visible along with user’s reviews – so there is at least some kind of supervision but it is not very strict.

For that reason we strongly advise you to pick your listener on your own. Take some time and scout for the better profiles – it is well worth it. There are quite a few negative reviews online where people complain about the quality of support being given by volunteers – some of them ignore your texts, while others can be judgemental and unsupportive. This is the risk you take when you choose to use a free service – so just be prepared to have a mix of hits and misses.

The paid therapists have a much stricter vetting process of course, and are also monitored much closer. They are all required to present a valid certificate from their state’s board, as well as a minimum of a Masters degree in a relevant mental health field and 1 year of proven clinical experience.

What Our Readers Have To Say About 7 Cups

It's great that you don't have to pay anything, I love it!
John F.
Been using 7Cups on and off for a few years - usually the people i chat with are really nice and show genuine interest.
Alina Nastarenko
It's great if you are bored or stressed and just need someone to talk to. Not really therapy, but helpful anyway.
David Chan

7Cups Review - Frequently Asked Questions

Is 7Cups the best place for online therapy?

7 Cups is the best free therapy site, but not the best overall. While nobody can beat their price, the software is outdated and the quality of treatments vary greatly. Not being able to participate in live sessions is a big downside as well.

Is 7Cups legit and safe to use?

Yes it is. In fact, since it is free it might be the safest - you literally don’t need to give out ANY personal details before you can start using the platform.

Does 7Cups accept insurance?

No they do not. Even if you upgrade to the paid therapy plan, it is not covered by insurance. Your best bet is to check directly with your insurance provider and see if you are eligible for any type of copay or read our article about online therapy with insurance.

How can I pay for 7Cups Of Tea Therapy?

Payments are made through credit card only.

7Cups Review - Final Thoughts

If you are new to the world of virtual therapy and still reluctant to pay for any type of service – then 7 Cups is the perfect place to start. Out of all the free therapy apps out there, 7 Cups is the largest and also the best. It is a great place for people who just need someone who will lend an ear and listen to their worries.

My experiences with 7Cups have been mostly positive. Almost all listeners and therapists I engaged with were friendly and eager to help as much as they possibly can. 

That said, it was sometimes a hit and miss, which is to be expected when dealing with a 100% free service. All in all, I do believe 7Cups is a great place to get a emotional support, and I felt very safe and comfortable while doing so.

With all that in mind, I still do have to question the effectiveness of the platform in helping out people who are dealing with real mental health difficulties. Therapy through chat only is simply not as effective and doesn’t produce positive, long term results. 

I tried my best to showcase all the other issues we found throughout this 7Cups review, but the lack of live sessions alone makes me convinced other therapy sites such as BetterHelp and Talkspace are a much better choice for most people. You can also read our guide for finding the best cheap therapy online, and see how 7 Cups compares to other free or low cost services.

7Cups Logo

Overall rating 81.0%

Updated May 18, 2024
Overall Rating
Treatment Options
App and Software
Customer Service
Safety and Privacy

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