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 (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.
|U.S Based Company||Yes|
|Number of Licensed Therapists||Unknown|
|Therapy Modes||Text Only|
|Available Treatments||Private and Group Counseling|
|Average Price||Free or $150 a Month|
|Sign Up Time||Less Than a Minute|
|Customer Reviews||92% positive|
|Our Editorial Rating||3 Stars|
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:
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 your 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 your 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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.