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Best Text Therapy Services in 2024

Medically Reviewed and Edited by 
Olga Kyrychenko, Psychologist

Text therapy allows patients access to mental health providers through messages or live chat. Performed in a private live chat on your preferred online therapy platform, interactions can be either synchronous (real time back and forth) or asynchronous (similar to sending an SMS or email). 

While text based therapy shows promising results in treating specific mental health issues, it still might not be ideal for everyone. The benefits in terms of cost and convenience are clear, as well as the opportunity to receive more immediate help. That said, text-based therapy also has some very clear drawbacks.

Top Text Therapy Platforms

Best Overall
Betterhelp review
Editorial Rating
98.0%
Pricing

$60-$90 Per Week

Promo

20% Off First Month

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Pros
  • Safe, unlimited asynchronous messages
  • Excellent customer service and easy to use platform
  • Affordable price and financial aid programs
Cons
  • Only one pricing plan
  • Doesn’t work with insurance, Medicare or Medicaid
Best With Insurance
talkspace review
Editorial Rating
97.2%
Pricing

$69 - $109 Per Week

Promo

$80 discount on the first month

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Pros
  • Guaranteed response time 5 days a week
  • Unlimited messaging and live sessions with some plans
  • Excellent customer service
  • One week free trial
Cons
  • Getting matched with a therapist can take a few days
  • No live sessions included in the basic plan
Best Affordable Text Therapy
Online-Therapy.com Review
Editorial Rating
94.3%
Pricing

$39.99 - $80 Per Week

Promo

20% off for the first month

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Pros
  • Includes unlimited text messaging
  • Excellent software and mobile app
  • Reputable well known company
  • Very affordable prices
Cons
  • Very few therapists on the platform
  • Live sessions are only 30 minutes long
Best For Couples
ReGain review
Editorial Rating
92.8%
Pricing

$60- $80 Per Week

Promo

10% off for the first month

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Pros
  • Safe to use, operated by Betterhelp
  • Therapists are always available on chat and reply often
  • Only one person has to sign up
  • Best prices for couples therapy
Cons
  • No option for 3-way live sessions, you have to be in the same room with your partner
  • No way to text the therapists without your partner reading it
Editorial Rating
92%
Pricing

$60- $80 Per Week

Promo

No Available Promo

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Pros
  • Safe to use, operated by Betterhelp
  • Therapists are always available on chat and reply often
  • Support for both teens and parents
  • Best prices for teen focused therapy
Cons
  • No free trial
  • Doesn’t accept insurance, Medicare or Medicaid

BetterHelp - Our Pick For Best Text Therapy Platform

BetterHelp is the largest provider of online therapy services and offers professional and personalized support in a wide range of forms, including text therapy. You’ll be matched with a therapist within 48 hours and can start getting support for a variety of concerns, including life’s challenges, stressful situations, relationship and family conflicts, but also specific issues like anxiety, depression, or grief.

BetterHelp offers a monthly subscription that includes voice, chat and video sessions. The cost ranges from $240 to $360 per month, depending on location, preferences, and therapist availability.

Although it’s not covered by insurance, BetterHelp stands out as one of the few platforms providing continuous financial assistance to eligible individuals.

Talkspace - Best With Insurance

Talkspace is an online therapy platform that offers support for individuals, couples and teens. Therapists on the site specialize in a wide range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress, to parenting, relationships and LGBTQIA+ topics.

With their Unlimited Messaging Therapy service, you can get matched and connect with a trained therapist. For $376 per month, you can send unlimited asynchronous messages at any time via text, and a monthly video or voice session. The platform guarantees daily responses five days a week. If you’re also interested in live chat rooms, this feature is only available on their Video and messaging therapy plan for $440per month.

Talkspace is one of the few platforms that accepts insurance for text therapy. Some insurance plans will even cover up to 100% of monthly plan costs. For more information, read our guide on the best online therapy platforms that take insurance.

Online-Therapy.com - Most Affordable Text Therapy​

Online-therapy is an online therapy platform entirely based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Their approach has been proven to successfully help with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. They also offer couple therapy for relationships and parenting issues. Their attractive packages makes them one of the most affordable online therapy platforms.

They offer three subscription levels:

  • The Basic Plan allows you, for $160 a month, to send unlimited texts to your assigned therapist on weekdays. It also includes worksheets, virtual journaling, an activity plan, yoga & meditation videos, and an eight-section CBT program, which makes Online-Therapy.com an ideal choice for self-motivated individuals
  • The Standard Plan costs $320 a month and includes everything in the basic plan plus a weekly online session conducted via video, voice or text.
  • The Premium Plan costs $440 a month and grants you 2 weekly online sessions.

Online-Therapy.com doesn’t accept any form of insurance. However, they provide itemized receipts, which you can use to request a reimbursement for their services to your insurance company. Reach out to your provider to know if they will cover online therapy.

ReGain - Best For Couples

Regain is an online therapy platform focused on relationship counseling and couples therapy. It allows you to access therapy as an individual or a couple and it provides professional counseling delivered by licensed and accredited psychologists and marriage therapists.

The cost of the subscription ranges from $60 to $90 per week, based on your location, preferences, and therapist availability. Once you and/or your partner are matched with a therapist, you can join a 24/7 therapy room, which you can use to send unlimited messages, complete worksheets, or schedule lives sessions via phone calls, video or chat rooms.

ReGain doesn’t accept insurance. However, it provides ongoing financial aid for eligible individuals.

Teen Counseling - Best For Teenagers

Teen Counseling is an online therapy platform specialized in mental health care for teens from ages 13-19. It’s designed to connect teens and their guardians and therapists with sessions available by text, phone and video. Therapists are accredited mental health professionals who are qualified to provide support for a range of issues, such as depression, anxiety, self-esteem or trauma.

Once you’re matched to a therapist, both the teen and the guardian will receive a separate therapy room to communicate with the therapist at any time. Each room is private and you can’t read each other’s messages to the therapist. As a teen, you can additionally schedule a live session, typically for 30 to 45 minutes, which your parents can’t join.

The cost of the service ranges between $60 and $90 per week, based on your location, preferences and therapist availability, and it includes unlimited messages in therapy rooms, as well as four live sessions per month. The platform doesn’t provide insurance coverage.

How to Choose The Best Text Therapy Service

Choosing the right text therapy app requires some consideration of individual needs. It’s important to take the time to choose the right platform, as the effectiveness of the therapy is primarily based on the choice you make. For a more efficient decision-making process, consider the following factors:

  • Specific concern: What are you looking to address with text therapy? Take note whether the platform caters to your specific mental health concerns.
  • Specialization: Every platform focuses on different approaches, offering therapy sessions with various professionals. Are you interested to work with a licensed therapist? Or do you prefer peer support?
  • Therapists: Most platforms will automatically assign you a therapist after completing a survey or questionnaire. Are you comfortable with that? Or do you prefer being able to choose your own mental health provider to work with? Also, consider how easily the platform allows you to switch therapist if you’re not satisfied.
  • Therapy: Text therapy allows you to connect with a therapist in an asynchronous way, which implies that the message exchange is not live and you might have to wait for a response. Is this approach enough for you? If you prefer a live chat, choose a provider that offers live one-on-one chats.
  • Cost: Look for a platform that offer services aligning with your budget. Also consider apps that offer free trials or discounts.
  • Insurance: Consider platforms that accept accepts insurance.

Is Text Based Therapy Effective?

While studies on the effectiveness of text therapy are still ongoing, text therapy can be helpful in dealing with relationship issues, life challenges and mild stress.

Recent studies though, suggest that it can be also effective for milder anxiety and depression. In particular, a 2020 study has shown how people, after 12 weeks of text therapy, experienced a reduction of anxiety or depression symptoms and, in some cases, even experienced remission.

Additionally, a 2022 study suggest that text-base therapy may be helpful in the reduction of suicidal and self-harm thoughts.

Even though further research is needed to verify with certainty which mental health conditions this therapy can better help with, an increasing number of studies suggest that people dealing with severe mental illness may benefit with this kind of therapy. However, text therapy can’t alone represent a solution. It always works best in conjunction with other forms of talk therapy.

How Does Text Therapy Work?

Unlike traditional in-person sessions, text therapy is a totally flexible way to access mental health care, as you can get support at your own pace, without the need to set appointments or follow scheduled sessions.

When starting with text therapy, you’ll be typically asked to answer a few questions about yourself, including providing details about your therapy history and any mental health diagnoses you may have received. This allows the service to match you with the right therapist and to offer the support you need.

Once you’re paired with a therapist, you can message them anytime. Because it’s an asynchronous chat, they will respond as their schedule allows them, usually once or twice a day. Expect the consultation to be like an email exchange, rather than a live conversation.

If you prefer or feel the need to receive more prompt support, most platforms also provide the option of scheduling live text sessions, where you can express your thoughts, feelings, or concerns and receive replies in real time.

In between messages or chat sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to explore and reflect on your issues together with your therapist, who will support you offering ways to cope and, if necessary, providing you exercises or worksheets to help with the process.

Like in-person sessions, text therapy operates on the premise of secure and confidential communication between users and licensed therapists, offering a safe space to share personal and intimate thoughts.

Virtual Text Therapy Benefits

While text therapy might not work for everyone, this form of virtual counseling leverages the advantages of written communication, offering some benefits that make it an effective way to get support.

First of all, it could make therapy seem less intimidating, in particular for people with social anxiety or for people who find it easier to express themselves through writing. Writing itself can be a therapeutic practice. Moreover, texting conveys a sense of privacy and anonymity that could make some people more comfortable in sharing personal thoughts and feelings.

On top of that, text therapy is the most accessible and flexible form of therapy. You don’t need to commit to a schedule, or wait to get an appointment. You can reach out to your therapist every time you need, as long as you have a device and a internet connection. The accessibility of text therapy also extends to reaching individuals in remote or underserved areas, providing a valuable resource to those who may face geographical barriers to seeking mental health support.

Disadvantages

First and foremost, it’s important to note that text therapy must not be intended as a replacement for talk therapy, especially for more severe diagnoses. Moreover, it’s not suitable for urgent mental health needs: please rely on a crisis text line or immediately seek emergency help.

Another limitation of text-based therapy might be its impersonality. Therapy, in any form, roots its effectiveness on the basis of a dynamic and relationship-based treatment. Not being able to have a face-to-face conversation with a therapist might make it difficult for you to be encouraged to open up. Additionally, text denies visual cues, like body language and facial reactions, and doesn’t convey voice and tone, all factors that typically help guide the interaction between patient and therapist.

Finally, if it’s true that message-based therapy allows you to text at your own pace, the same holds true for the therapist to respond. Unlike real-time interactions in traditional therapy, where responses are immediate, the asynchronous nature of text therapy implies a trade-off in terms of the immediacy of communication. Delayed responses could not only be frustrating, but also hinder the flow of conversation, affecting the effectiveness of the therapy.

Online Text Therapy - Frequently Asked Questions

Is text-based therapy legit or a scam?

Text therapy is legit. Legitimate platforms, like those mentioned in this guide, connect users with licensed professionals in compliance with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Should you approach another platform, make sure they provide legitimate privacy policies and identity verification.

is text-based therapy covered by insurance?

Text therapy is legit. Legitimate platforms, like those mentioned in this guide, connect users with licensed professionals in compliance with HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Should you approach another platform, make sure they provide legitimate privacy policies and identity verification.

Is there a free option?

UAll the platforms we reviewed offer paid services. Some, however, offer free trials or initial discounts. Legitimate and verified mental health support usually comes with a cost. If you do find a free option online, make sure it’s legitimate and accredited.

What is the difference between text therapy and live chat therapy?

Text therapy involves asynchronous communication, which means users and therapists message at their convenience. Typically you should expect responses once or twice a day, depending on the therapist availability and schedule. Live chat therapy, on the other hand, involves real-time, synchronous communication, offering immediate responses but with less flexibility.

is Text Therapy Right For Me?

Despite research about its effectiveness and applications are still ongoing, text therapy has already made a positive impact in many people’s lives. It offers an extremely convenient and flexible way to access mental health care and could be the ideal option for those who are approaching therapy for the first time and for those who feel intimidated by the idea of therapy.

To better understand if text therapy could be right for you, consider the following factors:

  • You have a busy and irregular schedule and can’t commit to appointments
  • You live in a remote area and you can’t access traditional therapy
  • You don’t feel at ease talking face-to-face with someone else, whether by phone call or video call
  • You have reliable access to the internet
  • You haven’t been diagnosed with severe mental health conditions
  • Your case does not require psychiatry or medication management

In conclusion, text therapy offers a valuable and convenient avenue for immediate support. Even though it doesn’t represent comprehensive solutions for mental health care, some therapy is better than no therapy. Having an accessible and prompt way to start processing your thoughts and feelings can be beneficial. Just remember that text therapy can’t replace talk therapy, especially if you’re facing more severe conditions or serious situations.