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The 12 best online therapy services for 2024

May is Mental Health Awareness Month — Talk through your troubles without leaving the house with one of these trusted online therapy services including Thriveworks, Brightside and Circles.

The 12 best online therapy services for 2024

An estimated one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness. Unfortunately, less than half receive treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We all go through rough patches in life, but there's good news: Thanks to online therapy, it's never been easier to connect with someone who will listen and help you through life's highs and lows. Online therapy services have exploded in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic, bridging the treatment gap for those who don't know where to seek help, lack insurance, have busy schedules or live in a therapy desert and have to drive three hours or more for in-person therapy and psychiatry.

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Content concerning mental health is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional medical or health advice. Consult a medical professional for questions about your health. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911, local emergency services, or 988 (the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline).

There are online therapy options for individuals, couples and families, as well as specialized services for LGBTQ individuals and those seeking grief counseling or help with a substance use disorder. You can also look for therapists of a specific race, ethnicity or gender. If you're wondering how online therapy compares to in-person therapy, a 2022 study found that online therapy can be an effective alternative, as did a 2021 study comparing live video therapy to in-person therapy.

To help you better understand what online therapy options are available, we've compiled a list of the 12 top online therapy providers according to our research. We made these selections based on extensive research that included input from mental health professionals, in-house testing and 750 survey respondents who weighed in on both online and in-person therapy services — a whopping 90% of the respondents from the survey Yahoo conducted said they would recommend online therapy to friends and family. I also weighed my personal experience with these services as a clinical social worker. To narrow our search from an original selection of 45 online therapy companies and directories, we looked for affordable therapy services that fit a variety of budgets, accept insurance, provide a wide range of therapy services with a large pool of therapists trained in the top therapy modalities, as well as serve a wide geographic area — therapists must be licensed in your state to provide you services. From individual therapy to couples counseling to the best free therapy out there, we're confident you can find the online mental health support you're looking for on this list.

Cost: $160 – $240 per session | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until the first appointment: Same-day appointments available | States available: District of Columbia and all states except Vermont | Types of therapy offered: Individual, couples, teen, children, family, groups, psychiatry 

It can take a lot of courage and strength to decide to attend therapy. When you decide to get help, you likely will want to get started as soon as possible. Thriveworks offers same-day and next-day appointments in all states except Vermont. Researchers state that access to timely services is a key component of quality health care and Thriveworks meets that criteria.

Thriveworks offers services for individuals, couples, children, teens, families, and groups. It also offers psychiatry with medication management for those who need talk therapy along with medication and psychiatry services. You can expect to get support for a wide range of issues, including anxiety, depression, grief, PTSD, eating disorders, addiction and ADHD. Its therapists are also well-versed in well-known and proven treatment modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Plus, if you decide online therapy isn’t a fit for you, in-person services through Thriveworks are available in many states. Thriveworks also has in-person children's therapy centers in select states.

  • Available in almost all states
  • Accepts insurance
  • Offers same-day appointments
  • Same-day appointment availability is limited
  • Out-of-pocket session fees are high
  • Website can be difficult to navigate
$160-$240 per session at Thriveworks

Cost: $95 to $349 per session | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: Within 24 hours | States available: all 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Individual therapy and psychiatry for adults

Psychiatry services can be cost-prohibitive, with session fees at competitors costing upwards of $300. However, Brightside offers an affordable medication management not only for the insured, its plan for those without insurance or who are underinsured is just $95 for the initial intake appointment. The process is simple and you may be able to book an appointment within 24 hours. You’ll fill out a brief questionnaire on your needs, get matched with a provider, have an intake appointment, monitor your symptoms once you receive your medication, and then have follow-up appointments. The length of the initial intake session isn’t specified, but follow-ups are generally expected to be about 15 minutes. If you’d like more support, you can add on weekly, 30-minute therapy sessions for an additional $254 a month.

  • Accepts insurance
  • Offers appointments as soon as one business day
  • Can access therapy in addition to psychiatry services
  • Only available for adults
  • Psychiatry appointments are brief
  • Controlled substances (i.e. Xanax, Ativan, Adderall, Ritalin) are not available
$95-$349 per session at Brightside

Cost: $17-$33 a month (14-day free trial) | Insurance accepted: N/A | Time until first appointment: Less than 24 hours | States available: All 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Emotional support groups for a wide range of topics including divorce, grief, codependency and depression

Let’s be real: Therapy is expensive. A recent study stated a single session of cognitive behavioral therapy costs more than $100, and if you need weekly sessions, that adds up. Circles is an organization offering free, 24/7 support groups for a wide range of topics. You can expect access to groups led by peers and mental health clinicians that focus on topics like addiction, grief, divorce, depression, anxiety, trauma, codependency and more. While it isn’t necessarily individualized therapy and is instead a series of support groups, you can also access educational seminars to learn actionable tools to help support your mental health goals. We especially love that you can tap in for support, regardless of where you live, what your time zone is or the hour of the day, thanks to groups that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • Free emotional support groups
  • Sessions are available 24/7
  • Easy sign-up process
  • Not considered therapy
  • Some groups are not facilitated by licensed mental health providers
$17-$33 a month (14-day free trial) at Circles

Cost: $109 - $279 per session for out of pocket | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: Varies based on location, provider and service needed | States available: All 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Individual, couples, children, teens, psychiatry

If you are paying for insurance, you’re probably going to want to make use of it. Unfortunately, many mental health providers do not accept insurance, and that can often be the case for online therapy. However, Amwell accepts over 125 different insurance plans, providing a level of accessibility that is nearly unheard of. 

Amwell's therapists and psychiatrists are available to treat a multitude of conditions: anxiety, social anxiety, depression, stress management, LGBTQ counseling, bereavement and grief, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, couples therapy, panic attacks, insomnia and life transitions. The signup process is fairly easy, beginning with which insurance carrier you'll be using. From there you will be able to choose a therapist and the day and time of the appointment, according to the therapist's availability. And if you find that your therapist is not a good match, you can easily switch to a new one. 

The only downfall we found was that your location dictates how many therapists there are to choose from. So while someone in the Los Angeles area has a choice of well over 50 therapists, one of our editors in Kentucky found the selection was fewer than 15. Those in L.A. can get a same-day appointment, while the editor in Kentucky had to wait a little over a week. 

  • Accepts over 125 insurance plans
  • Available in all 50 states
  • No monthly subscription commitment
  • Website can be confusing to navigate
  • Isn’t clear which providers offer couples therapy
  • Wait time until first appointment varies
$109-$279 per session at Amwell

Cost: $30-$70 per session, one-time membership fee of $65 | Insurance accepted: No | Time until first appointment: Varies by provider availability | States available: All 50 states, Canada | Types of therapy offered: Individual, couples, family and group

If you don’t have insurance or have extremely limited coverage, chances are you’re stuck paying at least $100 per therapy session. Open Path Collective is an online therapy directory that remedies this, offering sessions for $30 to $70, which is often how much a copay can cost. The $30 sessions are with student interns, while the more expensive sessions are for couples therapy with a licensed therapist. A major pro is that this directory lists over 23,000 providers throughout the country, and also includes therapists in Canada.

As a therapist myself, I can enthusiastically share that this is an excellent resource — I know many therapy-seekers who have found incredible care through this directory. Furthermore, I personally know seasoned colleagues who offer their services at significantly discounted prices through the directory.

  • Available throughout the US and Canada
  • Low session fees
  • Over 23,000 providers listed on the directory
  • Wait time until first appointment varies based on provider
  • One-time membership fee of $65
$30-$70 per session at Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

Cost: $150-$200 per session | Insurance accepted: No, but reimbursement may be possible | Time until first appointment: 2-6 days | States available: All 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Couples

Ours offers couples therapy for a variety of relationship issues, including premarital counseling, discernment counseling, communication, major life changes, conflict resolution, intimacy and more. Therapy is available in all 50 states from fully licensed mental health providers, all of whom have experience working with couples. Every therapist in the network has specialized training in evidence-based couples therapy techniques, such as the Gottman method and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Therapists are also thoroughly vetted and selected by the clinical care team, so you can be sure you’ll be matched with a high-quality provider.

Although couples can work on any type of relational issue, Ours places a strong emphasis on proactive work and relationship maintenance. Along with therapy, the platform offers free digital tools that couples can use in between sessions, including a weekly reflection exercise, journal prompts and virtual card decks that can facilitate deeper conversation.

Therapy sessions are 50 minutes long and held over video. Insurance isn’t accepted, but depending on your policy, you may be able to get reimbursed. Ours offers the first session for a discounted rate of $50. After that, you can either purchase sessions individually or as part of a package:

Individual sessions – $200 per session

Four session package – $180 per session

Monthly subscription – $150 per session

  • First session is $50
  • Relationship-focused platform
  • Options for monthly subscription or a la carte sessions
  • Cannot choose your own therapist
$50 for the first session; $150-$200 per session after at Ours

Cost: Varies based on therapist | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: Varies based on therapist | States available: All 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Individual, couples, teens, children, family, groups, psychiatry

It’s very common for Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to seek out mental health providers who have a similar identity. Inclusive Therapists makes it a breeze to find culturally sensitive providers, thanks to its expansive directory that prioritizes therapists with diverse identities. The directory provides an array of options to filter the search for a provider. From provider identity, fee and insurance acceptance, to cultural knowledge, spiritual orientation, and specialty, there is truly something for everyone. While we love how expansive the directory is, we have to admit that it can get a bit overwhelming. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to hold multiple consultations with therapists, and be patient. We have no doubt you’ll find your best match.

  • Emphasis on BIPOC and LGBTQ providers
  • Expansive search functions
  • Therapists are vetted before joining the directory
  • Website can be overwhelming
  • It isn’t clear which providers can prescribe medication
Varies at Inclusive Therapists

Cost: $185-$250 per session | Insurance accepted: Only for those in CA, NY and DC | Time until first appointment: 2-3 days | States available: All 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Individual, couples

According to a national survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, LGBTQ adults are significantly more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to non-LGBTQ adults. Gay Therapy Center offers individual and couples therapy from highly qualified, LGBTQ providers. Therapists are all members of the LGBTQ community with an average of 10 years of experience providing therapy services. The therapists also have expertise in treating a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, obsessions, polygamy and more through a variety of modalities, such as psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness-based therapy and affirmative therapy.

Like many other online therapy platforms, Gay Therapy Center matches you with a therapist based on your needs and location. But, unlike most platforms which use an online form and an algorithm to match you, the process is highly personalized. To find your match, you first engage in a free, 15-minute consultation with the company's founder or the client intake coordinator where you discuss your therapy needs and what you’re looking for in a provider Then, once you receive your match, you can schedule your first appointment, which is generally available within 2-3 days.

Therapy is available online in all 50 states and in-person in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Insurance isn't accepted, but if you live in any of those cities, you may be able to receive reimbursement. One downside is that Gay Therapy Center is on the pricier side with sessions ranging between $185-$250.

  • Free 15-minute phone call
  • Highly experienced therapists
  • All therapists are LGBTQ+
  • Can only get insurance reimbursement if you live in CA, NY or Washington D.C.
  • More expensive than other platforms
$185-$250 per session at Gay Therapy Center

Cost: $110-210 per session | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: Not listed | States available: All 50 states | Types of therapy offered: Individual

Prior to 2013, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was classified as an anxiety disorder, but the DSM-V added the diagnosis to a new category: obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Still, anxiety is common in OCD, with up to 75% of those with OCD also experiencing anxiety. 

NOCD is an online therapy platform that focuses exclusively on the treatment of OCD. As such, providers are all licensed therapists specializing in OCD and related conditions, including anxiety and depression. What sets NOCD apart is its comprehensive training program and continuing education. Therapists are trained in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, a research-backed approach that is considered the most effective form of therapy for those with OCD. Therapists are also evaluated before they begin working with clients.

Along with ERP, many providers have specialized training in treatments for PTSD, hoarding disorders and body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as hair pulling and skin picking disorders.

Therapy is available in all 50 states and insurance is accepted. The cost of therapy depends on the session length. A 60-minute live video session is priced at $210 and a 30-minute session is priced at $110. Unlimited messaging is included between sessions.

It’s worth noting that the rates aren't readily available on the website. However, I reached out to the customer care team over email and found them to be incredibly quick to respond. They answered all of my questions in a timely manner and offered additional information. What’s more, they weren’t pushy. Instead of prompting me to sign up for treatment, they simply asked if there was anything else they could help me with, which I appreciated.

  • Available in all 50 states
  • Therapists specialize in treating OCD
  • Free 15-minute call prior to signing up
  • Expensive without insurance
  • Switching providers may be more difficult
$110-210 per session at NOCD

Cost: $15 to $249 per month | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: Varies | States available: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. | Types of therapy offered: Support groups, self-paced courses, individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment

A national survey found that 29.5 million people over the age of 12 struggled with alcohol use disorder in 2022 alone. In a culture that prioritizes bars as gathering places and alcohol as the celebratory drink of choice, it can be extremely hard to reduce your alcohol intake. Thankfully, Monument makes this simple with an inclusive approach to alcohol use disorder treatment. Its affordable $15 monthly membership offers access to a 24/7 support forum, moderated support groups, daily affirmations, and self-guided courses that provide tools and education on alcohol use. Plus, you can add therapy and medication-assisted treatment if you need extra support. While insurance is accepted, out-of-pocket therapy fees range from $149 to $249 per month. Medication-assisted treatment is $100 per appointment.

  • 24/7 community support forum
  • Variety of price points
  • Medication-assisted treatment available
  • Therapy and medication-assisted treatment isn’t available in all states
  • Only focuses on alcohol use disorder
  • Psychiatry offerings are limited — only two medications are available
$14.99-$249 per month at Monument

Cost: $165-$500 per session | Insurance accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: Varies based on provider availability | States available: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. | Types of therapy offered: Children and adolescent therapy, medication management, parent coaching

When one member of the family is facing a challenge, all members of the family face a challege. Little Otter keeps this in mind, offering therapy and medication management for kids ages zero to 14, as well as parent coaching. This combination of services positions Little Otter as our top pick for best online therapy for children.

It’s the parent coaching that makes this service truly stand out. When sending your child to therapy, it’s natural to have concerns. You want to understand the therapy your child is receiving and what you can do to help your child thrive. Little Otter understands this, and the parent coaching sessions provide resources to parents who need some extra help with their little one.

This platform has a unique sign-up process that includes receiving a family mental health assessment. Essentially, you answer a few questions and receive a report summarizing the overall picture of what is happening within your family unit. This alone is of great value — having a picture of your various children, their ages, and what behaviors they’re struggling with can be helpful for gaining perspective.

Once you’ve received your family mental health assessment, you’ll book a 30-minute kickoff session that costs $20 where you’ll receive a customized care plan. Throughout treatment, you’ll utilize the Little Otter app to see your child’s treatment progress. This detail-oriented approach is fantastic and sets the company apart from its competitors. Unfortunately, it has high out-of-pocket fees and only accepts a limited list of insurance providers: Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth and Sana insurance plans.

  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Holistic approach to family well-being
  • Support for parents available
  • No free consultation
  • Accepts only a few insurance plans
  • High out-of-pocket costs
$165-$500 per session at Little Otter

Cost: $69-$109 a week for therapy, billed monthly; $65 for additional sessions | Insurance Accepted: Yes | Time until first appointment: One week | States available: All 50 | Types of Therapy Available: Individual talk therapy, couples therapy, individual teen therapy, medication management for adults

Getting counseling for your teen may feel like an uphill battle, but it's one that may be life-changing or even life-saving, according to a recent CDC report on youth risk behavior. Talkspace understands the immense need for teen therapy and meets your teen where they are — in both treatment modality and location, which is why it's our top pick for online teen counseling. Talkspace's reputation centers on its talk and message-based therapy, which is right up most teens' alley — live video sessions are available as well. Teens can attend their therapy sessions in a live chat room with the therapist or through text messaging or live video sessions, giving them the freedom to take part in the sessions how they want and from wherever they feel comfortable. Best of all, if your teen needs medication in addition to talk therapy, Talkspace allows you to combine talk therapy with medication management appointments all in one place, giving you the flexibility to add or remove medication management from your teen's treatment as you navigate what works best for your family. Appointments are flexible and you can cancel anytime.

  • Insurance accepted
  • No subscription required
  • Appointments available within a week
  • The full cost of services is not disclosed until after sign up
$69-$109 a week for therapy, billed monthly at Talkspace

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm, call or text the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline at 800-950-6264 or call or text 988.

The Trevor Project offers a 24/7 suicide prevention and crisis intervention hotline for LGBTQ youth and their loved ones. Call 1-866-488-7386, text START to 678-678 or send a confidential instant message to a counselor through TrevorChat. More resources are available at

Searching for an online mental health provider can feel overwhelming. Here are some things to keep in mind when making your selection.

  • Fees: Many online therapy providers have a subscription model or may charge fees not covered by insurance and will vary depending on the services you use. Determine what your weekly or monthly budget is for therapy. If you're not sure where to begin, take a look at your monthly expenses and see how much money you can afford to set aside. Divide that number by four to determine how much you can spend on weekly sessions. If you're unable to make space in your budget, check out Circles for free emotional support groups.

  • Type of care needed: Get clear on the support you need. Is it individual counseling? Medication management for your child? A combination of individual and couples counseling to address family challenges? Knowing what you're looking for can help you find the right online mental health provider for your needs.

  • Insurance: The majority of our survey respondents (63%) noted that finding a therapist who accepts their insurance was very important to them. Not all online mental health providers accept health insurance. If that's a deal-breaker, check out Amwell. It accepts over 125 insurance plans and is available in all 50 states. You may also want to check with your Medicare or Medicaid for a list of approved online therapy service providers, if applicable.

  • Therapists available: While some therapy services do not allow you to choose your therapist, some do. If choosing your therapist is important to you, look for services that allow you to select a therapist from a directory where you can search for providers who meet certain criteria, such as gender, cultural background and treatment modality.

  • States available: Not all providers are available in all 50 states. Since each therapist must be licensed to practice in your state, ensure availability before signing up for services.

  • Appointment availability: The second most important factor for our survey respondents when looking for a therapist was the ability to accommodate their busy schedule (21%). During our research, testing and vetting stage, we found that availability can vary greatly from one provider to the next. Some services offered same-day therapy appointments, while others were booked nearly a month out. If a fast appointment is at the top of your priority list, look for providers that offer same-day or same-week appointments.

  • Medication management: Rounding out the top three important factors for our survey respondents when choosing a therapist was the ability to be prescribed medication (18.3%). If medication management is important to you, make sure you choose a provider with psychiatry options, such as Amwell, Brightside or Talkspace.

We extensively researched 45 online therapy companies and directories paying attention to fees, quality of providers, time until the first appointment could be booked, industry reputation, HIPAA compliance, cultural competency and whether the company has experienced a data or information breach (this can also happen offline, as we have seen numerous times with large health care providers). We also surveyed 750 people who had either tried therapy online or in-person to better understand sentiments surrounding online therapy and the personal experiences of those who tried various online providers. As a licensed mental health professional, I used my clinical expertise and extensive experience with online platforms to vet each provider on this list as well. I would feel personally confident to engage each pick.

Online sessions take place on your phone, computer or tablet instead of in a therapist's office. To get started, you'll need to locate an online therapy provider that meets your needs and can provide treatment in your state. Once you have selected a provider, register with the provider to enroll — this process varies by platform or service used. Some platforms allow for a brief consultation call to help you identify and select a potential therapist. Others match you with a therapist based on your answers to a questionnaire. Once you're matched with a therapist, you'll work with the provider or the services care team to establish your first appointment. During the first appointment, your therapist will cover a long list of intake questions to create a treatment plan that includes the best therapy modality, frequency of sessions and treatment goals.

Multiple analyses and clinical studies confirm that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy for a broad range of people and mental health concerns. That said, everyone is different, and in-person therapy may work better for you. But if you're short on time, looking for a more flexible therapy schedule, or feel more comfortable talking about your mental health from the comfort of your home, online therapy can be an effective and accessible option that you may find easier to stick with than in-office sessions.

While we're big fans of online therapy, it may not be the right fit for everyone. Consider the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about the type of therapy to pursue:

  • No need to go into an office — you can get support from the comfort of your own home

  • There are a wide variety of providers and therapy types to choose from

  • It can be as effective as in-person therapy, studies show

  • It's ideal for those who live in a place with limited therapy providers

  • Flexible schedules may make it easier to fit therapy sessions into a busy schedule

  • Free and low-cost options are available

  • Online therapy may not be appropriate for more severe mental health conditions

  • If you're seeking medication management, you may not be able to access the prescription you need

  • There have been documented privacy concerns with some companies — do your research on how your information is being used and protected

  • Maintaining privacy may be tricky for those who live in shared spaces

The cost of online therapy varies based on the service or platform used. Companies on this list range from $0 to $500 per session. Expect the most expensive sessions to be reserved for specialties like medication management or couples therapy. Fees can also shift based on your insurance coverage. Any reputable online therapy provider will give you an accurate cost estimate before starting treatment.

Thanks to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), online therapy must be secure and confidential. This means online therapy services are required to take special care to protect client confidentiality, including all content from therapy sessions and the client's digital data. That said, therapy tech giants including BetterHelp have come under fire and faced fines for sharing sensitive client data with third-party vendors for advertising purposes. Even though BetterHelp was heavily fined and corrected its practices of sharing client information, we left it off our list for this reason. Today, there are privacy protections in place, but it's always best to read the privacy agreements and opt out of third-party information sharing where possible.

The strength of the relationship between therapist and client is a key indicator of treatment success. In other words, the more you connect with your therapist, the more you'll get out of therapy. To choose the best therapist for you, consider what traits or training you want your therapist to have. Do you want a therapist who is a person of color or identifies as queer? Do you have a gender or age preference? Are there any lived experiences you want them to have or specialized therapy methods you want them to perform? Use these preferences to help select your service.

From there, you might be matched with a therapist or have the opportunity to consult with several before making a decision. If you're matched with a therapist you don't connect with, don't be afraid to switch — it's most important that you feel understood. If you consult with a therapist, prepare some questions beforehand and pay attention to how you feel during the call. Should you feel uneasy, end the call and keep looking. There are plenty of options out there: Open Path Collective lists over 23,000 therapists alone.

Yes, an online psychiatrist can prescribe medication. However, the majority of online psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled substances such as Adderall or Xanax due to federal regulations.