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I. The 5 Best Online Counseling Apps of 2021

Talkspace – Best Overall

Talkspace is a popular online counseling app. It provides counseling to patients of all ages and can help with a variety of mood disorders, mental health concerns, and life struggles.  It also accepts insurance, offers affordable pricing, and provides multiple ways for patients to communicate with their counselors (including live video sessions, messaging, and phone).

BetterHelp Best for Variety of Payment Plans

Online therapy is affordable with BetterHelp, and pricing ranges from $60-$80 per week. In addition to this reasonable cost, users can commit to quarterly and yearly payment plans to trim the total cost of their therapy.

LARKR – Best for On-Demand Care

With 24/7 access, this is a great option for patients who want on-demand mental health care. LARKR can be accessed on Android and iOS devices, and users can easily talk with their counselors via video call.

ReGain – Best for Couples

This online counseling app is made especially for those seeking relationship advice. Individuals and/or  couples can use this service, and all counselors are licensed, experienced, and focus on relationship concerns and finding ways to improve relationships..

TeenCounseling – Best for Adolescents

Offering counselors who specialize or focus on adolescent counseling, TeenCounseling is a great choice for adolescents who want to explore therapy. They can feel confident and comfortable knowing that they can have confidential conversations with trusted counselors who understand what they’re going through.

II. How We Chose the Best Online Counseling Apps

We researched each online counseling app company and evaluated features that are most important to individuals who need therapy or mental health help.

Communication Methods

We looked at online counseling apps that provide multiple ways to communicate with counselors. With options to text, voice call, and video call, these apps make it easier for patients to get the support they need. Users can choose the communication method that works best for them so they feel confident and comfortable while receiving counseling services.

Available Therapists

Using online counseling apps gives patients a wider range of trained counselors to choose from and, in some cases, may offer more options than are available in their local area. We prioritized online counseling apps that focus on providing good matches and allow patients to select their preferred counselor. This way, patients find a good fit for their needs and goals and also find a therapist they feel truly comfortable opening up to.

Accessible Care

Many individuals choose online therapy apps because they want convenience and flexibility when getting the help they need. We looked at online counseling apps that offer on-demand access, 24/7 messaging capabilities, and same-day appointment availability. These can help users feel more in control of their therapy experience and allow them to reach out to their counselors when they need them most.

III. Our Top Picks for Online Counseling Apps

Talkspace — Best Overall

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Talkspace is a popular counseling app that has 1 million users. This counseling platform supports a variety of treatment types, including individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, psychiatry, and therapy for adolescents. After answering some questions and filling out basic information, individuals can easily choose a counselor based on recommendations and reviews. Talkspace makes recommendations based on the type of therapy or the situation someone is going through. Talkspace employs various professionals, including individuals with licenses in counseling, marriage and family therapy, social work, and psychology. You will encounter therapists with different licenses such as  LPC, MS, LMHC, LMFT, and LICSW licenses and certificates and Psy.D. and Ph.D. degrees- these different license types mean that each therapist have different levels of education and experience however all have met requirements and expertise to work as a mental health therapist in the state they reside in. Being able to choose a counselor they feel most comfortable with can help patients be more at ease with the idea of therapy. With this app, users can reach out to their counselor 24/7. Users can also communicate with their therapist in whatever way is best for them, including video chat, messaging, or phone. Talkspace accepts insurance, including Cigna, Healthgrades, Humana, and Resources for Living. For those without insurance, Talkspace is affordable. A mix of plans is available, and pricing ranges from $49 to $79 per week, depending on which plan is chosen. Unlimited plans are available for those who need it. This online counseling app solution runs on Android and iOS devices, and Talkspace can also be accessed from a web browser.

Price Appointment Types Accepts Insurance Therapists on Staff
$49-$79 per week Phone Call
Video Call
Text Messaging
Yes LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, or Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

What Patients Are Saying

Patients appreciate the flexibility and convenience that Talkspace provides. One user said, “Talkspace allowed me the flexibility I needed when receiving counseling sessions, when I needed them, and at my pace.” Patients also appreciate that they can get help quickly, without needing to leave their homes. According to one user, “The ability to reach out and receive help instantly and from home was amazing.”

BetterHelp — Best for Variety of Payment Plans

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BetterHelp is an online counseling platform and counseling app that can be accessed via the web or a smartphone. The brand offers affordable, private counseling with licensed therapists and provides support for a variety of concerns such as depression, anxiety, anger issues, relationship problems, and grief. BetterHelp offers counseling support to individuals, couples, and adolescents. This solution is available for Android and iOS phones and can also be accessed via a web browser. Users of BetterHelp can get counseling help and support through video calls, phone calls, or text messaging. BetterHelp offers suggested counselor matches after answering some questions and outlining what kind of support they need. Ultimately, the user is in control of which therapist they decide to use. As for the kind of counselors that are available on this platform, BetterHelp utilizes trained professionals with LPC, MFT, LCSW, Ph.D., and Psy.D. credentials. All counselors are verified and must complete a case study exam and a video interview to be accepted to the platform. BetterHelp offers several plans, and prices generally range from $90 to $120 per month. Users can save money by opting for quarterly or yearly payment plans. This online counseling app does not accept insurance.

Price Appointment Types Accepts Insurance Therapists on Staff
$90-$120 per week (billed monthly) Phone Call
Video Call
Text Messaging
No LPC, MFT, LCSW, Ph.D., Psy.D.

What Patients Are Saying

Patients appreciate how affordable BetterHelp is. One reviewer commented, “Prices are fair (roughly cheaper than most other therapy services).” Users also note that this is a much easier solution because there’s no need to deal with insurance. One reviewer said, “It is easy to use and so much less complicated than working with your healthcare provider.”

LARKR — Best for On-Demand Care

larkr screenshot

LARKR is an on-demand online counseling app that offers support 24/7. Individuals can receive guidance support through video calls on their cell phones, and LARKR is available for Android and iOS devices. This solution uses a matching algorithm to match patients and counselors. If, for some reason, a patient doesn’t like their counselor, they can request a new match. This online counseling app costs $85 per session. Most users commit to two sessions per month, at a total cost of $170 per month. Counselors on this app work with a variety of people, and they can address concerns, including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and relationship problems. Anyone can use LARKR, no matter their age or situation. Since this is a mobile app, LARKR can easily be accessed from home or on the go.

In addition to counseling, LARKR includes other tools and capabilities. Users can keep track of their mood each day and make notes in their journals throughout the month. LARKR also encourages its users to do a good deed daily and provides tips and suggestions on what to do as doing good things for others can help boost their self-worth and their overall mood. They can then track their progress within the app.

Price Appointment Types Accepts Insurance Therapists on Staff
$85 for $50 minutes, $170 per month (two sessions a month) Phone Call
Video Call
Text Messaging
No All LARKR counselors are licensed therapists

What Patients Are Saying

Patients find that by using LARKR, they have more access to the resources and support they need. One reviewer said the following, “This is such an amazing resource, especially living in a somewhat rural area and small town where it’s not always easy to access the services someone needs.” Patients also appreciate the ability to have counseling sessions from the comfort of their homes. One patient noted, “When you aren’t up for making it out of the house to a therapy appt, LARKR is a real lifesaver.”

ReGain — Best for Couples

regain-Screenshot

ReGain is a private, affordable solution available for individuals and couples. It’s aimed at those who are having relationship issues, whether they are married or in some other type of relationship. Couples who choose to use this app together can take part in joint counseling sessions and can also schedule individual counseling. ReGain offers various ways to connect, including video calls, phone calls, and text messaging. Users can use the form of communication they feel most comfortable with, and this can be a great alternative to face-to-face counseling sessions. Patients can feel comfortable when using ReGain because they will be communicating with an experienced, licensed professional at all times. All counselors within the app hold an LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, LPC-S, or LMHC. The therapists also have a focus or strong interest in relationship counseling, making them a great fit for this app. ReGain can be accessed via smartphone or computer, and the mobile app is available for both Android and iOS phones. The price of this counseling service varies. Users can expect to pay $60-$80 per week and are billed every four weeks. This pricing includes unlimited access to a counselor.

Price Appointment Types Accepts Insurance Therapists on Staff
$60-$80 per week Phone Call
Video Call
Text Messaging
No LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, LPC-S, LMHC

What Patients Are Saying

Users of ReGain appreciate the convenience and flexibility that the online therapy app offers. One satisfied patient commented, “ReGain allows you to do just that but without having to worry about appointments or missing work. “ Patients also appreciate that this online counseling app is made specifically for individuals and couples struggling through relationship issues.

TeenCounseling — Best for Adolescents

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TeenCounseling is an online counseling app made with adolescents aged 13-19 in mind. While many other popular counseling apps cater to individuals of all ages, adolescents can get the unique care and attention they deserve by using TeenCounseling. The accredited, professional counselors have experience dealing with a mix of adolescent mental health issues and life concerns. All TeenCounseling counselors hold master’s degrees or doctorates and have the following credentials: LPCC, LCSW, LMFT, or LMHC. When beginning to use the app, adolescents answer a few questions and provide basic information. They’re then matched up to a licensed counselor and can begin therapy. Adolescents can talk privately to their counselor, and they can choose to communicate in whichever way is best for them, including phone calls, video calls, and text messaging. Conversations remain confidential, and parents are only alerted if there’s a serious concern or risk present. TeenCounseling does not accept insurance. Prices vary by area and specific needs, but generally, users can expect to pay $60-$80 per week, and they’re billed monthly. TeenCounseling is a great option for adolescents going through a difficult time, and it can be a worthwhile investment for parents who feel they’re unable to communicate with or help their children.

Price Appointment Types Accepts Insurance Therapists on Staff
$60-$80 per week Phone Call
Video Call
Text Messaging
No LPCC, LCSW, LMFT, LMHC

What Patients Are Saying

Patients appreciate having the ability to fit therapy into their busy lives. One reviewer noted, “The app works seamlessly and the convenience of the service makes therapy so much easier.” Users also find that this is an excellent solution for adolescents, who tend to communicate through their phones. One user said, “It’s easy to navigate, chat with the counselor, and schedule virtual sessions.”

IV. Online Counseling Apps FAQs

What are online counseling apps?

Online therapy apps provide counseling support using electronic devices, like smartphones and tablets. Users can communicate with licensed, trained professionals when they’re going through a hard time, need someone to talk to, or when they need help managing their mental health issues. Online therapy apps are convenient, and they can be used without having to leave the house. Online therapy apps typically include multiple ways to communicate with a therapist, including voice and video calls and texting. These kinds of apps give individuals of all ages a simple way to give therapy a try without having to commit to in-person therapy sessions.

Who is providing online therapy through these apps?

The counselors you will find on these apps are all licensed, trained, and experienced with a variety of different degree types. All of these individuals have either a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in their particular field with training to provide therapeutic support to individuals or couples. They have all been certified by their state’s professional licensing board which requires education, extensive training, and exams. In order to become a qualified therapist most the individuals you will encounter have had roughly 1000 hours of clinical experience as well as around 3 years of experience with clients.

Are online counseling apps effective?

Online therapy apps can be quite useful, and they can be just as effective as traditional therapy options. Since users are communicating with experienced counselors and therapists, just like they would during in-person therapy sessions, they can get the help and support they need to get through any life situation. Many patients prefer online therapy apps because they can fit therapy into their busy schedule, and they may be uncomfortable with the idea of in-person sessions. People who use online therapy apps can feel less stress and can learn how to navigate tough issues better with the help of their therapist.

What are the benefits of online counseling apps?

Many advantages come from using online therapy apps. For starters, users can enjoy more flexibility when making appointments and communicating with their counselor because they can use their mobile device. Online therapy apps can also be more affordable for patients without insurance who cannot afford traditional therapy options. Online therapy apps can also make patients feel more comfortable giving therapy a try because they have more control over choosing a counselor who will be a good fit because of a wider selection at therapists at their fingertips, and they don’t have to deal with the added stress of having to drive to appointments.

How much does it cost to use online counseling apps?

The cost to use online therapy apps varies depending on the capabilities of the app and the number of services that an individual chooses to use. In most cases, individuals can expect to pay at least $60 per month to use an online therapy app. Some apps charge $100 or more per month. Most companies provide discounts if a patient is willing to pay quarterly or annually. Many apps offer unlimited access to a therapist when paying for service, and some online counseling apps accept insurance. In many cases, paying for online counseling apps outright is a lot cheaper than using insurance or having to pay out-of-pocket costs for traditional therapy offerings.

 

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