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I. The 7 Best Free Online Therapy Services of 2021

Online therapy service Why we recommend it Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff Overall rating
eTherapyPro Best overall Per week: Free three-day trial, $40 per week after the trial
  • Chat
  • Video
  • Phone
No Yes Unknown 4.6
CIMHS Free Online Therapy for Depression Best for interactive therapy Free N/A N/A No Unknown 3.8
7 Cups Best for peer support Monthly: $150 per month for online therapy Free to chat with volunteer listeners Chat No Yes 180 4
BlahTherapy Best for text therapy and live chat sessions Per session: $25, free to chat with strangers Chat No Yes 2,000+ 4.2
iPrevail Best for on-demand care Monthly: $9.99 for a licensed therapist or free peer-to-peer coaching Chat Yes Yes Unknown 4.2
Free Online Therapy Best for free assessment Weekly: $35 to $70, or free peer-to-peer chat Chat No Yes Unknown 3.8
TickTalkTo Best for accessible care Free: chat with a happiness expert Chat Unknown Yes Unknown 3.8

II. How We Rated the Best Free Online Therapy Services

We rated each free online therapy service based on key features to ensure the mental health support offered is secure, reliable, and developed for all types of patients.

Communication methods

Online therapy is all about convenience. We highlighted services that offer numerous communication channels for patients, including video and phone chat, email, live chat, and text messaging. We also looked for services that have a standalone mobile application and that offer on-demand 24/7 support.

Available therapists

Therapy needs are specific to each person. We rated free-only therapy services that allow you to choose from multiple online therapists, including the option to select your therapist. Many have an initial assessment process to identify pre-existing symptoms and match you with the appropriate mental health coach or licensed professional online therapist.

Accessible care

Online therapy allows you to receive care when you need it the most. We rated services that provide accessible care, including on-demand or same-day appointments. We also considered how long a patient needs to wait for an appointment with a free online therapy service. The free online therapy services we rated offer mental health counseling and emotional support worldwide.

III. The Best Free Online Therapy Providers

eTherapyPro - Best Overall

Secure, convenient, and available throughout the United States, eTherapyPro is the best overall free online therapy, offering new patients a three-day trial. Licensed online therapists specialize in providing a wide range of mental health support.

Pros Cons
  • Quick matching with counselors
  • Mobile friendly
  • All counselors are professional therapists
  • Not designed for those seeking help with addiction recovery or suicidal thoughts

eTherapyPro homepage

eTherapyPro is a secure online therapy platform that connects you with licensed professional online therapists. You’ll complete an online questionnaire to get matched with a counselor within the first 24 hours.

Each counselor works with you to set achievable goals and develop an action plan. All eTherapyPro counselors are professional therapists who work throughout the United States and hold a master’s degree or equivalent. These professionals are also licensed to practice in their state of residence. You can switch counselors if you don’t have a good fit.

You can schedule a live chat, live video, or phone call sessions directly with your counselor. Services are provided through a mobile application, and you can message your counselor directly through the app. eTherapyPro specializes in patients experiencing anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

The site is not designed for patients who are seeking help with addiction recovery or experiencing suicidal thoughts. Services are offered nationwide, with access 24/7, 365 days per year.

Overall rating: 4.6

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Per week: Free 3-day trial, $40 per week after the trial
  • Chat
  • Video
  • Phone
No Yes Unknown
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5

eTherapyPro reviews

Many patients, especially first-time therapy patients, enjoy the services provided by eTherapyPro. One patient writes, “This is my first time seeking therapy, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but my counselor Anais makes everything so easy, and I feel comfortable speaking to her about anything! She helps me understand the root of my issues and helps me look at things from a different perspective.”


CIMHS Free Online Therapy for Depression - Best for Interactive Therapy

Specializing in accessible cognitive behavioral therapy, the CIMHS free online therapy for depression platform centers around the principles of positive psychology. You start the process by filling out interactive worksheets and quizzes at your own pace. You can even download one-page summarizations for future reference.

Pros Cons
  • Service is completely free
  • Self-paced and based on clinical psychology research
  • Available to anyone with internet access
  • Lacks motivational features

cimhs homepage

The mission of the Centre for Interactive Mental Health Solutions is to provide mental health services to people around the world through the use of cutting-edge technology. Its goal is to provide accessible, effective, and confidential free online therapy that improves your mood and mental well-being.

Based in Toronto, Canada, the non-profit organization offers Bliss, a free eight-session program that targets depression. The program is designed to teach you techniques to manage, monitor, and improve your overall mental health. Bliss uses a combination of psychotherapy treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy. The principles are inspired by positive psychology, focusing on helping you adopt a positive daily outlook on life.

Free online therapy services include a weekly depression scale to help measure mood, worksheets to practice cognitive and behavioral techniques, and online quizzes that help review the core concepts of online therapy. Illustrated examples are used to effectively convey these concepts, which are summarized in downloadable one-page sheets.

We like this program because it’s self-paced and based on clinical psychology research. Bliss allows you to access therapy no matter where you are, which is especially helpful if you live in an area where it’s not easy to find trained professionals. While Bliss is free, you will need to sign up for an account.

Overall rating: 3.8

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Free N/A N/A No Unknown
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5

CIMHS reviews

Many patients enjoy the accessibility and convenience of the Bliss online therapy program. One patient says, “Bliss is simple and easy to follow and delivers the principles of each exercise in a pleasant manner. Content is professional, clear, and concise.”

Some patients wish that the application offered more motivational features. “The app lacks a certain amount of tunneling, as most exercises do not include recommendations on when or how often to do them. Furthermore, the program could use some motivational features in order to encourage continuous use at the right time.”


7 CUPS - Best for Peer Support

Offering a solid peer network of volunteer listeners, 7 Cups provides online emotional support chat to individuals in more than 189 countries. Also, a community forum and private chat rooms allow you to create connections with other members.

Pros Cons
  • 24/7, free access to volunteer listeners
  • Available to teens
  • Supported app for iOS and Android
  • You must pay for access to online therapy

7 cups screenshot

7 Cups is a system of trained volunteer listeners who provide emotional support via online chat. The service is entirely free and anonymous, and all active listeners providing support have completed an online course in advanced, compassionate communication developed by 7 Cups.

If you want to seek emotional support from 7 Cups, you can search for listeners with similar backgrounds or experience and specialize in specific issues. Listeners receive cheers, badges, and compassion hearts to demonstrate their commitment to the platform. They are also segmented into 27 different levels of expertise ranging from newbie to epitome.

Since 2013, 7 Cups has helped more than 53 million people in 189 countries. The free online psychotherapy platform is the winner of the Stanford Medicine X Health Care Design Award. Also, 7 Cups is supported by peer-reviewed publications such as the Journal of Mental Health, Journal of Medical Internet Research, and Journal of Internet Interventions.

The 7 Cups of Tea platform also focuses on building community and offers chat rooms and forums covering a wide range of issues. These include depression, anxiety, relationships, and LGBTQ+-related challenges. Teen community forums are available, providing peer-to-peer support for youth ages 13 to 17.

You can download a mobile application for iOS in the App Store and Android in the Google Play store. While the online chat and community forums are free with sign-up, you also can pursue online therapy with one of the licensed professional therapists on the platform.

Overall rating: 4

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Monthly: $150 per month for online therapy.  Free to chat with volunteer listeners Chat No Yes 180
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 4 out of 5

7 Cups reviews

Many patients are happy with the service provided by 7 Cups. One patient particularly enjoys how the platform encourages active participation and provides a healthy outlet for emotions. “Maybe just because I’ve never had anyone close that I’ve been able to talk through my difficult issues with, but my experience so far has been amazing! Being able to dump out all the bottled up emotions and worries has left me feeling clear-headed and a sense of purposeful direction.”


BlahTherapy - Best for Text Therapy

If you want to vent about problems to a stranger, you can use BlahTherapy’s 24/7 anonymous free chat tool to text your feelings. Professional therapy services are also available, and BlahTherapy hosts online support groups and forums that cover a wide range of mental health and emotional support topics.

Pros Cons
  • 24/7 chat available for free
  • 24/7 support by professional therapists for a low fee
  • A companion blog that offers mental health tips and advice
  • Unclear information regarding whether or not chat content is private and protected

blahtherapy

BlahTherapy offers online therapy services, emotional support chat, and psychic reader sessions on its website. You can choose to listen or share anonymously via the free chat with strangers tool, which is available without registration. Online therapy is also available 24/7, including specialized counseling in depressions, relationships, health, and mental illnesses.

If you’re looking for professional support, you’ll fill out a questionnaire, and BlahTherapy will match you with one of the 2,000-plus licensed professional therapists with its partner, BetterHelp. Professional therapy services through BetterHelp are offered at a low fee and include unlimited messaging and phone and video chat.

Groups and forums are another BlahTherapy feature and cover many mental health and emotional support topics. If you want more support resources, you can visit the BlahTherapy blog for tips on solutions to ease stress, depression, and anxiety. More than 500,000 people have signed up for BlahTherapy’s online therapy services worldwide.

Overall rating: 4.2

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Per session: $25, free peer-to-peer chat Chat No Yes 2,000+
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5

BlahTherapy reviews

Many people who have used BlahTherapy give mixed reviews, and some have suggested taking extra precautions to protect their privacy. One person who used the service writes, “The site works quite well. The majority of people are confused or distressed teenagers looking for guidance about family problems or relationships. However, plenty of adults go on the site, too, e.g., because they are in abusive relationships or are struggling to make ends meet. A problem with the site is that, although it works well, it’s not abundantly clear what happens to the information the chats generate.”


iPrevail - Best for Live Chat Sessions

Part of the Prevail Health network, iPrevail provides on-demand coaching and care. The platform uses principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to decrease mood-based disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating orders, and addiction recovery. The iPrevail platform underwent a clinical trial with the Rush University Medical Center to increase its effectiveness.

Pros Cons
  • Free peer-to-peer coaching
  • Private community message boards
  • Assessment test to help identify symptoms
  • Licensed therapists are only available to paid subscribers

iPrevail homepage

If you’re looking for mental health support, you can tap into iPrevail’s 24/7 on-demand coaching and innovative lessons focused on mental well-being. iPrevail uses cognitive behavioral therapy to decrease mood-based disorders such as anxiety and depression. The technique is also used for eating disorders, addiction recovery, relationship management, and financial stress.

If you’re interested in trying iPrevail, you’ll fill out an assessment that includes answering research-based questions. The purpose is to identify symptoms. After the assessment is complete, you’ll begin a customized iPrevail program that includes interactive lessons, supportive coaching, and ongoing progress assessments.

As you progress through the iPrevail program, you’ll access new resources, such as the private community board. These community forums cover depression, anxiety, anxiety awareness, substance abuse recovery, coping with PTSD, grief, loneliness, and meditation.

Online coaches provide chat services in two groups: teens aged 13 and older and adults aged 18 and older. You are initially matched with a coach but can also browse available ones and select your own. Coaches go through a three-level system to ensure that they can handle the complex problems that some patients may have.

The online therapy service received its own clinical trial for effectiveness in partnership with the Rush University Medical Center. iPrevail has worked with more than 220,000 patients to help improve their mental health.

Resources are also available on the iPrevail website if you want to learn more about the help available for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, grief support, panic attacks, and stress relief. Coaching from trained peer specialists is available for free. And, if you want to consult with a licensed onine therapist, you can sign up for a subscription, which costs $9.99 per month and includes rewards such as online gift certificates for completing programs.

Overall rating: 4.2

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Monthly: $9.99 for a licensed therapist or free peer-to-peer coaching Chat Yes Yes Not Mentioned
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5

iPrevail reviews

While iPrevail patients have mixed experiences with the subscription-based therapy service, some recommend free peer coaching. One person who tried it says, “iPrevail is a really awesome app that lets you talk to someone one on one anytime you need someone to listen. They are easy to talk to, and it’s a great way to just vent or talk about something that’s been bothering me.”


Free Online Therapy - Best for Free Assessment

If you’re unsure what type of free online therapy is best for you, you can compare services with Free Online Therapy. You can choose among three types of chat support: volunteer, online therapy, and relationship counseling.

Pros Cons
  • Free 24/7 peer-to-peer chat with Volunteers
  • Free seven-day trial of paid services
  • A connected blog for free mental health advice
  • Therapy services are offered by referral to another service

freeonlinetherapy

Free Online Therapy is a mental health support platform for individuals and couples. It offers counseling services for depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and eating disorders.

The website offers three types of chat support: volunteer, online therapy, and relationship counselor. Volunteer chat provides free online peer counseling guided by a community that is divided into listeners and centers. Volunteer chat rooms are available 24/7 and are free with registration.

Licensed professionals provide the online therapy service through the mobile app BetterHelp. The service will match you with a therapist after an initial assessment. Then, you gain access to a free seven-day trial to the private online counseling service.

If you’re in a relationship and looking for couples therapy, you can try the chat service free for seven days and connect with a relationship counselor.

The free online therapy website acts as a resource, providing information to those seeking therapists for PTSD and suicide and crisis support. The website also includes a blog covering online depression chat rooms, how to practice guided meditation, and ways to reduce anxiety.

Overall rating: 3.8

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Weekly: $35 to $70, or free peer-to-peer chat Chat No Yes Unknown
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5

Free Online Therapy reviews

Many Free Online Therapy patients have experienced tremendous growth after utilizing their services. One person who tried it writes, “I feel less stressed, anxious, and depressed. It’s really a great option for anyone looking for affordable help!”

Another patient says, “I experienced tremendous growth in my 1+ year with the service, and I would come back again… If you are honest with your therapist, you can see great breakthroughs and tips to learn and grow as a person.”


TickTalkTo - Best for Accessible Care

Accessible talk therapy is available worldwide through TickTalkTo iOS and Android mobile applications. If you’re looking for mental health services, you can connect with verified happiness coaches who provide telepsychology services. TickTalkTo also can match you with a specialist to handle complex issues.

Pros Cons
  • iOS and Android app support
  • Chat with a happiness expert is Free
  • Does not offer crisis counseling or emergency support
  • The cost of paid services are not transparent

ticktalkto

Specializing in talk therapy, TickTalkTo provides mental health support and a safe space to access professional help. Services are offered via a mobile application available on iOS in the App Store and Android in the Google Play store. The service will match you with a happiness coach, and all psychologists on the platform are verified and vetted to ensure quality counseling. Happiness coaches can assess whether you need a dedicated therapist and match you with the best fit for your situation.

All psychological assessments are powered by the educational company Pearson. TickTalkTo integrates online counseling and the scientific diagnosis of mental disorders, resulting in accessible care no matter where you live in the world.

TickTalkTo also partners with clinics and hospitals to optimize digital clinic and telepsychology services. The company has received mentorship and support from The George Institute for Global Health and USNW Sydney.

TickTalkTo provides private, confidential, and anonymous health care to underserved communities. Talk therapy with a happiness expert is free. Specialist counseling is available via customized payment plans,

Overall rating: 3.8

Price Appointment types Accepts insurance Same-day appointments or on-demand messaging Therapists on staff
Unknown fees for counseling, free chat with a Happiness Expert Chat Unknown Yes Unknown
Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5 Rating: 5 out of 5 Rating: 3 out of 5

TickTalkTo reviews

Many TickTalkTo patients offer positive reviews of the mobile application. One writes, “I am amazed by your expertise in psychology. I believe this initiative was long overdue in today’s stressful lives. Helped me in a difficult situation in my life. More importantly, an expert’s advice is just a click away via this app.”

IV. What is Free Online Therapy?

How does free online therapy work?

If you are dealing with a mental health challenge and looking for emotional support or counseling, you can access it from anywhere in the world with free online therapy.  Many free online therapy services are offered by non-profit organizations, run by volunteers with a psychology background, or exist in the form of chat rooms and peer support.

How much does free online therapy cost?

While there are some ongoing free online therapy services, these are often in the form of volunteer listeners and peer coaches who are trained but not professionally licensed.

Many services offer a free trial or preview, but you must pay for regular therapy sessions. Some online therapy services offer a low monthly rate, such as iPrevail, at $9.99 per month. However, many services charge more, such as eTherapyPro ($40 per week) or 7 Cups ($150 per month). While these services are not free, they offer an affordable and convenient alternative to traditional therapy sessions, which can average between $65 to $250 per hour.

How can online therapy help?

Free online therapy offers accessible emotional support in a secure and confidential environment. You can choose from a wider pool of therapists, and you don’t have to worry about finding a qualified local licensed therapist to treat specialized mental problems.

Online therapy increases privacy by allowing you to remain anonymous and removes the potential trauma of seeing people you know when going to an in-person appointment. The modern convenience of mobile applications allows you to receive therapy from anywhere, and scheduling is easy.

But for many, one of the most appealing benefits of free online therapy is that it eliminates the financial barrier that can keep you from seeking the mental health support you need.

Is free online therapy effective?

Free online therapy services that offer volunteers and peer listeners can be great for getting general emotional support. However, more complex problems and mental health issues often require the attention of a licensed professional.

Studies show that structured online therapy sessions can achieve the same outcome as traditional therapy sessions. Online cognitive therapy can be just as effective as in-person sessions when handling certain mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorders. However, free online therapy is not a practical solution for crisis situations and emergencies.

How do people use online therapy?

People use online therapy to gain coping strategies, tap into mental health resources, and get talk therapy and support so they can manage anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental health concerns. You can use online therapy from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a stable internet connection.

To use online therapy, you register with the platform. You might be asked to fill out a questionnaire or assessment so the service can match you with the right therapist, counselor, volunteer, or listener based on your mental health concerns. Free services can deliver online therapy via text, online chat, and live online sessions with a professional. Services can require you to sign up for a subscription, pay per session, and some are free.

What kind of things do people use online therapy for?

Online therapy can help you deal with relationship problems, overcome addiction, and better manage stress. Online therapy services can include talk therapy, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other professionals’ approaches in an office setting. You can access online therapy for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, grief support, panic attacks, stress relief, and more. However, online therapy is not appropriate for crisis and emergencies.

Start searching for your online counselor now!

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V. If There is an Emergency

If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis or emergency, immediately contact a doctor, psychiatrist, or helpline for assistance. Do not wait! Calling 911 will connect you with a local emergency responder.

You can also reach out to these vetted suicide prevention and crisis hotline resources.

VI. Free Mental Health Resources

There are so many free mental health resources you can access if you need help—any kind of help. You can connect with professionals who specialize in specific conditions and therapists who handle situations like what you or a loved one are experiencing. Some groups focus on certain demographics like women, men, teens, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Abuse/assault/violence

Addiction and substance abuse

Anxiety

Autism

Borderline Personality Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Depression

Children/teens

Crisis/distress

Eating disorders

LGBTQ+

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Older adults

Opioid treatment

Suicide

Self-harm

Veterans/active-duty military

VII. Sources