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The best online therapy providers

The best online therapy providers
LifeScience2 min read

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  • Telemedicine services bridged the gap between doctor and patient but they're not limited to treating ailments like the cold or flu — they help with mental health services, too.
  • By way of online therapy providers, anyone can have virtual access to a trusted and reliable therapist that's matched specifically to them and their needs.
  • We rounded up the best online therapy services, designed to provide everything from comprehensive mental health treatment to support for teenagers and partner counseling.

Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways. Be it trouble at work, uneasiness at home, feelings of grief, or anything else that impacts your day-to-day, there's plenty capable of weighing heavy on your mental wellbeing — and managing that weight is often much easier said than done.

But being aware of your mental health isn't just for those feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, or depression. It affects everyone. In the same way running a few miles a day or lifting weights at home keeps people feeling physically fit, caring for your mind is important, too. However, finding a suitable method for assistance can often be a troublesome part of seeking out help.

This has become especially true right now, as it's common practice for people to spend as much time isolated at home as they can. Even if they were able to venture out, the places they'd typically frequent are either temporarily or permanently shut down, effectively cutting off previously established avenues for help and blockading new ones.

The role of telemedicine

Just because access is far more limited doesn't mean you should put managing your mental health on the back burner. As is the case with a wide range of telemedicine services, many resources exist designed to connect people with mental health specialists. This can happen via phone calls, video chats, instant messages, or smartphone apps, with each designed to help diagnosis a wide variety of ailments. Some can even write prescriptions for medications, too.

The idea being that through the use of technology, more people can have access to affordable medical exams on a more convenient schedule, including while in isolation at home. Many telemedicine services offer access to psychologists and therapists able to help patients work through challenges to their mental health. While it isn't a primary focus for those companies, it does provide an extra level of care their patients may not receive elsewhere.

There are also a number of telemedicine companies that focus primarily on providing online therapy. While the basis for these companies began as a way for people to engage with a counselor from the comfort of their own home, their role has grown substantially with access to physical locations unavailable.

Above all, they provide a much-needed resource for anyone looking to support their mental wellbeing. But online therapy is far from a one-size-fits-all. To help sort through what's available, we rounded up the best services available, from those designed to offer the best all-around mental health support to others intended to help couples strengthen their relationship.

Editor's note: Be sure to check with your health plan provider to see which services are covered by your insurance or to inquire if you are able to use a service of your choice.

Here are our picks for the best online therapy providers:Read the original article on Insider

For support for teenagers

For support for teenagers
Teen Counseling/Facebook

There's no question modern teenagers face a significant number of challenges that didn't exist for previous generations. Thanks to social media, the internet, and the pervasiveness of technology in their lives, today's teens are constantly bombarded with images and stories that can lead to anxiety, depression, and high levels of stress.

This has developed a dramatic rise in nervousness, depression, and self-esteem issues, which often leads to eating disorders, extreme anger, or other dangerous behavior. Fortunately, there are resources available to help these teens such as Teen Counseling, a telemedicine service specifically built for teens navigating those challenging years.

Teen Counseling features a staff of more than 3,600 licensed therapists who specialize in assisting kids as they work through a variety of issues. That includes learning how to deal with bullies, overcoming the stresses associated with school, avoiding peer pressure, and others. Counselors assist their patients in developing valuable coping skills and communication tools, while sorting through issues in their relationships with their parents, friends, and classmates.

In essence, the service provides a safe place for teens share their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement or shame. While some teens sign up for the service completely on their own, most of the time it's a parent who initiates contact with Teen Counseling.

As with other online therapy services, a questionnaire is used to help therapists determine where to focus their attention. Typically, the parents assist in the process of finding the right therapist to work with their teen, who is then invited to join the service. Once they've logged in, the young person is free to contact their counselor directly.

Much of the communication takes place in a safe and secure chat environment accessible on any smart device. The teen and therapist are able to discreetly exchange messages in order to discuss any topics or situations causing concern or distress. Live chat is also available for more direct communication and both phone and video chat sessions are an option, as well.

A separate set of communications tools are available for parents, allowing counselors to provide periodic updates on their child's progress and answer specific questions. A strict level of confidentially concerning the content of the discussion is adhered to at all times, with the counselor only reveals details in times of concern over the teen's health and safety.

The cost of the Teen Counseling service is $40 to $70 per week, with unlimited messaging between the patient and therapist throughout that time. This allows a teen who is seeking help to get more immediate care when needed, rather than having to wait for an appointment with a more traditional psychologist.

The use of technology also provides the teen an extra sense of anonymity, which can be helpful when breaking down barriers and getting them to open up.

For partner counseling

For partner counseling
NoSystem images/Getty Images

While some online therapy services offer options for couples looking to strengthen their relationship, at ReGain, it's the main focus.

In most cases, this means both partners working together towards a mutual goal, while in others, it's an individual who's exploring ways to improve communication and build trust. Either way, the goal is identical; to create a stronger, more lasting bond built on trust and understanding.

The process begins with clients first completing a questionnaire that helps the couple and therapist to better understand what they hope to achieve. This might range from overcoming infidelity within the relationship or learning how to improve sex and intimacy, to simply rekindling the love and affection they have for one another.

The assessment also collects information on the qualities clients may look for in a therapist, helping to match them with someone that's best equipped to address their specific needs.

Once a connection is made, the individual or couple — as well as the therapist — are assigned a secure online space they can use to communicate. This room is open 24/7 and is reachable while using any internet-connected device, including a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Participants are able to share their thoughts, express their feelings, or voice their concerns in a written format that's visible to both the therapist and their partner. The counselor can then respond to the messages, providing advice and suggestions to help the couple overcome any issues they face.

ReGain doesn't offer any type of voice or video chat, which may or may not fit into what you're looking to achieve. Some like the more anonymous nature of this approach, while others prefer more direct face time with their counselor.

ReGain is priced at $40 to $70 per week, depending on the individual or couple's needs.

For easy app-based access

For easy app-based access

Ginger promises to deliver high-quality mental health support on a 24/7 basis through its iOS and Android app. Using a mobile device, users gain on-demand access to a team of counselors, therapists, and life coaches who specialize in helping patients reduce their stress levels and manage anxiety more effectively.

Via the smartphone app, patients are able to connect to chat with a counselor at any time of the day or night. If further support is needed, they can also arrange for a video session, allowing them to directly speak with a therapist who can provide a deeper, more personal level of care. The app also grants access to Ginger's catalog of interactive content, which has been clinically validated for its effectiveness. These exercises provide users with skills they need to take challenges on themselves, without the need for input from a counselor.

Ginger's approach is to use technology to bridge the gap in access that resides between healthcare professionals and those who need their services. To make that process more seamless, the company partners with employers and healthcare plans in order to bring high quality therapy and counseling to those who need it, no matter when or where.

Check with your employer or health insurance provider to see if the service is already a part of your coverage.

For a comprehensive therapy approach

For a comprehensive therapy approach
Online Therapy/Facebook

The aptly named bills itself as the ultimate online therapy toolbox, offering clients a number of important resources to assist them on their mental health journey.

In addition to providing live chat and messaging services for communicating with a therapist, the site also offers interactive worksheets, a daily journal for tracking thoughts and emotions, an activity planner, and even yoga videos.

Designed to work on any device, Online-Therapy makes connecting with a counselor quick and easy. The service focuses on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, allowing users to self-direct some aspects of the process while providing an option to interact with a professional therapist when needed. Using the site's communications tools, patients can send an unlimited number of messages to their doctor as they work towards a healthier state of mind.

That said, there are a few caveats that come along with the service. For instance, clients are limited to just 30 minutes of live chat per week, which isn't a lot when compared to other online options. Additionally, therapists are only available for eight hours a day, Monday through Friday. Most of the other telemedicine services offer 24/7 coverage, ensuring someone is available whenever a client needs them.

But shines as an option for those who self-motivated and focused on a mental health tune-up. Those who like the accountability that comes with an occasional check-in with their therapist but don't necessarily need long, regular sessions. This service is affordable as well, with prices that start as low as $39.95 per week.

For unlimited therapist access

For unlimited therapist access

At iCounseling, the goal is to remove as many barriers as possible for connecting healthcare professionals and patients. To that end, new clients take a quick and simple assessment of their current mental state to get started before the service connects them with a therapist that most aligns with their needs, taking into account gender, age, and overall life satisfaction.

Once paired with one another, counselors can be reached via messaging, chat, telephone, and video conference from a computer, smartphone, or mobile device.

Much of what iCounseling offers seems fairly similar to a number of other online therapy services but the company distinguishes itself by offering unlimited access to a therapist for a monthly flat fee. When you consider the service is priced at $40 to $70 per week depending on the options a client selects, iCounseling actually offers plenty of recurring value. Especially when individual therapy sessions can often cost $150 or more.

Each of the more than 4,000 therapists that are available through iCounseling has been vetted and authorized to work with patients. All of the counselors have earned either a Master's or Doctorate degree in their field and have passed state and local licensure requirements to serve as a mental healthcare professional.

For a comfortable therapy environment

For a comfortable therapy environment

The idea behind TalkSpace is to create a safe, comfortable, and accommodating environment for those seeking professional counseling online. Like BetterHelp, the service offers assistance for individuals, couples, and teens, with therapists specializing in each of those areas.

The process begins with prospective patients first taking an online assessment of their current mental health, including their levels of anxiety and history of depression. This allows TalkSpace to better understand their current concerns and connect them to a therapist who is best suited to address their individual needs.

Once a match is made, the patient can then begin communicating directly with their personal therapist using a chat feature via the TalkSpace website or app (iOS/Android). This gives them 24/7 access to a mental healthcare professional, facilitating an open dialog whenever or wherever it's needed. For more urgent and pressing needs, video chat calls can be scheduled as well, providing a more intimate and immediate connection.

TalkSpace is priced at $65 per week and is covered by a number of major health and employee assistance plans, making it accessible to a large number of people.

For all-around mental health support

For all-around mental health support
Better Help/Facebook

While some telemedicine sites offer counseling and therapy as one of its many services, BetterHelp focuses solely on providing the best mental health support possible. The service offers options for both individuals and couples and even has a separate counseling service for teens.

Each of the more than 3,100 therapists employed by BetterHelp is fully licensed and accredited in their field and have gone through an exhaustive vetting procedure before joining the team. This helps the service maintain a high level of professionalism and knowledge, ensuring patients are getting the highest quality of care possible.

One of the biggest strengths of BetterHelp's approach is the flexibility it offers its clients. Other services help match patients with a therapist using questionnaires and algorithms but at BetterHelp, the client has complete control over selecting a therapist they want to work with.

Members can filter their search for a counselor based on gender, race, years of experience, types of therapy practiced, and more. The goal is to match the patient with the right person to help them work towards better mental health, which starts with both individuals being completely comfortable with one another.

The BetterHelp services can be accessed via phone, video chat, and messaging apps. Members pay between $40 and $70 per week but receive an unlimited number of therapy sessions which gives this service great value for anyone working on improving the state of their mental health.


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