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The therapist that I met on Teladoc has helped me through so much, she’s just been a godsend. I feel much better than what I did before.
– Kristy P.
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Online mental health FAQs
Thousands of people use our Mental Health service for a variety of reasons, and most people report feeling better after their third visit. Our Mental Health service is 100% confidential.
- If you face anxiety or stress of any kind
- If you have obsessive, intrusive or negative thoughts
- If you’re depressed or struggling to find joy in life
- If you’re struggling to get past traumatic events
- If you’re trying to understand your identity and purpose
- If you’re going through a breakup, divorce or other relationship issue
- If you simply just need to speak to a trusted expert
Still unsure if therapy is right for you? Take this 60-second quiz to find out.
We offer evidence-based therapy and counseling provided by our licensed therapists, as well as medication evaluation and management by our board-certified psychiatrists. You can schedule appointments 7 days a week at the time most convenient for you and connect with the therapist or psychiatrist by video or phone.
We have different types of providers to best meet your needs for medications or therapy.
Medication management: If you are looking for medication evaluation or help with ongoing medication management, please schedule a visit with a psychiatrist (MD/DO). Psychiatrists are medical doctors who do not provide talk therapy on our platform.
Our board-certified psychiatrists prescribe standard medications for anxiety, depression, mood disorder, PTSD and a variety of other mental health diagnoses. You may see the full list of mediations here: View the current list of DEA-controlled substances.
*Please note that we are unable to prescribe or provide refills for controlled substances such as stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Concerta), benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Klonopin), pain medications (e.g., Oxycontin) and medications used for treating substance use (e.g., Suboxone).
Therapy: If you are looking for talk therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Trauma-focused therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), etc.) and counseling (such as couples therapy, anger management, etc.), please schedule a visit with a therapist. We have different types of therapists, such as psychologists (PhD/PsyD), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed Marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and licensed professional counselor (LPC).
*Please note that therapists DO NOT prescribe any medications.
When you schedule a visit, we will ask you questions about your personal preferences and your needs as they relate to finding a mental health professional. You will be able to choose from a selection of providers who have been specifically matched to your requirements. Each profile will display information about the provider, including gender, language and specialty so that you can be sure you are selecting a clinician who best meets your needs.
- Use the Teladoc app or go online to schedule your visit
- Select “Mental Health” then choose your therapist
- Pick your preferred dates and times for a visit
- Your therapist will confirm the date that works best for you both
Want more detailed instructions? We’ve created a helpful video for you:
Visits with therapists for therapy and counseling are scheduled for 45 minutes. Visits with psychiatrists for new evaluations are scheduled for 45 minutes, and follow-up visits for medication management are scheduled for 15 minutes.
Based on the diagnosis, your provider will create a treatment plan with you and suggest the total number of visits expected for your treatment.
Following your initial visit, the therapist will provide their recommendations for your individualized plan of care, including how frequently visits should occur.
Expert mental wellness advice
Improve your relationships
When it comes to healthy relationships, how we communicate matters. Read more to see how a therapist can help you improve your communication with a partner, friend or family.
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How to prepare for your first therapy
You finally found a therapist you’d like to meet with and have scheduled your first visit. Now what? First of all, if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, know that those feelings are very common.
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I’m ready for therapy, now what?
Choosing to go to therapy is a healthy choice—it can even change your life. Take the first step and choose a therapist that best fits your needs by scrolling through pictures and bios.
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All communication between you and your doctor is through the secure Teladoc portal. You can ask questions of your Care Team and request the same expert in the future if you wish.
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*If you are scheduling an annual checkup, your fee will be waived in accordance with your benefits policy.
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Teladoc is part of Teladoc Health, Inc., a mission-driven organization successfully transforming how people access and experience healthcare, with a focus on high quality, lower costs and improved outcomes around the world.
Talkspace lands at the top of our list as the best online therapy company for variety of services because of its overall appeal to online therapy users who rated it favorably in various categories like the quality of therapists and prescribers, ease of navigating the website, and ratio of needs met by its providers.
While Talkspace does offer psychiatric services, it has a heavy focus on talk therapy. So if you’re interested in working with a psychiatrist, Talkiatry may be a better place to start due to its specialization in psychiatry. If you’re seeking therapy for a younger age group, Little Otter specializes in providing mental health support to kids 0 to 14, making it a great option since Talkspace isn’t available to anyone under the age of 18.
Guide to Choosing Online Therapy
What Is Online Therapy?
Online therapy, also known as teletherapy, e-therapy, or virtual therapy, is a way to receive mental health support from a licensed professional online versus in person. These services can be provided over the phone, or via video chat, email, or messaging. You can go about this in a number of ways, including scheduling virtual sessions with a therapist in private practice or by using an online therapy company or directory.
By opting to use an online therapy company or directory, you take a good chunk of the research that’s required when choosing a therapist off of your plate. The main difference between online therapy companies and directories with therapists that provide virtual therapy is that with a directory, you always get to choose your own therapist. With some online therapy companies, there’s a matching process involved where the company selects a therapist or a curated list of therapists for you based on the information you provide to them.
Who Is Online Therapy For?
“While individual preferences exist, most people can benefit from online therapy, with comparable outcomes to in-person sessions,” says Amy Marschall, PsyD, a clinical psychologist. Whether you prefer conducting therapy sessions from home, you live in a rural area, or you can’t find a provider you want to work with near you, online therapy can prove an excellent alternative to in-person care.
Keep in mind that while online therapy can help with many mental health concerns, it isn’t the best course of treatment for all conditions. “If someone is in a major crisis and requires inpatient care, online therapy is not adequate to address that,” says Dr. Marschall. “In addition, people with dissociative or psychotic symptoms that are interfering with their ability to distinguish reality need in-person care.”
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. Here’s what research has shown:
- A 2020 study published in Psychology Research found internet-delivered therapy may be a viable alternative to in-person therapy.
- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders showed that an internet-based intervention for depression is equally beneficial to attending in-person therapy.
- A 2018 study in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is acceptable, effective, and practical health care for anxiety disorders and depression.
- A 2020 study found that higher education students view online therapy positively.
- A 2019 study found that multimodal digital psychotherapy is a potentially effective treatment for adult depression.
What to Know Before Choosing Online Therapy
Given how many choices there are when choosing a therapist in the online space, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed. That being said, there are some things to consider before choosing online therapy:
- Methods of communication: Common types of communication with online therapy include video chat, messaging (similar to text), email, live chat (typically in a private portal), or phone calls. You’ll need to determine which way works for you. Messaging and email allow you to contact your therapist at the wee hours of the night or morning, but don’t guarantee the immediate response live chat does. Phone calls and video chats create a similar atmosphere to what you’d experience in person, sans transportation time. But you’ll need to schedule your sessions within whatever window your therapist has available. Some companies, like Talkspace and BetterHelp, offer a combination of communication channels for you to reach your therapist, depending on your subscription plan.
- Availability: Online therapy may be more flexible than its in-person counterpart, but you’ll still need to coordinate your schedule with your therapist’s. Think 9-5, and don’t forget to consider time zones. There are some companies, such as Thriveworks, that offer early morning and late evening sessions, which isn’t easy to come by.
- Payment structure: Online therapy companies generally offer one of two payment structures: subscription or pay-per-session. With companies that offer subscriptions, like Talkspace and ReGain, you pay the same amount every month. Some even accept insurance. These subscriptions include certain features, like a set number of live sessions and alternative ways to reach your therapist in between appointments. Other companies, however, offer a payment structure that’s pay-per-session, which resembles the way traditional therapy is billed. Then, with online therapy directories such as GoodTherapy, the payment structure depends solely on the practitioner you choose to work with.
- Insurance: Not every online therapy company works with or accepts insurance, but some do. The companies that don’t accept insurance may offer some kind of financial support to offset your out-of-pocket costs, so be sure to check with the online therapy company you’re interested in.
- Type of therapy: One of the more important choices to make when you choose online therapy is the type of therapy you’re searching for. Most offer individual therapy, but there are some that also offer couples or family therapy. Some also cater to certain age groups, mental health conditions, cultural backgrounds, and sexual identities. It’s worth keeping these things in mind when you’re choosing a company.
- Therapist qualifications: It’s crucial to choose a therapist that has a specialization in what you’re seeking therapy for. Some companies have you fill out an intake questionnaire and use an algorithm to match you with a therapist. Others let you pick yourself, either from a curated list based on an intake questionnaire or from a directory of practitioners. Most companies provide therapist bios for you to dig into, though the level of detail varies. No matter the method, make sure to consider your therapy goals and personal comfort. This is someone you’ll be spending a lot of time opening up to and connecting with, so you want to feel comfortable with them. Bonus points if you resonate with them on a personal level.
- Medication management: Not everyone who seeks out therapy needs medication. There is a treatment plan out there for everyone. Some online therapy companies include medication management with their subscription plans. Unless you know you require medication, you might benefit from a subscription plan that includes only therapy sessions.
It’s important to know that even the best online therapy has to offer isn’t appropriate for everyone. For example, if you are in crisis, are suicidal, or have a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder, you might need a higher level of care than online therapy services can provide.
How Do I Know What Kind of Therapist I Need?
The key to knowing which type of therapist is right for you is having a good grip on what your goal is for therapy. Similar to in-person practices, the type of providers available depends on the online platform. Some offer only therapists, some only psychiatrists, and some a combination of providers, including counselors and social workers. Each type of provider is appropriate for a variety of therapeutic goals, needs, and treatments.
Here’s what you need to know:
Psychiatrists have gone through 12 or so years of medical school and specialized training in mental health care. Psychiatrists may include therapy in their sessions, but prescribing medication is the focus. As MDs, they’re one of the few mental health practitioners who can diagnose and evaluate their clients.
Psychologists have either a master’s or doctoral degree and the training to practice psychotherapy. Clinical psychologists, those typically involved in talk therapy, can diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Having a master’s degree is the minimum education qualification to provide counseling, but the level of experience or education doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll receive lower-quality treatment. Except in five U.S states, psychologists cannot prescribe medication, regardless of their level of education.
Licensed family and marriage therapists (LMFTs) have either a master’s or doctoral degree and at least two years of clinical practice under their belts. They’re able to assess, diagnose, and treat a range of mental health conditions and psychological distress in family systems—this includes individual, couples, and family therapy.
Social workers have been trained to integrate psychotherapy and sociology to provide support and guidance to improve people’s lives, sometimes referring clients to external resources and services to provide that wider net of care.
- Masters-level licensed social workers (MSWs or LMSWs) have had training in psychology and may provide therapy in supervised settings.
- Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) are MSWs that have received their clinical licensure, giving them the ability to provide therapy without supervision.
- Licensed professional counselors (LCPs) have a master’s degree in mental health counseling and 2,000 to 3,000 hours of required field training. While counselors are similar to LMFTs and social workers in their level of education, training, the populations they serve, and the problems they address, counselors differ in that they typically offer support with a specific set of issues, often in a short-term capacity.
Beyond the degrees they’ve earned, each therapist and counselor has their own unique combination of additional training and specializations.
Some focus primarily on treating individuals and/or groups of people with a wide range of mental health issues, using techniques such as:
Other providers have the credentials to treat patients with specific diagnoses like personality disorders, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), selecting from approaches such as psychodynamic therapy, internal family systems (IFS) therapy, and exposure therapy.
Some mental health care professionals pursue further education on mental health needs specific to children, teens, seniors, or families. Just a few examples of useful techniques for these groups may include play therapy, expressive arts therapy, occupational therapy, and family systems therapy.
Some use somatic (body-focused) techniques to guide clients through the physical sensations they’re experiencing—for instance, through eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), therapeutic massage, or dance therapy. Somatic therapy can be especially helpful for PTSD and trauma.
Therapists who specialize in relationship issues may incorporate a number of frameworks with the couples or individuals they see, but two of the most effective evidence-based approaches are emotionally focused couples therapy (EFCT) and the Gottman method.
A growing number of mental health professionals are also pursuing training and/or certification in sex therapy, which is talk therapy aimed at improving intimate relationships.
Finally, many therapists, coaches, and counselors can help people with specific issues and stressors by providing:
If you’re not sure what kind of therapist is best for you, some companies offer matching sessions with professionals who can help you find the right provider for you. Others have you fill out intake forms to help match you with a therapist who’s a good fit.
Are There Free Online Therapy Options?
There are free options available, though it’s important to note that you will not receive the same personalized care as you might with your own therapist.
That said, here are some of those options:
- The CRISIS Text Line: This is a confidential text line available to you 24/7 if you ever need immediate assistance and prefer the comfort of a text (or WhatsApp) thread. If you text “HOME” to 741741, you’ll be connected to a trained crisis counselor via live messaging. These crisis counselors are there to provide support, not medical advice. Sometimes this support takes the shape of a referral, and in cases of imminent risk, where the texter and crisis counselor can’t come to an agreed-upon plan of safety, the supervisor may contact emergency services.
- The Samaritans: This is a 24-hour, completely confidential hotline that’s available to those in crisis and the people who are supporting someone in crisis. It doesn’t use caller ID or call tracing so you can remain anonymous. You can call this hotline day or night at 212-673-3000. While there’s no mention of nonconsensual active rescue, they do conduct a risk assessment at the beginning of every call to determine your mental state.
- NYC Well: This is a free service local to the NYC area that’s available 24/7. It lets you call, text, or chat to receive mental health support from a trained NYC Well counselor or peer-support specialist while remaining absolutely anonymous. There is also a relay service available for the hearing impaired (dial 711) and interpreters for over 200 languages. For support, text “WELL” to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355), or access an online chat service.
- 7 Cups: This company provides a 24/7 online chat room service at no charge. It also offers online therapy for $150 per month, but signing up for therapy isn’t required to be a part of a chat room. You can enter a chat room and be connected to a trained “active listener” within seconds of setting up your username. That’s right—it’s an anonymous service.
- The Therapy Fund at the Loveland Foundation: Established by Rachel Cargle, the Loveland Foundation provides the Black community with access to mental health resources. By partnering with a handful of online therapy companies and directories, Loveland offers vouchers to cover the cost of four to 12 therapy sessions. The Therapy Fund sign-up form opens quarterly. To sign up, visit its website.
Is Online Therapy Confidential?
As with anything else you do online, you will want to make sure you’re taking your data and privacy into account with online therapy. Practitioners are required to follow licensing regulations, state laws, and HIPAA regulations (the federal law protecting personal health information) that ensure safety and confidentiality.
Online therapy strives to be as confidential as in-person therapy in that whatever is discussed in the client to therapist relationship stays within the relationship. There are, however, exceptions to confidentiality as outlined in the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Code of Ethics.
Some to note:
- Psychologists may need to disclose confidential information for scientific or medical purposes.
- Psychologists may need to disclose confidential information to protect the psychologist, the client, or others from harm.
- Psychologists may need to disclose confidential information to obtain payment for services rendered to the client.
Should I Be Concerned About My Privacy When Using Online Therapy Services?
What If I’m Having Thoughts About Taking My Own Life?
Online therapy isn’t for emergency mental health situations. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm warrant more immediate action.
Dial 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifelife, to speak with folks who are trained to provide support to anyone experiencing suicidality. No, the police are not called unless safety measures cannot be agreed on with the caller. The Suicide & Crisis Lifelife is aware that involving emergency contacts can lead to traumatic situations for some individuals, which is why it is the last resort.
For the hearing impaired, dial 711 before 988 or use your preferred relay service before dialing in.
Verywell / Designed by Amelia Manley
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?
The cost of online therapy varies just as in-person therapy does, depending on the service and level of support you choose. The average cost of therapy in America is between $60 and $200 per session, and the 55 companies we reviewed fall squarely within that average, as well as to either side. Some online therapy companies offer pay-per-session rates, while others have subscription or membership models.
How Is Online Therapy Billed?
If you have insurance, and your insurance is accepted, your health plan will be billed. You are responsible for copays, deductibles, and anything else your insurance provider will not cover.
If you don’t have insurance, you are expected to pay the amount billed to you unless other arrangements have been made, such as financial aid, funds, or a superbill for reimbursement purposes.
Does Insurance Cover Online Therapy?
In many cases, insurance does cover online therapy. “With legal changes requiring reimbursement for this service,” says Dr. Marschall, “therapy has gotten much more accessible, and people can be seen from the privacy of their homes.” There are also online therapy services that choose not to accept insurance, but offer competitive self-pay costs instead.
Does Medicare Cover Online Therapy?
Medicare does cover online therapy, and started doing so during the pandemic. This extension of online therapy benefits could change if and when the public health emergency is lifted. As of right now, it’s covered. But like you generally do with your insurance, you will want to check that the online therapy service or practitioner you choose is covered.