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8 Affordable Online Therapy Services Available for Immediate Sign-up

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

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Desiring the ability to commence therapy but uncertain of how it will fit into your financial plan? Online therapy is an exceptional choice. You might discover teletherapy to be more economical than in-person treatment, primarily because these therapists frequently have fewer operating costs to cover. Additionally, some online therapy platforms strive to save you money by avoiding the expenses associated with partnering with insurance companies. However they achieve it, affordability is crucial in ensuring accessibility to mental healthcare. Numerous online therapy establishments are taking measures to reduce the financial impediments to mental healthcare by offering sliding scale rates or low fees, accepting insurance, providing care from trainee therapists at reduced costs, or presenting discounted appointment subscriptions or bundles. Whether you are seeking assistance for yourself, your relationship, your family, or your adolescent, there are cost-effective alternatives available.

The top cost-effective online therapy endeavors to simplify life for budget-conscious therapy seekers. Fees should be below average without compromising quality. If a session feels rushed or the therapist’s response appears generic, the lower rate may not be worthwhile. Finding an economical therapist necessitates carefully evaluating how much you can reasonably afford to pay based on what you gain from the experience. This list was curated after surveying 105 users across 55 online therapy platforms and analyzing prices, insurance coverage, value for money, and other features to aid you in discovering the most cost-effective online therapy services that suit your needs.

When selecting an online therapy provider, we advise that you peruse the company’s privacy guidelines prior to signing up to better comprehend whether it is HIPAA-compliant and if it shares any confidential information with third parties. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and various government officials have raised concerns regarding the collection and usage of user health information by online therapy providers.

Finest Without Insurance:

LiveHealth Online

  • Cost: $80–$95 per therapy session, $175 for an initial psychiatry visit and $75 per follow-up
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Forms of Therapy: Individual, psychiatry/medication management

LiveHealth Online offers some of the most affordable levels of out-of-pocket expenses in the industry: Its 45-minute sessions start at $80 without insurance, and there are no sign-up or subscription fees.


  • Provides session rates as low as $80
  • No sign-up or subscription fees
  • Not obligated to purchase large session bundles


  • Restricted to video counseling
  • No therapy for couples, children, or families
  • Limited therapist communication between sessions

LiveHealth Online is an internet-based health platform that provides therapy and psychiatry services. It is equipped to assist individuals with various needs, ranging from diminishing anxiety to recovering from PTSD to managing depressive symptoms with or without medication. It is uncomplicated and direct to utilize — there are no membership or registration fees, and you can pay on a per-session basis.

For those without insurance, LiveHealth Online is a fantastic option. With prices ranging from $80 to $95 for a 45-minute session, it offers some of the most competitive rates in the industry, and you receive the discounted fee even if you pay per session. In contrast, some competitors offer similar rates, but only if you purchase a large package, such as half a year or a year’s worth of sessions. In other cases, lower rates result in shorter sessions. At LiveHealth Online, you can depend on a low price for the entire 45 minutes without having to commit to sessions on a platform that may or may not deliver value to you.

Sessions take place through live video, and there is no messaging therapy outside of these sessions, but this is a common practice among most therapists. Additionally, the platform includes clinicians who are fluent in Spanish.

This company accepts various insurance providers. The rates without insurance coverage are as follows:

  • $80 to $95 for a 45-minute session
  • $175 for an initial psychiatry visit and $75 for each follow-up

Based on a user survey, LiveHealth Online received high levels of satisfaction from users in many aspects, including affordability and value.

  • 93 percent rated its value for money positively, compared to an 78 percent average
  • 70 percent stated it was affordable or very affordable, compared to a 54 percent average
  • 91 percent gave positive ratings to therapist qualifications, compared to an 84 percent average

Testers who signed up for LiveHealth Online expressed positive feedback: “My therapist was easy to converse with and evidently had experience in providing online care,” she said. “From a technical standpoint, the platform’s format was more user-friendly and consistent compared to some of its competitors.”

Best Directory: Open Path

  • Price: $30–$80
  • Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Types of Therapy: Individuals, couples, families, and groups

All therapists at Open Path Collective charge uniformly low rates. Therefore, as long as you can pay $30 to $70 per individual session, you can be assured of finding a therapist within your financial means.


  • All therapists charge the same affordable rate
  • Provides economical couples and family therapy
  • Is guided by a dedication to price inclusivity


  • There’s a one-time $65 registration fee
  • Some therapists lack experience
  • Does not accept insurance

Open Path Collective is a therapy directory driven by a mission to promote inclusivity, particularly when it comes to pricing. All providers offer the same budget-friendly rate: $40 to $70 for individual therapy, and $40 to $80 for family or couples’ sessions. Alternatively, you can receive care from student interns for $30 per session.

Establishing affordable rates simplifies the process of finding a therapist. It is already challenging enough to find a therapist you connect with and who specializes in the areas you need assistance in. When you add financial constraints to the equation, finding the right fit can become frustrating and time-consuming. However, if you know that you can afford Open Path’s rates, you eliminate a significant criterion and expedite the process.

Open Path Collective is a directory that lists therapists who offer various formats of therapy, including in-person, video, and phone sessions. Each practitioner sets their own policies. However, it’s important to note that you may come across therapists who lack experience, such as those who have recently obtained their license or are still under supervision. In some cases, you may even be paired with a student intern, which can be hit or miss. Although it may not be ideal, working with a student therapist could still be beneficial if you find the right match.

To utilize Open Path’s services, you will need to pay a one-time fee of $65 for a lifetime membership. Insurance is not accepted as the platform is designed for individuals without coverage. The session rates are as follows:

  • Individual therapy: $40 to $70
  • Couples or family therapy: $40 to $80
  • Therapy with a student intern: $30

Users have found Open Path to be affordable without compromising on quality:

  • 77 percent rated the availability of therapists with flexible payment options as good or very good, which is higher than the average of 76 percent
  • 83 percent stated that they would still be seeing the same therapist after six months, exceeding the average of 74 percent
  • 83 percent affirmed they would utilize Open Path again if needed, surpassing the average of 80 percent

“Hannah Owens, a licensed social worker and subject matter expert, explains that ‘Open Path is specifically designed for people who are uninsured or underinsured and for whom the cost of mental health services is a significant barrier to care.’ According to our extensive review of 37 different scenarios across 18 ZIP codes, no other company, including both online therapy platforms and directories, offers therapy at such affordable rates. Furthermore, the wide array of specialties and expertise among the providers listed on Open Path resulted in outstanding performance during our testing.

There was a suitable provider for nearly every situation, rendering Open Path valuable not only as an economical choice, but also for fulfilling a broad array of client requirements.

Ideal for Psychiatry/Medication Management



  • Cost: Depends on insurance
  • Accepted Insurance: Yes
  • Therapy Options: Individual psychiatry/medication management and psychiatry/therapy

Talkiatry offers outstanding value. It has high user satisfaction, accepts most major insurance providers, and provides both psychiatry services and a psychiatry/therapy combination. 


  • Accepts most insurance 
  • High user satisfaction
  • Provides psychiatry and psychiatry/therapy combination


  • You can’t pay with cash
  • You won’t know the price until you sign up
  • You can’t use it without insurance
  • No independent therapy available

Talkiatry is an internet-based psychiatry platform that offers independent psychiatry/medication management and a combination of psychiatry and therapy. It’s suitable for individuals in need of medication: it does not offer standalone therapy. Additionally, Talkiatry will only accept you as a patient if your insurance is accepted, ensuring affordability for those who receive treatment from this company.

Its certified practitioners are dedicated to providing top-notch service, making it a great value for individuals with insurance coverage. Some online psychiatry services may feel like a mere medication distribution center, but Talkiatry offers a more elevated experience. In our user survey, 58 percent expressed satisfaction with how their prescriber spent ample time with them (compared to a 53 percent average), 44 percent said they never felt rushed (compared to a 32 percent average), and 35 percent mentioned their prescriber displayed empathy and care (compared to a 28 percent average).

If you require therapy in addition to psychiatry services, your prescriber will refer you to an appropriate provider, and you can receive both services at Talkiatry. Psychiatrists utilize various approaches such as lifestyle intervention and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Some practitioners are proficient in multiple languages.

Talkiatry accepts many major insurance plans and will only accept you as a patient if your insurance is accepted. Session and medication fees will vary based on your coverage.

Our user survey shows that users find Talkiatry services to be both cost-effective and efficient:

  • 92 percent rated its value for money positively overall, compared to a 78 percent average
  • 77 percent found it affordable or very affordable, compared to a 54 percent average
  • 95 percent rated it positively overall, compared to an 84 percent average
    • Price: The cost for group therapy sessions is $35 per session if paying out-of-pocket. Individual therapy sessions are $50 for a 20-minute session or $100 for a 40-minute session. The initial psychiatry evaluation costs $175, while follow-up appointments are $75. The substance use treatment program is $49 per month.
    • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
    • Types of Therapy: Group therapy, individual therapy, psychiatry/medication management

    Mindful Care offers cost-effective group therapy for various common mental health issues such as trauma, bipolar disorder, substance use recovery, and anxiety.


    • Group sessions are priced at $35 each without insurance.
    • There are a total of nine therapy groups available.
    • All groups are led by licensed therapists.


    • The primary therapy modality used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
    • No therapy services are available for children or teenagers.
    • Services are only accessible in six states.

    Mindful Care is an online platform that provides group and individual therapy, psychiatry, and medication management at affordable prices. It offers convenience and flexibility by offering full-length individual sessions, shorter 20-minute “microtherapy” sessions, and nine “MindFit” therapy groups that specifically address conditions like PTSD and substance use.

    One of the advantages of group therapy is its relatively lower cost compared to individual therapy. However, finding good and affordable online group therapy can be challenging. Many budget options resemble support groups with therapist facilitators or even peer support groups without professional therapists present. While these types of groups might suffice for some individuals, others may require the expertise and guidance of licensed therapists in certain situations.

    The MindFit groups offered by Mindful Care are legitimate therapy groups that follow the standards set by the American Psychological Association. These groups are facilitated by licensed therapists who utilize evidence-based therapies such as CBT and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which is specifically designed to assist individuals dealing with intense emotions.

    Having a counselor leading the group implies that you will acquire valuable, transformative techniques from an expert while still enjoying the advantages of peer assistance.

    • Mindful Care accepts the majority of insurance providers, but self-pay for group therapy is $35 per session. Groups meet once a week for an hour between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Currently, MindFit Groups consist of:
    • CALM (for apprehension)
    • RISE (for navigating challenging periods)
    • HOPE (for despondency)
    • SHINE (for the LGBTQIA community)
    • CONNECT (for connections)
    • RECOVER (for substance use)
    • WISE (for handling difficult emotions)
    • BALANCE (for bipolar disorder)
    • SAFE (for those with trauma)

    Additional services are priced as follows:

    • Psychiatry: $175 for an initial evaluation; $75 per 20-minute follow-up
    • Individual therapy: $50 for 20-minute sessions; $100 for 40-minute sessions
    • Addiction and substance use treatment: $175 for an initial evaluation for medication-assisted treatment; $75 for medication follow up; $20 for 15-minute Recovery Care session

    Mindful Care has strong ratings among users, who found the quality of care to be particularly positive:

    • 95 percent rated their therapist qualifications positively, compared to an 84 percent average
    • 83 percent would recommend it to a friend, compared to a 71 percent average
    • 92 percent rated it generally positive, compared to an 84 percent average

    One tester expressed their appreciation for their group therapy experience at Mindful Care: “I valued the opportunity for each participant to check in and provide an update on their current feelings at the beginning of each Zoom session. Other participants then had a chance to validate their emotions or share similar experiences.”

    Best for Couples Counseling:

    • ReGain: $240–$360 per month
    • Insurance Accepted?: No
    • Types of Therapy: Couples, individual

    ReGain offers 12,000 couples therapists across the country so you can find the right match and get the most for your money.


    • Price includes both messaging and live sessions
    • Flexible platform includes video, phone, and text
    • Designed specifically for relationship therapy


    • Doesn’t accept insurance
    • Price can vary based on availability and demand
    • You don’t choose your initial therapist

    ReGain is a platform that’s designed particularly for relationships.

    Partners can select from a reservoir of more than 12,000 therapists nationwide who provide live video, phone, or chat sessions, in addition to messaging between sessions, which can aid you in optimizing your funds. To commence, you will complete a set of questions and be paired with a therapist. Although you cannot choose your preliminary therapist, you can effortlessly swap and select a fresh provider if required.

    For couples who desire affordable, ongoing couples therapy that delves deep, ReGain is a fantastic option. With such a vast selection of providers, you’ll have access to practitioners with a wide range of skills, experience, and specialties to choose from. Therapists utilize methods like psychodynamic therapy (which investigates the underlying causes of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) and trauma-focused therapy (which addresses how past experiences impact the present). Finding the right connection can significantly enhance the value of therapy.

    ReGain does not adhere to a fixed pricing structure. The cost varies based on factors such as availability, demand, and location. While this may cause frustration for some individuals, it’s important to note that even at $360 per month ($90 per session plus messaging), it remains more affordable than many other alternatives.

    For a monthly cost ranging from $240 to $360, depending on location, availability, and demand, you will receive four live sessions along with messaging opportunities between sessions. ReGain does not accept insurance.

    Users have praised ReGain as an excellent resource for discovering experienced and effective counseling at an affordable price:

    • 80 percent rated its value for money positively, as compared to the average of 78 percent.
    • 88 percent rated their therapist’s qualifications positively, as compared to the average of 84 percent.
    • 49 percent said they would continue seeing the same therapist in six months, as compared to the average of 42 percent.

    One tester shared: “The therapist we ended up meeting with was highly professional, attentive to our needs, and capable of meeting our requirements. She collaborated with us to establish goals based on our experiences and provided us with worksheets and activities that aligned with those needs.”

    Best for Chat Messaging:


    • Price: $276–$436 monthly for therapy; $299 for psychiatric evaluation, $175 for follow-up appointments
    • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
    • Types of Therapy: Couples, individual, adolescent, medication management, psychiatry

    Talkspace offers affordable chat messaging and accepts insurance. It also provides various tiers and price points, allowing you to customize your plan according to your budget.


    • Starts at $69 per week without insurance
    • Offers multiple tiers and price points
    • Accepts insurance


    • The messaging/live session combination plan can be costly
    • Text therapy alone may not be suitable for everyone
    • You do not have the ability to choose your therapist

    Experience one of the oldest and most renowned online therapy platforms by visiting Talkspace.

    It possesses an enormous grid of practitioners throughout the nation who address individuals, pairs, and adolescents. It is furnished to cater to people with varied necessities and inclinations and who react to disparate methodologies. In general, it is a robust platform with a wide-ranging appeal.

    Its most cost-effective plan is messaging only. This begins at $69 per week without coverage and provides you with unlimited, 24/7 messaging with guaranteed therapist replies five days a week. While messaging therapy isn’t sufficient to address complex problems, it can be enough to support you until you can afford live sessions. Plus, if you’re someone who has social phobia or who is unable to have privacy in a live session, messaging therapy might actually be a better choice for you.

    Plans with live sessions are more expensive, and without coverage, they can be quite costly. In terms of affordability, Talkspace works best with the messaging plan. That said, you can always start there and upgrade your plan later or try the higher tiers and downgrade when finances become tight.

    You have your choice of three plans with Talkspace:

    • Messaging counseling: Includes unlimited messaging with guaranteed therapist replies five days a week and begins at $69 per week
    • Live counseling: Includes four live counseling sessions a month via live chat, phone, or video call and begins at $99 per week
    • Live messaging counseling: Includes both messaging and four live sessions and begins at $109 per week

    Psychiatry/medication management is an additional service that you sign up for separately. The initial 20- to 90-minute evaluation costs $299. Follow-up appointments are $175 each.

    Talkspace accepts a variety of insurance plans.

    Users found Talkspace to provide quality care overall and were largely satisfied with the services provided:

    • 90 percent rated it positively overall, compared to an 84 percent average
    • 92 percent rated their therapist’s qualifications positively, compared to an 84 percent average
    • 82 percent would recommend it to a friend, compared to a 71 percent average

    A tester noted that: “Talkspace stands out among its competitors in providing personalized and affordable talk therapy and psychiatry services.”

    Best With Insurance:

    • Teladoc
    • Price: $99 per therapy session, $299 per initial psychiatry session, and $109 for follow-up psychiatry sessions
    • Insurance Accepted?: Yes
    • Types of Therapy: Individual, couples, teen, psychiatry, medication management

    Users surveyed found that Teladoc accepted their insurance at a high rate and was a great value for money.


    • Accepts a wide variety of insurance carriers
    • Offers psychiatry services
    • Has high user satisfaction


    • Expensive without insurance
  • No communication during breaks
  • Not specifically designed for therapy

Teladoc is a telemedicine platform that offers mental health services as well as primary care, dermatology, pediatrics, nutrition counseling, and more. It simplifies taking care of yourself and your family by providing a variety of virtual services and accepting a wide range of insurance providers to ensure accessibility.

Whether you require psychiatry and medication management services, couples counseling, or therapy for your teenager, Teladoc delivers. Therapists are trained in various modalities, such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which emphasizes responding to challenges more effectively, and accelerated resolution therapy (ART), which is a rapid technique for healing trauma. Sessions are conducted via telephone or live video and last for a full hour, which is longer than many competitors. 

In our survey, 82 percent of users indicated that Teladoc accepted their insurance, surpassing any other therapy company examined. It is uncommon to have such high acceptance rates because, for many reasons, most therapists do not accept insurance. 

As previously mentioned, Teladoc is most suitable for individuals with insurance. However, if you pay out of pocket, the rates are still reasonable:

  • $99 per therapy session
  • $299 for initial psychiatry consultation; $119 per session for follow-ups

Teladoc emerged as one of the highest-performing platforms overall in terms of user satisfaction in our survey:

  • 97 percent gave it a positive overall rating, the highest among all companies surveyed
  • 87 percent gave a positive rating for its value for money, compared to the 78 percent average
  • 82 percent of users with insurance stated that Teladoc accepted it, compared to the 54 percent average

A tester remarked: “While the therapists I tried had different individual styles and approaches, both felt qualified, warm, caring, and attentive to my needs. They were available at times that suited my busy schedule, responded to my messages promptly, and made efforts to accommodate my needs.”

Best for Inclusivity


Inclusive Therapists

  • Price: Varies depending on the provider
  • Accepted Insurance: Varies depending on the provider
  • Types of Therapy: Couples, family, children’s, adolescent, group, medication management
    • Advantages:
      • Compiles a list of therapists with adjustable rates
      • Includes therapists who accept insurance
      • Offers extensive search filters, such as cost and sensitivity towards cultural, LGBTQIA, and disability aspects
    • Disadvantages:
      • The availability of affordable therapists may vary
      • Includes therapists who do not offer low rates
      • Includes therapists who do not accept insurance

    Inclusive Therapists is a directory that provides a selection of culturally inclusive professionals who specialize in treating adults, children, families, couples, and groups, offering both therapy and psychiatry/medication management. When searching for a therapist, users have access to various search filters to help them find a suitable practitioner, including sexual orientation, cultural understanding, immigration background, therapeutic approaches, and more. Users can even narrow down their search by the therapist’s racial, cultural, religious, or gender identity, as well as their areas of expertise, which encompass disability justice, body positivity, neurodivergence, racial equality, transgender rights, polyamory acceptance, gender-affirming care, and indigenous healing.

    This directory also provides a range of financial search options. Users can search for clinicians who offer adjustable rates and specify their desired dollar range. Additionally, it is easy to filter therapists based on the type of insurance one has. This combination of financial options and cultural inclusivity makes it a suitable choice for individuals seeking therapy on a budget, as it ensures that the therapist understands their unique cultural and personal identity. After connecting with a therapist through the directory, users will handle all logistical arrangements directly with the chosen practitioner.

    Since Inclusive Therapists functions as a directory, each therapist will have their own plans, policies, and rates. To find affordable therapists, users can utilize the Sliding-Scale/Low-Cost Options or Insurance filters. Furthermore, users can narrow down the sliding scale options to specific amounts by utilizing additional search filters.

    Based on user reviews, Inclusive Therapists is considered a reliable directory:

    • Approximately 79 percent of users expressed satisfaction with the availability of payment options, such as sliding scale and low rates, compared to an average of 76 percent.
    • About 81 percent of users were satisfied or very satisfied with the range of therapist options, surpassing the average of 80 percent.
    • Approximately 73 percent of users stated that Inclusive Therapists was better than previous services they had used, in comparison to the average of 70 percent.

    One tester shared their experience, stating: “As a Black woman who was once new to therapy and in search of a therapist who understood my biracial Black identity, I can recognize the value of this directory. Having access to a directory that allowed me to narrow down my search based on my specific needs at that time would have saved me numerous hours and minimized the stress I was already experiencing.”

    Final Judgment

    If you lack insurance, LiveHealth Online is an exceptional choice. Commencing at $80 per session, it provides one of the most economical rates obtainable among the companies researched. Additionally, you pay per session, and the reduced cost remains consistent even if you purchase sessions individually. This differs from companies that offer similarly affordable prices but only when sessions are bought in bulk. It also accepts insurance.

    If you are on an extremely tight budget, the directory Open Path Collective might be your optimal choice. All of its therapists have identical fees ranging from $40 to $70 per session for individual therapy and $40 to $80 per session for couples or family therapy. If you can afford those rates, you can afford a practitioner on Open Path. The trade-off is that many practitioners are newly licensed and less experienced. Keep this in mind when searching here.

    Compare the Most Inexpensive Online Therapy

     Company  Cost  Accepted Insurance?  Varieties of Therapy
    LiveHealth Online Best In the Absence of Insurance $80–$95 per session Yes Individual, psychiatry/medication management
    Open Path CollectiveTop-notch Directory   $40–$70 per session  No  Individual, couples, family 
    Talkiatry Great for Psychiatry/Medication Management  Varies based on insurance  Yes  Individual psychiatry/medication management and psychiatry/therapy combination 
    AmwellIdeal for Families  $109 to $279 per therapy session  Yes  Individual, couples, kids, teens, family, psychiatry/medication management
    Mindful Care

    Best for Group Therapy $35 per session for group therapy; $50 for a 20-minute or $100 for a 40-minute individual therapy session; $175 for the initial psychiatry evaluation and $75 for follow-ups; $49 per month for the substance use treatment program Yes Group, individual, psychiatry/medication management
    Ours Best for Premarital Counseling $400–$500 for 6 sessions No Couples
    ReGain Best for Couples Counseling $240–$360 per month No Couples
    Talkspace Best for Chat Messaging $276–$516 per month for therapy; $249 for psychiatry evaluation, $125 for follow-ups Yes Couples, individual, teen, psychiatry/medication management
    Teladoc Best With Insurance $99 per therapy session Yes Individual, couples, teen, psychiatry/medication management
    Inclusive Therapists Most Inclusive Cost varies depending on the provider Cost varies depending on the provider Couples, family, group, kids, teens, medication management

    Guide to Selecting the Best Affordable Online Therapy

    Who Would Benefit From Participating in Online Therapy?

    Whether in-person or online, therapy has the potential to transform lives and enhance the quality of life for individuals dealing with various challenges. Study after study demonstrates the efficacy of psychotherapy and its different approaches in addressing critical issues such as reducing the risk of suicide, facilitating recovery from trauma, and enhancing marital relationships, among countless other concerns.

    Online therapy is especially excellent for individuals residing in rural regions, where there are therapy deserts (a scarcity of practitioners nearby), who are unable to afford or do not possess transportation, who have busy schedules, and for parents. You can save a significant amount of time, money, and effort by engaging in therapy from the comfort of your own home.

    Is Online Therapy More Economical Than In-Person Therapy?

    Generally, online therapy is more cost-effective than in-person therapy. According to a Verywell Mind Cost of Therapy survey, individuals typically spend an average of $179 per month on therapy, with 71 percent receiving partial coverage from their insurance and 36 percent obtaining assistance from an employee assistance program (EAP). Overall, 62 percent of surveyed users reported paying at least some out-of-pocket expenses for therapy.

    Online therapy tends to be more affordable because it reduces the financial burden therapists encounter, which can drive up prices. Consequently, online therapists are more inclined to offer reduced or sliding-scale rates.

    “Depending on the market, rent can consume a significant portion of total income,” explains Nic Hardy, Ph.D., a licensed clinical social worker. “This cost is passed on to the client, resulting in higher per-session fees. Additionally, lease agreements are usually multi-year, establishing a fixed expense that must be accommodated regardless of the number of clients seen.”

    How Can I Evaluate the Value for Money of an Online Therapy Company?

    “When it comes to online therapy companies, cheaper does not always equate to better,” advises Amy Marschall, Psy.D. “If you are seeking a specialist in a particular diagnosis or symptom, investigate the providers’ training and qualifications. Assess whether there are additional resources available, such as self-guided journals or mindfulness practices. These elements can all contribute to the value you receive for what you pay.”

    Comparing Cost-Effective Online Therapy Services

    There are several factors to consider when determining the most suitable online counseling service for your needs. These factors include:

    • Price: If you have insurance, your initial step should involve checking your coverage and identifying a platform that accepts your provider. Keep in mind that insurance coverage for couples, family, or group therapy is uncommon, but you should contact your insurance company to inquire about coverage for these sessions under specific criteria, such as an official diagnosis. If you do not have insurance, conduct some price comparisons and be on the lookout for sliding scale options and low rates. Review the fine print to gather information about membership fees, automatic subscriptions requiring cancellation, or any additional costs.
    • Subject: Most therapists have a few areas of expertise. To maximize your investment, look for someone who possesses experience, background, and specialties that align with your needs. Some therapists have additional training in subjects like trauma recovery, sex therapy, mood disorders, and so forth. This may require additional certifications and training, which might impact session fees.
    • Booking: If you’re mindful of your finances, a pay-as-you-go system can help you avoid purchasing sessions that you no longer desire or require. This is particularly crucial when trying out a new therapist. Otherwise, it is important to find a counselor who facilitates easy scheduling, preferably at a consistent time each week. Maintaining consistency can expedite the healing process and provide greater value.
    • Location: Therapists can only offer their services to individuals within the states where they are licensed. When evaluating a new platform, check to ensure that counselors are authorized to work with patients in your state. It can be disappointing to discover a potentially promising therapist only to learn that they are not available due to location. If you find that only a few therapists can treat individuals in your state, verify if they are accepting new patients.
    • Counseling approach: Online therapy typically involves live video, phone, or text sessions, and in some cases, messaging between sessions. Often, subscription-based services provide a combination of these options. Messaging and live text therapy are suitable for individuals with social anxiety or those who lack privacy during a session. They are also more cost-effective. Live video and audio sessions typically offer a more comprehensive and effective experience but come at a higher cost.
    • Flexibility in changing therapists: Therapy is most effective when you have a provider who possesses the necessary expertise and with whom you feel safe and connected. However, achieving this ideal relationship may not always happen on the first attempt. Prior to enrolling in any online therapy service, whether subscription-based or not, ensure that switching therapists is simple. It is often preferred to have the ability to choose your therapist.

    What If I’m Having Thoughts of Harming Myself?

    Online therapy is not suitable for immediate mental health emergencies. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm require prompt action. 

    If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or contemplating self-harm, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24/7. 

    You will communicate with individuals trained to provide support to those facing suicidal tendencies. Emergency services will only be notified if necessary safety measures cannot be established with the caller. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline understands that involving emergency contacts can be traumatic for some individuals, which is why it is considered a last resort. 

    For individuals with hearing impairments, dial 711 before calling 988 or utilize your preferred relay service before dialing.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What Are the Advantages of Online Therapy?

      Online therapy offers numerous benefits similar to in-person therapy, with the additional advantage of being more convenient and often more economical. Fees are frequently lower compared to in-person therapy. Accessing therapy online means less travel time and often reduced expenses, particularly secondary costs like child or elder care and transportation (especially for individuals residing in rural areas). If you live in a remote area with a shortage of therapists or lack transportation, online therapy can be a valuable resource.

    • What Is the Price Range for Online Therapy?

      Online therapy tends to be less costly than in-person therapy, although prices can vary significantly. On the lower end of the spectrum are organizations like Open Path Collective, which charges $40 to $70 per session, and LiveHealth Online, where a 45-minute session costs $80 and up. Mid-range options typically range around $100 per session. However, certain online therapy providers like Octave (not included in the list of affordable providers mentioned here) charge $170 to $250 per session. In other words, online therapy isn’t always synonymous with lower costs, and conversely, lower costs don’t always equate to higher cost-effectiveness or greater value for money.

    • Does Insurance Cover Online Therapy?

      Insurance coverage for online therapy has been expanding since 2020, although it remains inadequate. Coverage from insurance providers is complex: Despite the existence of protective measures like the parity act, certain medical diagnoses can still be excluded for arbitrary reasons. Marschall emphasizes that “many plans simply do not accept certain diagnoses,” which means that depending on the specific diagnosis, coverage may still be denied. Insurance decision-makers without mental health training have the authority to determine who deserves assistance, which is unreasonable.

    • Is Affordable Online Therapy Available for Couples?

      Affordable online couples therapy does exist, but, similar to in-person therapy, it can be more challenging to find. Most insurance companies do not cover it. One reason for this is that coverage typically mandates a medical diagnosis, which is difficult to establish when dealing with couples’ issues. It is advisable to contact your insurance provider to verify the specific details of your coverage.


    To determine the most suitable and cost-effective online therapy options, we conducted a survey with 105 users across 55 of the most popular online therapy platforms and 180 users from 25 directories.

    We also tested many of these platforms ourselves, consulted three industry experts, and sent questionnaires to the companies themselves. We favored platforms that offered a range of cost-effective payment options, such as adjustable scale/low fees, insurance choices, discounted therapy bundles, and availability of student therapy. Platforms and directories that performed well in terms of user satisfaction, both for affordability and quality of care, made it to the top of the list. We evaluated membership fees, subscription fees, and other additional expenses associated with companies. We also examined the value each one provides for the money, based on session duration, therapist qualifications, user experience, and types of therapy offered.