5 Best Affordable Online Therapy & Counseling of 2024

Lindsey Desoto

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

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Betterhelp

BetterHelp

  • Financial assistance available
  • Large selection of therapists

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20% Off First Month: healthcanal

Talkspace

Talkspace

  • Some insurances are accepted
  • Medication available
  • Three different plans available

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$85 off your first month: HEALTHCANAL85

Regain

Regain

  • Exclusively for couples
  • Reasonably priced
  • Licensed marriage therapists

Whether you’re having difficulty regulating your emotions, experiencing sleep disruptions, struggling to maintain relationships, or simply need someone to talk to, finding a good therapist can be a game-changer.

Despite being a highly effective way to improve mental health, an estimated 70%[1] of individuals lack local access to traditional mental health services.

If you do not have access to a local therapist or prefer the ease of virtual visits, online therapy companies can connect you with a licensed mental health professional from the palm of your hand.

While you can’t put a price tag on your mental health, it is always essential to research and choose a company that provides quality but affordable online mental health care. 

In this article, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best affordable online therapy options in 2022.

5 Best Affordable Online Therapy & Counseling in (June. 2024)

  • BetterHelp – Editor’s Choice
  • Talkspace – Best for Different Plans
  • Regain – Best for Couples
  • Monument – Best for Addiction
  • Open Path Collective – Best Low Cost Online Therapy

Who Should & Should Not Use Virtual Counseling?

Anyone who has access to a device such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a good internet connection can reap the benefits of virtual counseling. However, it may not be for everyone. 

Here is a look at who may and may not benefit from virtual therapy.

People who should use virtual counseling include those who:

  • Do not have access to an in-person therapist
  • Have disabilities that make it difficult to travel
  • Are nervous about having face-to-face sessions
  • Do not have health insurance

People who may not benefit from virtual counseling include those who:

  • Are experiencing severe mental health conditions
  • Lack of access to a device with a good internet connection
  • Have health insurance that only covers in-person therapy

5 Best Effective & Affordable Online Therapy Options in 2024

BetterHelp

Betterhelp

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20% Off First Month: healthcanal

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BetterHelp is one of the largest counseling services in the world, you will be able to find the perfect therapist to address your anxieties, concerns, challenges, and goals with.

  • Services available for couples, individuals, and teens
  • Financial assistance offered
  • Messaging available between sessions
  • Does not accept health insurance
  • Medication is not available

BetterHelp is a legitimate therapy platform that offers personalized mental health services at reasonable prices. The signup process is easy and straightforward.

Once you sign up, you will be asked several questions and matched with a therapist they believe is most suitable for you. You can change therapists anytime if your first match isn’t a perfect fit.

Providers include licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, social workers, and licensed professional counselors.

You can communicate with your therapist via direct messaging, live chats, video sessions, or speaking over the phone. You are allowed one live session per week. You can also message your therapist in between appointments.

Fees are billed every four weeks.  You can cancel your membership at any time. Unfortunately, insurance is not accepted.

Talkspace

Talkspace

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$85 off your first month: HEALTHCANAL85

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Talkspace is an easy-to-navigate online therapy platform that provides various mental health services and methods of communication. The company also has psychiatrists and nurse practitioners on staff to assist with medication management as needed.

  • Provide Text, audio, and video messaging
  • Medication management available
  • Some insurances are accepted
  • Pricey
  • Limited number of therapists to choose from

Talkspace is an online therapy platform that allows you to connect with thousands of talented therapists from the convenience of your own home. They offer teen therapy, couples therapy, individual counseling, medication management, and psychiatry services. Specialized therapy for veterans is also available.

Studies[3] show that combined treatment with talk therapy and medications may be more effective than either treatment alone.

You will begin by chatting with a consultation therapist who will ask you several in-depth questions. Within 48 hours, you’ll be provided with several recommended matches.

You will be able to view each therapist’s bio and information prior to selecting your therapist.

You have the option to communicate with your therapist through audio, video, or live chat. Messaging is also available in between sessions.

Talkspace offers the following plans:

  • Messaging therapy: Includes text, audio, and video messaging five days per week.
  • Live therapy: Includes four 45-minute live sessions per month.
  • Live + messaging therapy: Messaging plus four 45-minute live sessions each month.

Discounts are available if you opt to be billed every three months or yearly. Insurance is accepted for some services.

Regain

Regain is an online relationship therapy platform that solely focuses on helping couples improve their relationship issues and mental health. You can chat with your therapist.

  • You and your partner do not have to be at the same location
  • Reasonably priced
  • Licensed mental health professionals available
  • Does not accept insurance
  • No medication offered
  • Exclusively for couples therapy

Regain should be used by individuals or couples seeking therapy for marital or relationship issues. To begin, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to help them find the best therapist for you.

Once your therapist is assigned, you can sign up as an individual to discuss your relationship challenges or include your partner. Providers at Regain include accredited psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional therapists.

In addition to weekly live sessions, you can message your therapist at any time throughout the week. You and your partner do not need to be in the same location for weekly sessions. You can both join the video session room from your own device.

If you feel your first therapist is not a good fit, you can ask to be matched with a different therapist.

One small 2019 study[4] examined the expectations and experiences of couples who participated in video-based therapy. Researchers found that many couples felt videoconferencing was more beneficial than other counseling methods because it allowed them to increase their focus on the therapy process and feel a greater sense of control and comfort.

Prices vary based on your preferences, location, and therapist availability. Health insurance is not accepted at this time.

Monument

Monument is a telemedicine platform that offers group therapy, individualized therapy, and medication management for those who are looking to change their relationship with alcohol. 

  • Affordable
  • Various plans are offered
  • Medication management
  • Access to a free online community
  • Insurance accepted
  • Tailored specifically to addiction
  • Not available in all states

Monument is one of the only online counseling services that offers personalized treatment of alcohol use disorders and recovery. They offer physician visits, medication, and CBT provided by a licensed therapist at an affordable price.

Studies[5] suggest that best practices in addiction treatment should consist of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) combined with medication. CBT[6] is a type of psychological treatment that aims to change thinking patterns in order to improve quality of life. It puts an emphasis on helping people develop coping skills.

Whether your goal is sobriety or moderation, Monument has a plan available for you. Their Total Care Weekly plan includes four 45-minute therapy appointments per month, physician appointments, and chat-based messaging with your physician and therapist. You’ll also have complete access to therapist-moderated support groups to connect with others who share your challenges.

Monument’s Total Care Biweekly plan is also offered, which includes two 45-minute appointments with your therapist and physician appointments each month. In addition, you will have access to support groups.

You can also choose a free membership that gives you access to the community forum and therapist-moderated support groups.

Open Path Collective

Open Path Collective is a non-profit organization that provides affordable mental health services to clients in need.

  • Cheap therapy available
  • Licensed mental health providers available
  • You can select your own therapist
  • All are welcome to receive services
  • Income restrictions apply
  • Membership fee required

Open Path Collective is a nationwide network of licensed mental health professionals who provide services to those who cannot afford market rates for therapy, are underinsured or uninsured

To find a provider, simply search their website for an Open Path therapist in your area. Depending on provider availability, you can choose a therapist who provides in-person or online services.

If the therapist, psychologist, or social worker you’ve chosen has open availability, you can select “Join Open Path” on their profile page.

You do not need to purchase more than one membership if you are participating in family or couples therapy. Fees are structured using a sliding scale based on your household income.

All are welcome for this service. There is no discrimination based on age, gender identity, body size, religion, or sexual orientation.

How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?

Online therapy generally is very similar to or cheaper than in-person therapy. However, fees will vary depending on the company. Prices can vary depending on the number of live sessions you opt for, the therapist’s education level, and your location.

If cost is your primary concern and you do not qualify for Open Path Collective, BetterHelp is a good alternative.

How to Choose the Right Kind of Therapist?

Finding a good therapist can be challenging. It is important not to give up if your first therapist is not a good fit. Even though many companies ask in-depth, personal questions to help find someone who suits your unique needs, your first — or even second — match may not be compatible with your needs.

If your first online therapy experience is less than ideal, you can discuss potential qualities that you would like in a therapist with the person or organization responsible for re-matching you.

If you can choose your own provider from the beginning, it’s important not to rush and carefully look through the database or list to select a therapist who best aligns with your views and therapy goals. 

Most therapists have pretty detailed biographies and share traits and qualities to help potential clients determine if they may be a possible match. You can also do a quick web search to see if the therapist has any existing reviews from current or previous clients.

Here are some pertinent questions to ask yourself before choosing a therapist:

  • Do you want a therapist with religious beliefs that are similar to yours?
  • Do you want a therapist who shares the same sexual orientation, gender, age, or race?
  • Do you want a therapist who specializes in specific mental health conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, etc.?

How We Picked the Best Affordable Therapy Services

When selecting the best online therapy services, we carefully reviewed hundreds of different telehealth and web-based platforms, keeping the following things in mind:

  • Price played a major role in our decision-making, as many people do not have a lot of money to spend on therapy. We tried to select online services that are comparable in price to what an in-office therapy co-pay would be.
  • Quality is important because you want to be happy with the services that are provided to you. We looked at real customer reviews and ensured each platform provided access to board-certified, licensed therapists.
  • Ease of use is essential, so technical issues do not get in the way of you interacting with your therapist. We chose platforms that are practical, simple, and easy to use.
  • Therapist accessibility is also important. It is always nice to know that your therapist can be reached to discuss any issues that may arise between appointments.
  • Confidentiality is vital to ensure your data is protected and kept confidential. We only chose services that are compliant with all recent privacy laws.

Final Thought

Online therapy is an easy, convenient way to get the quality care you deserve in the comfort of your own home. Because so many online platforms exist that treat mental health issues, it is important to carefully review each company’s pricing, therapist availability, ease of use, and methods of communication. 

You also want to ensure your mental healthcare professional of choice keeps your personal information private.

Although the definition of “affordable” can vary by individual, most of us are searching for quality services that will not break the bank. The services we’ve discussed have met strict criteria, are affordable, and have been rated high by users.

Free help may also be available in your community if you do a little research and can contact the right person. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does therapy cost?

Online therapy can cost anywhere between $30 to several hundred of dollars per session, depending on the qualifications of your therapist and the services they offer. Subscription-based therapy is generally cheaper and typically costs around $60 per week.

Are online therapists cheaper?

Generally speaking, if you are paying out of pocket, an online therapy session will be cheaper than a face-to-face traditional therapy session.

Are there any free online therapy options?

Several online therapy platforms offer free trials if you sign up. You can also contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine to see what other free therapy options are available. You may also be able to contact your employer to see if any employee assistance programs are available.

Who should use virtual therapy?

Anyone who would like access to a licensed therapist in the comfort of their own home can use online therapy.

Is online therapy secure for users?

Yes, if you choose services provided by a reputable, licensed therapist online, your virtual therapy sessions will be secure.

Is virtual therapy as effective as in-office therapy?

Yes. In fact, it may be more effective. One 2020 review[8] of 17 studies found that online cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than face-to-face therapy at reducing the severity of depression. Researchers also found that patients were equally as satisfied with both types of therapy.


+ 8 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Telemedicine and e-Health. (2021). Effectiveness of Evidence-Based Telecoaching Delivered Through an Employer-Sponsored Mental Health Benefits Platform | Telemedicine and e-Health. [online] Available at: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/tmj.2020.0555
  2. Anon, (2022). Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/hipaa.html#
  3. Cuijpers, P., Sijbrandij, M., Koole, S.L., Andersson, G., Beekman, A.T. and Reynolds, C.F. (2014). Adding psychotherapy to antidepressant medication in depression and anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis. World Psychiatry, [online] 13(1), pp.56–67. doi:10.1002/wps.20089.
  4. Kysely, A., Bishop, B., Kane, R., Cheng, M., De Palma, M. and Rooney, R. (2020). Expectations and Experiences of Couples Receiving Therapy Through Videoconferencing: A Qualitative Study. Frontiers in Psychology, [online] 10. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02992.
  5. Ray, L.A., Meredith, L.R., Kiluk, B.D., Walthers, J., Carroll, K.M. and Magill, M. (2020). Combined Pharmacotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adults With Alcohol or Substance Use Disorders. JAMA Network Open, [online] 3(6), p.e208279. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.8279.
  6. What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (2017). What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? [online] https://www.apa.org. Available at: https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral
  7. Luo, C., Sanger, N., Singhal, N., Pattrick, K., Shams, I., Shahid, H., Hoang, P., Schmidt, J., Lee, J., Haber, S., Puckering, M., Buchanan, N., Lee, P., Ng, K., Sun, S., Kheyson, S., Chung, D.C.-Y., Sanger, S., Thabane, L. and Samaan, Z. (2020). A comparison of electronically-delivered and face to face cognitive behavioural therapies in depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. EClinicalMedicine, [online] 24, p.100442. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100442.
Lindsey Desoto

Medically reviewed by:

Melissa Mitri

Lindsey DeSoto is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Coastal Mississippi. She earned her BSc in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama. Lindsey has a passion for helping others live their healthiest life by translating the latest evidence-based research into easy-to-digest, approachable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Melissa Mitri

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