Best Online Therapy Services: Top 5 Virtual Counseling Programs, According To Experts

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of services that were only available in-person, have shifted to online availability. Healthcare has seen a major shift here, especially in mental health, leading more people to search for the best online therapy services. That way, patients reap the benefits of talk therapy without having to commute which makes it easier to work into busy schedules.

Therapy is a popular way to manage life’s stressors. In fact, a recent study shows that more Americans are seeking therapy for post-pandemic life. Half of the respondents are considering therapy for the first time in their life due to the pandemic. With this added need, more and more online services are popping up.

Telehealth makes these services more accessible and can take away the frustration from the process. One study shows that on average, people go through three therapists before finding the best fit for them. By being able to do this virtually, it takes away the hassle of having to go to new offices and meet in-person with new providers. It may also lessen the blow of ending sessions with a provider. Plus, you can even do it from your bed for the utmost comfort while discussing your feelings.

Looking to make a change, but not sure where to begin? To simplify things, we at StudyFinds researched and compared the best online therapy services to help you narrow down the virtual counseling options out there today. Let us know in the comments if you have experience with online therapy and any recommendations you have! 

a woman on her phone, petting her cat
A woman using an online therapy app (Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels)

The List: Best Online Therapy Services, According to Experts


1. BetterHelp

BetterHelp is one of the most popular online therapy services. Seeing a boost during the pandemic, BetterHelp is frequently advertised by social media influencers, podcast hosts, and more. Forbes Health named it the best for specialty care saying, “People using BetterHelp have access to accredited therapists, marriage counselors and licensed clinical social workers, all with master’s or doctorate degrees.”

VeryWellMind  also notes the “large network of accredited psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors across the U.S. and internationally, ready to support you through therapy in the format of your choosing within moments of signing up.”

It was picked Best Overall on Healthline’s list, “BetterHelp has access to over 12,000 licensed, accredited, and experienced counselors. The company excels at matching therapists to your individual needs and preferences. Users rave about the live sessions, with many saying it’s the reason they chose BetterHelp.” The site offers individual, couple, and family counseling via video call, the phone, messaging, or live chat.

2. Talkspace

Talkspace is another popular option. It also has several communication platforms, therapy options, and flexible subscription plans. Another perk, the company can prescribe medication and accepts insurance. EverydayHealth says, “Our tester was impressed with how quickly Talkspace matched them with a counselor. They also found that Talkspace promo codes made it cheaper than using their out-of-network private insurance.”

“With Talkspace, your options include message-based therapy that’s great for those who feel comfortable sharing through video or have a changing schedule that cannot commit to weekly sessions,” says CNET, also mentioning the network of more than 3,000 mental health professionals.

Healthline agrees, naming it “Best network of therapists” saying, “With over 3,000 licensed therapists and multiple subscription plans, Talkspace takes the spot for the best network of mental health professionals.”

3. ReGain

If you’re looking something specifically for couples, ReGain is a good option. ReGain is a specialty site from BetterHelp that’s relationship focused“All of BetterHelp’s therapy platforms, including ReGain, offer appointment times outside of work hours and on weekends,” says National Council on Aging, which named it “Best Couples Counseling.” “In our Review Team’s survey of 1,000 online therapy users, 49% of people using ReGain chose it for these flexible scheduling options.”

SFGate agrees, also naming it “Best online therapy for couples and marriage counseling” on its list: “The platform also contains an extensive knowledge base of informative articles and other resources that address common relationship issues.”

A couple fighting
A couple in an argument (Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash)

Users can communicate via app using live video, phone calls, live chat, and messaging. “For those who may want to meet with their therapist separately from their partner, ReGain isn’t a good fit, since there isn’t a private message option,” says EverydayHealth. “Your partner will see everything you write. But because you can message your counselor at any time, ReGain does work well for couples who are busy and struggle to find a time when they can both meet for a session.”

4. Brightside

For those seeking treatment for depression and anxiety, Brightside may be a source to find the help they’re looking for. Brightside provides both medication management and therapy. “Its focused approach has resulted in a curated treatment plan that draws on multiple approaches, including therapy, medication, and self-care, to provide care that users can rely on,” says VeryWellMind.

In terms of medication, Brightside can prescribe it to be delivered or for local pharmacy pickup. “Medications are prescribed by online psychiatrists based on your individual needs for depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns,” says the National Council on Aging.

“The platform shows you a symptom tracker on your account dashboard so you and your care team can keep track of ongoing treatment. You can use it to track your individual progress and the impacts of any adjustments made to your plan, like medication changes or dose changes,” writes EverydayHealth.

5. MDLive

Specializing in longer sessions and a wide variety of topics, MDLive is a good choice for someone looking to go more in depth with therapy treatment. According to, topics range from addiction, LGBTQ+ support, trauma and PTSD, stress management, and more.

“Therapy sessions are approximately 45 to 60 minutes long and during your first appointment, you and your provider will discuss how often sessions will be held and your treatment plan and goals,” says Choosing Therapy.

Forbes Health adds, “We liked MDLive’s straightforward pricing, and that instant chat was available if anything were to go awry.”

While finding a therapist that works best with what you’re looking for may be a process, we hope this list of best online therapy options gets you to a good start. 

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.