How To Get the Most Out Of Online Therapy - Find Your Therapist Today | Best Online Therapy For 2020

Updated August 14, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Nicole Gaines, LPC

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Online Therapy - Is It Worth It?

Millions of people turn to therapy online to help them through tough times in life. Whether that be

or any of the other varieties of therapy, it can be an invaluable tool when life gets hard.

An increasing number of people are seeing a counselor with online therapy. Online counseling is an online way to access professional therapists and has numerous advantages over in-person therapy, including lower cost and the convenience of completing your therapy from your own home. However, just because someone chooses to undergo therapy does not automatically mean that therapy online will work for them. If you decide to seek help via online therapy, here are some ways to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.

Do You Need An Online Therapy Plan?

It is important that you go into a therapy session with an online therapist with a clear idea of what you would like to accomplish. If you keep a journal, try to write about any challenges you are facing that you would like to discuss with your online therapist.

If you do not have a journal, a simple list will do the trick. In the week leading up to your first therapy appointment, anytime something makes you feel a negative emotion, write it down. One of the advantages of online therapy over traditional therapy is that you can have these materials right in front of you as you work with the counselor. Going into the session with a clear idea of the things you want to work on means you and your therapist can focus on the important things, and not waste any time simply trying to get to decide which areas of your life you want to discuss.

Set Goals with Your Therapist During Your Therapy

This is an elaboration of the first point. Beyond simply planning what you want to discuss with your counselor, think about how you want to feel following a therapy session and moving forward in the future. Knowing what you want to accomplish, and communicating these things with your therapist, will make your sessions much more worthwhile for all parties involved. Having an idea of your goals for therapy online ensures that the time you spend chatting with your online therapist will not be wasted. Plus, doing so before starting counseling can help you find the therapist that is the right fit for you.

Here are some tips in setting goals with your online therapist:

  • Be realistic with your therapist
  • Get specific with what you are looking to accomplish with your online therapist
  • Make sure your goals are about you
  • Create an action plan to reach your goals with your online therapist
  • Outline the steps needed to achieve these goals, be as specific as you need
  • Making sure you are setting new goals with your therapist after completing each set goal

Therapy Online: Don't Settle With Your Therapist

Another advantage of online therapy is the amount of choice you have as a patient. When working with a traditional in-person counselor, your choice is restricted by who is practicing in your area, who takes your insurance, and other factors. But when you are working with a counselor online, your amount of choice is multiplied.

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The best online therapy services will have a wide variety of therapists who you can choose to work with, with a variety of specialties, backgrounds, and genders.There are counselors who specialize in topics such as:

Some services, like ReGain, match you with a licensed counselor based on your wants and needs for therapy. Still, if you feel the match is not a good fit, you always have the freedom to switch to a different counselor who you feel is better suited for you. When it comes to finding the right counselor, it is okay to be picky. Do not settle for a counselor that you feel cannot help you accomplish your goals.

Online Therapy: Schedule Sessions Online

Some online therapy services will have you schedule a 30 minute or hour-long session with your therapist as you would for an in-person session. Others are 24-hour services, in which you have an ongoing dialogue with your therapist and can update them on how you are feeling at any time of the day. Often, online therapy will be a mix of both formats. You will schedule certain times to have a long talk with your counselor but can also contact them at any time if something comes up.

Regardless of which form of online therapy you choose, it is important to prioritize time to work with your online therapist. Once you decide to work with an online counselor, figure out when in your day or week you can carve out some time to dedicate to your online therapy. You may decide a certain day of the week is when you want to do one, long update, or you may want to write a shorter message to your therapist every evening.

Whatever you choose, make the time you chat with your therapist your "me" time. If you live with other people, ask them not to bother you while you plan to chat with your counselor. This way, you can fully focus on your conversation, and make sure you can communicate everything that is on your mind with online therapy.

Of course, if you choose a 24-hour therapy service, you can always send a quick message to your online therapist if there is something you feel you need to tell them immediately. But, it is also important to set aside some scheduled time to talk to them to get the most out of your therapy experience.

Be Realistic with Your Therapist and Constraints For Your Online Therapy

When setting goals or scheduling time for your online therapy, be realistic about any time constraints you may be facing. While online therapy is far less time consuming than traditional, in-person therapy, it is still important to commit yourself that you will dedicate the necessary time and energy towards your therapeutic efforts.

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Most people are very busy, and that is okay. If you only have thirty extra minutes in your week that you can devote to therapy, that is perfectly fine, but you need to keep that in mind when setting goals for yourself and your therapy. If you have major goals you want to accomplish, be realistic and realize that it may take a long time to get there if you are only doing a little bit of work a week. Remember that little things eventually add up to big things, and something is always better than nothing. But, be realistic about your time, and do not get discouraged if you feel that things are not moving along as quickly as you would like.

Be Honest with Your Therapist

Another way you can think about being realistic is that you need to be honest with yourself about the time you can commit to therapy and what you can expect to accomplish in that amount of time. But, honesty is not only important when it comes to your goals.

When making your initial plan about what you want to work on with your counselor, it is extremely important to be honest about any struggles you are facing. Therapists are trained professionals and will never judge you for anything you tell them. Rather, it is crucial to be honest if you want to get the best possible outcomes from your therapy.

You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed about anything you need help with; therapists chose their career path because they want to help people overcome challenges. If you keep things concealed, you will not get the maximum benefit out of your time and financial investment that you make in therapy.

Take Guidance from Your Online Therapist

Your therapist cannot force you to do anything. All they can do is offer their opinion on your situation and give you suggestions on how you can work on things to feel better. Other than that, the power is in your hands. That being said, it is important to take the guidance of your counselor if you want to get anything out of your sessions. Some people feel better simply having someone to whom they can unload all of their worries, and for them, no outside work will be necessary. But, most people seek more from their online therapy experiences.

There is a saying with fitness that exercise "won't work unless you do." The same can be said about online therapy. If your therapists instruct you to do something or give you "homework," such as writing in a journal, it is because those activities are crucial to your treatment and will have a positive impact on your life. If you are unable to do everything your therapist asks you due to time constraints, that is okay, but be sure to let them know so they can create a new plan for you. Doing at least some of the work that your counselor gives you is key to getting the most out of the experience.

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Talk to Your Partner About Online Therapy

If you seek online counseling for personal problems and would like to keep those things private, do not feel pressured to share with anyone else. But, if your reasons for seeking therapy have to do with your relationship, it can be very beneficial to discuss this with your partner. If you feel you need to seek help from a therapist to work on your relationship, it is important that your partner knows this so that they can also work towards improving the relationship.

In some cases, you may even choose to ask your partner to participate in online therapy with you as a couple. This way, the dialogue with the counselor becomes three-way. Couples therapy can be a very positive addition to a relationship and teach partners things about each other that they continue to benefit from long after they cease to work with a therapist regularly.

Be Compassionate During Therapy

Often during online therapy, people uncover things about themselves that they had been trying to push away for a while. Or, talking to a therapist may simply lead you to realize things about yourself that you never realized before.

Learning these things are extremely beneficial in the long run, but it is not always pleasant in the present moment. Therapy may force you to face things about yourself that you do not like. If this situation occurs, remember to be kind to yourself. Do not get angry with yourself or beat yourself up if you realize some negative traits in yourself. Remember to be compassionate and that you are doing online therapy to improve yourself. It is natural to feel upset upon learning certain things about yourself, but try to keep in mind that online therapy is a learning experience, and by learning these things you can improve yourself and feel happier in the long run.

Therapy Is Personal

Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. But, keeping these nine things in mind can ensure that you will get the most out of online therapy, regardless of what your specific goals are.

If you're still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at ReGain specializes in online therapy to help address all types of mental health concerns. If you're interested in individual therapy, please reach out to For more information about BetterHelp as a company, please find us on Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Facebook & Tumblr.

If you need a crisis hotline or want to learn more about therapy, please see below:

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) - 1-800-656-4673

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline - 1-800-799-7233

NAMI Helpline (National Alliance on Mental Illness) - 1-800-950-6264

For more information on mental health, please see:

- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

SAMHSA Facebook, SAMHSA Twitter

- Mental Health America

MHA Twitter, MHA Facebook, MHA Instagram, MHA Pinterest

- WebMD

WebMD Facebook, WebMD Twitter, WebMD Pinterest

- NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)

NIMH Facebook, NIMH Twitter, NIMH YouTube

- APA (American Psychiatric Association)

APA Twitter, APA Facebook, APA LinkedIN, APA Instagram

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is online therapy as effective?

If you are looking for the best online therapy, chances are that you’ve wondered whether or not online therapy programs provide as much effectiveness as in-person therapy. It may surprise you to find that online therapy programs have been around for decades, and are considered to be just as effective as traditional therapy. The exception to this may be for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and may need light therapy from a traditional therapist to treat their symptoms.

When it comes to finding mental health treatment, what matters is that you are comfortable enough to communicate with a therapist. Some people are simply more comfortable with therapy programs that offers online therapy. An online platform gives people the option to get help without having to leave their home, and can help people who have found that traditional therapy isn’t a good match for them. The best therapist is the one you are able to talk to, even if it happens via an online chat session with a therapist.

Online therapy programs offer the same array of specialities that traditional therapy does, which can include cognitive behavioral therapy or behavioral therapy, along with talk therapy and other options. The best therapist for you depends on your needs. You can search for family therapists clinical social workers, which can help you find family therapists licensed clinical social workers to help address family mental health issues. Marriage and family therapists help families that are also experiencing issues between the parents that may not be appropriate to discuss in front of their children. Online marriage counseling is another option for couples that don’t have children, or whose children are thriving and aren’t involved in the family discord. Anytime children are involved in the discord, however, it is important to seek family therapists clinical social workers so that the entire family can benefit from the counseling sessions.

What is the best online therapy?

Many different online articles may tout their top picks for online therapy programs, but the best online therapy is the one that works for you. To find a good match, search for a platform that offers therapists licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, or counselors. Therapy programs that have therapists clinical social workers and other professionals in the mental health field are going to have the best products and services for most people. You can also search for online therapy review sites to get an array of opinions on each site’s program.

There are a few big benefits of using an online platform. You can opt to use messaging therapy or livetalk therapy, depending on how you prefer to communicate. Messaging therapy can happen via an app, text messaging, or email, and is a great option for people who have a hard time verbalizing their thoughts or feelings. Most programs offer unlimited messaging therapy as a part of their program, so you can use it as much as you need. Online therapy also has the advantage of making it easy to change therapists if your current therapist isn’t available when you are, or if the therapist isn’t a good match for your needs, be it because they’re an older therapist or a different gender than you.

Is online therapy cheaper?

When it comes to finding the best online therapist for you, oftentimes cost is a factor in making your decision. With in-person counseling sessions costing upwards of $250 per session in areas with high costs of living, traditional therapy programs are often out of reach for many people financially. In comparison, online therapy programs typically cost less than $100 per week, with some costing under $50 per week. Even the best online therapy options are still very affordable for nearly every budget, and they still employ licensed therapists.

Is there any free online therapy?

Finding a site that offers online therapy for free can be a challenging process, as many free options don’t employ licensed therapists. Instead, they rely on volunteers or counselors, who may not have the tools or training necessary to help you work through your issues. Therapists clinical social workers and the like all go through years of schooling, and often have licenses, that make them experts at being able to provide therapy to help people work through mental health problems.

Is BetterHelp vs TalkSpace better?

Both of these therapy programs provide online therapy options for users, but there are some differences. BetterHelp plans include live unlimited messaging therapy and phone sessions, whereas TalkSpace only includes live options for premium plan subscribers.

Which is better Talkspace or BetterHelp?

Once again, these two therapy programs provide similar therapy options. Which is the best online therapy option for you depends on your needs. If you prefer phone sessions or live messaging, BetterHelp is the best option. If you want a cheaper program that offers online therapy, TalkSpace is less expensive if you get a basic plan.

Is 7 cups therapy free?

7 Cups does offer some services for free, that allow you to talk to a “trained listener” instead of paying to talk to a licensed therapist. However, these listeners are not able to do anything more than be an open ear for you to vent your problems to. Therapists offer actual help to those in need of mental health services, because they are trained professionals. Therapists can access years of experience in order to provide their services, helping you to find lasting positive change with your mental health issues.

What is the cheapest online therapy?

When people conduct their own therapy review to find the best online therapy option, they often pay a lot of attention to the cost of each service. TalkSpace rates are as low as $49 per week, whereas BetterHelp starts at $80 to $100 per week, billed monthly.

Is 7 cups safe?

Like most online therapy options, 7 Cups is considered a completely safe option for people who are in need of mental health services. As will all free options, remember that you are very unlikely to be speaking to a licensed mental health professional. For all of these services, make sure to look at who exactly they are employing, and what kind of certifications they may have.

Is 7 cups of tea free?

7 Cups does have a free option for people to speak with a “trained listener.” If you need or would like to speak with a trained mental health professional, you will have to pay for their upgraded service, which costs $150 per month.

Are there any free therapists?

There may be therapists in your state that offer free therapy through certain institutions, like your local health department or community outreach programs. In addition, some colleges that have therapy programs offer free or discounted sessions with students who are close to graduation and need practical experience to be able to attain licensing. Check with local colleges in your area to see what they may offer.

Does 7 cups cost money?

As with many online therapy programs, to be able to speak with a licensed therapist on 7 Cups you must pay for a monthly membership. In comparison to other programs like ReGain, 7 Cups is more expensive at $150 per month. This may make their services unaffordable for many who are seeking help through online therapy. ReGain has programs available starting at just $80 per week, which makes it less expensive than many other online therapy companies. 

How much does online therapy cost?

Online therapy varies in cost. Some sites offer a free trial for new clients. After that, web therapy costs money. There are many ways to talk to your therapist, such as audio messaging, texting video chat session requests, or on the phone. Quality mental health professionals care about their clients. Whether you see a therapist in-person or online, that’s something to seek out. Mental health professionals will demonstrate how crucial the relationship with their clients is over time. Face to face therapy is an excellent tool that you can use to talk about mental health issues. In addition to seeing a therapist in person, you can also find affordable options online. Some sites offer sessions as low as $40 a meeting. It depends on the company. The price of online therapy differs depending on your needs. It generally ranges from $59-$99. It’s best to shop around, but make sure that the therapists are licensed wherever you seek online therapy. Don’t compromise the cost of quality treatment. 

Is online therapy legit?

Online therapy is a legitimate form of mental health treatment. You can develop a relationship with your therapist just as you would in a face-to-face meeting with a provider in private practice. It’s essential to have a good connection with your counselor. You are developing a healthy relationship with your therapist, and that matters. That way, you can get the most out of treatment. Online therapists are licensed mental health professionals who take their jobs seriously. They have practical experience working with clients. Online therapists want to help their clients with issues like living with anxiety or coping with bipolar disorder. If you’re struggling with a panic attack, you may feel alone. When you’re in the midst of a manic episode, you could feel like no one understands you. An online therapist understands many mental health concerns. These are issues, including anxiety, depression, and (as mentioned above) bipolar disorder. Finding a therapist who takes your insurance can be challenging. However, discovering affordable online therapy is relatively easy. It’s cost-effective, and it works. More than a million people have tried online therapy and highly recommend it to others. Just like an in-person therapist, an online mental health provider cares about your mental health. And they can provide treatment in the medium that works best for you, whether it’s internet based or telehealth, meaning speaking on the phone with your provider. You can find a therapist who understands your needs and can provide the treatment that works for you.

Does insurance pay for online therapy?

Some insurance pays for online therapy. It’s important to check with your health care company and find out if they cover this kind of treatment. Internet based therapy is an excellent form of counseling. Some insurance companies see the value of including counseling online. It can help with everyday problems like stress management. Everyone experiences stressful moments. When you have an online therapist, you can work on a stress management plan. More insurance companies should recognize this and get on board with covering therapy online. 

How can I get free therapy?

It’s challenging to find free therapy. One way to access it is if you have state health insurance. But the therapy you receive won’t necessarily be as good as if you have private coverage. Mental health treatment is an investment, whether you see a therapist for yourself or in couples therapy, you’re making an investment in your mental health. You can weigh the pros and cons of paying for therapy. When you think about it, there are so many great things to come out of seeing a therapist. Couples therapy can drastically improve your relationship with your partner. Individual counseling is excellent for your mental health issues including anxiety, eating disorders, OCD, or any kind of transitional life issue. Maybe you’re grieving the death of a family member, or going through a bad breakup. There’s no better time to start therapy than when you’re dealing with a life transition. But, remember with free therapy, you get what you pay for in a counselor. It’s crucial to find a treatment that is both affordable and quality care. 

Why is therapy so expensive?

Therapy can be expensive because some providers don’t take insurance. It’s unfortunate because it’s one of the reasons people suffer with mental health problems alone. One of the barriers to therapy is being able to afford it. That’s why online treatment is valuable. It breaks down one of the most challenging barriers to therapy. It’s affordable, and you can send your therapist a message at any time of the day. The counselors providing online therapy read their messages often. You can be that your provider is listening to your concerns. It’s essential for counselors who provide online therapy read their messages from their clients. They want to be available to provide support. Thousands of people are online every day talking or messaging with their therapists. When you weigh the pros and cons of online therapy, there are so many positives. With thousands of people signing up there has to be some value in online mental health treatment. One way to find out if it’s worth it is to read testimonials. Online therapy reviews can show you what people experience when they engage in distance therapy. You may be skeptical about trying it, but once you read online therapy reviews your mind may change.

How much does it cost to talk to a therapist?

The cost to talk to the therapist depends on how you’re seeing them. In-person therapy can cost over $200 a session. Whereas, online therapy may be $40 a meeting. It’s more effective than participating in support groups, in some ways, to speak to a therapist online. Unlike these forums, online therapy provides individualized attention from your provider. Also, there are confidentiality clauses in place with online treatment. A counselor or therapist reads to the client from the privacy policy if there are any concerns about confidential information. 

Are therapists worth it?

It’s worth it to see an online therapist. Whether you see someone for yourself or with a partner, counseling works. You can improve your self-awareness, with a personal therapist, or find ways to work through issues with your partner. The therapy couples see a lot of benefit from is online. It could be you and your partner participating in marriage counseling, or using online therapy for long-term relationship concerns. You don’t have to be married to go to couples therapy. People assume that couples in therapy are in marriage counseling. It’s true that many married couples seek therapy. It’s a treatment that’s effective and can sometimes save a relationship. But not all couples counselors see married couples. Marriage counseling is specifically for people who have said their vows. However, couples counseling is for two committed partners. Any two people in a long-term partnership can benefit from couples counseling. “Therapy couples,” or people who have engaged in relationship counseling, tend to improve their communication skills with their partner. Whether you see an individual therapist, or find one to work with you and your partner you can get enormous benefits from online therapy. 


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