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Our experts chose 7 Cups, Open Path Collective, Talkspace, and others as the top options for online therapy on a budget. We’re sharing our hands-on reviews as well.

In recent years, online therapy platforms have become increasingly popular. Being able to access mental health help from the comfort of your home makes these services super accessible, especially since all you need is a device and a reliable internet connection.

While some options are more expensive than others, we scoped out the top therapy platforms to find the most affordable online therapy options for 2023.

When creating our list of the best affordable online therapy options, we kept these things in mind:

  • Price. This was a biggie for this list. Of course, affordability is relative because everyone is working with different budgets. But every service listed above is less expensive than a typical in-office session.
  • Ease of use. How do users access their therapist, and what technical issues (and fixes) may they face?
  • User reviews. What are current users saying about the quality of service?
  • Therapist qualifications. Who are the counselors? What makes them qualified? How do they interact with clients?
  • Therapist accessibility. How often can you check in and engage with your therapist?
  • Vetting. All services have been vetted to ensure they meet PsychCentral’s medical, editorial, and business standards.

Best for specialized help


  • Price: $40 a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: video, voice, text

Online-Therapy.com takes a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to treatment, which is a well-researched form of online therapy to treat depression. It allows people to learn how to recognize and avoid unhelpful thoughts and behavior patterns that negatively affect their lives.

In addition to traditional talk therapy, Online-Therapy.com offers specialized training courses to help you manage mental health issues such as:

To help keep your progress on track they also offer a series of:

  • worksheets
  • yoga and meditation videos
  • digital journals
  • activity plans

Online-Therapy.com has a sliding scale of prices to help make its services fit most people’s budgets.

$40 per weektext-based therapy
$88 per week• two weekly video calls
• express replies from your therapist

There’s a 20% discount off your first month for whichever plan you choose.

Why we chose it

Online-Therapy.com offers specialized training courses based on your individual mental health needs, as well as helpful learning tools like:

  • worksheets
  • videos
  • tests

What we like

  • The platform offers three subscription plans, depending on your needs.
  • All plans include daily therapist replies Monday through Friday.
  • You can find a daily journal, videos, and tests to reaffirm the concepts.

What to look out for

  • Therapists may have varying credentials and experience levels.
  • Not all subscription levels include live video conferencing with a therapist.

Best access and availability


  • Price: $60–90 a week
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text, chat, voice, video

With BetterHelp, you get access to a wide network of licensed therapists and mental health professionals whom you can chat with live over:

  • instant messaging
  • phone
  • video

Based on your responses to a survey, BetterHelp will pair you with a therapist it determines will be a good match. You can choose to change therapists at any time, but it may be best to give one a few sessions to see if they’re what you were hoping for.

Both individual and couples counseling are available, and the rates are relatively affordable. The subscription cost for BetterHelp can run from $60 to $90 a week, depending on your location, your preferences, and any additional services you might want to add on. However, they don’t take insurance.

Why we chose it

BetterHelp is the largest therapy platform worldwide, offering an increasing number of highly qualified therapists.

What we like

  • Therapists have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
  • The service has a flat monthly fee, and you can try it for free for 7 days.
  • It’s available in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • You can stay anonymous.

What to look out for

  • BetterHelp doesn’t work with insurance providers.
  • Therapists cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medications.
  • The platform doesn’t offer court-ordered therapy.

What our testers say

Parisa Syed is an Associate Editor for Healthline. She tested Betterhelp and said, “The signing up process was really simple. Filling out the forms and choosing what type of therapist you were looking for was a bit tedious, but it worked out for me. They sent me a message 2 hours after I submitted my request, and I was matched.”

Syed said she could either choose a different therapist or schedule an appointment with the one they matched her with.

She received an email and text notification and was told to download the app for future sessions on mobile. Syed added that the desktop site was pretty straightforward too, but the app was more user-friendly. Also, “The interface looked a bit outdated on the desktop,” she says.

“I like how the app has a journaling tab with prompts. It helps me when I don’t know where to start with journaling. It’s also cool how your therapist can provide worksheets for you after a session, and I love how you can add goals while you’re working with them to see how much progress you’ve made.”

“Personally, I don’t use that feature, but it’s a great one to have. The schedule tab is great. It has all of the therapist’s available times on there, so you can pick and choose your next appointment when you have time to look at your schedule — no need to do it in your meeting. I love that especially.”

Overall, a good experience with BetterHelp. I think it’s more better suited for people who are learning about what therapy is like and still don’t know what they’re looking for. They have the option to change their therapist easily.”

“Not sure if it lets the therapist know when or why you’re switching, but it’s definitely easier than telling a therapist in person that they’re not the right fit. The topics you choose also vary. Highly customizable, I think. Perfect for someone who’s just starting out.”

A Medical News Today (MNT) editor also tried Betterhelp Anonymously. They agree. “The signup process was simple, and I was happy to see so many ways to specify what you wanted your therapist to be experienced in. I was matched within 3 hours, which is amazing.”

The MNT editor adds that “The therapist I’m working with is great, and she’s working in a different way than I’m used to, which I’m enjoying and finding very insightful. I’ve had a lot of experience with therapy of different kinds, and it’s good to get back to basics with counseling-style sessions rather than using a specific discipline like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).”

The editor from MNT says having regular weekly sessions also means that they can dig into certain topics in more detail.

“You get a lot of texts and emails from BetterHelp to remind you about your appointments, which is fine if you need the regular reminders, but it’s a lot if you have a weekly appointment at the same time each week!”

They add that “Overall, BetterHelp has been really convenient, easy to use, and the matching process got it spot on for me.”

Best for insurance


  • Price: $65+ a week
  • Insurance accepted: yes
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text, voice, video

In an effort to offer affordable therapy to more people, Talkspace has worked with insurance providers to make sure their service is covered by many health insurance plans.

Talkspace may also be covered under your employer’s employee assistance program (EAP) if they have a policy in place.

To find out whether the cost of Talkspace therapy is included or discounted through your employer or insurance plan, you can talk with your human resources representative or call the member services department on your insurance card.

Talkspace offers a few membership plans:

$260 per monthunlimited messaging and daily replies from your therapist
$316 per monthunlimited messaging and one 30-minute live video therapy session per month
$396 per monthunlimited messaging and four 30-minute live video therapy sessions

Why we chose it

Talkspace is unique in that it tries to work with various insurance providers, as well as some EAPs. They also offer several subscription plans to match your budget needs best.

What we like

  • Talkspace chatrooms are available 24/7.
  • You can choose to connect with your online therapist in real time via video, audio, or chat.
  • Talkspace is available in all 50 United States and Canada.

What to look out for

  • Therapists are available only 5 days a week.
  • Psychiatrists cannot prescribe controlled medications such as Adderall or Xanax.
  • Text- and chat-based methods of therapy don’t work for everyone.

What our tester says

Christy Snyder is a Market Editor II for Healthline. She says she’s new to therapy platforms.

“This was the first online mental health platform that I tried, other than telehealth with my traditional therapist and psychiatrist via the secure app they use (Blue Jeans). Talkspace sign-up was quick and easy. I felt that the survey asked the right questions about my mental health history and current status without getting long-winded or superfluous.”

Snyder says the therapist made contact quickly and was helpful in discussing the situation at hand (her partner’s new job transition).

“I will say that I got a lot of automated copy and pasted messages from [the therapist] that I presumed she may have sent to all of her clients, things like she’d be unavailable for certain dates, etc. Those messages were frequent and made me feel a little bit like a number rather than her patient.”

Snyder also found the service to be pretty pricey, even compared to using mental health services with insurance.

“In using traditional in-person mental health services with my insurance, I have paid anywhere from $50 to $185 per session. I like that with traditional therapy, you can schedule on your preferred frequency and pay as you go, such as one session every other week.” But she says with Talkspace, you do have scheduling freedom, but you will pay weekly for services.

“That’s not my preference (and it adds up quickly!) though it is great that you can have weekly sessions or daily messaging for when a deeper level of support is needed.”

Snyder says, overall, she likes the flexibility of Talkspace but prefers a more traditional model, as some of the features were not to her liking, adding, “but could certainly work for others.”

Best for crisis help

Crisis Text Line

  • Price: free
  • Insurance accepted: not applicable
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: text

The Crisis Text Line is a free service that responds to text messages from people in a crisis. This service made up of volunteers, is available to anyone who is in a painful emotional crisis or thinking about ending their own life.

These volunteers are not licensed therapists and can’t offer medical advice, but they’re there to:

  • listen
  • support
  • help bring you back to a calmer, cooler state

If you feel like you’re in a crisis and need to reach out to someone who will listen, you can text a message to 741741 in the United States and Canada.

Within just a few minutes, you will be connected with a trained volunteer who will help you and lend their support until you feel that you’re in a safer space to end the conversation.

Why we chose it

The Crisis Text Line lets you immediately connect with a trained volunteer if you’re having a mental health crisis.

What we like

Note: The crisis text line says any keywords typed solo in your opening message can activate a secure conversation.

What to look out for

  • The service is not a substitute for therapy.
  • It’s available only in the United States and Canada, but affiliate services are available in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Best for free or low cost support

7 Cups

  • Price: free (or $150 a month ($37.50 per week) for therapy)
  • Insurance accepted: no
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: chat

If you’re working with a very tight budget, 7 Cups may be the most affordable option. It’s a free 24/7 chat system that pairs you with a trained listener. The listeners are not licensed therapists — they’re volunteers who want to help reach people in need and listen to them without a time limit.

The website also includes a wide Q&A section where you can post questions and receive answers and support from other users. Specialized chat rooms are available to discuss specific issues with people going through similar experiences.

Just keep in mind that anyone can post a reply to your question and that the replies may include unsupported or even harmful medical advice. It’s best to check with a healthcare professional before trying something suggested by another user.

7 Cups also offers a paid therapy option that’s still pretty affordable and lets users chat with a licensed counselor. The cost is $150 per month (or $37.50 per week).

Why we chose it

7 Cups is a good option if you’re on a limited budget and need someone to talk with. They can connect you with a trained listener, or you can access a specialized chat room and talk with other users who are facing similar issues.

What we like

  • Chatting with a trained listener is free.
  • You can chat with other users facing similar issues.
  • Therapy with licensed professionals is available for $150 per month.

What to look out for

  • Listeners are not licensed therapists.
  • Some listeners may give better (or worse) advice than others.
  • This is not a crisis line.

What our tester says

Our above anonymous MNT editor says, “I used the free chats with volunteer listeners and used the community boards when I wasn’t able to access professional mental health support. It’s a very easy service to access, which is great if you’re feeling alone and in need of a sympathetic ear.”

They add that connecting with a listener is quick, and you can browse the listeners available to chat to make sure you get someone who is accustomed to talking about the things you want help with.

“However, the quality of the chats I had varied greatly. Some listeners were clearly too young to understand certain problems, and language was a barrier with others. Positive points were that it was nice to have someone to chat to in a casual way when there was no one else around to do so.”

The MNT editor says 7 Cups definitely is not a substitute for therapy with a licensed professional. Its community boards are varied in topics, and they’re good for finding people who are going through the same things as you. “However, it’s as unfiltered as Reddit, and you might get exposed to opinions or advice that’s unhelpful to you.”

Best membership service for therapy on a budget

Open Path Collective

  • Price:
    • $65 for lifetime membership
    • $40-$70 per therapy session
  • Insurance accepted: yes
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: in-person, online, phone

Open Path Collective is a nonprofit organization that offers affordable online therapy services, both in-office and online, for people who are without insurance or whose insurance lacks sufficient mental health coverage.

Here’s how it works:

  • Use the Open Path search feature to find affordable therapists online near you.
  • Once you find one you like, complete a brief registration form and pay a one-time membership fee of $65.
  • Once you’re a member, you can engage in psychotherapy sessions ranging from $40–$70 per session ($30 for student intern-led sessions).

Why we chose it

If you’re uninsured or underinsured, Open Path Collective offers you the opportunity to access affordable therapy, both in-person and online, by paying a one-time fee of $65.

What we like

  • The therapy platform is available to anyone who cannot afford typical therapy prices and who makes less than $100,000 per year.
  • Couples online therapy only requires one membership fee rather than two.
  • You can change therapists if you feel it’s not a good match.

What to look out for

  • You can’t use your insurance to pay the membership fee.
  • The membership fee is non-refundable.

Best for all ages and stages


  • Price: $109+ per therapy session
  • Insurance accepted: yes
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: video

With Amwell, you not only get access to telehealth therapy sessions with psychologists, but you can also get online appointments for non-emergency medical issues with:

This makes Amwell a one-stop resource for keeping up with your mental and physical health, especially since all the professionals can work with each other if you want them to (i.e., in case you need medication).

Therapy sessions are about 45 minutes each and are available for kids ages 10 to 17 with parental consent. Plus, sessions are covered by many insurance providers to help keep your therapy costs down. You might even be able to pay $0 with insurance or a low copay.

If you’re looking for an affordable online therapy option without insurance, you can keep your costs down by picking a therapist with certain credentials. For example, the cost of each therapy session is $109 if you select a professional with a master’s degree or $129 if they have a doctoral degree.

Why we chose it

Amwell offers a one-stop resource for many of your healthcare needs. With Amwell, you can see a physician for your sore throat and schedule an appointment with a therapist to discuss your anxiety.

What we like

  • There is no extra charge for weekends, holidays, or nights.
  • Amwell works with insurance companies.
  • It serves children ages 10 to 17 with parental consent.
  • Therapy is more affordable if you choose a therapist with a master’s degree (rather than a doctoral degree).

What to look out for

  • Healthcare and mental health professionals at Amwell cannot treat emergencies.
  • Amwell cannot take the place of your primary care physician.
  • Professionals at Amwell cannot order lab tests or prescribe controlled substances.

Best for People of Color

Therapy for Black Girls

  • Price: Varies with each therapist (not handled by platform)
  • Insurance accepted: yes (based on individual therapist)
  • Available in the United States: yes
  • Formats: Online, in-person

Therapy for Black Girls is an extension of the popular podcast with the same name.

Both the podcast and the therapy platform were designed to bring mental health issues to the forefront of Black communities and to help Black women overcome the stigma around mental illness.

This is important, as Black adults in the United States are more likely than their white counterparts to report persistent feelings of emotional distress, such as hopelessness and feeling like everything is a chore. Still, only one in three Black adults who live with mental illness get the help they need.

While it’s not necessary to have a therapist of your specific ethnicity or race, it is important that your therapist has cultural competency. This means your therapist understands the beliefs and values that are important to you as well as your culture or community.

Before you choose a therapist, be sure to ask them all the questions that are important to you.

Why we chose it

Therapy for Black Girls is unique in that it highlights and addresses the specific mental health needs of Black women. For example, a call to action or praise of “being so resilient” is actually perceived by some to be dismissive of the human factor and lived experiences of marginalized groups.

What we like

  • This platform strives to remove the stigma around mental health issues in Black communities.
  • You can search for a therapist who offers sessions in person, online, or both.
  • The site features a blog written by various therapists on relevant, interesting topics.
  • The platform features licensed therapists in all 50 states.

What to look out for

  • The online community charges a fee of $10 per month to join.
  • There are few in-person therapy options.
  • There are a few navigation challenges on the website.
BrandPriceInsurance accepted?
Online-Therapy.comvpt$40 a weekno
BetterHelp*$60–90 a weekno
Talkspacevpt$65+ a weekyes
Crisis Text Linetfreenot applicable
7 Cupscfree (or $150 a month for therapy)no
Open Path Collectivecp• $65 membership fee
• $40-$70 per session
Amwellv$109+ a sessionyes
Therapy for Black Girlsvvaries with therapistdepends on therapist

vavailable on video, tavailable on text, c available on chat, pavailable over phone/voice
* available on all 4

Online therapy, also known as e-therapy or teletherapy, is any form of psychotherapy or counseling services conducted online.

Many online therapy services offer live video calls and private chat rooms that can simulate the in-person therapy experience to make the sessions just as effective. Some therapists also offer services through:

  • video calls
  • phone calls or voice communication (without video)
  • text
  • chat

The rise in therapy online over the last few years (a by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic) has removed many of the barriers that kept people from finding help in the past. You no longer have to find time in your busy day to commute to a therapist’s office.

Best of all, most online therapy sessions are more affordable than face-to-face ones.

The only problem? There are a lot of online therapy options out there, so it can be tough to find one that offers quality and an affordable price. That’s why we put together this list to help you find the best based on your needs.

Research from 2020 shows that online therapy is an effective tool for people dealing with:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • other mental health conditions

What is the difference between a counselor and a therapist?

The terms “counselor” and “therapist” can sometimes be used interchangeably, but they differ in their training and focus.

Counselors usually hold master’s degrees and provide short-term guidance for specific challenges like stress and relationships.

Therapists, often psychologists, hold advanced degrees and address diagnosable mental health issues like depression and trauma. They delve deeper into emotions and behaviors, aiming to address underlying concerns.

To be clear, psychologists are therapists, but not all therapists are psychologists.

How much does therapy cost on average?

An hour of therapy may range from $65 to $200 or more. If you use insurance, your copayment may range from $5 to $50 or more.

You can also ask your therapist if they offer a sliding rate scale based on income or if they could recommend someone who offers a sliding scale. Still, it’s good to keep in mind that sliding scale spots often fill up quickly, so you may need to be patient until you find a therapist who has a slot available.

Why does therapy cost so much?

Therapy costs can be influenced by factors such as:

  • therapist education
  • experience
  • overhead expenses
  • the specialized nature of mental health services

Additionally, therapy involves personalized attention and ongoing professional development, contributing to the overall cost.

Are online therapists cheaper?

If you’re paying out of pocket, online therapy is often cheaper than in-person therapy. But prices vary, depending on factors such as:

  • which services you use
  • the credentials of the therapist
  • how often you speak with a therapist

What are the alternatives to therapy when you can’t afford it?

If you’re unable to afford therapy, you can explore these alternatives:

For example, DRK Beauty Healing aims to connect Women of Color with five free sessions with a licensed mental health professional.

How can I help myself if I can’t afford therapy?

Finding affordable therapy can be tricky if you’re on a budget, but there are several alternative ways to help yourself:

  • Self-help resources: Explore books, articles, and online materials focused on mental health and self-improvement.
  • Support groups: Join local or online support groups for a sense of community.
  • Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity for mood and stress management.
  • Mindfulness: Practice relaxation and mindfulness techniques to reduce anxiety.
  • Reach out: Talk to friends and family about your feelings, and don’t hesitate to seek emotional support from them.
  • Community resources: Explore low-cost or sliding-scale mental health services in your area.

Is $100 expensive for therapy?

The cost of therapy can vary, but $100 per session is often considered a reasonable rate for individual therapy in many locations. Whether this is expensive depends on your personal financial situation and priorities. If cost is a concern, you can explore therapists who offer sliding scale fees or online therapy, which may be more affordable options.

How do people afford to go to therapy?

People afford therapy through various means, including:

Online therapy platforms also offer more affordable options for those seeking help without insurance. Additionally, some nonprofit organizations and community health centers provide accessible and affordable therapy services, ensuring that financial constraints don’t prevent individuals from getting the support they need.

What do you do when you can’t afford therapy anymore?

When you can’t afford traditional therapy or discover that the cost of therapy has become unsustainable, there are alternative options to consider.

You might explore mental health resources such as online therapy, which often offers more cost-effective therapy sessions. Additionally, community mental health centers, nonprofit organizations, and support groups may provide accessible and affordable therapy or counseling services.

Online therapy has made it easier to find help from licensed professionals from the comfort of your home and on your schedule.

While there’s no substitute for one-on-one evaluations, online services have opened up avenues for healing to people who were previously unable to access a qualified therapist due to cost, geography, or some other barrier.

We realize that “affordable online therapy” means something different to each person based on their financial situation. What is affordable to one person may be inaccessible to another.

You can feel empowered to seek help, especially if you cannot find a service that fits your budget at first. Money shouldn’t be the barrier between you and the mental health therapy you need and deserve.

Additional resources

If our list doesn’t match what you’re looking for, or if you’re looking for a therapist with a certain cultural background or specialization, consider these tools to find support:

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