7 Cups of Tea

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2.4

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a supportive, online mental health community, 7 Cups of Tea can be helpful, but if you’re looking for quality therapy, there are better options.

Pros
  • Trained active listeners available 24/7

  • Large support network

  • Available in 189 countries

  • Available in 140 languages

  • Bullies and trolls removed from chat rooms

  • Numerous chat rooms available on different mental health topics

  • No fees to be a website user

Cons
  • Listeners are only volunteers

  • You can’t get a lot of individual attention

  • Low user satisfaction

  • No live interactions with therapist

  • No free trial with therapist

  • Website can be overwhelming to navigate

  • Some blog contributors have no formal mental health experience

  • Paywall for some website features

  • Online therapy service is extra

  • Limited types of therapy available

2.4

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea was founded by clinical psychologist Glen Moriarty in 2013. His goal was less to create an online therapy service and more to create an online network where people could turn for emotional and mental health support from understanding peers and listeners. 

As a result, the company brought on over 320,000 listeners and trained them to listen and monitor online chat rooms full of people looking for mental health support. Many of these chat rooms are free to use—but premium users who pay extra are able to sign up for access to more specialized mental health offerings. 7 Cups of Tea also hired therapists—and you can talk to them one-on-one via a messaging portal for a monthly subscription. However, that service appears to be secondary to the online group network the company created.

To fairly and thoroughly review 7 Cups of Tea against its competitors, we surveyed 100 current users from 33 different online therapy platforms in order to gain insight into their experiences. We also sent a questionnaire directly to each company to get more detailed information about their offerings. These surveys and questionnaires allowed us to directly compare offerings, quality of service, and client satisfaction across companies. We used the feedback from the client questionnaire to evaluate user satisfaction and perception of quality. 


7 Cups of Tea did not respond to our questionnaire, despite multiple attempts to contact them.  This hindered our ability to gain as much insight into their company and goals as we were able to with some of their competitors. We had to rely exclusively on user survey data in order to assess the company. Keep reading to see how 7 Cups of Tea stacks up against its online therapy competition.

First Impressions and Sign Up Process

When you arrive on the 7 Cups of Tea website, you’re immediately greeted with a calming blue cloud background and the question, “Need someone to talk to?” This is an inviting and empathetic first impression that makes you feel welcome in joining the 7 Cups of Tea community. 

7 Cups Homepage

7 Cups Homepage

Because 7 Cups of Tea is designed as an online emotional and mental health support site first—and a therapy service option second—you can begin using the website services right away, free of charge, as soon as you create your user account. 

To sign up, you click on the "connect now" tab at the top of the main screen, enter your email, username, and create a password. You can use your real name or a made-up user name, which is helpful for users who prefer to take part in online chat rooms and discussions anonymously. In fact, the website allows you to stay anonymous no matter what services you use. 

70 percent of users said they found the sign up process to be either easy or very easy.


Despite the initial inviting landing page, the rest of the website is a bit messy and confusing to navigate. There are numerous icons, tabs, and prompts scattered around each page and some of the important information you might want to read before signing up—such as the privacy policy—is a little buried. You have to dig through smaller links at the bottom of the page and following content before finding answers to some specific questions, which is frustrating and time-consuming.

That said, once you do sign up and you have an account, you get a user profile page, which makes navigation around different group chats and topics easier because it allows you to track any goals you have and remember chat forums you are interested in. 

There are two ways to begin therapy services through the site:

  • You can either click the “speak with a licensed therapist button” on your homepage
  • You can search through the online directory to find a specific therapist you like

If you choose the homepage route, you do not have the option to pick a therapist before paying. 

Before signing up to speak to a therapist, you are taken to a page that briefly describes its affordability and why messaging with a therapist is beneficial. However, there is no intake questionnaire or questions about your situation or therapy needs before matching you with a therapist to make sure your goals align. 

You are then taken straight to the payment page to enter credit card or PayPal information. 

Once signed up, the website states that therapists are required to log in and respond within 24 hours. However, only 32 percent of the users we surveyed heard back same day. Most reported that it took a bit longer to initially hear back from their therapist: 

  • 34 percent reported they heard back within a couple of days
  • 20 percent reported they heard back within a week
  • 14 percent within a couple weeks or longer


Cost

7 Cups of Tea Prices

A lot of services offered by 7 Cups of Tea are completely free, including their chat rooms, group chats, and sessions with trained listeners. The only things you pay for are therapy or “premium” features. 

It is also worth noting that, even with a lot of free offerings, only 57 percent of customers surveyed said the costs of 7 Cups of Tea’s services were either very good or excellent. This reflects a much lower satisfaction rate in the costs of services than many of the other companies we surveyed. 

What Subscription Plans Do They Offer?

For therapy services, there is only one plan available which allows you to message with a therapist. It costs $150 a month.

There are no live sessions included in this subscription—only messaging. There are also no pay-as-you-go options.

7 Cups of Tea also offers a “Premium” membership to its website, which gives you deeper access to its website to help you address specific issues, such as relationships, addiction issues, career development, physical health, eating disorders, bullying, and more. 

However, before paying, it is unclear what deeper access truly means. It is unclear whether you have access to additional chat rooms, classes, or reading materials. 

Premium comes with payment options. 

  • $12.95 for 1 month
  • $95.88 for 1 year
  • 149.76 for 2 years
  • $419.95 for a lifetime membership

All subscriptions (except the lifetime membership) automatically renew until you cancel services. 

Costs are not prominently displayed on the website. You either have to create an account or dig around first before finding price options. 

You can also make donations to 7 Cups of Tea if you want. However, it is worth noting that the website does not clearly disclose how those donations are being used beyond saying they “help bring emotional and mental health support to everyone.”

Is There a Free Trial?

There is no free trial offered for the therapy subscription and no consultation sessions offered with therapy services.

Does 7 Cups of Tea Accept Insurance?

7 Cups of Tea does not take insurance. 

Can You Change or Cancel Your Subscription?

You can cancel subscriptions and services through your homepage at any time. 

However, reimbursement options for therapy services are unclear. While the premium level upgrades have a 30 day money back guarantee, the 7 Cups of Tea website does not say whether they offer the same thing for therapy services. 

Are There Discounts Available?

There are no discounts offered for the therapy subscription or premium level services. 

Ease of Use

Once you’ve created your profile, it’s easy to begin using the company’s services. 79 percent of users reported they found the platform to be either easy or very easy to use.

You will navigate through most of 7 Cups of Tea’s services from your personal portal. There are icons in your portal that you can click on to chat with a volunteer trained listener, join a chat group, upgrade to a “premium” level site user status, or sign up to speak with a therapist for a fee.

If you only use 7 Cups of Tea’s free services, you will be primarily interacting with the website’s millions of users through chat rooms or private messages. You can also speak with their trained listeners. This can feel overwhelming or impersonal to some users.

The portal also feels a little bit like a social media page mixed with an online video game:

  • On the right side of your homepage, there is a “My progress” section that shows how many growth points you’ve earned. However, it appears that the progress points are determined more by how much time and participation you spend on their site, rather than the accomplishment of any personal goals you have set for yourself. 
  • There are also other progress trackers, like “compassion hearts” and “growth badges.” 

All of these progress trackers feel a little bit like a marketing gimmick to keep users on the site longer by dangling next level goals in front of their nose all the time. 

If you sign up for the therapy subscription, you can message your therapist through your homepage or the app on your phone as many times as you like throughout the day. You do not have to set appointment times

However, conversations do not happen in real time. Your therapist is required to only respond one or two times per 24 hour period, Monday through Friday. As a result, you could be waiting hours for a response. 7 Cups of Tea also does not specify how long or in-depth a response from the therapist must be. 

Only 74 percent of surveyed users reported that the speed at which they heard a response from the therapist was either very good or excellent. This is much lower than the percentage of users who said the same about other online therapy companies we reviewed.

If you want to change therapists, you can through the settings option on your homepage. 75 percent of users reported switching therapists was either easy or very easy.

Therapists' Qualifications and Quality of Care

When it came to choosing 7 Cups of Tea, 85 percent of the users we surveyed said that the therapist’s qualifications and expertise were moderately or extremely important in their decision to sign up.

But only 76 percent of surveyed users said they found their therapists’ qualifications to be good or excellent.

Eighty-five percent of users said they were very satisfied or satisfied with the therapist options at 7 Cups of Tea, which is a lower percentage of satisfied users than at other companies we surveyed. 

More importantly, 10 percent said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, which is the highest dissatisfaction rate of any of the 33 companies we reviewed. 

It is possible that this lower rating of therapists qualifications is due to the fact that 7 Cups of Tea hires therapists all over the world with different education and qualifications. For example, some licensed therapists listed do not have a master’s degree, but may have a certification license in addiction. 

This can make finding and choosing a suitable therapist a little more complicated because it is not always easy to tell which therapists have American credentials or the equivalent. While diversity of staff is a good thing, you still want to work with a therapist who has a locally-recognized certification. 

The company does not say how many therapists it employs on their website and since they did not return our questionnaire, we were unable to ask them about how they evaluate and hire therapists.

Of the people we surveyed, several reported having to switch therapists a few times before finding the right match: 

  • 32 percent said they saw two different therapists
  • 29 percent reported seeing three other therapists
  • 27 percent reported seeing four or more 

The trained listeners are volunteers. Their position does not require any particular degree or certification. Instead, according to the website, the volunteers only go through active listening training to acquire good listening skills. It is possible that some of the users we surveyed were dissatisfied with their trainer listeners as well.

Types of Therapy Offered

7 Cups of Tea offers a variety of mental and emotional health focused chat rooms and discussion boards, but it is difficult to really go deep into your individual issues in an online group messaging setting—especially one that contains a number of anonymous users. 

This company focuses mostly on listening and emotional support, rather than actual therapy. As a result, the types of therapy offered vary by therapist. 

The types of therapy you can use when messaging a therapist include:

7 Cups of Tea does not employ psychiatrists, doctors, or psychiatric nurses. This means that they do not offer any medication management services. 

The company’s website does have a large resource library full of blog contributions on various mental health topics. However, not all the content is written by mental health experts: some writers are PhD clinical psychologists, listeners, and health writers, but some are students who ‘have a passion for psychology,’ people sharing their personal experiences, or mental health “advocates.” This leaves a lot of room for opinion-based posts rather than research backed posts. 7 Cups of Tea does not state whether the blog posts are fact checked by professionals.

Privacy Policies

7 Cups of Tea does take several steps to protect their client’s privacy and data:

  • Communication channels with your therapist are HIPAA compliant 
  • Online payments are encrypted for identity theft protection 
  • The company uses standard Secure Socket Layer encryption to encode and encrypt private info. 

However, since the company offers free chat rooms, those rooms and question forums are visible to any public traffic that comes to the website. This is why most users stay anonymous and use usernames rather than their real names when participating in these chat rooms. 

The good news is, all chat forums and online conversations are monitored by the company to ensure that bullying, trolling, and inappropriate comments are quickly removed or blocked. Users are also able to report other users if any inappropriate comments are made.  

It is worth noting that any information you give the company when you participate in one of their surveys can be used by the company. You can also opt into sharing your personal data with the company through your portal. 

During treatment, if you are in crisis or if your therapist feels like you need more support than they can offer, the company will refer you to emergency contacts. Therapists are mandated reporters and therefore obligated to report any abuse or suicidal threats to authorities.

Volunteer listeners are not equipped to manage people who feel suicidal, so if you are in crisis, they will refer them to the national suicide hotline.

Overall Client Satisfaction

66 percent of surveyed users rated the services they received through 7 Cups of Tea as either very good or excellent and 66 percent said its value was very good or excellent for the money spent.

According to our survey:

  • 12 percent report they have been using the service for less than 3 months
  • 39 percent report using the service for 3-6 months
  • 23 percent report using the service for 6-12 months
  • 14 percent report using the service 1-2 years

This suggests that a significant percentage of people stop using the service after 6 months, even though 81 percent reported they were either likely or very likely to still be working with their therapist a year from now.

66 percent reported that 7 Cups of Tea was either better or much better than services they have used in the past — reflecting a much lower satisfaction rate than the other online therapy companies we evaluated.

Overall, the lower satisfaction rates suggested in our survey suggests that maybe users do not feel that the company model meets their needs or expectations, at least not in the long run. 

Still, it appears that users are willing to recommend the company as an affordable mental health service. 

85 percent of those polled stated they were either likely or very likely to recommend this service to someone who is similarly to them.

Is 7 Cups of Tea Right For You?

7 Cups of Tea Infographic

If you’re looking for a place to talk about your feelings, day-to-day struggles, or mental health topics in general, 7 Cups of Tea’s chat rooms and discussion forums might be a great option for you, especially since they are monitored to keep them safe spaces and prevent bullying or trolling. You can also access all of these resources for free and at any time of day.

However, the chat room community is too large to offer quality therapeutic services. The chat rooms work better as an emotional support option because they are simply too crowded to go deep into issues. 

It’s also important to remember that the chat rooms are not led by professional therapists. A lot of important progress happens in traditional therapy when a therapist can connect your past personal experiences with how your present struggles are affecting you. These connections cannot be made in a discussion thread with multiple people weighing in. 


The volunteer listeners might work for you if you’re just looking for someone to vent to about an issue you’re having. They will listen to you—without judgment— and help you talk through your feelings. But remember, they aren’t professional therapists either. 

If you’re a busy person or looking for affordable mental health services, 7 Cups of Tea’s therapist subscription might work for you. You can message them whenever you want—even on your daily commute or late at night—without having to worry about booking appointments or fitting a session into your busy schedule. 

However, because the subscription doesn’t come with any live sessions, it is unlikely that your conversations will get in-depth enough to help you manage any serious mental health issues. If you’re looking for effective talk-therapy, you’re better off choosing a service that offers at least one live session per week. 

This website is marketed as a support system and it is best to use it that way—not as your primary source for talk therapy.

7 Cups of Tea is not a good match if:

  • You are under 18 years old
  • You are court mandated to be in therapy
  • You are seeking in-depth therapy
  • You need a mental health diagnosis
  • You are seeking help for an addiction
  • You have a history of psychosis
  • You need a good medication management support system
  • You are in crisis

7 Cups of Tea vs. Betterhelp

Both 7 Cups of Tea and Betterhelp are large companies focused on offering accessible mental health services to a large number of people. However, 7 Cups of Tea is more of an online emotional support community, whereas Betterhelp is a more traditional online therapy service. It does not have online chat rooms and community discussion forums. Both services do allow you to remain anonymous and pick a nickname instead of using your real name if you prefer.

Neither company employs psychiatrists or prescribes medication.

When it comes to working with therapists, the two companies have slightly different approaches. 7 Cups of Tea allows you to choose your therapist through their directory, while Betterhelp chooses for you based on an intake questionnaire regarding your therapy needs. If you are not happy with your therapist, though, both allow you to switch relatively easily. 

Betterhelp’s therapy subscription plans cost more than 7 Cups of Tea.

  • A monthly subscription at 7 Cups of Tea costs $150 a month
  • A monthly subscription at Betterhelp costs between $240 - $320 a month.


Neither company accepts insurance but can offer paperwork if you would like to seek reimbursement on your own.

At 7 Cups of Tea, you can only communicate with your therapist via the messaging system. This allows you to write to your therapist any time, but your conversation is not live and your therapist only has to respond to you one or two times per 24 hour period. At Betterhelp, you have multiple communication options for talking with your therapist, including live chat, audio, live texting, and messaging. 

Of the users we surveyed, 72 percent of Betterhelp users and 66 percent of 7 Cups of Tea users said the services were either very good or excellent. Ninety-one percent of Betterhelp clients said they were either likely or very likely to recommend someone to the company, whereas only 85 percent of clients from 7 Cups of Tea said the same.

In addition, 84 percent of Betterhelp users reported they were either likely or very likely to still be seeing a therapist within the company a year from now, compared to 81 percent at 7 Cups of Tea.

Website comparison

Of the users we surveyed that had tried other therapy services, 79 percent of Betterhelp users reported that services were either better or much better than the services at the companies they used before. At 7 Cups of Tea, only 66 percent of users reported the same. 

Final Verdict

7 Cups of Tea is an online emotional and mental health community more than it is an online therapy platform. It offers a lot of resources that you can use for free to manage stress, vent frustrations or talk through your feelings. You can also rest assured that chat rooms and forums are safe spaces since the company monitors them and removes any bullying or inappropriate comments. However, as an online therapy service, there are better options to choose from that offer more in-depth talk therapy. 

Methodology

 Our methodology for evaluating online therapy companies is comprehensive and data-driven. To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 33 companies and surveyed 100 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and its users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on:

  • Website usability
  • Sign-up process 
  • Therapist qualifications 
  • Types of therapy offered
  • Quality of care
  • Client-therapist communication options, 
  • Session length
  • Subscription offerings 
  • Client privacy protections 
  • Cost and value for money
  • Whether they take insurance
  • Average out-of-pocket costs
  • Therapist assignment process
  • How easy it is to change therapists
  • Overall user satisfaction
  • Likelihood clients would recommend them

 Learn more: Read our full online therapy methodology to see how we evaluated each service.

Specs

  • Product Name 7 Cups of Tea
  • Year Founded 2013
  • Takes insurance No
  • Price $150/month
  • HIPPA-Compliant Yes
  • Platforms Message only
  • Payment Options Credit card and PayPal
Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health associate editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

Learn about our editorial process
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