7 Cups Online Therapy Review

Free 24/7 chat rooms to discuss a variety of mental and emotional health topics

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7 Cups

7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups provides 24/7 online chat rooms for groups to discuss a variety of mental and emotional health topics at no charge. It's a great option for those looking for a supportive community rather than individual talk therapy.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
  • 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

  • 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

Key Facts
$150 per month
Is Insurance Accepted?
Type Of Therapy
Peer Support
Communication Options
HIPAA Compliant?
Is There an App?
Why Trust Us
Companies reviewed
Total users surveyed
Data points analyzed
We surveyed 105 users from each online therapy company and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we tested the services ourselves, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and evaluated our results with the help of three licensed therapists.

7 Cups 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 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.

7 Cups did not respond to our questionnaire, despite multiple attempts to contact a representative. This hindered our ability to gain as much insight into their company and goals as we were able to with some of their competitors. As a result of the continued issues reaching the company, we also did not resurvey users in 2022. We had to rely exclusively on user survey data from 2021, information on the 7 Cups website, and our research via other reputable sources in order to assess the company for our 2022 review that ultimately assessed 25 different online therapy providers.

Keep reading to see how 7 Cups stacks up against its online therapy competition.

First Impressions and Sign Up Process

When you arrive on the 7 Cups 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 community. 

7 Cups Homepage

7 Cups Homepage

Because 7 Cups is designed as an online emotional and mental health support site first—and a therapy service option second—you can begin using the website's 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 and 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. 

Seventy 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 follow a bread trail of content before finding answers to some specific questions, which is frustrating and time-consuming.

That said, once you do sign up and create 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:

  • Click the “Speak with a licensed therapist" button on your homepage.
  • 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 the service's 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% of the users we surveyed heard back the same day. Most reported that it took a bit longer to initially hear back from their therapist: 

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


A lot of services offered by 7 Cups are completely free, including its chat rooms, group chats, and sessions with trained listeners. The only things you pay for are therapy or “premium” features which run $150 per month. 

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

7 Cups' Prices Compared to Other Therapy Options

What Subscription Plans Does It Offer?

For therapy services, there is only one plan available, which allows you to message with a therapist for $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 also offers a “Premium” membership for $150 a month, which includes unlimited messaging with your therapist in your private chat room. That said, therapists reply only once or twice a day, and only Monday through Friday. It is unclear whether or not the premium subscriptions offer other perks like access to additional chat rooms, classes, or reading materials. 

A premium subscription costs $150 per month.

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 also can make donations to 7 Cups 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 Accept Insurance?

It does not, but it is still affordable compared to the rates charged by traditional private practices. 

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 website does not say whether it offers 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. Seventy-nine 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’ services from your personal portal. There are icons in your portal that you can click 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' free services, you primarily will be interacting with the website’s millions of users through chat rooms or private messages. You also can speak with its 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 the 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 noses 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'd like throughout the day. You do not have to set appointment times

However, conversations do not happen in real time. Your therapist only is required to 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 also does not specify how long or in-depth a response from the therapist must be. 

Only 74% 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. Seventy-five percent of users reported that switching therapists was either easy or very easy.

Therapists' Qualifications and Quality of Care

When it came to choosing 7 Cups, 85% 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% 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, which is a lower percentage of satisfied users than at other companies we surveyed. 

More importantly, 10% 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 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 its website and since it did not return our questionnaire, we were unable to ask about how it evaluates and hires therapists.

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

  • 32% said they saw two different therapists
  • 29% reported seeing three therapists
  • 27% 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 trained listeners, as well.

Types of Therapy Offered

7 Cups 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. 

A 7 Cups therapist might utilize one or more of the following with you:

7 Cups does not employ psychiatrists, doctors, or psychiatric nurses. This means that it does 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 Ph.D. 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 does not state whether the blog posts are fact checked by professionals.

Privacy Policies

7 Cups does take several steps to protect its clients' 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 also are 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 its surveys can be used by the company. You also can opt of 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 you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Overall Client Satisfaction

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

According to our survey:

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

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

Sixty-six percent reported that 7 Cups 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. 

Eighty-five percent of those polled stated they were either likely or very likely to recommend this service to someone like them.

Is 7 Cups Right For You?

If you’re looking for a place to talk about your feelings, day-to-day struggles, or mental health topics in general, 7 Cups' 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 also can 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' 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 vs. Betterhelp

Both 7 Cups and Betterhelp are large companies focused on offering accessible mental health services to a large number of people. However, 7 Cups 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.

Website Comparison: Betterhelp vs 7 Cups

Neither company employs psychiatrists or prescribes medication.

When it comes to working with therapists, the two companies have slightly different approaches. 7 Cups allows you to choose your therapist through its 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.

  • A subscription to 7 Cups is $150
  • A subscription to Betterhelp ranges from $240 and $600, depending on therapist availability in your area at the time you signed up.

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

At 7 Cups, you only can 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% of Betterhelp users and 66% of 7 Cups 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% of clients from 7 Cups said the same.

In addition, 84% 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% at 7 Cups.

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

Final Verdict

7 Cups 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. But it's important to note, that volunteers are the ones listening to you, not therapists. It's best to look at this service as more of a volunteer-run helpline.

You also can 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, and for a more affordable price whether that be your insurance co-pay or a much lower monthly fee.


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 25 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, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, and how easy it is to change therapists. We then looked at therapist qualifications, the types of therapy offered, quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, and the therapist assignment process. Finally, we looked at cost, value for money, whether the companies take insurance, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood clients would recommend them.

By Mary K. Tatum, MS, LMHC
Mary is a licensed mental health counselor and psychotherapist with 15 years of experience working in the psychology field. She earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Bluefield College and a Master of Science in Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She began in social work and then moved to drug rehab settings, working as a therapist, group facilitator, and clinical director. She specializes in family dynamic systems, trauma recovery, improving resilience, addiction recovery, and the psychology of successful business management.

Updated by
April McCormick
April McCormick

April is the health editor for performance marketing at Verywell. Her work has appeared in Time, Parents Magazine, The Huffington Post, TripSavvy, Parenting.com, First Time Mom and Dad, Mama Mia, All4Women, the New York Times Bestseller, A Letter To My Mom, and more.

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Edited by
Simone Scully

Simone is the health 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.

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