Best Online Grief Counseling

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If you've lost a loved one, a relationship, or a job, you know that the grieving process can trigger a wide range of overwhelming emotions—from shock to anger to guilt—and even impact your physical health.

Grief counseling can help you cope with a loss. A therapist, counselor, psychologist, or support group can help you learn coping skills, adapt to life changes, and develop self-awareness. With these tools, it’s easier to manage your grief, rebuild your routine, and heal.

Research has also found that grief counseling or therapy can be effective in reducing your grief symptoms. A 2017 study, for example, found that grief counseling has a positive impact on people who have complicated grief symptoms, which includes being unable to accept the loss and having intrusive thoughts about the person. 

Whether you’re looking for online therapy, counseling, virtual group meetings, or support groups, we’ve rounded up the best online grief counseling that can help you work through your loss.

Best Online Grief Counseling of 2022

Why Trust Us
55
Companies reviewed
5,775
Total users surveyed
350
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.

Best Overall : Cerebral

Verywell's Rating
4.4

  • Price: $85 to $195 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes

In March 2022, news broke that a number of Cerebral clinicians and staff members felt pressured by company leadership to over-prescribe controlled substances. The next month, Cerebral’s former vice president claimed in a lawsuit that there were about 2,000 patient accounts with duplicate mailing addresses, allowing clients to receive multiple refills of the same medication. Although Cerebral denies these allegations, the federal government has opened an investigation.

Verywell Mind reviewed Cerebral before this information came to light. We will follow this developing story closely as we conduct our 2022 review.

Why We Chose It

Cerebral won our 2021 Best for Patient Satisfaction award, ranking the highest in overall customer satisfaction out of 33 online therapy services. The company accepts insurance, offers talk therapy and medication (if needed), and has therapists dedicated to treating grief and depression. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Accepts multiple insurance plans

  • Accepts HSA and FSA cards as payment

  • Offers long-term talk therapy for ages 18+

  • Has licensed prescribing providers

  • Therapists’ bios available on website

Cons
  • Insurance coverage varies by state

  • Talk therapy services not available in all 50 states

  • Currently doesn’t offer group therapy

Overview

Grieving the loss of a loved one can trigger or heighten depression. For example, researchers have found that 15% of widows and widowers experience depression a year after the death of their spouse. While sadness, a grief symptom, may subside in time, major depression is a mental health condition distinct from the grief that can interfere with the quality of life and it requires treatment.  

Cerebral can be helpful if you have recently experienced a loss, because it can connect you with mental health professionals who specialize in both grief and depression. 

All of Cerebral’s licensed therapists are trained in evidence-based practices to treat a range of mental and emotional health issues, including depression, and the company offers medication management services, should that be necessary as part of treatment.

Cerebral’s “one-stop-shop” is convenient for those seeking help for their grief, depression, or both co-existing conditions.

Plans & Pricing

Cerebral offers three subscription plans:

  • Medication and Care Counseling Plan: At $85 per month, the plan includes evaluation, diagnosis, video or phone sessions with a counselor, and if necessary, a prescription from a medical provider.
  • Therapy Plan: This plan runs for $259 per month. It includes weekly video or phone sessions (and messaging) with a therapist, but not a prescribing provider. 
  • Medication and Therapy Plan: This plan costs $325 per month. It features the benefits of both plans above, meaning you will have weekly sessions with a licensed therapist and can receive medication by mail if needed.  

Cerebral is also in-network with multiple insurers, so your final cost may be less if you have coverage.

Runner-Up : Rethink My Therapy

Verywell's Rating
4.0

  • Price: $99-$159 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

Offering online therapy and grief counseling for individuals, couples, and families, Rethink My Therapy is an all-in-one service. It can also help with psychiatric services and medication management.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable subscription rates

  • Provides individual, couples, and family sessions

  • Also offers medication management services

  • Free 7-day trial

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • Text messaging not currently available

Overview

Founded in 2018, Rethink My Therapy offers some of the most comprehensive online therapy services of all the companies we reviewed. It offers individual talk therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, and psychiatric medication management. The platform’s therapists are skilled and trained in addressing depression, bipolar disorder, relationship issues, grief, and loss.

Coping with the aftermath of the loss of a partner or spouse is often extremely lonely and confusing, and it may also be difficult to find a therapist you can trust with your feelings. Rethink My Therapy allows you to search through thousands of mental health specialists and find someone who understands your needs.

If your therapist isn’t the right fit, you can book a session with a new therapist without having to notify your previous one. The intake screenings also help you identify the specific challenges you may be experiencing and decide which type of professional to see. 

In addition, if you’re grieving a spouse or partner and would like to include your children in a counseling or therapy program, Rethink My Therapy offers both individual and family programs.

Plans & Pricing

Rethink My Therapy offers three subscription plans:

  • Singles Plan: This plan costs $99 per month. It includes 24/7 access to your therapist and $0 copays for virtual behavioral health sessions.
  • Couples Plan: This plan runs $129 per month. It offers all the features of the Singles Plan, but it gives you access to two individual accounts, plus the ability to schedule joint therapy sessions or individual sessions. 
  • Family/children’s program: This program costs $159 per month. It includes all the benefits of the Singles and Couples Plan and also provides four individual accounts. 

You also get a free seven-day trial when you sign up for any plan.

Therapists facilitate sessions via video or phone, and the company is working to bring text therapy to clients. Sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your and your therapist’s availability.

Best for Group Therapy : Circles

Verywell's Rating
3.8

  • Price: $79 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

Circles' sign-up process includes a short quiz where you can specify your goals for therapy, allowing you to choose the right support groups for grieving a loved one and other mental health issues. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Convenient access to online group therapy

  • Groups dedicated to specific issues, including grief

  • Site features therapist and group facilitator bios

  • You choose which group you want to join

Cons
  • No medication management services

  • Does not accept health insurance

Overview

A support group can help you find healing for the pain of losing a loved one. With a specific focus on group therapy, Circles connects people who are going through similar situations and want to talk about their obstacles in a group setting.

The online group meetings are led by licensed therapists and certified coaches trained to address the issues of the group, whether that is grief, separation and divorce, or narcissistic relationships. The group facilitators can help guide the group conversation and share techniques for coping and resilience after loss.

Although group therapy is not meant to replace individual therapy, Circles’ grief-focused support groups can help you feel less alone and understood by others who have lost a loved one.

Although group therapy is not meant to replace individual therapy, Circles’ grief-focused support groups can help you feel less alone and understood by others who have lost a loved one. There are grief support groups for the loss of a child, parent, spouse, or partner, stillbirth or miscarriage, sibling, or nearly any other close relationship. 

The service provides a safe space to share feelings and experiences related to your loss and learn from peers who are experiencing similar types of grief. However, if you’re not open to sharing, this might not be the right type of therapy for you.

Plans & Pricing

Circles only offers one subscription plan, which costs $79 per month, and all new clients get a free one-month trial. 

Each group meets once a week online for a 60-minute video session, but you can chat with other group members or the facilitator on the app any time. In addition to the weekly sessions, you can also access free self-help exercises, blogs, webinars, and other resources.

Best for Flexibility : Talkspace


  • Price: $276 - $516 monthly
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Type Of Therapy: Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling

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Why We Chose It

Ideal for people with busy schedules, Talkspace offers its clients the ability to send text, audio, and video messages between live sessions.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • In-network with some insurance plans

  • Multiple communication methods available

  • Offers medication management services

Cons
  • Add-on services can get expensive

  • Does not offer group therapy

Overview

Talkspace, founded in 2012, serves more than a million clients around the world. Its provider network includes thousands of family therapists and licensed mental health counselors with expertise in a range of issues, including grief and loss for individuals and families. 

The company offers individual talk therapy and counseling, couples therapy, teen therapy, psychiatry, and medication management. This comprehensive range of services caters to different family members, including kids and teens who may have different needs and different coping mechanisms in their grief.

Besides allowing unlimited asynchronous messages with your therapist, Talkspace offers live video, audio, and chat sessions so that you can choose which communication method works best for your preferences and current emotional capacity on any given day. 

For instance, if you’re isolated and/or an extrovert, you might crave the “face-to-face” time of video sessions. Conversely, message-based therapy sessions may be most accommodating and accessible if you’re socially anxious, self-conscious, nonspeaking (due to neurodivergence or disability), or d/Deaf or hard of hearing. 

Some may prefer audio sessions because they’re not fast typers and/or don’t like to appear on video; still others might feel differently from week to week. With Talkspace, you can choose how to meet before each appointment.

Plans & Pricing

Talkspace offers three subscription plan options. Pricing, which ranges from $260 to $400 per month, will vary based on where you live and the network availability of therapists in your area:

  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus Plan: This is the most affordable plan, and it includes text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist but no live sessions. 
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium Plan: This plan includes text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist—plus one 30-minute live video session per month.
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate Plan: This plan includes text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist, plus four 30-minute live video sessions per month.


The company works with a few insurance providers and employee assistance plans (EAPs), which may make the service more affordable if you’re in-network. Talkspace also accepts HSA and FSA cards as payment.

Best for Loss of a Child : The Compassionate Friends


  • Price: $0 or voluntary donation
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

The Compassionate Friends is a network of support groups for parents and relatives grieving the loss of a child.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No fees or dues required

  • Online support for parents and relatives

  • Offers in-person chapter meetings worldwide

Cons
  • Not technically counseling or therapy

Overview

Formed in 1969, The Compassionate Friends is a national nonprofit organization that offers a support system for families grieving the death of a child. Because mourning the death of a child is unlike any other loss, this organization connects parents, grandparents, and siblings who understand their level of pain. There are also more than 600 brick-and-mortar locations across the country for in-person meetings. 

The Compassionate Friends’ online support groups take place at various times every day of the week. There are live chats for specific survivors, such as parents who have lost a child during pregnancy or due to substances, as well as comprehensive sessions for all family members. The meetings are monitored by trained individuals who have experienced the devastating loss of a child, so the entire group will be able to relate to your situation. 

The Compassionate Friends also offers more than 30 private support groups via Facebook. Several of these online communities, including Loss to Miscarriage or Stillbirth and Loss to Suicide, have thousands of members.  These groups are moderated by other parents, siblings, or grandparents that have experienced the loss of a child. They may not be accessed unless a request to join is approved by a moderator.

Plans & Pricing

There is no charge to attend a meeting or join the online communities at The Compassionate Friends. You also do not have to sign up for a subscription.

However, the Compassionate Friends chapters rely on voluntary donations from members, friends, and the community.

Best for Peer Support : Peer Collective

Verywell's Rating
3.5

  • Price: $14-$28 per hour
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

Peer Collective offers affordable emotional support via peer counselors, as an alternative to traditional therapy.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Sessions can be scheduled same day

  • Choose from a set of recommended counselors

  • All counselors are screened and trained

Cons
  • Counselors are not licensed therapists

  • Counselor bios not available until sign-up

  • Limited resources available on the website

Overview

Like The Compassionate Friends, Peer Collective does not provide therapy; it’s an emotional support company. It offers those experiencing mental health issues, such as grief and loss, the ability to reach out to someone who can listen with empathy. Studies have shown evidence that peer support helps loved ones reduce their grief symptoms and boost their overall well-being. 

Peer Collective serves all 50 states and makes a trained listener available for 30 to 60 minutes via video or phone. To get started with Peer Collective, simply answer six questions about how you’re feeling and what you’re looking for in a counselor. You can then choose your counselor from the recommendations provided and schedule a free session.

It’s important to remember, however, that Peer Collective’s counselors are not licensed therapists. According to the company, its peer counselors are trained in active listening and problem-solving methods tailored to help people develop effective coping mechanisms. They are able to draw from firsthand experiences and offer personal insights regarding how to deal with grief, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Plans & Pricing

Peer Collective offers you the ability to sign up for a monthly subscription or purchase emotional support sessions individually. These sessions are priced on a sliding scale of $14 to $28.

Best for Support Groups : Grieving.com


  • Price: Free
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

Grieving.com is one of the biggest online grief support groups and features a variety of moderated forums where participants can connect and share experiences.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large, moderated community

  • Support and communities for different types of loss

  • Offers private messaging

Cons
  • Membership registration required

  • Not technically group therapy

  • Forums are not led by therapists

  • Site can be confusing to navigate

Overview

A 2015 study found that people who join online support communities for help dealing with grief experience fewer feelings of psychological distress, especially if they continue attending regular group sessions for at least 12 months.

So, as one of the oldest and largest online grief support communities, Grieving.com is our choice for the best place to find online support groups. It provides a space for people who have experienced loss to connect with others who understand the grief and pain they are experiencing. 

Grieving.com offers a variety of forums with specific focuses, such as the loss of a partner; loss of a sibling; miscarriage, stillborn and infant loss; and loss of a pet. It also provides communities for those who have experienced other kinds of losses besides death, such as traumatic break-ups or stressful layoffs.

Members of the community can read and post messages on the forums 24/7. It’s worth noting that while there are moderators on the site, the site is not run or overseen by mental health professionals as is the case with other companies like Circles. In addition, messages posted on the forums are open to the public. However, members can send private messages to one another, giving them an opportunity to form connections and friendships and enable them to discuss their loss more extensively in private.

Plans & Pricing

Grieving.com is free for its members and relies on voluntary contributions to keep the forum running. To join, simply enter your name and email address and create a password for your account.

Best for Losing a Pet : Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement


  • Price: $0–$169 per year
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB) offers empathetic pet loss and grief support services to pet families through chat and video support and resources.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers chat and video support worldwide

  • Provides a wide range of sources for coping with grief

  • Also offers educational training in pet loss grief work

Cons
  • Online video support group only meets three times a month

  • Extra cost for pet memorials

Overview

Pet families know how much comfort a pet can bring, so it's understandable that losing an animal companion can be emotionally devastating. APLB aims to provide an environment of understanding and offers pet parents support for their pain and grief through coping strategies and resources.

APLB’s chat room serves as a safe space for people who have lost beloved pets to share their stories and experiences and connect with others who are also learning to heal. The organization also offers an online video support program, which features an online group support session hosted by committee members who have experienced the loss of a pet.

Sessions are facilitated by the specialist, ensuring everyone has time to share their story and offering tools and resources that can help members learn to cope. The online video support sessions take place the first and third Saturdays of each month. To gain access to the support groups, you need to register as a member with APLB.

Plans & Pricing

There are four APLB membership plans:

  • Bronze Membership: For no cost, you get access to the chat room, support and resources regarding euthanasia and self-care tips, and a directory of services.
  • Silver Membership: For $39 a year, this membership provides access to the chat room, a virtual support group, a number of free webinars, one pet memorial listing, and member communications like newsletters.
  • Platinum Membership: At $99 a year, this membership provides all the benefits of the Silver Membership, plus unlimited pet memorial listings, pet family pages for all your pets, and workshop webinars.
  • Professional Membership: With a cost of $169 a year, this plan is best for those looking to also grow their careers in the field of pet loss support. It features all the benefits of a Platinum Membership, plus continuing education webinars, access to the pet loss grief specialist training program and tool kits, and networking opportunities, among others.

Compare the Best Online Grief Counseling of 2022

Overall Rating Best For
Price
Is Insurance Accepted?
Accepts Hsa Or Fsa
Type Of Therapy
Communication Options
Reset All
Cerebral
4.4
Best Overall $85 to $195 per month Yes N/A N/A Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Rethink My Therapy
4.0
Runner-Up $99-$159 per month No N/A N/A Audio, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Circles
3.8
Best for Group Therapy $79 per month No N/A N/A Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Talkspace Best for Flexibility $276 - $516 monthly Yes N/A Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling Audio, Live Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
The Compassionate Friends Best for Loss of a Child $0 or voluntary donation No N/A N/A N/A Learn More
Hide, not for me
Peer Collective
3.5
Best for Peer Support $14-$28 per hour No N/A N/A Audio, Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Grieving.com Best for Support Groups Free No N/A N/A Messaging Learn More
Hide, not for me
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement Best for Losing a Pet $0–$169 per year No N/A N/A Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me

Final Verdict

While the loss of a loved one is devastating, grief affects everyone differently, and some people who have undergone a loss can benefit from counseling or therapy.

Cerebral is our overall top choice for the best place to receive online grief counseling services. The company has a large network of licensed and experienced mental health professionals, many of whom are trained and skilled in addressing grief and loss specifically. Cerebral also accepts multiple insurance plans. 

If you’re looking for a support group as an alternative to traditional counseling or therapy, Circles or The Compassionate Friends are both great options for connecting and sharing with others who have also experienced loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Online Grief Counseling?

Grief counseling, also known as bereavement therapy, is a type of counseling that is designed to help someone work through their emotions and learn coping skills after a loss. Not only can you seek one-on-one virtual grief counseling, but you can also find help through online couples therapy, family therapy, and support groups. Online grief counseling can take place via live video sessions, chat, or forums.

How Is Online Grief Counseling Different From Therapy?

The main difference between counseling and psychotherapy is that counseling generally refers to shorter-term therapy that is focused on addressing a specific issue or situation. For example, in counseling, you might work on concerns like grief, addiction, financial stress, or premarital issues.

Psychotherapy, meanwhile, is generally part of treatment for a variety of mental illnesses, though it can be effective in helping people with emotional difficulties, including grief. Psychotherapy is also recommended if grief triggers depression or becomes prolonged grief disorder (also known as complicated grief).

How Can Online Grief Counseling and Therapy Benefit Mental Health?

Grief counseling or grief therapy can help you learn coping skills for adapting to life without your loved one and can help you manage symptoms like guilt, sadness, anger, depression, insomnia, and trouble concentrating. 

Just as people experience grief in different ways, there are also various grief therapy types and techniques to help individuals work through their emotions and feelings of loss and sadness. Some of the grief therapy interventions include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This form of therapy involves learning how to identify and overcome negative thought patterns.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy: This process encourages people to accept their unpleasant emotions in order to move forward. 
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): The ways you interact with others can greatly influence your mental state—and this is especially true for the loss of a relationship. IPT seeks to bolster your internal understanding of your own emotions and helps you work on strengthening your relationships and support network.

Is Online Grief Counseling Right for You?

Counseling can be beneficial for many people, especially when it comes to grief that is overwhelming and affects the quality of your work and relationships. Your counselor can create a safe space to experience and express painful feelings, feel less alone, and learn coping skills.

Grief counseling may be right for you if you’re:

  • Having persistent feelings of depression
  • Experiencing symptoms of distress, such as insomnia and loss of appetite
  • Struggling to complete daily tasks, including personal hygiene and other self-care
  • Feeling alone and don’t have the support you need from family and friends
  • Dealing with bereavement guilt

How Much Does Online Grief Counseling Cost?

Pricing for online grief counseling may depend on several factors, including your location, therapist or counselor experience, and the type of therapy involved (psychiatry sessions can cost more, for example). Some counseling services are also based on a subscription plan while others are on a pay-per-session basis. Fees can range from $100 to $600 or more per month. 

Many sites and organizations, however, provide free online and video support groups and communities. While these are not led by licensed mental health professionals, they can offer the support and connection you need to begin your healing journey.


How Does Online Grief Counseling Work?

Grief counseling involves communicating about the loved one you lost, your relationship with them, how they died, the ways in which their death has impacted you, and how you’re coping with it. Online grief counseling can take place in different forms such as one-on-one sessions by video, phone, live chat, or text messaging.

Online support forums are good options for people with limited time, as they allow you to participate as much or as little as you wish by simply reading or posting messages on boards. Grief support groups offer more structure and require more participation, giving you the opportunity to interact with people who have had similar experiences.

Does Insurance Cover Online Grief Counseling?

Some online therapy companies like Talkspace accept insurance or at least provide a superbill for you to submit to your insurer for possible reimbursement. However, not all companies do, so be sure to investigate this before you select an online grief counseling service.

The exact coverage for online therapy depends on your insurance plan, the therapist you choose, and the regulations of your state. 

Do your research and check the companies’ websites to see a list of insurance plans they accept, if available. If you’re considering a mental health professional outside of a large platform, call the number on your insurance card to find out conclusively whether your policy is accepted.

However, note that insurance coverage is generally only available for individual therapy with a specific diagnosis in mind, so online communities and support groups are not typically in network with insurance companies.

Methodology

We evaluated over 40 online therapy, grief counseling, and grief support groups based on the usability of platforms, features, and therapy options offered. We also considered the affordability and availability of subscription plans and insurance coverage. 

We then assessed the communication methods available for the program in the form of chat, messaging, and live video. Other factors that narrowed the list included therapist qualifications, ease of sign-up and switching therapists, and the availability of educational resources and self-care tools.

Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Simonsen G, Cooper M. Helpful aspects of bereavement counselling: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 2015;15(2):119-127. doi:10.1002/capr.12000

  3. Newsom C, Schut H, Stroebe MS, et al. Effectiveness of bereavement counselling through a community-based organization: a naturalistic, controlled trial. Clin Psychol Psychother. 2017;24(6):O1512-O1523. doi:10.1002/cpp.2113

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