Calmerry Online Therapy Review

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Calmerry Review

Calmerry Review

If you are looking for a speedy outlet to vent your feelings or talk through an issue, Calmerry offers that convenience with a few taps of the keyboard. If you are looking to really dig deep, though, or if you are dealing with a serious mental health condition, Calmerry may not be a good option for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Ability to attend a session from anywhere in all 50 states

  • Multiple subscription plans available

  • Sessions can be hosted morning, noon, or night

  • Concierge customer service to guide you through the process

  • Access to an online diary

  • Available via video or online chat

  • Discounted first month available

  • You’re matched by staff, not an algorithm

Cons
  • Sessions are only 30 minutes long

  • Platform has functionality issues

  • No free trials

  • Patient portal lacks blog content

  • Documentation for insurance reimbursement must be requested

  • Takes a few days to get receipts for insurance

  • Email notifications from counselors sometimes arrive late or not at all

  • Site information is somewhat confusing, and could be misleading

Key Facts
Price
$167 for a monthly subscription (Messaging only); $207 for a monthly subscription (Messaging plus one video chat per month); $269 for a monthly subscription (Messaging plus four video chats per month)
Is Insurance Accepted?
No. Can provide superbill for reimbursement
Type Of Therapy
Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy
Communication Options
Audio, Messaging, Video Chat
HIPAA Compliant?
N/A
Is There an App?
Yes
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.

With the average price of therapy reaching as high as $200 per session, and with many therapists choosing not to accept insurance due to high administrative burdens and low reimbursement rates, therapy is financially inaccessible to many who need it. Additionally, in therapy deserts—areas of the country in which access to mental health providers is limited or nonexistent—the demand for mental health care far exceeds what is actually available.

Calmerry is an online therapy company that aims to remove obstacles such as hefty fees, location barriers, and overbooked calendars from the world of mental health care. In bringing therapy to an online format, Calmerry is also making therapy more accessible and effortless for patients and therapists and attempts to provide flexibility with easy access scheduling via different types of communication. To review how Calmerry stacks up to other online therapy providers, we surveyed 105 users and I signed up to test the service as well. Here’s how it fared. 

What Is Calmerry?

Calmerry is a telehealth company that was founded in 2020 by tech wizard Alex Vitchenko, and funded by five million dollars of seed money to fill the gap in accessible, reliable mental health care.   Calmerry aimed to bring convenience and flexibility to patients who were trapped in a world of uncertainty, fear, and stress.  

Since launching in 2020, there have been a couple of changes of note to the service tools and offerings. In August 2021, the company rolled out a new feature called Reflection Helper, a free online tool which allows clients to track their moods daily, take note of their thoughts, set reminders, and share feedback with their therapist. As of June 2022, it appears that phone therapy is an active benefit of a subscription, and as of August 2022, subscription packages included both video and chat functions.

According to the experts, accessibility has long been an issue in mental healthcare.  Online therapy tools such as Calmerry have taken notice of that gap and have built a bridge which is not only stable, but viable as well. 

“In my professional opinion, online therapy is a viable, long-term mental health solution,” says Nic Hardy, PhD, LCSW, psychotherapist and subject matter expert for Verywell Mind. “Research shows comparable outcomes to in-person treatment options.”

What Services Does Calmerry Offer?

The service is limited to patients 18 years of age or older, and is designed for individual therapy rather than group or family therapy. 

While this information is clearly stated in the company’s terms and conditions, it is not necessarily explained on the more public-facing pages of its website.

While not necessarily misleading, it is not especially clear either, especially since ​​Calmerry has pages about relationship counseling and family therapy that include prompts for users to sign up. Some users might interpret these as a sign that the company offers these types of therapy, especially since both pages include claims such as “[therapy] is a perfect chance for your partner and you to express all your feelings, thoughts, [and] be honest with each other," implying that the company offers traditional couples and group sessions. 

Who Is Calmerry For?

Calmerry specializes in helping adults through individual therapy with emotional issues such as:

  • Anger management
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Childhood abuse
  • Chronic illness
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional abuse
  • Family conflict
  • Grief and trauma
  • LGBTQIA+ concerns
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Relationship issues
  • Low self-esteem

It is important to note that if a patient is struggling with psychiatric disorder or is in need of medication to treat their illness, online therapy may not be the ideal solution.  

“In my opinion, online therapy misses the mark when it comes to servicing various psychiatric disorders and supporting individuals with prescription management,” says Dr. Hardy.  “In both instances, you can observe someone’s physical appearance, affect, and other responses in more detail in person. There is a non-verbal component of therapy, which is sometimes better observed in person,” he says.  

How Much Does Calmerry Cost?

Calmerry’s pricing and subscription plans are not really shared until you have registered for an account. While discounts are listed on the homepage, you don’t know what that discount means until you provide your email address. 

Turns out, there are three plans available, all as monthly subscriptions: 

  • Messaging only: $167 per month
  • Messaging plus one video chat per month: $207 per month
  • Messaging plus four video chats per month: $269 per month

After chatting with my online support concierge, I learned that the $269 package was discounted from the usual fee of $359 a month. This discount only applies to the first month of service.  

With that in mind, there is very little cost difference between in-person and online therapy, though online therapy can be slightly less expensive. In-person therapy sessions average between $100 and $200 per visit. However, while the convenience factor of online therapy is attractive, in-person therapy sessions are usually 45 minutes to an hour long, whereas Calmerry offers only 30-minute sessions with a therapist.  

Does Calmerry Take Insurance? 

Calmerry doesn’t accept insurance. 

The site does mention that it will provide documentation that patients may submit to insurance companies for potential reimbursement, but this process is slow. It may make take days before you get your receipt.

Does Calmerry Offer Free Trials and Discounts? 

As of writing this review, Calmerry offered 30% off the first month of service. This discount is only applicable for the first month. At the end of the month, unless canceled, the subscription will auto renew at the non-discounted rate. 

Navigating the Calmerry Website

There really isn’t much flash or definitive substance on Calmerry’s homepage. The fonts, images, and headers are very basic, and the language surrounding service offerings, costs, and program details is vague and lacking. 

homepage1

While there are plenty of buttons to select to “Get Started” and begin the registration process, and a good amount of verbiage broadly describing what online therapy is, there are few details on what precisely a user is registering for.  Details surrounding subscription levels, benefits, and the costs of treatment are not available on the website.  

homepage2

Navigating the site is fairly easy, but the information available—once you find it—is sometimes questionable. 

For example, there is some confusion around the credentials required of Calmerry’s therapists. Per its FAQs, Calmerry therapists have LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, or LPC credentials. Yet, when reviewing the site's "Online Therapy '' page, additional credentials are referenced. The mention of these credentials, which do not apply to current Calmerry therapists, could be a bit misleading to potential and existing patients. 

FAQS

One of the strongest and potentially most overlooked features on the site is the company’s blog. The content is fresh, relevant, and could be of assistance to patients, with entries like “9 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health at Work” and “How to Set and Achieve Life Goals the Right Way.” 

Blog

While the blog is accessible from the company website, it is not easily accessible once you are logged into the therapy portal. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Calmerry?

To join the Calmerry platform, you go through two steps: creating an account and registering for services. 

homepage1

Registering for a Calmerry account is as simple as supplying an email address and creating a password in a registration form. Upon submission of the form, you'll get an email with a verification code to validate your account. Once you enter the code and it's accepted, your account is active. 

portal

Once an active account has been created, the next step is to register for services. This is the point in the Calmerry relationship where I was introduced to my customer support concierge, who shared details and recommendations on the best therapy subscription to fit my needs.  

The conversation with the customer support concierge is a nice personal touch, but it did seem to drag on a bit. Most of the conversation consisted of pleasantries and small talk, nothing too in-depth or personal. The chitchat all seemed to be somewhat of a lead-up to the specific question of whether video therapy or text therapy would be the right fit for me. While it was nice to know I wasn’t conducting business with a robot, I sort of missed the robot efficiency of “this is what we have, this is what we can give you, what would you like to do?” 

Matching With a Therapist at Calmerry

For as personal an experience as therapy can be, the steps for matching with a therapist seemed very impersonal.

Once you select and pay for a package, the support concierge’s work is done, and the form intake process begins. The information gathered assists Calmerry in matching you with your therapist. It includes your name, state of residence, age, history with counseling, and a bit of background explaining why you are seeking therapy with Calmerry. From there the robot crunches the numbers, spits out the name of your therapist, and assigns you a wellbeing score—the numeric value of your current state of mind.  This number is shown next to a comparison number to illustrate how your wellbeing score should increase with just two or so months of Calmerry therapy.  

As a person who has taken her fair share of corporate-focused personality tests, I was a bit surprised by how underwhelming the counselor-matching assessment was. I never got the sense that the counselor who was matched to me was matched by any criteria other than geography and time zone. For me, the lack of detail in the match assessment process took away the idea that my experience was going to be personalized or based on insight into my mental health and the skillset of my matched therapist.  

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Calmerry?

As a platform that emphasizes the benefits of online functionality, I assumed scheduling therapy sessions with Calmerry would be turn-key—that the system would be ready to go and easy to use. Unfortunately, that was not the case. 

There are no instructions or resources provided to assist a user in navigating the portal experience. There is help text displayed within the portal that is pretty self-explanatory, but a resource guide or a tutorial on how to use the portal would also be helpful for some users.  

Once logged into your patient portal, you see a tile on the page that instructs you to click to schedule a time with your therapist. From there, a set of dates and times are made available and you can select the date and time that works best for you. I would presume from this point on, a calendar invite would be shared with the patient and the therapist, but I personally never got past the step of selecting a date and time with my therapist.  

When attempting to schedule my first therapy session, every session I selected was unavailable, and I’d receive a message to refresh my page. After numerous scheduling attempts and refreshes, it occurred to me that something wasn’t quite right.  

I reached out to the support team and described my scheduling experience. At this time I was informed that the scheduling system was not working as expected and that I should work directly with my counselor to schedule a time. 

Within my four weeks of therapy with Calmerry, the online scheduling tool never worked.  

While the scheduling tool was a miss, the sessions with my therapist were smooth. My therapist was personable, kind, and available to listen. While she was gentle in her approach, I definitely got the feeling that we were on the clock. Despite her best efforts, the 30 minutes felt rushed, and both of us felt the pressure to get down to business. There was very little time for pleasantries or a warm-up conversation. It was basically just saying hello and jumping into the thick of things.  

Personally, this approach wasn’t my favorite. I need time to warm up and become comfortable with the person I am speaking with, as well as get my mind wrapped around what I am hoping to share.  

While the short 30-minute session wasn't really a fit for me, there were times that a brief and easily accessible conversation was appreciated. If I had had a rough day, or just needed to let off a bit of steam, sometimes, 30 minutes of talk time did the trick. Again, while not a sustainable therapy solution for me, I can see how the model has its benefits for folks when they just need to relax, relate, and release.  

Switching Therapists at Calmerry

As part of my research, I had planned on switching therapists in an effort to test this part of the service, but my initial therapist switch actually occurred due to a lack of communication.  

Upon registering for a subscription package, I was matched with my counselor. Once I was matched, I sent my therapist a note to say hello and arrange for the next steps. After 24 hours, I still had not received a response. For a service that promotes accessibility and ease of connection, it was a little off-putting to not hear back from a therapist.  

After 24 hours had passed, I connected with my support concierge to request a counselor switch. The support team member asked for the reason for my switch. When I shared it was a lack of communication, there was no pushback and no offer to help me connect with that therapist—instead, the concierge began the switching process right away.  

Pausing or Cancelling Therapy at Calmerry

Per the site’s FAQs, patients can cancel their Calmerry subscription at any time by connecting with customer support. It should be noted that language in regard to cancellations is tucked in under the section referencing pricing and packages. Also, searching “cancellation” or “how to cancel my subscription” within the site’s help section yields no results. 

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

During my therapy sessions, my therapist and I were able to make a connection and find some common ground. Over the course of our conversation, we talked about family and kids. Coincidentally, my therapist has a child about my son’s age. She was good at relating and identifying with the things I was experiencing. As a fellow mom, she was also always good at highlighting the importance of self-care, and how moms especially struggle with taking the time for themselves. As a mom of a toddler, this was reassuring to hear from someone who wasn’t a family member or friend. 

Overall, I felt my therapist was able to meet and address my specific needs.  

Of the Calmerry users surveyed as part of this project, 61% agreed that their Calmerry therapist met all or most of their needs. Eighty-four percent thought the credentials and qualifications of their Calmerry therapists ranged from good to excellent. Interestingly, despite the overall positive experience with Calmerry therapists, only 41% of users surveyed thought they would still be seeing their Calmerry therapist 12 months from now. 

Privacy Policies at Calmerry

The Calmerry privacy policy does not inspire confidence. While the website states that Calmerry "take[s] confidentiality and privacy seriously," there is little to no information provided to back up this statement. 

Moreover, the site frequently emphasizes that the company is not necessarily designed to protect its clients’ privacy, that clients should not share personal health information, and it makes it very clear that the website should not be considered HIPAA-compliant (HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law protecting patient information).   

Calmerry vs. Talkspace

Talkspace is another large scale online therapy company with a similar therapy structure as  Calmerry, consisting of monthly subscription packages that include text and video therapy.  

Talkspace does come with a slightly bigger price tag than Calmerry. At Talkspace, four video sessions with chat access is priced at $129 a week, whereas Calmerry offers a similar package for $89 a week. It should be noted that with Talkspace, therapy sessions are 45 minutes in length vs. Calmerry’s 30-minute online visits. Also, Talkspace does accept insurance and provides users resources for validating their benefits, whereas Calmerry suggests insurance reimbursement to patients searching for coverage options.  

In regard to the user experience, our survey found that both Talkspace and Calmerry patients were generally pleased with their overall experience and treatment. Of our respondents, 91% of Talkspace clients had a positive experience, while 86% of Calmerry’s clients had positive feedback. At 50% of users surveyed, Talkspace patients were slightly more likely to say they would continue with their Talkspace therapist after six months, compared to 45% for Calmerry patients. Interestingly, when users were asked whether they would continue therapy into the next 12 months, only 42% of both Talkspace and Calmerry users stated they intended to continue speaking with a therapist at that company.   

Talkspace also offers options beyond individual therapy, including couples and teen counseling and psychiatric treatment. Calmerry only provides services to adults over the age of 18, surrounding specific areas of concern such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and family conflict. 

When asked to compare Calmerry to in-person therapy services they’d received in the past, 43% of users reported that the care they received through Calmerry was better than the care they’d received before. This was true of only 32% of Talkspace users. However, while 88% of Talkspace users felt that its services were better than any they’d used in the past, in person or virtual, only 70% of Calmerry users agreed.

Final Verdict

I can’t say I was overly pleased with Calmerry as an online therapy service.  As someone who works in the technical field, the fact that the website functionality is clunky and full of bugs was very distracting and disappointing. The scheduling feature never worked during my testing period, and the chat functionality would sometimes not process messages properly when issued through the portal via phone. It’s hard to tally online convenience as a benefit when the online convenience factors never fully function. It personally struck me that the crux of Calmerry’s functionality was somewhat half-baked, and left me concerned that, if this pivotal aspect of the platform was not ​​fully vetted, what else might be amiss? From my experience with portal builds, you want the user experience to be smooth and seamless—that’s where you put your money. From my vantage point, the portal user experience was not the focus as it should have been. 

In regard to affordability, numbers tell the story here. While there is cost savings in the first month of service, afterwards the fee jumps up to near the equivalent of the cost for in-person therapy. While the convenience to access a session from anywhere is attractive, it’s hard to get past the limited 30-minute sessions when compared to the hourly rate of in-person therapy.  

I don’t see this being an overall sustainable model for many therapy patients, but I do see a benefit for quick talks, brief interactions, and venting sessions. While these talks might not make a huge dent in a person's overall emotional development, they did provide me some relief on an overly stressful day.  

Methodology

To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 55 companies and surveyed 105 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 the following factors: website usability, the signup and therapist matching processes, therapist qualifications, types of therapy offered, the service's quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, average cost and value for money, whether it accepts insurance, how easy it is to change therapists, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood that clients would recommend them.

We also signed up for the companies in order to get a sense of how this process worked, how easy to use the platform is, and how therapy takes place at the company. Then, we worked with three subject matter experts to get their expert analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers. 

By Angela Hatem
Angela Hatem is a freelance contributor with 4 years of experience in parenting, health & wellness, relationship, and e-commerce coverage. Angela has been published in Verywell Mind, Parents.com, InStyle, National Geographic, Business Insider, HuffPost, and The TODAY Show Shop.

Additional reporting by
Ray Finch
Ray Finch

Ray is a special projects editor on the performance marketing team.

Learn about our editorial process
Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

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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and
Ray Finch
Ray Finch

Ray is a special projects editor on the performance marketing team.

Learn about our editorial process