E-Therapy Cafe Review

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3.3

E-Therapy Café

E-therapy Cafe

E-therapy Cafe

Bottom Line

If you’re too busy for in-person therapy, we recommend trying E-Therapy Cafe for its flexible and convenient online talk therapy and emotional support services.

Pros
  • Boutique therapy service

  • Caters to a specific customer niche

  • Bios of all therapists posted on the website

  • You can pick your therapist

  • Tiered pricing options

  • Expert level staff

  • Offers online journaling

  • Additional free resources available

  • Good customer service

Cons
  • No psychiatrists on staff

  • No medication management services

  • Small staff

  • Consultations are not free

  • Website design is dated and slow

  • Cumbersome welcome pop-up on the landing page

  • No free trial offers

  • Not all therapists are accepting new clients

3.3

E-Therapy Café

E-therapy Cafe

E-therapy Cafe

E-Therapy Cafe was founded in 2016 by Dr. Jude Black, a military spouse who saw the need for a quality online therapy service. She was going through her own challenges while her husband was deployed overseas and knew first-hand how difficult it could be to make time for therapy when you have a busy and demanding schedule. Her goal was to create a company that conveniently connected people to well-qualified therapists and life coaches that could give them personalized care, no matter where they lived.

The company does a pretty good job sticking to its original goal today. It has maintained its emphasis on quality client-therapist relationships partly because it is a smaller-sized boutique service where each client can get more personalized care. What sets E-Therapy Cafe apart from some of its competitors is that it offers not only e-therapy services but also wedding planning coaching and prescriptions for emotional support animals.

To fairly and thoroughly review E-Therapy Cafe 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. Here’s how E-Therapy Cafe stacks up against its online therapy competition.

First Impressions and Sign-up Process

When you arrive at E-Therapy Cafe’s homepage, you’re greeted by a black pop-up welcome box that feels a little bit like an ad. It isn’t the best first impression, especially since you have to click the "X" at the top right corner to remove it before you can navigate the website itself.

E-Therapy Cafe Home Page

E-Therapy Cafe Home Page

The site’s design is also somewhat outdated, especially if you compare it to some larger online therapy companies with sleek, modern homepages. E-Therapy’s website loads relatively slowly too, likely because of the rotating carousel of images. The top menu has many pages of navigation (including prices) hidden behind a “more” button, which can make it difficult to find important information. 

However, the site is very informative. Service options, subscriptions, and therapist profiles are all described in thorough detail, so it’s easy to do your research about what the company offers before signing up. The FAQ page, located at the bottom of the homepage, is particularly helpful in answering questions.

Seventy-seven percent of the users surveyed reported that they either had a very good or excellent experience signing up for E-Therapy Cafe.

The signup process is relatively straightforward. You begin by filling out a brief questionnaire about your goals for therapy, how you’ve been feeling lately, and what your daily stressors are. If you’re interested in the wedding coaching sessions, you’ll note that in your questionnaire. If you’re looking for couple’s counseling, you can register your partner at the same time.

Next, you'll state whether you’re interested in working with a particular therapist. A staff member will do their best to match you with your choice, as long as the therapist is accepting new clients. If they aren’t, staff will work with you to find another good fit. As the last step, you’ll pick your subscription plan and pay.

Once your registration form is completed, you’ll receive an email with access to your private portal.

According to the questionnaire we sent E-Therapy Cafe, your therapist should then reach out to you and share instructions on scheduling your first appointment within 24 hours. However, only 25 percent of the users we surveyed said that was the case for them. Most clients said it took longer: 

  • 26 percent said they heard from their therapist in a couple of days.
  • 30 percent said they heard from them within one week.
  • 19 percent said it took two weeks or longer. 

This reported delay may be due to the pandemic—the sign-up page does have a disclaimer stating that there has been an increase in demand due to the pandemic that has slowed down therapist response time.

Cost

Cost Chart - E-Therapy Cafe

E-Therapy Cafe’s prices are competitive, but their prices are higher than some of the other online therapy services on the market. This is likely because they’re a smaller company, but it appears to be an issue for the customers we surveyed. Only 68 percent of customers surveyed said the costs of E-Therapy Cafe's services were either very good or excellent.

What Subscription Plans Do They Offer?

There are three subscription plans:

  • The E-Therapy Basic plan includes three 30-minute sessions for $135 a month.
  • The E-Therapy Premiere plan includes five sessions for $210 a month.
  • The E-Therapy Elite plan includes eight sessions for $320 a month.

You can also pay-as-you-go for sessions if you are not ready or do not want to commit to a subscription. Each session costs $50.

All sessions are 30 minutes in length, and they can be held via live video, instant chat, or the E-Journal, where clients can write about how they’re feeling, and the therapist responds in detail.  If you want a more extended session, you can “stack” your sessions by scheduling them back to back. You have to schedule and pay for all sessions in advance—there is no “on-demand” option.

You can pay for your sessions online with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. However, no payments are accepted by phone, check, or money order. 

It’s worth noting that the emotional support dog packages are purchased separately from therapy sessions because this is a prescription service. It costs $225 for the complete letter and prescription package.

Is There a Free Trial? 

E-Therapy Cafe offers no free trial period, but you can purchase one 30-minute trial session for $40 if you want to make sure you like the service and your therapist before committing to a subscription plan.

Does E-Therapy Cafe Accept Insurance?

It depends on your health insurance plan, but you might be able to receive at least partial reimbursement for your therapy sessions through E-Therapy Cafe.

Seventy-six percent of the users we surveyed were able to obtain at least some financial reimbursement from their insurance company, reporting that they spent an average of $202.06 per month out-of-pocket for services. 

E-Therapy Cafe does not bill your health insurance company directly, but you can request a monthly receipt, or “Super Bill,” to submit to your health insurance company for reimbursement. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that health insurance plans generally only reimburse services if you are working with a licensed therapist, not a life coach.

Can You Change or Cancel Your Subscription?

You can upgrade, downgrade, freeze, or cancel your subscription at any time if you send an email requesting the change. There is a 24-hour cancellation policy, though, so if you want to reschedule a session, you have to do it at least 24 hours before your next scheduled appointment. Otherwise, you will be charged for the session. 

Unused sessions in a subscription do not roll over to the next month. Once you’ve been billed, you have to use all your sessions within 30 days. Plans can be canceled up to 24 hours before the renewal date.

Are There Discounts Available?

Military veterans, first responders, and their immediate family members can receive a 10 percent discount on all subscription plans but not-pay-as-you-go sessions. Actively enrolled college students can receive a 10 percent discount on individual sessions. 

Ease of Use

Once you’ve signed up, it’s relatively easy to schedule and attend your sessions. Seventy-eight percent of those we surveyed thought the platform was either very good or excellent in terms of ease of use. Eighty-three percent of users surveyed reported that they thought the video and platform quality was either very good or excellent.

To schedule an appointment, go to your client portal, locate your therapist in the menu, click “Secured E-Office, go to “session appointments,” and select the date and time that works for you.

Sessions with your therapist can take three forms:

  • Live video
  • Instant Texts
  • E-Journal

An E-Journal session is not a real-time conversation with your therapist. Instead, it is a cross between an online journal entry and a letter to your therapist.

E-Journal sessions do not need to be scheduled. They are accessible to you at any time, day or night, through your client portal, whenever you feel the need to tell your therapist something. You can write up to 700 words, and your therapist will then respond in detail to what you wrote within 24-48 hours. 

Eighty-two percent of surveyed users reported that the speed at which they heard a response from the therapist was either very good or excellent.

If you do not like the therapist or coach you’re currently working with, you can request a switch if you send a request email to the E-Therapy Cafe admin. Once your email is received, a staff member at E-Therapy Cafe will work with you to find a better fit. 

This switching process is a little slower and less convenient than the process at some of the larger companies, where you can switch therapists with the click of a button in the app. However, E-Therapy Cafe works more directly with you one-on-one. Seventy-seven percent of users we surveyed found the process easy or very easy—which is higher than the average number of users who found the switching process easy or very easy on competitor sites. 

Therapists' Qualifications and Quality of Care

When it came to choosing E-Therapy Cafe, most people we surveyed said that the staff’s qualifications and expertise played a significant role in their decision to sign up.

Eighty-three percent said they found the therapists’ qualifications to be either very good or excellent. 

E-Therapy Cafe has a staff of only 16 therapists and life coaches, which is noticeably smaller than some of its competitors. Still, despite this fact, 98 percent of users said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options available.

It’s worth noting that as of May 2021, four of 16 staff members are not currently accepting new clients—so the most popular therapists may book up quickly.  

In addition, it appears that some clients have to switch therapists a few times before finding the right match. Of the users we surveyed:

  • 33 reported seeing two different therapists
  • 36 percent reported seeing three therapists
  • 24 percent reported seeing four or more therapists

However, it appears that most therapists stay with the company for a while—which means that if you’re happy with your therapist, you’re more likely to be able to stay with them and not be shuffled around when your therapist quits or leaves. According to our questionnaire, therapists are employed for an average of two years at E-Therapy Cafe, which is pretty good considering it is still a relatively new company in business for only five years. 

Some of E-Therapy Cafe’s staff are therapists, some are life coaches, and some are both. If you’re unsure which one is right for you, the website’s FAQs do an excellent job explaining the difference and provide examples of how a therapist might approach a situation differently than a life coach. For example, a life coach might help to enhance a client's performance at work, while a therapist might work to bring clients from an unhealthy place to a more healthy one. 

Therapist Bio Page for founder Dr. Jude Black

Dr. Jude Black

All therapists and coaches have lengthy biographies on the website detailing their certifications, training, and previous work experience. Some have icons on their profiles to note if they’ve been Safe Zone Trained for working with LGBTQI folks or if they’re part of the Service Dog Alliance, which means they can provide guidance around emotional support animal services.

In addition, all therapists employed have received master’s degrees in their fields, and most are licensed in their state. Some are licensed in multiple states and have received numerous certifications and training.

Types of Therapy Offered

E-Therapy Cafe’s original goal was to assist active military members and help their families cope with the frequent moves and deployments in military life. However, it appears that the company has moved on somewhat from this initial focus. As of May 2021, there seems to be only one therapist who has experience working with veterans and is currently taking clients. 

Instead, it appears that E-Therapy Cafe has expanded its offerings to cater to a range of busy people, from students to professionals to couples. 

Some of the different techniques and services offered by the company include:

They also offer an online library of free worksheets to help clients outside sessions and drive meaningful reflection. 

E-Therapy Cafe has no psychiatrists on staff and no medication management services. Instead, clients who require medications are referred to local practitioners for evaluation and prescriptions. This is a big drawback because multiple competitors such as Wellnite and Get Cerebral offer both talk therapy and medication management services. 

Privacy Policies

E-Therapy Cafe takes many steps to protect client privacy and data. The company uses Vsee as its video chat platform, which is the same platform used by the Navy Seals, government officials, and NASA because it offers high video quality for low bandwidth, and it is secure.

Vsee is HIPAA compliant, easy to download, and compatible with any computer, tablet, or smartphone. All VSee data is also backed up hourly using 256-bit encryption.

The platform allows you to have your private client portal conveniently schedule appointments. It also has customer service support in case you have any technical difficulties.

To obtain your medical records from E-Therapy, you can do so relatively quickly. Once you sign a release of information, the records will be sent to you or another medical professional directly. All records are kept and sent through digital formats. 

While E-Therapy Cafe protects your identity, data, and privacy from others, the services are not anonymous. The company knows who you are and makes efforts to verify your identity before you can use their services. 

If during your treatment, your therapist decides you need more help than they can offer, a different type of therapy, or medication, the company will refer you to a local resource that is a better fit. They will also file a formal report if they believe you are a threat to yourself or others. 

Overall Client Satisfaction

Seventy-seven percent of current users we surveyed rated the services they received through E-Therapy Cafe as either very good or excellent and 70 percent said its value was very good or excellent for the money spent.

According to our survey of users:

  • 34 percent have been clients at E-Therapy Cafe for three to six months
  • 26 percent have been clients for six to 12 months
  • 26 percent have been clients for one to two years.

This suggests that a fairly good percentage of customers stick with the company for a while.

Eighty-one percent who had used other online therapy services said that E-Therapy Cafe was better or much better than their previous online service. 

Ninety-three percent of users told us they were likely or very likely to be working with an E-Therapy Cafe coach or therapist a year from now—suggesting that the company is doing a good job at keeping its customers.

Ninety-three percent of users reported that they were either likely or very likely to recommend someone like them to E-Therapy Cafe. 

Is E-Therapy Cafe Right For You?

E-Therapy Cafe Infographic

Based on the services offered and the staff they employ, it would seem that E-Therapy is best suited for clients seeking stress management or going through life transitions. 

For example, if you are a college student, planning your wedding, or find it challenging to fit therapy into your daily or weekly routine, you might find E-Therapy Cafe helpful. The company designed many of its services to cater to busy people who can do a lot of the therapy work on their own time. 

However, if you want or need to do more in-depth work in therapy, 30-minute sessions may not be long enough for you. E-Therapy Cafe may also not work for you if you live with PTSD, severe depression, or are currently taking antidepressants because the company doesn’t offer any psychiatry services. For this reason, it may also not work for some people who live with chronic pain, sleep disorders, or addiction. 

E-Therapy Cafe is not designed to be an emergency service. People struggling with suicidal thoughts, who are in crisis, or need inpatient care are not suitable for this service. People with psychotic disorders or a history of psychosis are also not a good fit. 

You also have to be 18 years or older to receive services from E-Therapy Cafe as it does not offer therapy to kids or teenagers. 

E-Therapy Cafe vs. Growing Self

One of E-Therapy Cafe's competitors that is similar in structure and size is Growing Self. Both are smaller, privately-owned companies founded by therapists, and both focus on building relationships with their clients through quality service. They’ve both hired highly qualified therapists, and life coaches with specialized training, certifications, and years of experience in the field. Surveyed users of both companies reported that the therapists’ qualifications were the companies’ greatest strength. However, it is worth noting that Growing Self has several therapists with PhDs on staff, and E-Therapy Cafe does not. 

Neither company employs psychiatrists or offers medication management services because talk therapy is their primary focus. 

Both companies provide individual counseling, premarital counseling, and couple counseling sessions. In addition, both have some unique offerings that set them apart from the competition. Growing Self has several specialized classes, such as dating and divorce recovery classes, while E-Therapy Cafe offers wedding coaching and emotional support animal prescription services.

Homepage comparison E-Therapy Cafe

E-Therapy Cafe sessions are 30 minutes long, and they take place via texting or video chat or through E-Journal communications. Growing Self sessions are longer at 45 minutes, and you can communicate with your therapist via video or audio chat. Both companies also allow you to choose your therapist or coach instead of assigning you one. 

Though they both have informative websites with free resources, E-Therapy Cafe’s website design is a little dated. The site loads slowly; it’s harder to navigate and features distracting pop-ups. Growing Self has a more modern-designed website, but its content tends to feel like a sales pitch. In addition, Growing Self does not list its service prices on the website, so you have to call directly to inquire about fees which can be off-putting to a potential customer. 

Growing Self is significantly more expensive than E-Therapy Cafe:

  • A 45-minute session at Growing Self costs $125-$150.
  • A 30-minute session with E-Therapy Café is $40-$50.

Growing Self also does not offer any subscription packages. Neither company will bill your health insurance company, but they can provide receipts upon request if you want to seek reimbursement from them.

Of the users we surveyed, 77 percent of E-Therapy Cafe users and 65 percent of Growing Self users said the services were either very good or excellent. Ninety-three percent of E-Therapy clients said they were either likely or very likely to refer someone to the company, whereas only 89 percent of Growing Self clients said the same. 

In addition, only 87 percent of Growing Self users reported they were either likely or very likely to still be seeing a therapist within the company a year from now, compared to 89 percent at E-Therapy Cafe. This could suggest that Growing Self has a harder time keeping its customers., though the numbers are close. However, it's also possible that clients anticipate being able to resolve their issues quicker because therapy at Growing Self is effective.

Of the users we surveyed who had tried other therapy services, 82 percent of Growing Self users reported that services were either better or much better than the services at the companies they used before. At  E-Therapy Cafe, 81 percent of users reported the same. 

Final Verdict

E-Therapy Cafe is a service for busy people who want a supportive talk therapy service that combines quality with convenience. The company has many strengths, including quality professionals, various therapy options, and flexibility. We recommend E-Therapy Cafe if your primary goal is to find a talk therapy service. Still, it might not be suitable for you if you’re looking for both psychotherapy and medication management.

Methodology

Our methodology for evaluating online therapy companies is comprehensive and data-driven. To review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 33 companies and surveyed 100 current users of each. This allowed us to directly and fairly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and 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
  • Ease of changing therapists
  • Overall user satisfaction
  • Likelihood clients would recommend them

Specs

  • Product Name E-Therapy Café
  • Year Founded 2016
  • Insurance Accepted Offers Reimbursement Receipt
  • Price $135/month - $320/month
  • HIPAA Compliant Yes
  • Platforms E-chat, Live video, E-Journal through Vsee
  • Payment Options Online payments via Visa, MasterCard, American Express only
  • App Available VSee app available if desired
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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