Best SAD Treatment Online of 2022

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People living with social anxiety disorder (SAD) have a persistent and intense fear of being watched or judged by others, and of being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. This anxiety and discomfort can be so debilitating that it interferes with daily life.

Licensed therapists and mental health professionals can help people with SAD manage their condition, but it may be difficult to seek treatment. Some people may not feel comfortable enough to talk face-to-face with a therapist or while others may find the cost of treatment to be an obstacle.

Online treatment for SAD, also known as social phobia, can include support forums and groups, interactive activities, educational resources, e-therapy, and sometimes prescription medications. It can offer encouragement, guidance, and community for those looking to treat their social anxiety disorder. There also are many apps that offer tools and self-help features that can equip you better to manage anxiety, develop more effective ways of thinking, be mindful, and relax. We rounded up the best SAD online treatment options.

Best SAD Treatment Online of 2022

Why Trust Us We surveyed 100 users from each online therapy company and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we conducted comprehensive research with a psychotherapist. Read our Full Methodology
33 Companies reviewed
3,497 Total users surveyed
300 Data points analyzed

Best Overall : BetterHelp

Verywell's Rating
4.3

Better Help
  • Price: $240 to $600+ per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Communication Options: Audio, Messaging, Video Chat
Why We Chose It

BetterHelp provides professional and personalized help with an easy-to-use platform and convenient access to licensed therapists and counselors through a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • All therapists are licensed and credentialed

  • Unlimited, private, one-on-one communication with a therapist

  • Access to educational group webinars

  • Accessibility features

Cons
  • Does not submit claims to health insurers

  • Does not provide prescription medication management

Overview

A pioneer in online therapy services and the largest online therapy platform in the world, BetterHelp offers convenient—and discreet—access to licensed therapists who can help people address a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety.

One of the key features of BetterHelp is its therapist matching service. After you sign up, BetterHelp matches you to a licensed therapist who fits your objectives, preferences, and the types of issues you’re dealing with. However, if you’ve started the process and feel the therapist is not a good match, you may elect to be matched to a different therapist.

BetterHelp offers various options to individual, couples, and teen therapy, depending on your availability and needs. Methods include exchanging messages with your therapist, live chat, live phone session, or video conferencing. Messaging is available 24/7, while live chat appointments, phone sessions, and video conferencing need to be scheduled with your therapist. Access also is available through an app compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

According to a review of the company and surveys of online therapy programs conducted by Verywell, BetterHelp users were generally very satisfied with the response rate from their therapists, and 79% said it was very easy or easy to switch therapists at BetterHelp if they felt like their therapist wasn’t the right match for them.

Because anonymity or privacy can be an issue, BetterHelp does not ask for your full name or contact information at sign-up. You may pick a nickname to identify you on the BetterHelp platform. Any specific information that may be requested by the therapist (as required by their licensing board guidelines) is kept confidential.

The cost of counseling through BetterHelp ranges from $60 to $90 per week, billed every four weeks.

Best for Teens : 7 Cups of Tea

Verywell's Rating
3.0

7 Cups
  • Price: $150 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Communication Options: Messaging
Why We Chose It

7 Cups offers on-demand emotional support services especially for teens and young adults and provides lively, welcoming teen community forums and 24/7 chat rooms to facilitate sharing with peers.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers one-on-one chat especially for teens

  • Anonymous

  • Active Listeners receive training and are reviewed and vetted

Cons
  • Online therapy services with a licensed therapist limited to those 18 or older

Overview

7 Cups offers emotional support on-demand, allowing users to connect anytime, anywhere with listeners trained in active listening. While 7 Cups is available for all, it also offers specific support services for teens and young adults with anxiety through one-on-one chat, chat rooms, and community forums that also allow them to connect with others.

The service offers a network of nearly half a million trained volunteer listeners and licensed therapists. Anyone looking for emotional support, encouragement, or conversation can reach out to a trained listener for free. Each listener has a profile with reviews and a list of specializations, ranging from panic attacks to bullying. Online therapy from a professional therapist is available with prices starting at $150 per month.

A free app, available on iOS and Android with in-app purchases, also is available for download. It gives people access to 300 mindfulness exercises, mood-boosting activities, personalized care with a wellness test, and video resources. The app also gives access to online messaging therapy with licensed therapists.

7 Cups allows users to remain 100% anonymous. Listeners know only what is disclosed to them by the person they are helping and contact information also is kept strictly confidential. To make sure teens are interacting in a safe space on the platform, they can chat only with other teens and approved Adult Listeners.

Best At Your Own Pace : moodgym


Mood Gym
  • Price: $27 per year
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: N/A
Why We Chose It

MoodGym’s interactive, self-help, and self-paced online program equips you to learn and practice cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based skills that can help in managing and preventing symptoms of anxiety.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Provides training in CBT

  • Anonymous and confidential

  • Self-paced

Cons
  • Previously offered for free

  • No one-on-one support

Overview

If you’re looking for a self-paced, self-help online program that can help you identify whether you are having problems with emotions like anxiety and want to learn skills that can help you cope with these emotions, MoodGym is a good, affordable option.

Originally developed by researchers at the Australian National University, MoodGym provides training in CBT, which research has found to be an effective therapy for social anxiety disorder. MoodGym’s training consists of five interactive modules, which are completed in order: Feelings, Thoughts, Unwarping, Destressing, and Relationships. The modules include information, interactive exercises, workbooks to record thoughts and feelings, quizzes, and diaries. You’re encouraged but not required to complete all of the exercises, although some quizzes must be completed before you can move to the next module.

MoodGym’s effectiveness has been evaluated in randomized controlled trials undertaken by research groups. One study of 106 participants, ages 18-65, used therapist-assisted MoodGym sessions for six weeks and found that the majority of participants experienced a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A 12-month subscription is available for $27.

Best on a Budget : Mindshift CBT


MindShift CBT
  • Price: Free
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: N/A
Why We Chose It

The free app MindShift CBT helps equip you with CBT-based strategies and self-help tools to develop effective ways to take charge of anxiety.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Clean, user-friendly app interface

  • Tools and resources based on CBT

  • Helpful coping cards, journaling, and meditations

Cons
  • Only available as app

  • No access to therapists

Overview

Perhaps you don’t feel ready for therapy and would like to start your social anxiety disorder treatment journey with a more self-help, daily-practice approach. An app like MindShift CBT can be a helpful tool.

Developed by nonprofit organization Anxiety Canada, the visually appealing MindShift app offers resources and interactive cognitive-based tools to help track and manage anxiety symptoms and encourage overall healthier thinking.

MindShift uses CBT-based strategies to provide techniques for relaxing and becoming more mindful. With features such as coping statements, positive affirmations, and comfort-zone challenges, the app also helps you develop more effective ways of thinking to address anxiety, panic, perfectionism, and phobias, among other issues.

The app also offers a journaling tool so you can identify anxiety symptoms, coping cards to help ease your anxiety in any given situation, audio recordings for relaxation, breathing, and mindful meditation exercises, and goal-setting and check-in features. MindShift also lets you easily export data to share with your counselor or therapist, if you need.

The app is available for free download from the App Store and Google Play.

Best Therapy Chat : Talkspace

Verywell's Rating
4.2

Talkspace logo
  • Price: $260 to $400 a month; $125-$199 for psychiatric services
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Communication Options: Audio, Messaging, Phone, Video Chat
Why We Chose It

One of the most popular online therapy platforms, Talkspace offers live video and chats, as well as unlimited messaging therapy that allows you to message your therapist 24/7.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Large network of licensed therapists

  • Offers unlimited messaging

  • Some services covered by health insurance

  • Offers prescription medication management

Cons
  • Services (like live sessions) can get expensive

  • Your therapist conversations may be analyzed using AI

Overview

With more than 1 million users, Talkspace is one of the biggest online therapy platforms, allowing people to connect with a licensed therapist from their computers or smartphones.

To sign up, simply provide your preferences for therapy to be matched with one of Talkspace’s therapists in your state on the same day. You then can exchange unlimited text, voice, or video messages with them in a secure, private “room” where you can post and reply to messages anytime. Your therapist will respond to you throughout the day. Unlimited messaging is included in your basic plan, but you need to opt for a higher-cost subscription plan to enable live video calls with your therapist.

All therapists with Talkspace are licensed and have been vetted and accredited according to National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. They specialize in issues such as anxiety, stress and anger management, depression, and more. Talkspace also offers more specialized services, such as psychiatry sessions ($199 for an initial evaluation, then you will be charged $125 for every follow-up visit), relationship or couples therapy, and therapy for teens ages 13-17.

Many users have expressed satisfaction with the therapists they’ve worked with. Of the Talkspace clients we surveyed, 86% said their therapists’ qualifications were very good or excellent, and 88% said they were likely to be working with a therapist at Talkspace a year from now.

Talkspace’s online talk therapy subscription costs range from $260 to $400 per month. There are three plans available: Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus (includes text, video, and audio messaging), Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium (offers all benefits of Therapy Plus plan, but includes one live video session per month), and Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate (offers all the benefits of the Therapy Plus plan, but includes four live video sessions for four months).

Talkspace offers a free app for download from the App Store and Google Play.

Best One-on-One : AbleTo


AbleTo
  • Price: Covered health insurance benefit, pricing depends on health plan copay and coverage
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Communication Options: Phone, Video Chat
Why We Chose It

AbleTo provides an eight-week therapy program based on CBT to build skills and reduce anxiety and stress, with weekly one-on-one meetings with a therapist or coach.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • One-on-one therapy

  • Motivational well-being activities

  • Uses CBT-based methods

  • Customized treatment and support

Cons
  • Need health insurance

  • You may receive communication materials from company’s partners

Overview

AbleTo provides the benefits of one-on-one therapy with a therapist or coach and the self-help tools and CBT-based strategies you need to build skills you can use for taking control of your anxiety.

Its eight-week virtual program helps in understanding your feelings, thoughts, and actions, how they are connected, and how to change unhelpful patterns in your life. The program, accompanying activities, and one-on-one sessions with your trained therapist can help to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.

To get started, AbleTo will check your health insurance coverage and see what’s available for you as programs are available only to people who have health insurance that covers its services. A program will then be customized to fit your needs, and your first session with your therapist will be scheduled. Sessions with your therapist or coach can involve setting and working toward goals and learning new skills you can use to make each day more manageable and fulfilling.

Depending on your needs, you may meet weekly with a therapist or weekly with a coach for the duration of your program. Some programs will have two weekly calls—one with a therapist and one with a coach. Most calls are about 45 minutes, but some can be as short as 15 minutes.

Best for Peer Support/Group Support : Sanvello


Sanvello
  • Price: $9 to $50 a month, depending on plan; $85 to$140 for therapy appointments
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Communication Options: Live Chat, Video Chat
Why We Chose It

Sanvello provides one-on-one coaching and therapy in addition to self-care tools for dealing with anxiety, including a peer-support community that offers solace and inspiration in a judgment-free space.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Accepts health insurance

  • CBT-based

  • Easy-to-navigate interface

  • Peer support and community

Cons
  • Requires monthly subscription

  • Coaching and therapy features can be expensive

Overview

For many, social anxiety disorder can intensify feelings of isolation, so the support of a community can play a big role in finding motivation and inspiration. Sanvello offers CBT-based self-care tools, one-on-one coaching and therapy that can help improve mental health, and a supportive community that helps you feel less alone.

The Sanvello app, available for iOS and Android devices, provides mood and health tracking tools, guided journeys using therapies to build long-term skills, and coping techniques for managing stressful situations, such as public speaking or social interactions.

For those who need a little more support for reaching mental health goals, Sanvello offers coaching and therapy as premium features. Coaches are trained in CBT and offer personalized guidance within the app. You can message your coach at any time, but coaches need at least one business day to respond. Coaches also can hold real-time classes to help you apply CBT techniques to your daily life.

You also can opt to schedule a session with a Sanvello therapist, who can help identify patterns and behaviors that are holding you back, and help create a personalized plan for moving forward.

Sanvello subscription plans start at $9 per month for the Self-Care plan, which includes unlimited health and goal tracking and exercises, plus access to a meditation library and guided journeys. The Coaching plan costs $50 per month and includes all the benefits of the Self-Care plan, plus access to journey classes and one-on-one coaching through secure messaging. The Therapy plan starts at $140 for the initial appointment but includes all the benefits plus therapy sessions with a certified therapist.

Compare the Best SAD Treatment Online of 2022

Overall Rating Best For
Price
Is Insurance Accepted?
Does it Accept HSA/FSA?
Communication Options
Reset All
BetterHelp
4.3
Best Overall $240 to $600+ per month No No Audio, Messaging, Video Chat Sign Up Now
Hide, not for me
7 Cups of Tea
3.0
Best for Teens $150 per month No No Messaging Sign Up Now
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moodgym Best At Your Own Pace $27 per year N/A No N/A Sign Up Now
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Mindshift CBT Best on a Budget Free N/A No N/A Sign Up Now
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Talkspace
4.2
Best Therapy Chat $260 to $400 a month; $125-$199 for psychiatric services Yes No Audio, Messaging, Phone, Video Chat Sign Up Now
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AbleTo Best One-on-One Covered health insurance benefit, pricing depends on health plan copay and coverage Yes No Phone, Video Chat Sign Up Now
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Sanvello Best for Peer Support/Group Support $9 to $50 a month, depending on plan; $85 to$140 for therapy appointments Yes No Live Chat, Video Chat Sign Up Now
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Final Verdict

While online treatment programs and services for social anxiety disorder have benefits, they can’t replace traditional face-to-face therapy in every case. The professionals and therapists who work through these programs, such as BetterHelp or 7 Cups, for example, may not be in a position to make a formal clinical diagnosis. However, these programs can play a major role in helping people with social anxiety disorder who are facing barriers to treatment, whether it’s anxiety about talking to a therapist in person or the ability to afford the cost of treatment.

All the online treatment programs listed here are convenient—they offer virtual sessions with professionals or digital self-care tools that help you practice mood-boosting or CBT-based techniques on your own time. Since everything is done online, you can schedule therapy sessions around your work schedule or family obligations.

Online treatments for social anxiety disorder or other mental health issues lack the immediacy for crisis situations, since therapists may not be able to respond quickly and effectively when a crisis happens. In general, however, online treatment can be a good, convenient, and affordable option for those looking for guidance in managing their anxiety and reducing symptoms. Most of the online services we’ve chosen also allow you to cancel your subscription or account at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is SAD?

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common but under-diagnosed mental health condition. People with SAD have an irrational fear of being watched, judged, or of embarrassing or humiliating themselves. The disorder can include fear, anxiety, and avoidance that interfere with relationships, daily routines, work, school, performance situations, or other activities. It typically begins in the early to mid-teens, though it can sometimes can start in younger children or in adults.

How Much Does SAD Treatment Online Cost?

While some online treatment options may be covered as a health benefit, programs with live video sessions with a licensed therapist can range from $150 to $400 per month. There are more affordable online treatment programs that offer coaching and support through chat, messaging, and resources, without the live video feature.

Who Should Sign-Up for SAD Online Treatment?

If you have social anxiety disorder and are looking to manage your symptoms and improve the quality of your life, but don’t think in-person therapy is right for you, you may benefit from SAD online treatment. Therapists and coaches can provide personalized support and guidance through one-on-one sessions at schedules that are convenient for you. Many online treatment programs also offer self-care tools and a supportive community that offer resources and encouragement outside of your sessions.

What Does SAD Online Treatment Cover?

SAD online treatment may cover one-on-one sessions with a therapist or coach. Depending on your therapist’s or the program’s approach, it may entail identifying and addressing how your thoughts and behaviors interact to create anxiety, determining how negative thoughts or patterns affect your actions, and creating a plan that will address these challenges. Other online treatment programs may involve self-care tools, activities, or workbooks to help you manage your anxiety.

Is SAD Online Treatment Worth It?

If you’re facing challenges and barriers to seeking professional help in person, such as cost or accessibility, online treatment for SAD may be worth it.

It’s important to note, however, that many online therapy programs are not covered by insurance. They’re also not appropriate for more severe mental health issues, but they can offer convenience, flexibility, convenience, and psychological comfort.

What Factors Should You Consider When Picking a SAD Treatment Company?

Before you sign up for a program, it may be best to consult with your doctor to rule out medical conditions that might be contributing to your symptoms. Your doctor also will be able to recommend specialized programs or treatment options. If you feel you are ready to consider the SAD online treatment options available, it’s important to consider some factors:

  • Pricing: Many programs offer affordable treatment options for free or for a small subscription cost, but some offer premium add-ons, such as live sessions, at a higher cost.
  • Platform: Consider the platforms used by the SAD online treatment you’re considering. Many are available on both desktop and mobile devices, which can offer more flexibility and the convenience of being able to connect with your therapist or continue your program remotely.
  • Treatment Approach: There are different types of therapy available, and some may work best for specific conditions while others address a variety of issues. Research the treatment approach the SAD online treatment program you’re considering uses. Two of the main evidence-based interventions for mood disorders are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Both are diagnosis-targeted, time-limited treatments that encourage patients to regain control of mood and functioning.
  • Therapy Type: Are you looking for individual therapy, couples therapy, or therapy for teens? Some programs offer different options, while others specialize in a specific type of therapy. Those looking for online treatment for their teens may want to confirm that the service matches their children with licensed counselors who specialize in working with teens on a wide range of issues.
  • Insurance Coverage: Some online treatment options accept insurance and can be a covered health insurance benefit.
  • Privacy: Many of the online treatment programs listed here offer privacy features, allowing you to stay completely anonymous. Everything you tell a therapist also is confidential. Most of the online treatment programs featured here use state-of-the-art technology to protect your information, and some, like BetterHelp, offer the ability to delete each message sent to your therapist.

Methodology

We evaluated SAD online treatment programs based on the usability of platforms, features, and therapy options offered, as well as affordability. We then considered the communication methods available, including the convenience of chat, messaging, and live video. Other factors to narrow the list include therapist qualifications, ease of sign-up and switching therapists, and the availability of educational resources and self-care tools.

Edited by Brian Abbott
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2 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.
  1. Borza, L. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017;19(2):203-208.doi:10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/lborza

  2. Høifødt RS, Lillevoll KR, Griffiths KM, et al. The clinical effectiveness of web-based cognitive behavioral therapy with face-to-face therapist support for depressed primary care patients: randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e153. doi:10.2196/jmir.2714

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