Gay Therapy Center Online Therapy Review

A service geared towards LGBTQ+ therapy seekers

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Gay Therapy Center

Gay Therapy Center

All of the therapists at the Gay Therapy Center identify as LGBTQIA+, which is helpful for queer therapy seekers looking for therapists that are understanding of and affirming of life experience. However, GTC is slow to match you with potential therapists, and it does not provide you with the full names of therapists.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • All therapists identify as LGBTQ+

  • Free consultation call provided

  • Currently accepting new clients

  • Website is easy to navigate

  • Upfront pricing information provided

  • Large, comprehensive FAQ section on website

  • Therapists address a wide array of issues

Cons
  • No therapist last names provided

  • No way to confirm therapists are licensed

  • Company is slow to provide therapist options

  • No way to follow up after initial consultation

  • Very few therapists list experience with trans issues

  • Does not accept insurance

Key Facts
Price
Starts at $185 per session
Is Insurance Accepted?
No
Type Of Therapy
Group Therapy, Individual Therapy
Communication Options
Phone, Video Chat
HIPAA Compliant?
N/A
Is There an App?
No
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.

Finding the right therapist can be a journey for anyone, but the LGBTQIA+ community faces additional challenges. Therapists might not be affirming of their identity and may not have training in the issues they’re dealing with. Some may also be prejudiced against them, say offensive or insensitive things in session, or even attempt to convince them to undergo conversion. That can worsen mental health issues and cause long term harm. Over 39% of the LGBTQIA+ population has reported experiencing mental illness in the past year; therapy is a necessary tool for many, and should be accessible. 

That is why Gay Therapy Center, despite offering online therapy services to anyone, specializes in services for the LGBTQIA+ community, and all of its therapists identify as LGBTQIA+ themselves. This made the company stand out amongst the other 54 we reviewed. Because LGBTQIA+ people are at higher risk for challenges such as domestic violence and bullying, being able to choose a therapist with understanding and lived experience of this demographic can feel comforting for members of this community. 

To assess how well Gay Therapy Center stacked up against its competition in the online therapy field, we surveyed 105 people who have used this service and I signed up for therapy, which turned out to be a lengthier process than anticipated. Read on to find out more. 

What Is Gay Therapy Center?

Gay Therapy Center was founded in 2015 by Adam Blum, MFT, a marriage and family therapist, in order to address the unique needs of LGBTQIA+ clientele. 

Today, the company boasts that GTC is the largest private provider of LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy, and it has offices in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., for in-person therapy. However, there is no way to validate this claim, and the company offers no statistics or numbers to back the statement about its breadth of service. It does offer online therapy worldwide. It does not have much of a social media presence, with a Twitter account that hasn’t been posted on in years, only retweeted others’ tweets when it did post, and is under the founder’s name. It does post regularly on Facebook, though, and has just shy of 900 followers there. 

What Services Does the Gay Therapy Center Offer? 

As noted above, GTC offers in-person and online therapy to anyone, but it specializes in treating therapy seekers from the LGBTQIA+ community. It offers both individual and couples therapy and sex therapy, depending on the provider. Its therapist are qualified to treat a number of different mental health illnesses, including: 

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Cheating/infidelity
  • Betrayal
  • Open relationships

However, GTC does not provide psychiatric services or medication management. Its therapists use a number of different therapeutic techniques in session, including:

How Much Does the Gay Therapy Center Cost?

Therapy at GTC is billed per session, much like traditional in-person therapy; it does not offer a monthly subscription like Talkspace and BetterHelp. And the cost is in line with with competitors. 

Most of the therapists I saw rates for charged between $185 and $200 per hour, though one charged $120 per hour. This isn’t an affordable rate for some, but it is pretty standard. The national averages range from $60 per session to $250, depending on the qualifications of a therapist and what type of therapy they are providing. The LGBTQIA+ population is more likely to live in poverty than their cis/het counterparts. Some specific groups, such as trans men, have a poverty rate of 33%, which is far higher than the national average (9% of the population).

Twenty-two percent of our survey respondents found the rate very affordable, and 35% found it affordable; only 20% found it unaffordable. However, about 30% of respondents rated the value of GTC therapy for the money as fair or worse. 

Does the Gay Therapy Center Accept Insurance?

No, the Gay Therapy Center does not accept insurance. 

You may request a superbill from the company, which you can then submit to your insurance if your plan covers therapy, and your insurance may reimburse you a portion of your out-of-pocket cost, depending on your individual plan. However, you will have to pay the full session rates up front—and reimbursement is not guaranteed, since this company is not in-network with any insurance provider.

Does the Gay Therapy Center Offer Discounts? 

No, there are not any discounts.

However, a 15-minute consult call is offered for free. An intro call with the therapist you choose is also required before you begin therapy, and is also free. So if you change your mind about the therapist being a good fit, there’s no financial risk. 

Navigating the Gay Therapy Center’s Website

The Gay Therapy Center website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. There’s a brief video on the homepage of two same-sex-appearing people embracing, and the button to schedule a free call is prominent. It’s easy to find what the services offered are and the costs involved in those, as both are large buttons on the top of the homepage. There’s also a lot of explanatory material available about why you should choose this service for your therapy needs. As you scroll down the website, there are lots of additional images of happy-looking people and more information about the therapy services and who the company serves. There are also review clips, which are anonymous. 

Homepage

You can view therapist profiles on the website, and these profiles list lots of biographical information about them, but no last names are given. The bios also do not link to the therapists’ practices, or social or business profiles. Only one therapist out of all the bios I read had a license number listed in their profile. This is concerning because there is no way to verify that anyone claiming to be a licensed and educated therapist actually is. Additionally, there is no way to discern if previous patients had negative experiences with them. 

I asked the two therapists that worked with us on this project, Amy Marschall, PsyD, and Nicholas Hardy, PhD, LCSW, if it was normal to not be given access to a therapist’s last name, online reviews, or license number. They both found it highly unusual. 

“I would say that's a red flag,” Dr. Marschall said. “Clients have the right to look me up, verify my training and credentials, and confirm my identity. I would be concerned if GTC does not allow clients access to information to look up their therapist's license themselves.” 

Dr. Hardy agreed. “I would be hesitant if I were a potential client,” he said. “I do not have to know everything about my therapist’s life outside of their professional qualifications, but knowing their full name is more than reasonable.” 

The GTC website has a blog, which is easy to find via the top menu on the site and contains a solid collection of articles. The articles are all written by the founder of the site, Adam Blum, who is White—even the ones about working with Black clients. As a person of color myself, this feels unacceptable to see today when much of society has acknowledged the importance of representation and marginalized voices. 

Blog

The site is also more male-focused than gender-equal, with the majority of articles centering around the needs of gay men. There are also more male-identifying therapists than female-identifying therapists. There isn’t much representation of gender-expansive, non-binary, or trans people either. For example, on the blog there is only a single article about trans and non-binary people, but dozens about gay men and their issues. The site’s lack of a diversity statement on the website compounds the focus on cis gay men.

As noted, the company doesn’t have much of a social media presence, but you can find links to its Twitter and Facebook pages at the bottom of the homepage. 

Lingering on the homepage also prompts a pop-up to appear advertising a free online class. This could be considered helpful for people looking for more than just therapy, but I didn’t find it to be particularly useful or engaging.

Even though I had no issues navigating the site, I still didn’t have a clear sense about exactly what therapy would be like with this service. That’s because it has little social media presence, no online articles about the site, and no way to find out who the therapists are without the ability to learn their last names. It may be hard for patients to feel trusting of this company’s services. Navigating the site was only considered very easy for 24% of users we surveyed, with 10% finding it difficult or very difficult. 

Signing Up for Therapy at Gay Therapy Center

Signing up for therapy through Gay Therapy Center seems straightforward, but it’s far from quick to actually get started. 

Gay Therapy Center requires a consultation call with an intake counselor before sending patients a list of therapists to choose from. It does this intentionally in order to provide therapists that meet your individual needs and hopefully achieve the best possible matches. So to start, you click the button on the top of the homepage labeled “Schedule Your Free 15 Min Call.”  

Call

Doing this led me to a page where I filled out an online form, which only required the most basic of questions for me to create an account, and scheduled a consult call for two days later. All I needed to enter for that part was my name and contact information. I found the scheduling process simple, quick and accessible. With a site so focused on the founder, even including his photo in the scheduling area, I assumed the call would be with him, but that was not the case.

In two days, I received three reminder emails plus a reminder text message about my free call. This felt a bit excessive, but I’d prefer to receive reminders versus not, so it didn’t bother me.

The call itself felt very welcoming and warm, but on my call, I mentioned I was uncomfortable not knowing the identity of the therapists that work for GTC. Even the therapist who I had the intake call with was a mystery stranger without a last name. I asked if last names could be included in the list I’d get. The counselor told me that it wasn’t GTC’s policy to do that, but that she would include them in the email for me. She did not do this. 

My call went well otherwise, but I was told I’d receive a list of therapist matches later that day—which did not happen.

When that email didn’t come that day, I tried to follow up, but there was no way to do that: the site only offers a contact link for a free consult call, which I’d already had. I could not reconnect with the person I had done my consult with and I did not receive the list until eight days later. Upon receipt on a Friday morning, I replied quickly that one provider had a broken link. I received a response to that email the following Monday. I chose a provider that day and requested his Wednesday spot. I was informed that he wouldn’t be able to begin until the following week, and I would need to have an intro call with him in the interim. 

I asked Dr. Marschall and Dr. Hardy about this 8-day wait I encountered, and they agreed that this was a negative sign. In fact, Dr. Hardy went so far as to call this a red flag.

“If someone is in an emergency, this lag could make a world of difference and have serious ramifications for the individual,” he said. 

Dr. Marschall agreed. “I would want to know why it took so long to follow up, especially since they had indicated you would get that information the same day,” she said. She also found it concerning that I had not been offered an explanation for the wait when I finally received my list. 

Matching With a Therapist at the Gay Therapy Center

When I did finally receive a list of about a half dozen therapists, I was disappointed that only one expressed clear experience with gender issues. I had said very specifically in my call that I was looking for a therapist well-versed in trans issues. Out of the list of half a dozen therapists I recieved, only one profile mentioned specializing in gender issues and that was the therapist I chose. Still, the word “trans” wasn’t in any of the profiles I received, though many other words from the LGBTQIA acronym were. 

Although the specific specialties I requested were not included in the therapists’ profiles, I did learn that one therapist was a former TV writer, two enjoyed yoga, and another loves outdoor sports. This all felt like completely irrelevant information. I understood that it was likely intended to humanize the therapists, but without last names, reviews, license numbers, or social profiles, or the information I needed and explicitly asked for, it didn’t serve that purpose for me or help me decide which one would be best suited to treat me. 

Dr. Hardy and Dr. Marschall were both surprised at the lack of trans representation in the therapist profiles I received. “I would imagine that some therapists have experience, but simply did not list it on their profile,” said Dr. Hardy. Still, he felt the company should have a responsibility to make sure the bios had that information so that I could make an informed decision about what therapist I wanted to work with.

In addition, once I chose my therapist, I was surprised by the wait time of numerous weeks needed to start therapy. However, given therapist shortages and the rise in mental health issues since 2020, Dr. Marschall and Dr. Hardy told me the delay isn’t unusual for the current climate. 

Still, this is likely a sign that the company doesn’t have enough therapists on staff to accommodate demand—and it does put the company at a disadvantage against other online therapy providers, such as Pride Counseling, which can match you and get you started with therapy much faster. Additionally, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a single AFAB (assigned female at birth) therapist who dealt with gender issues. 

Of the users we surveyed, 46% reported that GTC met all their therapeutic needs, but less than a third were satisfied with their choices for a therapist. 

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at the Gay Therapy Center?

Therapy sessions at the Gay Therapy Center are most often conducted via video call. Your therapist sends you a link to the software (called Doxy), and you don’t have to download anything. (Additionally, if you don’t have access to the internet, you have the option of having telephone sessions instead too.) There is no mention on the site of the software being HIPAA-compliant. 

You receive an invite to your session once the therapist creates the session. For my appointment, that happened at 11:55 AM, with the appointment having been set for noon that day. I also sent an email at 11:45 AM asking when it would arrive, as not having a link was nerve-wracking. The therapist sent the link along with an apology, and said his week had been busy. 

My therapy session began with a review of the info the therapist had received from the intake person, which had changed significantly in the time between our intake call and when I was able to conduct therapy. We spent the first five to 10 minutes in confusion around events and timelines before we were able to actually begin. 

Once we did, I found the therapist to be much less warm and inviting than the intake person had been. Our session was fine, but it did not feel revelatory in any way. The suggestions offered to me regarding my current life stressors were basic (such as taking walks and journaling), and I had to request those suggestions to receive them. 

For being the only therapist at GTC who deals with gender issues, I was a bit surprised at his pronoun misuse: I referred to my trans male partner as he/him, but the therapist referred to him as they/them, even after I corrected him. 

The Doxy software had issues with freezing repeatedly, so the therapist had me instead use Google Meet. As I didn’t have that app on my phone, which was how I was conducting the session, the pause part way through to download it and join the new meeting took several minutes. We went over session time by several minutes, presumably to compensate for that. I did not sign anything to make Google Meet HIPAA-compliant. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session at the Gay Therapy Center?

There is no mention on the website about its policy for missed sessions. I read thoroughly through the information about online therapy, and the section about fees, to find this info. There was no information about missed sessions sent with the scheduling information for my intake call either. 

When I received my eight-hour reminder email for my session, it said that cancellations within 24 hours are charged the full session fee. 

Switching Therapists

There’s no mention on the website about a policy for switching therapists. In my intake call, the counselor said she would give me a list of therapists to choose from, and I was to choose one. I didn’t get the impression that they were open to my trying out a couple different therapists with a session or two each, based on her instructing me to select one. Four percent of respondents switched from one therapist to another in GTC, though, so it is a possibility. 

Cancelling Therapy

If you want to stop therapy at GTC, though, you can simply not book another appointment since you pay per session and are not locked into a monthly subscription.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

While we weren’t able to find out much about the Gay Therapy Center therapists without last names, Dr. Hardy and Dr. Marschall each believe that there is a strong value in an LGBTQIA+ therapy service. 

“A therapist who is also LGBTQIA+ will have lived understanding of things like microaggressions or discrimination,” says Dr. Marschall, “and they will have more of an understanding of culture and life experiences versus a cis/het therapist who knows from research and education but hasn't lived it.” 

Dr. Hardy agrees, noting that “one of the leading factors that contributes to a productive therapeutic relationship is the connection an individual has with his/her therapist. As such,” he says, “a platform that is comprised of therapists who share similar identifiers can assist in the process.”

Still, the users we surveyed were pretty mixed in their impressions of the service. Thirty-five percent said they were very likely to refer a friend to the service, 36% said they were likely to, and over 20% were unlikely or unsure about doing that. 

Only 26% thought the number of quality providers was sufficient to be considered excellent, 22% said it was very good, 27% said it was good, and about one fourth of participants rated the number of quality providers somewhere between fair and terrible. 

In addition, while 61% of the users stopped therapy with GTC because they achieved all of their therapeutic goals or felt well enough to discontinue therapy, just shy of 20% had a bad experience with their therapist or simply didn’t find them to be helpful, which is why they quit.

Privacy Policies at the Gay Therapy Center

The privacy policy on the website is written in a manner that attempts to be more accessible than pure legalese, but still isn’t the easiest to understand.

Data is collected from users, and that includes personal data, mobile device data, and information about your browser, IP address, and browsing history. The website does not sell or give your information to third parties for marketing purposes. It uses standard tracking technologies and analytics, and operates based on the privacy rights in California. It appears to be HIPAA-compliant.

Gay Therapy Center vs. Its Competitors

Local LGBTQIA+ centers through the United States offer therapy services at sliding scale costs, and may be significantly more accessible and affordable than Gay Therapy Center. In addition, Pride Counseling offers affordable therapy for LGBTQIA+ people, and online therapy directories such as Therapy for Black Girls caters specifically to marginalized and intersectional communities—two words that aren’t found on the GTC site. 

Pride Counseling has numerous features that GTC does not: It serves all 50 states, offers subscriptions, and has a faster signup and therapist matching process. Additionally, there are multiple communication options for therapy, not just video conferencing. 

It fared similarly in our survey, with 85% of respondents rating Pride as overall a positive experience, compared to 84% of GTC respondents. Pride fared better in terms of therapist diversity, with 86% of people saying that diversity of therapists was between good and excellent, compared to 76% positivity for GTC. 

However, Pride Counseling has come under fire for questionable advertising campaigns (including a Pride month campaign featuring tearful people in front of pride flags) and its therapists have been known to use insensitive language in sessions (such as referring to the trans identity as a “lifestyle”). 

You might have better luck finding LGBTQIA+ affirming services through the online therapy directory the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN). This directory lists only LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC-identifying providers, making the search for a therapist who has shared lived experience much easier and more reliable. 

Eighty-four percent of all NGTTCN users reported the directory as either good or very good (the highest possible rating), and a whopping 98% of users said they found a therapist who met all or most of their needs, compared to GTC’s 89%.

Final Verdict

I was left with mixed feelings about Gay Therapy Center—and our user survey results were equally mixed. Only 29% said that their therapist was supportive of their identity, and this wasn’t a shock to learn considering the lack of representation on the website. 

Because the initial experience of intake felt warm to me, it was surprising that just 28% of respondents felt like their therapist cared about their well-being—however, my own experience with my therapist supports this statistic. I found the amount of lag time to receive therapists to choose from incredibly frustrating too, especially with no way to follow up, and just couldn’t trust a service that wouldn’t let me learn who my provider would be. 

That’s why, without more providers who aren’t White cis men, basic information about the available therapists such as their last names, and more reasonable wait times to be matched with a therapist, there aren’t enough positive attributes to recommend Gay Therapy Center.

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. 

6 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. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Conversion therapy.

  2. Meanley S, Haberlen SA, Okafor CN, et al. Lifetime exposure to conversion therapy and psychosocial health among midlife and older adult men who have sex with men. Meeks S, ed. Gerontologist. 2020;60(7):1291-1302. doi:10.1093/geront/gnaa069

  3. Mental Health America. LGBTQ+ communities and mental health.

  4. UCLA School of Law Williams Institute. LGBT poverty in the United States.

  5. University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty. The complexity of LGBT poverty in the United States.

  6. Kilduff L. How poverty in the United States is measured and why it matters. Population Research Bureau.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.

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.

Learn about our editorial process
and
Hannah Owens
Hannah Owens

Hannah Owens is the Mental Health/General Health Editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health.

Learn about our editorial process