Grow Therapy Online Therapy Review

Offering virtual and in-person talk therapy and psychiatry with insurance

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Grow Therapy

Grow Therapy

Grow Therapy offers virtual and in-person sessions for talk therapy and medication management. The company accepts insurance and provides in-person sessions, both of which are not standard offerings when compared to many other online therapy and psychiatry services. However, it does not offer messaging or texting like some of its competitors.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Can schedule and pay per session

  • You select your therapist

  • Virtual or in-person sessions available

  • Accepts most major health insurance plans

  • Therapist bios are easily accessible before paying for a session

  • Offers individual, couples, child, teen, and LGBTQ+ affirming therapy

  • Offers medication management

  • Provides administrative support to therapists who accept insurance

Cons
  • No way to message your therapist between sessions

  • No easy way to change therapists

  • Price varies based on the therapist and your location

  • No free trial or subscription services available

  • Only available in limited states

Key Facts
Price
Varies based on the therapist and your location
Is Insurance Accepted?
Yes
Type Of Therapy
N/A
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.

With the average price of therapy reaching up to $200 a session, many people in the United States are unable to afford mental health care—at least not without using their insurance benefits. Mental health care is especially inaccessible to those living in therapy deserts, which are parts of the country where mental health services are limited or completely unavailable because there simply aren’t enough providers to meet demand. 

Grow Therapy is a therapy service that is hoping to solve these problems by helping therapists accept insurance and make scheduling and billing just a little easier.

To assess whether this made Grow Therapy a valuable resource to therapy seekers, we surveyed 105 users at Grow Therapy and compared it against 54 other services. I also signed up for services and attended therapy sessions with two different therapists. Here’s how the company stacked up to its competitors.

What Is Grow Therapy?

Grow Therapy was founded by college friends Jake Cooper, Manoj Kanagaraj, and Alan Ni in 2020 to increase access to mental health services. They understood that many mental health providers don’t take insurance because of the long and arduous process and administrative burden of billing insurance. That meant clients had to have cash on hand, leaving many people unable to afford therapy. Cooper, Kanagaraj, and Ni hoped to change that.

That’s why Grow Therapy is different from most of the online therapy services we reviewed. At Grow Therapy, every therapist on the site is self-employed and working to grow their own private practice. Many are working with Grow Therapy because it provides administrative support: it helps individual therapists through the insurance credentialing process, and offers scheduling, billing, and claims processing. This means that the company helps therapists grow their practice while also being more affordable to those that need their insurance to pay for mental health care.

And despite being a relative newcomer to the scene, this strategy seems to be appealing to therapists. As of November 2022, there are currently more than 2,000 therapists in 13 states and Washington, D.C., on the Grow Therapy platform. 

The company is not very active on social media. I could not find an account on Twitter; its Instagram account has less than 300 followers, and on Facebook it has 632 followers. The company has the highest number of followers on LinkedIn, at almost 10,000. But, many of its posts on Facebook and LinkedIn target recruiting new therapists, not consumers looking for therapy. This suggests that while the company helps therapists with billing and insurance, it isn’t really helping market them to potential therapy seekers. 

Still, in March 2022, Grow Therapy became an in-network mental health care provider for Aetna, a CVS company, allowing it to expand its services further. As of September 2022, it is available in the District of Columbia and the following states:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland 
  • Massachusetts
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia

The founders hope that they will eventually be able to grow to all 50 states. 

What Services Does Grow Therapy Offer?

Grow Therapy offers talk therapy and medication management. However, because each therapist is self-employed, services vary depending on your choice of therapist. Some providers offer child, family, and career counseling, as well as LGBTQ-focused therapy. 

Its website indicates that users can find providers for 30 different specialties, and therapists have an average of 12 years of experience. 

Who Is Grow Therapy For?

If you’re  looking for traditional weekly or monthly sessions with a therapist but prefer virtual appointments, Grow Therapy may be a good fit for you. People who want in-person therapy but want the convenience of reading about the therapist and booking their sessions online would also benefit from the wide variety of therapists listed on the site. 

The topics and issues that Grow Therapy providers can address include ADHD, anxiety, depression, and OCD, and they offer specific counseling for children and adolescents, couples, and people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Interestingly, the company also claims that it is qualified to help those experiencing suicidal ideation—typically, online therapy companies warn therapy seekers that their services are not suitable for someone in a mental health crisis, and urge them to look elsewhere for crisis resources. 

How Much Does Grow Therapy Cost?

Grow Therapy is not a subscription service, so there are no monthly therapy plans. In addition, since each therapist is independent, pricing varies widely if you’re paying out-of-pocket.

For example, when I searched for individual talk therapy for anxiety in Pennsylvania, I found therapists ranging in price from $70/hour to $150/hour. Meanwhile, searches for California went from $110 to $200. The national average for therapy sessions ranges from $60 to $200.

If you don’t have insurance, counseling through Grow Therapy could become expensive quickly, especially if you want weekly appointments and the therapist you choose charges $150 per session. 

Does Grow Therapy Take Insurance?

Yes, Grow Therapy is designed to help you find a therapist that accepts insurance, and health insurance could drastically decrease how much you spend. Insurance coverage is important to our Grow Therapy users, with almost 82% of users having some health insurance. 

On Grow Therapy, when you enter your insurance details, there is a link to check your plan immediately for coverage information. You can also call your insurance company and ask what your plan covers. 

Some of the insurance plans Grow Therapy accepts include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Highmark
  • Humana
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Medicaid/Medicare
  • UnitedHealthcare

Early in the signup process, you are prompted to choose your health insurance provider. If you do so, your results will be filtered to the therapists who accept your insurance plan. 

Half of the users we surveyed indicated their insurance paid at least a portion of their therapy costs at Grow Therapy, which is also likely why 84% also found the service affordable.

Navigating the Grow Therapy Website

Grow Therapy's homepage is welcoming in muted orange and green tones, and you are greeted with the words “Find a therapist who meets your needs,” with a clear green button underneath urging you to “Find a therapist.” 

As you scroll further down, the homepage highlights some benefits of Grow Therapy, such as instantly scheduling appointments, sessions available within two days, acceptance of insurance, and the choice of in-person or virtual sessions. 

At the top of the page, there are links to About Us, Careers, and Providers pages, as well as a prompt to log in as a client and another button to “find a therapist.” 

Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll find some frequently asked questions, including:

  • What is Grow Therapy?
  • Who is the right therapist for me?
  • How do you vet your therapists?
  • How much will it cost?

In the footer are links to general information, such as ways to contact customer support, terms of service, and various policies, such as privacy and nondiscrimination. 

Overall, clients of Grow Therapy thought navigating the site was fairly easy – about 21% said it was very easy, and 31% considered it easy to use. 

However, I personally found the website hard to navigate because of the lack of direction. For example, there was no link to access your dashboard once you had signed up for services. I googled “Grow Therapy portal” and followed the link to get there, from which I had to enter my email and receive a link to log in. And once I got to the portal, I couldn't return to the homepage. 

Signing Up for Therapy at Grow Therapy

To start the signup process, you can click the prominent “Find a therapist” button in the middle of the homepage. Next, you make some selections and give some relevant information:

  • Virtual or in-person
  • The state where you live
  • Your health insurance company or if you are paying cash
  • A specialty you want

The next step is to choose a therapist. 

If you do not feel comfortable choosing your own therapist from a long list of providers, Grow Therapy also offers a matching service. When you click the button that says “get matched,” you are directed to a page that asks, “What can we help with today?” with options such as “cultural and systemic oppression,” “imposter syndrome,” and “navigating my gender and/or sexual identity,” as well as a “something else” option.

After choosing one (and you can only choose one), the next page asks you “what else is important to you,” where you can click boxes saying “Gender,” “Identity,” and “Ability to meet in person.” It is important to note that in this section you cannot specify what you would like the gender, identity, and availability of your therapist to be—just whether or not these things are important to you. From this page, you can either continue with the matching process or choose “it’s all about the energy, show me providers.” If you choose to continue with matching, the last step is providing your location and choosing your insurance coverage from a drop-down menu.

For some therapy seekers, opting out of the matching service might actually make it more difficult for you to find someone that can help you, even if it seems to give you freedom. “In some ways matching works best because many people aren’t sure what they want,” explains Amy Marschall, PsyD, subject matter expert for this project. 

However, if you prefer not to use the matching service, the process of choosing a therapist at Grow Therapy is very similar to how choosing a therapist works through an online therapy directory. First, you narrow down your choices by filtering the therapist options by categories like gender, age, and identity.

Under the “Identities” filter, you have a range of ethnic, racial, and religious options to choose from, including:

  • Asian/Asian American
  • Black/African American
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Native American
  • Pacific Islander
  • White
  • Buddhist
  • Christian
  • Hindu
  • Jewish
  • Muslim

You can also indicate here if you would prefer a provider who is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

At this point, you also choose the type of care you are interested in: either talk therapy or medication management.

The list of available therapists narrows based on the filters you implemented. Then, you can click on the therapists’ profiles that come up and read the bios to learn about each provider and what they offer. 

Clicking on "View Profile" gives you more in-depth information about the therapist, such as their specialties, what insurance plans they accept, and what ages they serve. Many therapists also answer one or more questions about their therapy philosophies in their profile, making it easier to identify which provider might be right for you. 

In the bottom right of the therapist’s profile, you can see their next available appointment, and you can book an appointment immediately.  

Once you select a therapist and schedule an appointment, you provide your name and address, insurance, and billing information.     

Our user survey found that 18% of users considered it very easy to look for a therapist with Grow Therapy, 24% thought it was easy, and only 3% said it was “very difficult.” However, compared to its competitors, Grow Therapy falters in this category—64% of Talkspace users rated the process of finding a therapist easy or very easy, as did 68% of Thriveworks users and 70% of Teladoc users.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Grow Therapy?

Grow Therapy offers both virtual and in-person therapy sessions; however, there may or may not be a therapist in your area offering in-person availability. 

For example, when scheduling an in-person appointment, the nearest therapists to my address were 16 miles and 25 miles away. 

Virtual Sessions

If you choose a therapist offering virtual appointments, you’ll start by picking your preferred time and enter your information. 

Shortly before your session, you’ll receive a text with a link that connects you to the video chat.    

Appointments are 60 minutes; the time begins when your therapist joins you in the chat room. This was tested during my second appointment when the therapist sent me a message that she was running a few minutes late and finally arrived in the chat 30 minutes late. The appointment was then extended to 55 minutes after she arrived. 

The virtual chat was high quality. I did not experience any lag time or frozen screens. The therapist could hear me, and I heard her without a problem.  

During my first therapy appointment I felt a connection with the therapist. From her comments and questions, it was evident that she listened to my concerns and addressed them. I left the appointment with practical advice to implement in my life. 

I did not find the second therapist—the one who was 30 minutes late—helpful. She spent too much time talking about herself and seemed eager to share stories from her life to let me know she could relate to my situation. However, it ended with me feeling as if she barely listened and did not offer practical suggestions at the end. 

Grow Therapy billed my credit card within hours of my first appointment and I immediately received a receipt. I did not receive an invoice for my second appointment and contacted customer service via email. I received a response the next day and was told therapists have two weeks to submit an invoice and my therapist did not do so. Therefore, I was not charged for the second session. 

In-Person Sessions

Grow Therapy offers virtual and in-person therapy sessions. Booking an in-person session is the same as booking a virtual session. You choose the therapist in your areas and are provided a calendar with open times. Most of the time, appointments are available within two days.

Payment for in-person sessions is also the same as virtual. If you are using insurance, Grow Therapy bills them and accepts direct payments. If you are paying with a credit or debit card, you will be charged once the appointment is done. 

Messaging Your Therapist

Grow Therapy does not offer text therapy. The appointment options are via phone, virtual chat, or in person. 

One drawback to this service is there isn’t a way to directly contact your therapist in between sessions. You can email support and wait for a response. When I contacted support, I did receive a response the following day but did not hear directly from the therapist. 

Though neither of the therapists I saw through Grow Therapy did so, one therapist I interviewed told me she provides her email address to her clients. She also shared that she wishes there was a direct messaging system on the website for clients to directly reach out to their therapist. 

“Not being able to access your therapist at all between sessions sounds pretty extreme. Getting a message is similar to leaving your therapist a voicemail,” says Dr. Marschall.  “But, will the therapist call you back?” 

Medication Management/Psychiatry 

Grow Therapy does offer medication management. When choosing the type of therapy you want from your filtered list of providers, select medication management as the type of care you want, and the provider options given to you will reflect that choice. Health professionals licensed to prescribe and oversee medication have this information clearly indicated in their profiles. 

Providers at Grow Therapy do not prescribe or oversee controlled substances, such as Adderall or Ritalin (stimulants), or Klonopin, Xanax, or Ativan (benzodiazepines). There is no information on the site explaining this medication policy; however, I did find it in the description for one of the providers offering medication management. For more information on who can prescribe controlled substances such as these in your state, you can visit the Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP). 

The results from the user survey show that 43% of people who used medication management at Grow Therapy believed it to be fair or about average. Nineteen percent of users felt it was very good and 14% felt it was poor. Grow Therapy was the only service we researched out of 55 companies where none of the users gave it an excellent rating. RoMind had the highest rating, with 37% of their users indicating its medication services as excellent. 

About 20% of users were unhappy with the service because the prescriber wasn’t readily available, and another 20% felt their provider did not respond quickly when issues, such as the need for a refill, came up.

Missing or Cancelling Sessions

There is no charge for cancelling or rescheduling your appointment if you do so more than 24 hours before the start time. When you book your appointment, you receive links to reschedule or cancel when necessary in your confirmation email. If changes are made within 24 hours of your appointment or you miss your appointment without 24 hours notice, you are billed a cancellation fee of $75.00.

Switching Therapists at Grow Therapy

There isn’t an easy way to switch therapists at Grow Therapy. 

If you want to do it, you must begin at the first step of choosing a therapist all over again and re-enter personal information. I chose to switch therapists with this method and was able to enter my information, choose a therapist, and book another appointment within two days. 

You can also email support and request a different therapist. Customer service indicates they answer emails on a first-come, first-served basis. My email to customer service was answered within 24 hours. 

Grow Therapy also has a match service where you enter information such as why you are looking for a therapist, preferences such as gender, and in-person or virtual sessions. You are then provided with a list of therapists who match your selections. While this is called “match,” it seemed more like a search function as you still chose your therapist from a list. 

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

There was a big difference between the two therapists I saw. The first was professional; she listened, and then responded with thoughtful answers. She did not suggest she could solve my problem, but did provide practical suggestions I could put into place immediately.  I found her helpful and, had I been looking for a long-term therapist, I would have been happy to continue with her. 

The second therapist, however, was not acceptable. About 10 minutes after the session was to start, I received a message via the Grow Therapy platform that she was running late and would join me shortly. I continued to wait, and she finally showed up 30 minutes after the appointment time. She did extend the end time to give me 55 minutes and did apologize and then let me know that she was there to listen. However, I heard many stories about her experiences, and most of the time, it felt like I was the one who listened. Had I been looking for a therapist, I would not have chosen this therapist. 

In the end, she did not charge me for the session. Based on my conversation with customer service a few weeks later, the therapist did not submit an invoice within two weeks and, according to their policy, if they do not receive an invoice within that time, the patient is not charged. 

I found the customer service lacking at Grow Therapy too. The website provided only an email for support but not a phone number. Therefore, you cannot reach a person directly to discuss and resolve any issues. If you are not satisfied for any reason, you can send an email to support@growtherapy.com. That being said, one of the emails I sent to customer service was never answered.  

A few weeks after my second appointment, I still had not been charged for the appointment and I contacted support to find out why. Getting someone to solve this required some work. I emailed support but didn’t receive a response. When I called (after searching on Google for the number), the recording gave me a different email for billing questions. I sent an email to that address, and I received an email the following day. They did finally resolve the billing issue to my satisfaction. 

Of the users we surveyed that reached out to customer service, 22% had an excellent experience, and 15% had a very good experience.  Around 10% did not need customer service and less than 5% rated the customer service as poor or terrible.

Thirty-three percent of Grow Therapy users reported that they would still be with their same therapist in six months, and 31% said they would still be seeing their therapist a year from now. Most of those who did not stay with their assigned therapist did so because they discontinued therapy (38%), and those who switched therapists reported doing so because they were referred to another provider who better suited their needs (10%) or because they found a different provider at the same company who they preferred (10%).

Many of the users we surveyed were also happy with the services they received at Grow Therapy, with 71% indicating that all or most of their needs were met during therapy. Additionally, 55% of users felt their therapists’ qualifications were either excellent or very good, with only 8% indicating that the therapist qualifications were poor or terrible. Twenty-seven percent of users were very likely to recommend Grow Therapy to someone like them, and 34% said it was likely that they would. In fact, 80% of users reported that they found therapists who could meet all or most of their needs.

Of the users who had used a different service before trying Grow Therapy, almost 60% said they thought it was better or much better than the previous service. Specifically, around 20% of users found the flexibility of appointments, including availability in the evening and on weekends, was better than with other similar online therapy services. Only about 3% said it was a little worse, and no one indicated it was much worse. 

Privacy Policies at Grow Therapy

Federal law requires privacy guidelines to follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This law created national standards for protecting medical records and personal health information and all medical providers must abide by HIPAA regulations. 

However, Grow Therapy's privacy policy information does indicate that it can and does collect information on how you use the site. It tracks your site activity, including the content of your searches within the Grow Therapy site. It also keeps personal information, such as your name, email address, insurance, and billing information.

In addition, Grow Therapy can collect information to make the site easier to use, make its advertising more efficient, and provide user protection. This information does not typically have your name, email address, or other personal information attached. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • IP address
  • Browser type
  • Connection speed
  • Device model
  • Operating system
  • Access times and time spent on the site
  • Mobile device carrier

Grow Therapy does employ physical and electronic security methods. It will disclose personal information to contractors, subsidiaries, affiliates, service providers, and associated organizations. Third parties are contractually obligated to keep personal information confidential. 

It does not knowingly allow those under 18 to create an account. If an account created by a minor is discovered, steps to delete it and any personal information included in the account information are taken.

Grow Therapy vs. Its Competitors

Grow Therapy stands out in the online therapy field because of the support it provides its therapists regarding the administrative burden of accepting insurance. Many online therapy programs do not accept health insurance, and ones that assist its therapists with the billing and bureaucratic processes of insurance are few and far between. In this way, Grow Therapy compares favorably to two of its biggest competitors, Talkspace and BetterHelp.

But this is not the only difference between these three companies. Grow Therapy charges individually for 60-minute talk therapy sessions. Talkspace and BetterHelp offer similar services for similar prices, and both Grow Therapy and Talkspace accept many insurance plans, which sets each of them apart from their many competitors in the field, as do their medication management and psychiatric services. However, Talkspace and BetterHelp operate as subscription services. The prices are comparable, and each service has a trade-off; Talkspace and BetterHelp offer messaging but shorter sessions (between 30 and 45 minutes), whereas Grow Therapy does not offer messaging but provides sessions similar in length to in-person services. 

Both Grow Therapy and Talkspace offer individual therapy, psychiatry, couples therapy, and teen therapy; BetterHelp only offers individual therapy, though its sister companies, Teen Counseling and ReGain, provide teen counseling and couples counseling, respectively. However, Talkspace’s psychiatric services are not included in the subscription prices, but are available for an extra fee. Also, BetterHelp engages in surge pricing if the demand for mental health services is high in your area—this differs from Grow Therapy, where prices only change based on your insurance coverage and the individual rates set by each therapist.

Grow Therapy also does not recommend therapists—you choose based on your filtered searches and insurance. BetterHelp matches you directly with one therapist, and Talkspace recommends therapists based on answers to a few intake questions. 

Additionally, both Talkspace and BetterHelp are available in all 50 states, whereas Grow Therapy is currently limited to 13 plus the District of Columbia. 

In overall ratings, 27% of users gave Grow Therapy, BetterHelp, and Talkspace an excellent rating. Additionally, 28% of users rated Talkspace as an excellent value for their money, 27% felt this way about BetterHelp, and 23% rated Grow Therapy the same. Users did give BetterHelp a better score regarding ease of using the site, with 32% calling it very easy to navigate and 45% saying it’s easy, compared to the 21% and 3% indicating Grow Therapy’s site was very easy or easy to use, respectively. Eighty-two percent of Talkspace’s users rated the site easy or very easy to navigate.

Grow Therapy’s and BetterHelp’s ratings were similar in regards to affordability, with 21% of users choosing “very affordable” for both. However, Talkspace is the clear winner here, with 27% saying the same.

Final Verdict

Overall, Grow Therapy was easy to use, and its video chats were high quality. 

There were many therapists to choose from, even after narrowing down the list with my preferences. The one place providers were lacking was for medication management. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, had only a few medical professionals who could prescribe and oversee medication needs. I did not use medication management, and the results from the user survey are mixed.        

I would recommend this service for talk therapy. The process of signing up was easy, although receiving a long list of therapists to choose from was somewhat overwhelming and it took me a while to read through and select my therapists. I thought my first therapy session was excellent and would recommend it based on that session. The second, however, left me quite disappointed even though I was not billed for the session. 

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 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 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 interviewed one therapist we found who either currently works or worked for this company in the past and worked with three subject matter experts to get their analysis on how suited this company is to provide good-quality care to therapy seekers. 

By Eileen Bailey
Eileen Bailey has been writing about health topics for over 20 years. She is the author of six books.

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