Growing Self Online Therapy Review

One-stop online therapy for self-improvement and relationship issues

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Growing Self
Verywell's Rating
3.0

As the name suggests, Growing Self helps you grow as an individual and a partner. The company specializes in relationship counseling, including premarital and divorce, as well as life coaching to boost self esteem and manage stress.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unique online classes offered

  • Free consultation offered

  • You can choose your therapist

  • Sessions are 45 minutes

  • Some sessions availability same or next day

  • Sliding scale of prices

Cons
  • No subscription plans offered

  • Session prices are difficult to find

  • More expensive than competitors

  • Website text difficult to read

  • No text-based therapy options

Key Facts
Price
$125 to $150 per session
Is Insurance Accepted?
No
Communication Options
Video Chat
HIPPA Compliant?
N/A
Is There an App?
Yes
Does it Accept HSA/FSA?
No
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

Founded by a therapist, Growing Self is a Colorado-based online therapy and counseling company that sees clients nationally and internationally. The company is structured like a traditional, brick-and-mortar counseling practice, with virtual and in-person sessions (if you live in a select few cities). You choose your therapist, schedule appointments, and pay for sessions as you go. 

The company’s mission is to help individuals and couples find love, happiness, and success so it focuses on certain types of therapy. Growing Self also tries to set itself apart from its competitors by hiring some of the most qualified therapists and coaches in the field, including a few with Ph.Ds. Read on to see how Growing Self stacks up against its online therapy competition. 

First Impressions and Sign-Up Process 

Growing Self’s homepage features clean colors and a detailed menu bar, though the web design could use a few upgrades. There are large empty white spaces between text blocks (which appears to be a design choice) but the spaces can give the impression that there are images on the page that aren’t loading. In addition, the font color choices (lavender or light grey) may make the text difficult to read for some users. 

Growing Page
Growing Self Home Page.

There is a ton of information to wade through on Growing Self’s website, but it is easy to get lost if you’re looking for specific information because the page design isn’t always intuitive. For example, the Rates and Insurance page is cumbersome and frustrating to navigate. There is a lot of content discussing the ramifications of not choosing quality therapy, but the actual prices for Growing Self’s services are hidden very far down the page—so far down, in fact, that you might even miss them at first glance. It’s also hard to not feel like the large blocks of text on the page are meant to distract from Growing Self’s relatively higher prices.

In addition, while there is an orange “Get Started” button at the top of each page, as well as multiple “Sign-Up” and “Schedule” buttons across each page of the site, the presence of so many buttons can be a little confusing, especially since the text on the orange button varies. It also makes the overall webpage experience feel like an ad that is pressuring you to quickly sign-up.  

However, it is worth noting that the website does feature a thorough and informative FAQ page, which answers most questions that a potential client might have before signing up. The only problem is the FAQ page is hidden in a drop-down menu under “More Info,” so you can’t easily find it. 

Growing Self Sign-up
Sign-up section on Growing Self's website.

Growing Self

Once you click on one of the orange Sign-Up button, you’ll be taken to an intake questionnaire, where you describe your therapy goals and choose your therapist.

It’s worth noting that even though all therapist bios and their areas of expertise are listed on the website, the bios are pretty short. As a result, it might be difficult to get a real sense of whether someone is a good match for you.

The good news is that you have the option of calling customer service for sign-up, and a representative can walk you through the intake process and answer your questions. There is a toll-free national phone number, as well as an international number. 

Eighty percent of users reported that the sign-up process was either very good or excellent.

Once you’ve completed your intake, you’ll schedule your first consultation session with your chosen therapist. This consultation will help determine whether you and your therapist are actually a good fit and you’ll go over your goals together. 

These free consultations help set Growing Therapy apart from competitors because they give you a one-on-one chance to make sure you like your therapist before beginning therapy.

If you realize that you’re not a good fit during your consultation, you can let the concierge team know and they will help you find a new therapist. You may get a new consultation with that therapist as well. The goal is to make sure you are feeling completely comfortable with your therapist before you pay for any future therapy sessions.

Of the users we surveyed:

  • Thirty-four percent said they met with their therapist within the same day as signing up. 
  • Thirty-six percent said it took between one and a couple of days.
  • Twenty-three percent said it took couple of days to a week.
  • Seven percent said it took one to two weeks (or more).

If you want to get started faster with your actual therapy sessions, you do have the option of scheduling a prepaid “Solutions session.” This is essentially a coaching session, and it can often be scheduled the same day. This is not meant to be a crisis or emergency service, but it does allow you to speak with someone sooner rather than later if something is on your mind.  

Cost

There’s no denying that Growing Self is more expensive than other online therapy options. This is a company that focuses on quality of services over competitive rates. For some of the users we surveyed, that was an issue. Only 71% of customers said that they felt like the costs of Growing Therapy’s services were either very good or excellent.

Growing Self's prices

Prices

Growing Self does not offer subscription plans, like many of its competitors do. Instead, it is entirely pay-as-you-go, similar to traditional private practice settings. 

Growing Self’s prices are tiered in a similar way to traditional therapy practices. The price depends on the qualifications of your therapist:

  • Newly hired licensed therapists charge $105 per session. They can offer a sliding scale down to $65 per session, which is decided on a case-by-case basis through a conversation with your therapist. This is the standard procedure for determining a sliding scale rate.
  • Master's level therapists cost $115 per session and as low as $75 on a sliding scale.
  • More experienced therapists' rates begin at $135 per session and can go down to $95 on a sliding scale.
  • Ph.D. level therapists charge $160 per session.

There are no separate prices listed on the website for in-person sessions.

All sessions are 45 minutes long, which is longer than the virtual live sessions offered by E-Therapy Cafe and Talkspace and closer to the length of traditional therapy sessions. The longer sessions are a nice bonus over competitors, giving you more uninterrupted time to dive deeper with your therapist.

Growing Self also offers two online support groups: 

  • One for breakup/divorce recovery
  • One addressing pandemic mental health issues

The divorce group is capped at six people and meets each Thursday at 6 p.m. Mountain time. Each group session is 60 to 90 minutes long and costs $40 per person. 

The pandemic and general support group is on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Mountain time. It also costs $40 and is limited to a handful of participants.

Is There a Free Trial?

There is no free trial. However, you do get a free consultation session with your therapist before you schedule your first session. 

Does Growing Self Take Insurance?

Growing Self is an out-of-network therapy service. The company does not accept direct health insurance payments, but you can seek reimbursement from your insurance company and will provide a receipt upon request. 

Bear in mind, however, some of Growing Self’s services, such as coaching, may not be reimbursable because they may not meet the criteria for “medically necessary” mental health services with your insurance provider. Check with your insurance carrier to make sure they’ll cover your sessions before you schedule them. 

Of the users we surveyed, 84% said that they did receive at least some financial reimbursement from their insurance company for services. The average amount they spent per month out of pocket was $218.90 per month.

Can you Change or Cancel Your Sessions?

You can cancel or reschedule an appointment for free if you give at least 24 hours' notice. If you cancel with less than 24-hour notice, you will be charged the full cost of the session, except in rare emergency or illness cases.

Are There Discounts Available?

Unlike some of Growing Self’s competitors, there are no discounts for first responders, military veterans, or teachers.

However, the company does offer sliding scale rates if you cannot afford the full rate and do not have insurance. To see if you qualify for the sliding scale rates, you have to call a customer service team member. 

Ease of Use

It is relatively easy to book sessions and connect with your therapist once you’ve had your initial consultation at Growing Self. Eighty-two percent of the people we surveyed thought the platform was either very good or excellent in terms of user-friendliness because the client concierge team is always available by phone to help clients with scheduling, choosing a therapist, or answering any questions you might have. 

Sessions with your therapist can take three forms:

  • Video chat
  • Phone call
  • In-person

All virtual sessions are in live-time, just like they would be if you had an in-office session. 

In-person sessions are only available in Denver, Colorado; Broomfield, Colorado; Fort Collins, Colorado; or Bentonville, Arkansas.

Eighty-five percent of the users we surveyed said the video quality was either very good or excellent, which is probably because Growing Self uses Zoom for all video calls.

It is worth noting that you do not have any texting or written-communication options at Growing Self. As a result, you can only communicate with your therapist during their office hours—which might be challenging for some users with busy work or family schedules. Therapy is conducted via traditional live sessions whether in person or online. No continuous messaging therapy is offered.

If you want to change therapists, notify your therapist during a session or call the concierge team and they will work with you and your old therapist to help find you someone new. You may receive a new free consultation session with the new therapist. Seventy-nine percent of users said it was very easy or easy to switch therapists. 

Therapists Qualifications and Quality of Care

When it comes to choosing Growing Self, most people we surveyed said that the staff’s qualifications and expertise played a significant role in their decision to sign up.  

Eighty-four percent reported that the therapists’ qualifications were either very good or excellent—which is on par with E-Therapy Cafe and MyCounselor.Online.

As of October 2021, Growing Self's site includes the bios of 44 licensed therapists.

In our questionnaire, Growing Self told us that it requires any therapist providing marriage counseling, family therapy, counseling therapy, or clinical therapy to have a master’s degree or doctorate. The company also requires its therapists to have specialized training, experience, and credentials beyond their degree.

In addition, Growing Self lays out an extensive qualifications list for new therapists on its website.

From our survey, only 3% of users met with one therapist at the company, so it appears that Growing Self customers switch therapists a few times before finding the right match (or perhaps see multiple therapists simultaneously):

  • Thirty-five percent said they saw two therapists
  • Thirty-eight percent reported they have seen three therapists
  • Twenty-four percent said they met with four or more. 

Types of Therapy Offered

Even though Growing Self offers individual therapy and life coaching, its primary focus appears to be relationships. Many of their services are centered around marriage counseling, premarital counseling, recovering from a breakup or divorce, and coaching for online dating. One of their two group sessions is also focused on breakup and divorce recovery. The company also places a lot of emphasis on self-improvement.

Growing Self also offers four educational classes: 

  • Create a Lifetime of Love
  • The Happiness Class
  • Heal Your Broken Heart
  • Find the One: Online Dating Coaching Program

One of the best things about Growing Self is its free resource library for both clients and nonclients alike. You can find these resources on their webpage under the “Free Resources” tab, and they include:

  • A library of blog posts and articles on various topics
  • A free podcast led by founder, Dr. Marie Bobby
  • Free quizzes (you will be asked for your email address to take these quizzes) 
  • And more

There are no psychiatrists or doctors on staff at Growing Self, which means the company does not offer medication management services.

Privacy Policies

Growing Self uses a HIPAA-compliant version of Zoom for all video sessions, which is both secure and convenient for its clients. 

Charts and records are kept using Simple Practice, which is a HIPPA compliant and secure electronic medical record-keeping system. Clients can obtain their records or have them sent to another medical professional via telehealth once a release of information is signed.

When emergency services are needed or someone is in a mental health crisis situation, Growing Self refers clients to local emergency and inpatient resources.

There is also a list of national and international emergency service contact information under the “More Info” tab at the top of the main page.

Client Overall Satisfaction

Of the users we surveyed, only 65% reported their overall feelings of satisfaction were either very good or excellent. This rate of overall satisfaction was lower than average compared with comparable online companies, such as E-Therapy Cafe, Betterhelp, and Rethink My Therapy.

However, 74% of users rated the value of the company very good or excellent for the price. This reflects the quality of therapy given and professional staff.

Eighty-two percent of users who had used other online therapy services said that Growing Self was better or much better than their previous online service. 

Of the users we surveyed:

  • 26% said they have been using Growing three to six months
  • 30% had been for six to 12 months
  • 26% for one to two years

This suggests a fairly low level of turnover at the company, but only time will show whether that holds true. 

Around 87% 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, which is lower than the percentage who said the same for other companies. 

Eighty-nine percent said they were likely or very likely to recommend someone like them to Growing Self.

Is Growing Self Right for You?

Growing Self focuses heavily on self-improvement, relationships, and healing from past break-ups. If you want to focus on those areas in therapy, it might be a good company to try. 

The company is also likely to appeal to someone who likes the format of traditional, in-office therapy, but wants the ability to do sessions from home, either because they don’t want to commute or because they like the privacy that online therapy offers. Despite the company being smaller than some of its competitors with fewer therapists to choose from, the therapists employed are highly qualified and trained. 

However, because all sessions are live, it might not be appropriate if you want to communicate with your therapist via text or written format. Your therapist can work with you to help adjust for time zone differences and create a personalized schedule, but depending on where you live (and your work hours), therapy sessions might not be as convenient as with other companies. 

However, because Growing Self is limited to talk therapy and coaching only and does not employ psychiatrists or doctors, the service may not be appropriate for someone who takes medication or might need medication in the future.

Growing Self is not an ideal service for you if you are in crisis, experiencing suicidal thoughts, at risk of harming yourself or someone else, or overcoming addiction. Growing Self is also not a good fit for people experiencing active domestic abuse.

Growing Self vs. MyCounselor.Online

Growing Self and MyCounselor.Online have similar operational structures and pricing structures. Both offer online therapy options to both national and international clients; both hire highly qualified therapists with master's degrees and licenses in their practicing states; and both offer in-person sessions depending on your location.

Prices for both services are comparable:

  • Growing Self charges $105-$160 per session depending on the education level and experience of the therapist.
  • MyCounselor.Online charges $110-$195 per session depending on education and experience level.

Neither company offers subscription packages—you pay-as-you-go for each session. However, both do offer a sliding scale rate down to $55 per session for people who need financial assistance.

Neither company accepts in-network insurance but can offer a receipt for those who would like to seek reimbursement. 

There are some differences between the companies. MyCounselor.Online is a Christian company and Growing Self has no religious affiliation. Growing Self is also a little larger, with 44 therapists on staff compared to MyCounselor.Online, which has 29. While Growing Self and MyCounselor.Online both focus on relationship and couples counseling, Growing Self adds classes, group therapy, and life coaching to their service options. 

Website comparison

Growing Self's website is more difficult to navigate, and it's harder to find prices than MyCounselor.Online, though it does have a video on potential insurance reimbursement for interested customers. The MyCounselor.Online website is also easier to read with black font on a white background where Growing Self uses colors. Scheduling sessions with a therapist is relatively straightforward with both companies.

According to our survey, client satisfaction at both companies is relatively similar:

  • 65% of Growing Self users said the services were either very good or excellent, while 71% of MyCounselor.Online users reported the same.
  • 91% of MyCounselor.Online clients said they were either likely or very likely to refer someone to the company. At Growing Self, that number was 89%. 

Eighty-seven 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 84% at MyCounselor.Online. This suggests that Growing Self and My Counselor Online have similar customer retention rates. 

Of the users we surveyed that had tried other therapy services, 79% of MyCounselor.Online users reported that services were either better or much better than the services at the companies they used before. At Growing Self, 82% of users reported the same. 

Final Verdict

If you are looking for an online therapy company that feels like a traditional practice with virtual options, Growing Self might work for you. It’s also a good company for someone working on self-improvement or relationship issues, and it offers you longer sessions than many of its competitors. It is more expensive and doesn’t offer any subscription services, but does offer a sliding scale, though, and because you pay as you go, you might be able to figure out a way to make their services work for you, even if finances are tight.

Methodology

Our methodology for evaluating online therapy companies is comprehensive and data-driven. To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 33 companies and surveyed 100 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 website usability, sign-up process, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, and how easy it is to change therapists. We then looked at therapist qualifications, the types of therapy offered, quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, and the therapist assignment process. Finally, we looked at cost, value for money, whether the companies take insurance, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood clients would recommend them.

Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

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