LifeStance Health Online Therapy Review

Offering teletherapy access in a non-stigmatizing and accessible manner

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LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health offers teletherapy and in-person appointments, sometimes even same-day, to give individuals access to various therapies and diverse mental health professionals. However, the lack of transparency in its pricing and billing methods can be problematic, and the company's lackluster support staff, notably in the billing department, may overshadow its affordable, compassionate, and straightforward access to quality mental health professionals.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Access to a diverse range of mental health professionals

  • Access to a patient portal (via app) upon signing up

  • Teletherapy and in-person appointments may be available within a week of sign-up

  • Switching therapists is simple and quick

  • You can cancel service at any time, no questions asked

  • Accepts insurance

Cons
  • No online pricing guide

  • No way to personalize session details, such as length of session or live chats at a specific time

  • Cannot message therapist outside of sessions

  • Asks for a payment method immediately upon signing up

Key Facts
Price
$150 to $400 per session
Is Insurance Accepted?
Yes
Type Of Therapy
Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Psychiatry
Communication Options
N/A
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 one in five Americans experiencing a mental health issue or mental illness every year, and with the average cost of therapy reaching as high as $200 per session, accessible and affordable mental health care is more important than ever. This is especially true in therapy or mental healthcare deserts, areas in which there are few or no mental health providers. The demand for mental health services in the United States far exceeds the supply. 

LifeStance Health strives to make mental health care accessible, affordable, and compassionate. Its online and in-person therapy services offer mental health care for various issues to individuals of all ages. Its goal is to do this in a manner that de-stigmatizes the sometimes negative connotations that can accompany seeking care for mental health. To test these services, we not only surveyed the company and 105 users of LifeStance Health, but I also signed up for services myself. Here’s how it fared when we compared it to 54 other online therapy services.

What Is LifeStance Health?

LifeStance Health provides mental healthcare services nationwide. The company offers both outpatient care services via in-person locations and telemedicine. It has over 600 locations nationwide and employs more than 5,200 psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses, psychologists and therapists. 

LifeStance Health was cofounded in 2017 by Michael Lester, Danish Qureshi, and Gwen Booth, who are each seasoned healthcare executives.  Then in 2021, LifeStance became a publicly traded company. A handful of online reviews cite this occurrence as the beginning of the company's decline in customer care. Negative reviews most notably call out LifeStance's billing methods as being opaque and claim poor customer support as compounding the issue. However, in some cases, the quality of the mental health care the individual received seemed to outweigh the frustrations.

In late 2022, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP filed a class action lawsuit against LifeStance Health on behalf of investors who had purchased stock and were claiming securities fraud. The case is still ongoing.

What Services Does LifeStance Health Offer?

LifeStance Health offers the following mental health services:

  • Psychiatric appointments: Can include medication management along with cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Medication management: Ongoing consultation with a psychiatrist regarding the outcomes and effectiveness of prescribed medications
  • Individual therapy: Can include generalist/integrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR), and intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
  • Group therapy: Includes addiction group therapy, group therapy for PTSD, grief group therapy, and additional issues if necessary, facilitated by a therapist

Should you decide a combination of telehealth and in-person therapy works best, you have the flexibility to alter how you receive care.

LifeStance offers services in every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Utah, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Who Is LifeStance Health For?

LifeStance serves children, adolescents, and adults. Its evidence-based, medically focused offerings can treat a variety of mental health issues through collaborative efforts with psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed therapists, and nurse practitioners. 

However, telemedicine may not be suitable for every age group. Children have the option to see a clinician either over digital media or in-person, depending on their therapy needs and the family's preferences.

LifeStance partners with primary care physician offices across the country, so that doctors can refer patients who are experiencing mental health challenges to a LifeStance clinician. 

For the purposes of this review, I sought support via the telemedicine option.

How Much Does LifeStance Health Cost?

LifeStance Health does not disclose costs up-front, even though you have the option of self-paying. This is because your cost varies by provider and you pay per session. LifeStance also accepts insurance, which means costs can vary based on your personal plan. This is not a monthly subscription therapy service. 

Out-of-pocket rates can range from $75 to $300 per session, which is higher than the national average

Of the users we surveyed, only 58% reported LifeStance’s rates as either affordable or very affordable.

LifeStance Health mentions on its website that evaluations with a psychiatrist usually cost $200 to $300 without insurance, and additional sessions typically fall in the range of $150 to $250. However, pricing depends on the provider you select.

It is worth noting that billing can be a lengthy process. As of writing this review, I have not received a bill for the sessions. Online, some users have noted that LifeStance billed them in full before insurance could process the request.

Does LifeStance Accept Insurance? 

LifeStance Health does accept most commercial insurance plans from each state in which they offer services. Many of these plans cover therapy, even online therapy, making LifeStance a good option for telemedicine and in-person care.

LifeStance will ask for your insurance information over the phone, even if you sign up online. Then, you’ll get a text message asking you to send a photo of the front and back of your insurance card to a specific email address for billing. 

Of the users we surveyed, 72% of users noted that LifeStance accepted their insurance and most users we surveyed seemed satisfied with their service if their provider accepted insurance or once they became aware of the pricing and payment plan after meeting with their therapist.  

Of those who rated LifeStance better than services they’d received in the past, 26% attributed it to the provider accepting their insurance. Most therapists will provide rates upon request if your insurance is not accepted. Sessions and costs depend on the provider you choose and existing insurance coverage. 

Navigating LifeStance Health’s Website

The LifeStance website is straightforward to navigate, which is a relief considering it is a top provider of telemedicine and in-person therapy. 

Homepage

The landing page provides a button to help you find a provider, which will take you to a page where you can select your location and book online or by phone. 

Scrolling down the landing page, you will see a variety of topics, from how LifeStance works to conditions covered and services provided. At the bottom are stats that highlight the number of centers, states served, and available clinicians, bolstering LifeStance’s reputation for easy access to mental health care.

How t worlks

The navigation bar gives you access to different categories, including a resources page that has blog articles, podcasts, and a media center. This navigation bar is also where you will find your patient portal once you sign up.

Initially, the website doesn't make it very clear how to sign up for telehealth in particular. There are numerous options to "find a provider" throughout their pages, though none of these clarify that this is how you sign up for services, telehealth included. However, the website will direct you to the sign-up page once you select a provider. 

Sign up
states

One thing of note: you must first choose your state of residence, and not all states offer online sign-up. A handful only give you the option of calling to schedule or arrange a callback. For some, the idea of having to speak with a support staff member over the phone may be unappealing enough to prevent them from signing up.

LifeStance Health does have a social media presence. Unfortunately, this is where we found most of their negative reviews about billing and customer service issues. 

Signing Up for Therapy at LifeStance Health

My state of residence had an online option so I chose that rather than calling. I clicked “find a provider” and selected my state.

State Sign up

The first questions asked were my name, date of birth, and sex assigned at birth. I would have preferred to only answer the first two questions and thought the latter was a bit burdensome and could be uncomfortable for those whose gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth. Additionally, if you're under 18, you'll need to provide the name of a legal guardian. 

Signingup

The site then asks you to provide a payment method, i.e., a credit card, almost immediately. Admittedly, this may pose a barrier to signing up for some, especially if you plan for insurance to cover your services. Not receiving pricing information beforehand also makes this step somewhat worrisome. After this, additional questions ask about your insurance coverage. From there, you'll choose a provider.  

Provider

The sign-up process was simple and straightforward. There was no intake form, request for a subscription sign-up, or probing questions about whether or not I could afford therapy. Some companies do this, and/or ask if the user would be interested in using a payment plan or learning about payment options before conducting a session and incurring charges.

The website didn't even ask what issues I was looking to address in therapy. This laissez-faire approach to matching with a therapist could be disconcerting for some looking for more guidance on what type of therapy or therapist would benefit them the most.

Matching With a Therapist/Choosing a Therapist

Matching with a provider was somewhat cumbersome. The website lists numerous therapists; however, you can only select the ones that are available based on your coverage information. In addition, some therapists aren't actively accepting new clients and are therefore unavailable. Furthermore, the website prompts you to find a therapist that accepts your insurance from a provided results page of covered therapists, even if you plan to self-pay.

The therapists provided on the list appear with their bio, qualifications, client ratings, whether they are accepting new patients, if they offer in-person or video sessions, and availability. After choosing one, you can access your patient portal, where you will fill out some patient forms (questionnaires, HIPAA notices, and a service agreement).

Overall, I thought the sign-up and matching processes were relatively easy. However, they weren't thorough. For example, during the sign-up process, I was never asked which modality of therapy I was interested in, if I had been previously diagnosed or sought therapy, or if I had preferences regarding the therapist's religion, gender, or sexual identity.

If the goal is to make signing up accessible, simple, and (mostly) free from barriers, LifeStance seems to have accomplished that: 66% rated signing up for services as easy or very easy. However, on the whole, I felt the process to be a little too quick. It made me worry that I would have to try out or shop around for providers due to their lack of intake. Unsurprisingly, 46% of users stated they switched therapists either one or more times.   

Therapy Sessions at LifeStance Health

As it turns out, the briefness of the sign-up negatively affected me. I received the first appointment within a week. I had the option to save the scheduled date in a phone calendar and received three reminders before the appointment. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and care of the therapist; however, the appointment turned out to be a psychiatry intake appointment, not a therapy appointment. 

This was my mistake; when using the search menu for a provider, I overlooked the option to search providers by type (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist, etc). Nevertheless, my provider was attentive and empathetic, offering me a referral to a therapist at the end of the session.

Afterward, in the patient portal, I didn't have the option to message the therapist or live chat with them to follow up. However, the patient portal does provide exclusive customer service options available only once you sign up.

Each session is 45 minutes long, and you don't have the option to change this. However, I found with subsequent appointments that this was often an adequate amount of time. 

Your allowed session frequency depends on your therapist. There is no company-wide policy for this. 

Thirty-five percent of LifeStance users reported that they found a therapist who met all of their needs, while 38% said that most of their needs were met. In addition, 89% of users thought that their therapist’s qualifications were good, very good, or excellent, and 36% felt that the care they received with their LifeStance therapist was better than in-person care they’d received in the past.

Medication Management/Psychiatry

LifeStance Health offers medication management and medication prescriptions. However, psychiatric services are only available to those 10 years and older. 

Twenty-four percent of survey respondents stated they sought a LifeStance provider for medication management. Users have generally reported high satisfaction with their medication management through LifeStance telehealth, with 53% saying that they felt their therapist was responsive to their questions and medication needs and 46% stating their prescriber was available when they needed them. Although its website notes that family doctors, primary care providers (PCPs), and nurse practitioners can and do prescribe psychiatric medication when needed, many users sought medication management through a LifeStance psychiatrist.  

Medication management generally involves an evaluation of your behavioral and emotional symptoms, according to LifeStance Health, and a review of any side effects you are experiencing from your current medications.

Together, you and your psychiatrist will discuss medication changes (if necessary) and what medicines you feel comfortable trying. LifeStance goes on to say that your psychiatrist will explain what they are (or are not) prescribing and why before calling in your prescription to your preferred pharmacy.

What Happens If I Miss a Session?

There is a $50 fee for a missed session, and LifeStance has a 48-hour cancellation policy. The credit card you provide upfront will incur the charges if you are a no-show for your appointment. 

 Switching Therapists at LifeStance Health

Though my therapist referred me to someone else, I wanted to investigate the process of switching therapists. You can let your therapist know at the end of the session that you would like to switch, which could be awkward. Alternatively, you can contact customer service for a switch.

They'll walk you through an easy process, which involves scheduling another appointment with a new therapist of your choosing for a nearly instantaneous switch. 

Just as with intake, choosing a new provider is straightforward and not very thorough. I asked customer service to help me find a new therapist that was available as soon as possible, and they found one for me. As soon as your new therapist is available for an appointment, you can begin meeting with them.

You may need to spend some time searching before you find the right therapist at LifeStance; 24% of users reported they switched therapists once before sticking with a provider, 22% said they switched two to three times, and 6% switched four times or more.

Cancelling Therapy

Should you decide that LifeStance is no longer for you, cancelling therapy isn’t complicated. You can cancel anytime by simply ceasing to book follow-up appointments. However, if you decide to cancel and you still have outstanding appointments, you will need to contact customer services.

Customer services will connect you to the therapist's office to cancel any remaining appointments with them. In my case, customer service didn't ask any questions regarding why I was cancelling.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

In general, I was delighted with my therapist. I felt that they listened to me and were compassionate. 

Other users shared this sentiment, noting that their therapist listened to them and provided good care. Nearly 40% of users rated their therapists' qualifications as very good, with 42% reporting they were satisfied with the options for therapists on LifeStance. In addition, 36% percent rated their care as better than the care they had received before. 

Due to the expansive network of providers LifeStance employs, the chances of receiving good quality of care for various mental health issues is likely—in fact, 43% of its clients rated LifeStance better than other services they’ve received in the past. 

Most clients reported that they sought a therapist for depression, ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The services they were looking for were medication management, cognitive behavioral therapy, ADHD coaching, and applied behavior analysis. Therapies provided to these individuals were most commonly individual talk therapy, psychiatry, and ADHD coaching. 

On occasion, therapists will leave the company. According to other users, you may not always receive warnings about your therapist's plans to leave. However, just like switching providers, finding a new therapist is relatively easy.  

“LifeStance's mission to provide non-stigmatizing and compassionate mental health care is an admirable one, but its administrative issues, specifically with billing, are a huge barrier to care,” explains Hannah Owens, LMSW. “Financial stress can prevent a person from seeking or obtaining therapy, and LifeStance's unclear prices and billing mistakes (e.g., continuing to bill users even after they've discontinued therapy) might prove too much for the therapy seeker to handle.” She says that “the lack of both transparent pricing and trustworthy billing services makes other general telehealth companies stand out favorably compared to LifeStance.”

Privacy Policies at LifeStance

LifeStance claims it is committed to protecting individuals' privacy and following all HIPAA guidelines. Therefore, it will only use your personal information for treatment, payment, billing, and health care operations. These uses do not require your authorization. However, it's important to note that its privacy policy outlines what health care operations entail, including quality assessments, obtaining legal services, business planning, and development.

Telehealth appointments are through VSee Telehealth, a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solution that is widely trusted.

During my experience, I had to provide insurance information, even though I planned to self-pay, as my insurance doesn't cover therapy. This would seem to be private information that LifeStance may not truly need, in my case.

LifeStance Health vs. Its Competitors

LifeStance Health does have a few shining advantages compared to other therapy offerings. Most notably, it stands out for its easy-to-use website, insurance coverage coupled with self-pay options, and the ability of providers to meet most users' needs. Almost 25% of those who discontinued therapy claimed they reached all of their therapeutic goals, compared to 12% percent of users of Cerebral, another online therapy company that offers medication management and psychiatry services.

However, its sign-up process may be too simple and quick for some. Users noted that they wished LifeStance helped them find a therapist because the directory could be overwhelming, a sentiment I shared as I ended up with the wrong provider for my needs. 

Other competitors may have a more thorough intake process that, though lengthier, places clients with the correct provider the first time around. Nearly 20% said they are no longer using their LifeStance therapist because the therapist didn’t have the experience or expertise they needed. Additionally, only 35% of users reported that they found a therapist who met all their needs, as opposed to other telemedicine companies like Teladoc and MDLIVE, who scored 48% and 47% in this category respectively.

LifeStance therapy's level of care scores very high marks, as does overall satisfaction with the company. For example, 42% of surveyed users said they were satisfied with therapist options and 46% said it's likely they’ll still be seeing their therapist 12 months from now. In fact, compared to other teletherapy providers like Teladoc and MDLIVE, LifeStance edges them out in terms of long-term services—19% of Teladoc and MDLIVE users were sure that they would still be seeing their therapist in 12 months’ time, as opposed to 24% of LifeStance users.

“The user survey results demonstrate that clients of LifeStance were generally happy with their quality of care,” notes Owens, “scoring as average (but not notably worse) compared to many of its competitors.” 

Final Verdict

LifeStance Health strives to break down barriers to accessing mental health care through telemedicine and in-person care. It has done this by employing numerous providers in 32 states. The diversity of providers in terms of accepting insurance and/or self-pay is welcoming to seekers of mental health care. In addition, LifeStance Health's easy-to-use website, simple sign-up, and straightforward access make it effortless to find a provider.

For most, the quality of care received from their therapist was very good. Finding a provider who suits your needs and learning about their pricing options can be a bit overwhelming; however, many users reported high satisfaction levels once they settled in with a therapist. The biggest negatives against LifeStance Health are its opaque billing and pricing and dissatisfaction with customer service when clients need guidance on how payments are processed. Even after beginning therapy, navigating costs and insurance coverage tended to overshadow the excellent level of mental health care I was receiving. However, if you can make it over the initial hurdle of signing up and getting paired with a provider, then LifeStance Health is a quality choice for digital teletherapy and in-person therapy.

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 sign-up 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.

1 Source
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 Institute of Mental Health. Mental illness.

By Nicole LaMarco
Nicole LaMarco is a health writer for Shape, Verywell Fit, and Verywell Mind. She's also written for Health Digest, Livestrong, and Insider. She's passionate about health, fitness, and medicine.

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