Open Path Collective Therapist Directory Review

A top-ranked resource specializing in affordable, sliding-scale therapy

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Open Path

Open Path Collective is a top choice for uninsured users seeking affordable therapy. It boasts an easy-to-navigate site, an extensive database with over 17,000 therapists, and a high success rate in finding a good long-term therapist.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
  • Has a social justice mission

  • Affordable sliding scale sessions priced $30-$80

  • Highly personalized therapist profiles

  • Free for clinicians to list

  • Large database serving all 50 states and Canada

  • Directory search results only show therapists accepting new clients

  • Many therapists are pre-licensed

  • Does not accept insurance

  • Does not include psychiatrists

Key Facts
States Served
50, plus D.C. and Canada
Number Of Therapists
Types Of Therapy
Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Peer Support, Teen Counseling
Insurance Accepted
Sliding Scale Prices Available
Why Trust Us
Companies reviewed
Users Surveyed
Zipcodes Tested
To review 25 online therapist directories, we surveyed 180 users who'd used the service, interviewed with 358 therapists listed on the site, and sent each company a questionnaire. Then, we tested the directory's ability to serve 37 therapy seekers's needs across 18 zipcodes and evaluated the results with the help of three professional therapists.

Therapy is often too expensive for many people who need it. The average out-of-pocket cost of a therapy session can be as high as $200 in some places and even though insurance can sometimes lower that cost, not all providers accept it. And even if they do, as many as 30 million Americans still do not have health insurance. 

Enter Open Path Collective, an online therapist directory that is specifically designed to help the uninsured or underinsured find therapists who offer affordable sliding scale rates of $30-$80 per session. To assess how helpful Open Path Collective is for therapy seekers, we surveyed 180 users, interviewed 11 therapists listed on the directory, and tested the directory’s services across 18 different zip codes in order to better understand what Open Path Collective offers. Here’s what we found. 

What Is Open Path Collective?

Open Path Collective is a therapist directory that was founded in 2012 by Paul Fugalsang, a graduate of the Buddhist-inspired Naropa University which emphasizes meditation and the mind-body connection as complements to standard Western modes of therapy. He founded Open Path Collective, the website states, to help create “a just, compassionate world where all people can easily access the care they need to thrive.” 

It achieves this goal by only featuring therapists who have sliding scale rates of $30-$80. You are also charged a lifetime membership fee of $65 if you use a therapist from this site. 

Open Path’s therapists offer a full range of therapy types, including individual, couples, family, and group therapy. They also serve all age groups and cover various expertise areas and treatment styles. Most of Open Path’s therapists offer general, individual therapy for mood issues, which would seem to cater to its client base: Of the users we surveyed, 49% sought treatment for depression, 52% for anxiety, and 48% for stress.

As of December 2022, Open Path Collective lists about 17,000 therapists on its site which is noteworthy. Many of its competitor directories have only a few thousand listings. However, not all these therapists are licensed. Some are pre-licensed, which means that they are not yet accredited by the state and are working under the direct supervision of a licensed clinician. 

Still, our subject matter expert Dr. Amy Marschall notes that Open Path Collective has become “the go-to referral for sliding scale therapy.” For those in the know, it is the top choice for affordable, out-of-pocket mental health services. 

Open Path offers both online and in-person therapy in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The directory does have more therapists in heavily populated states like California and New York, while places like Alaska and Puerto Rico have only a small handful of therapists. That said, Open Path covers the entire country well—there are no underrepresented areas where the number of therapists doesn't sync with the general population numbers.  

First Impressions 

If you find browsing for medical help online as intimidating as I do, Open Path’s homepage is here to hold your hand. The design is simple yet inviting; think the digital version of healthy plants and bright windows in a doctor’s office waiting room. 

At first glance, it’s no surprise the site is one of the most heavily trafficked of the 25 databases we looked at. There is only one line of text visible at the top of the page, which states the group’s mission to offer a low session rate, followed by an invitation to enter only your ZIP to begin the process. 


Further down the homepage, there is a clear mention of the membership fee, a few featured therapist bios, and links to the blog. There is also a caveat stating Open Path is only for individuals earning under $100K a year (more on that below). 

At the bottom of the homepage is a link to an extensive set of “Wellness Courses” created by Open Path. The courses deal with subjects like anger management, substance abuse, and domestic violence. They all offer a court-approved certificate after completion, so they appear to be a good solution for clients seeking to fulfill court-mandated mental health treatment.

Open Path has a large and devoted following: Social media links boast an Instagram following of around 30K, 7K Facebook followers, and 2.8K followers on Twitter. There is also a blog, which is often written by member therapists. It’s a great way for therapists to gain visibility and for clients to learn more about them. The posts are engaging—some are profiles of interesting member therapists, while others give first-person accounts of something highly relatable and how to deal with it (for example, ever emailed a therapist you wanted to work with, and never gotten a reply?). 

The blog isn’t updated that often though; the most recent post is over two months old, but it’s a nice place to browse to get yourself acquainted with the site. 

Searching for a Therapist

Like most online directories, it takes just one click from the landing page to get to a list of available therapists.

One of the things that impressed us about Open Path’s search function is that it automatically hides therapists who are not currently accepting new clients, so every search result displayed has potential. This was not the case on most of the other 24 directories we reviewed and having the discouraging “not accepting new clients” obstacle removed makes Open Path a great place for first-time therapy seekers to start.


Like most directories, browsing Open Path’s directory is completely free. I really enjoyed being able to browse the site without any pressure at all to sign up. I’m the kind of person who closes a window as soon as they ask for my credit card number to proceed, so I found Open Path really inviting and comfortable to browse in. It's like a laid-back boutique where the clerks don’t follow you around.

Search Filters

Refining your results begins with one major choice: in-person or online. A therapist you are seeing virtually still needs to be licensed in your home state, so if you’re looking specifically for online sessions, you can browse your entire state for therapists working online, but you do have to stay in-state. 

From my searches, it seems as if almost every therapist is offering online care these days. If you’re looking for an in-person option, you can toggle the parameters anywhere from 10 to 100 miles near you. 


The results are only available in list form; there is no map view, as there often is with some of the other companies we reviewed. And, as subject matter expert and LMSW Hannah Owens notes, “The results (often) don't show you where specifically the therapists are located (i.e., 'Brooklyn' instead of 'Bushwick').”  

So if you live in a super-dense city, sorting through the results in list form could get frustrating, and you might want to find a directory with a map on its search function. But, if you live in the sprawling countryside like I do, where everything within 20 miles is also within 30 minutes, the lack of a map probably isn't significant. 

Overall, Open Path received high user ratings on the site’s ease of use: 78% of the users we surveyed ranked overall site navigation as easy or very easy. Its search function did not score quite as well independently, with only 71% of users calling the process of finding a therapist easy or very easy. 

There is no way to refine a search to just show licensed therapists, which I was initially concerned about. I’m someone who has struck out with therapists, and while I know there are lots of wonderful pre-licensed therapists out there, it’s not what I was looking for. 

I found myself pleasantly surprised: Open Path turned up 14 therapists close to my podunk upstate New York town specializing in what I was looking for, and every one of them was licensed. It also automatically gave me more than 100 additional options offering online therapy, and across the first three pages of results, about nine out of 10 of the therapists were already licensed. 

Despite some of the limitations of the search function, the site does stay true to Open Path’s mission: All therapist results displayed are accepting new clients at Open Path’s $30-$80 rate. So while navigating the search could be a little easier, Open Path’s built-in features resulted in a highly effective list of available, predominately licensed therapists.  

Directory Bio Pages

The therapists on Open Path have pretty personalized profile pages, which I liked. As a user, I enjoyed getting a sense of the therapist by reading the long personal bios they had written themselves. Personal touches, like congratulating me for embarking on this search, or a few words describing emotional battles that really click with my own experience, made me feel more comfortable in reaching out to certain individuals. 


There’s a lot of useful basic information on the bio pages. Payment options are listed, such as credit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Square, Cash app, and cash. Specific availability is another nice feature. “Mondays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” for example, is useful, upfront information for those looking for a specific time slot. The side column also provides the rate (always the same established sliding scale), qualifications, language, ethnicity, and chosen pronouns.

Both the search result page and the bio itself contain photos and whether the therapist is taking new clients (always yes.) The profile ends in two bulleted lists, detailing the therapist's “skills and expertise” and “ treatment orientation” in neat, easy-to-read columns. One downside is the only contact information on the bio page is email. It’s easy to shoot off a quick message directly from the site, but if you’re old school there's no option for the instant gratification and human connection of a phone call. 

Reaching Out to a Therapist

You can email any therapist you like right from the bio page, which is a time-saver.


There are two links on each bio page, where you can either email a therapist with more questions, or schedule an appointment if you are already an Open Path member. For non-members, the “schedule an appointment” link takes you to the membership registration and payment page—where you will be prompted to pay $65 to schedule an appointment at Open Path’s sliding sale rates. 

Fifty-eight percent of Open Path users found a therapist they were interested in working with after considering one to three therapists, while 38% considered between four and 10. Seventy-four percent of the Open Path users we surveyed said they found a therapist who met all their needs, higher than the overall average of 70% across all 25 databases we looked at.

How Useful Is the Directory for Therapy Seekers?

If you feel as though therapy is out of reach due to a lack of insurance, Open Path just might be able to change that for you. The site is geared toward individuals who make under $100,000 a year and would otherwise struggle to afford therapy either because they do not have insurance, they are underinsured, or their insurance did not help make therapy more affordable for them. 

It is worth noting that Open Path is also not for people with Medicaid/Medicare. Instead, Open Path directs you to its sister site, Being Seen, which takes both insurance and full-fee clients. And if you plan on using insurance to pay for therapy, a directory that takes insurance and/or does not charge a membership fee would be a better choice. 

The income threshold of $100,000 or under is honor-based and simply involves clicking a box to confirm your income. At the same time, as Program Manager Caitlin Erwin told me, Open Path wants to do away with any red tape that might keep someone looking for therapy from getting it. Have you ever been struggling with crippling mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and been told you need to upload your tax returns to proceed? It’s just not going to happen. Thankfully, the folks running Open Path completely understand this and are more interested in making things simple for its users. And according to our user survey, people are following the honor system: In fact, over 70% of the users we surveyed had income below $50,000. 

OpenPath also did really well in terms of user satisfaction in our user survey. Of the users who found a therapist on Open Path, 81% reported they were still seeing that therapist, and 83% of those users said they would be likely or very likely to still be seeing that therapist in six months. 

About half of the therapists on Open Path’s site are pre-licensed. Pre-licensed therapists have completed their education, but have yet to complete the 3,000 supervised clinical hours necessary to become a licensed clinical therapist. 

Note that your actual session will not be supervised; rather, a pre-licensed therapist may discuss the details of your sessions with their (licensed) supervisor and may ask for their advice in formulating a treatment plan for you. If you’re not comfortable with your therapist sharing details from your personal life with a stranger you’ll never meet, that’s understandable—thus, a pre-licensed therapist won’t be your top choice. 

Therapists' credentials are prominently displayed on both the search results and the profiles, so it’s clear who has earned their clinical license and who is still working toward it, and thus still under supervision. Unlicensed therapists are at the lower end of the sliding scale spectrum.

There are plenty of licensed therapists in the mix, and Open Path says it seeks to attract “altruistic therapists wanting to help clients in need in their community.” You might find a newly graduated, pre-licensed therapist who bills everyone at the same rate they use for their Open Path clients until they complete their clinical hours, or, you might find a licensed therapist who typically charges much higher rates, but offers a select few clients a lower rate exclusively on Open Path. This mix of experience levels in its directory makes Open Path unique, and it’s quite a brilliant business model: It can keep rates low, while also offering high-quality therapists. And it seems to be working out well for users, as 74% said they found a therapist who met all their needs, a bit higher than the overall average of 70%. 

Still, one of the biggest complaints we got from the users we surveyed was the therapists’ lack of experience or specialization. Thirty-two percent of Open Path users were not completely satisfied with that factor, compared to the overall average of 25% across the 24 other directories we reviewed.

Our users’ top complaint with Open Path’s collection of therapists, though, was a lack of diversity: Thirty-seven percent said they wished the directory contained more therapists from a similar background or culture as themselves, while 33% wanted more therapists from a similar religious background. 

Personally, I liked the way the site was set up. I’m biracial and appreciate a therapist who understands what it’s like to straddle two cultures, even if don't represent my ethnicities. I can click the “multiracial” box, and have the search prioritize multi-racial therapists. There's also a space where your therapist can explain their own racial/cultural background as broadly or specifically as they want. I thought this was good information to have upfront since it isn’t as readily available on many other directory bio templates.   

It’s also worth noting that while you can search the directory by language, of the total database of over 17,000 therapists, only 476 therapists currently taking clients listed Spanish as a spoken language, 22 therapists listed ASL, and fewer than 20 listed either Mandarin or Cantonese. Once you enter search parameters to limit your location and the type of therapy you are looking for, those foreign language results will likely dwindle down to zero, or close to it. Frankly, if you are not looking for English-language therapy, you will likely be disappointed. 

How Useful Is the Directory for Therapists?

Directories are not only beneficial for therapy seekers; providers can also use them to increase their caseload and reach clients they otherwise could not. Open Path is a great place for any therapist with a strong sense of social justice to connect with members of their community who might not otherwise be able to afford therapy, while simultaneously making their support of this mission more visible. The directory appeals to early-career therapists, since it allows pre-licensed professionals to join, but many of the directory’s therapists are established and have been in practice for many years.

“I think it's our due diligence to take the steps needed to make mental health resources more accessible,” says Leo Skaletta, a licensed family and marriage therapist on Open Path who is licensed and has been practicing for almost two years. 

The directory offers quite a lot of support to its member therapists. A representative from Open Path told us, “We help them find new or more diverse clients through advertising; we refer clients to them, offer professional development and training opportunities, and provide exposure through our blogs, podcasts, and social media. We lend them credibility because we verify their licensing/certifications or vet them for the therapy seeker.”

It is completely free for therapists to join Open Path, which is also a big perk. And the company pay its therapists $50 every time they refer a new therapist to the directory. 

The therapists we spoke with who use Open Path had lots of good things to say about it. There was enthusiasm about the mission statement of making therapy affordable for all, and the positive exposure of being associated with such a directory.  

“There are limitations to how many slots I can have, but as far as when I started the practice, it was really important to me to be able to have affordable options and to not be another listing that was out of reach for people,” said Nathan Staley, a Licensed Professional Counselor who has been practicing for over five years. “It's really helped me achieve that in very public and visible ways.” 

Many Open Path therapists, like Jessica Waters, a registered psychotherapist and addictions counselor working in Colorado and Missouri, like how aligning with Open Path gives them a small way to right a systemic injustice: “I strongly believe that mental health rates are out of range and want increased accessibility for clients,” says Waters. 

Of the 11 therapists we spoke to, all received their first referral in under six months, and five of these therapists received one less than a week after joining. “I recommend it to all my colleagues,” says Skaletta. 

The majority of therapists we spoke to think Open Path is “somewhat better” or “much better” than the other online directories they are listed in. “I've received several good fit clients from this directory,” says Carolyn Solo, a more seasoned social worker operating in Pennsylvania. “I support the directory's mission and believe it to be very ethical. Its values and ethics—particularly in regards to social justice issues—align with mine.” 

How Does Open Path Collective Compare to Online Therapy Companies and Directories?

Online directories like Open Path offer the user more control over which provider you end up working with than online therapy companies like Talkspace or BetterHelp, which match you with a therapist based on a short intake questionnaire. Like most online directories, Open Path is free to browse, while many therapy companies require an upfront payment before letting you see the bios of any potential therapists. Online directories can also be more niche, often catering to a specific subset of users, which, in Open Path’s case, is low/mid-income individuals without insurance. 

One of our Open Path therapists said they had worked for an online therapy company before, but had left due to the low pay. Here, Open Path shines again: As a non-profit NGO, the entirety of the session fees go directly to the therapist instead of through a middleman, allowing them to focus solely on the client, while the one-time membership fee is used to cover site costs. 

The way Open Path has set up the client-therapist dynamic is clearly working. Sixty-eight percent of Open Path users told us they had tried another company before Open Path, and the majority of these were online therapy companies, not directories. In addition, 69% of users who made their way to Open Path found it better or much better than other companies they'd used in the past, and I can see why. A site that puts me in direct contact with my therapist sounds ideal, and I want all of my session fees to go directly to the person helping me. I feel like that would allow me to build a stronger bond with my therapist than a site that manages more of the details. 

Final Verdict

Both clients and therapists reported a high rate of satisfaction with Open Path, making it one of our top picks for affordable, out-of-pocket therapy. It’s also a great place to simply get acquainted with online therapy directories. The site draws you in without any pretense or intimidation, and it feels enjoyable to use. Some sites scare me off by asking for too much personal information upfront, keeping too much of their content behind a paywall, or turning up disappointing lists full of therapists who aren't taking new clients. But with Open Path, I found myself browsing for a while, perusing interesting content that I found relatable, and reading therapist bios that sounded like people I would want to get to know.

I played around on it without feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, and when I reached out to a therapist I liked without having a membership, I still got a response two days later, encouraging me to sign up in order to schedule my first session. It was about as seamless and stress-free as a therapist search can get.

“I'm actually very familiar with this platform from colleagues who use it and others who refer clients to it. I've heard only good things,” said our expert Marshall. The company seems to have hit on a model that works: It offers affordable therapy to clients, visibility to new therapists, and a way for experienced therapists to fulfill their sense of social justice and community responsibility. With nine years of experience, Open Path Collective has established itself as one of the best directories in the field overall, and certainly the best for a sliding-scale payment option.   


To write this review, we conducted original, data-driven research in order to get a full sense of how Open Path Collective helped therapy seekers and therapists connect and how it compares to other popular directories. We began by evaluating about 180 users at each company (4,862 respondents total) and collecting data and research on the company, such as when it was founded, the number of therapists it lists, which states it serves, and more. We also interviewed or surveyed a minimum of 10 therapists listed on each directory about their experience using it, including how the directory has affected their caseload and whether they’d recommend it to colleagues. 

Additionally, we contacted someone on the Open Path team to ask if there was any way a client might be able to reimburse their session costs with insurance and to confirm the number of therapists listed on the directory.

Next, we tested each directory ourselves by searching for therapists who might be appropriate for 37 different reasons why someone might be looking for a therapist, looking at how well the website is able to meet users' needs for accessibility, cultural sensitivity, conditions, and more. 

We then asked our subject matter experts, Amy Marschall and Hannah Owens, to score these testing results to assess the directory’s search functionality and ease of use. We also sent a questionnaire to each company, though not all companies responded.

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. Number of people with health insurance in the United States from 1990 to 2021(in millions).

By Mary X. Dennis
Mary X. Dennis is a Singapore-born, New York-raised, bilingual and biracial science reporter.

Edited by
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
Simone Scully

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