Pride Counseling Online Therapy Review

Despite its focus, it may not be set up to serve its most marginalized members.

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Pride Counseling

Pride Counseling

Pride Counseling may be an option for LGBTQ+ people who want an online therapy subscription with messaging and live sessions. The company serves all 50 states and has an easy-to-use interface. However, despite its purported specialty, it is not actually set up to serve the most marginalized LGBTQ+ community members.

  • Best for LGBTQ+
  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
  • Unlimited messaging with therapist available

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • App available

  • Therapists give homework and worksheets

  • Caters specifically to the LGBTQ+ identity

  • Available in all 50 states

  • Monthly subscription include four live sessions

  • Unclear whether therapists are trained to work with LGBTQ+ clients

  • Does not accept health insurance

  • Cannot choose your own therapist

  • Many therapists do not identify as LGBTQ+ themselves

  • No therapist bios on website

  • Therapists have limited availability

  • Session length can be as short as 30 minutes

  • No medication management or psychiatry services available

  • Many therapists won’t provide letters for gender-affirming HRT or surgeries

Key Facts
Is Insurance Accepted?
No. Offers reimbursement receipt
Type Of Therapy
Individual Therapy
Communication Options
Audio, Messaging, Video Chat
HIPAA Compliant?
Is There an App?
20% off first month SIGN UP NOW
Why Trust Us
Companies reviewed
Total users surveyed
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.

The risk of mental illness for LGBTQ+ people is much higher than it is for heterosexual and cisgender (non-transgender) people. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are twice as likely to have a mental illness as the general population; transgender adults are four times as likely. And while only 5% of the US population has attempted suicide in their lifetime, that number rises to 40% with transgender adults. 

But as prevalent as mental illness can be in the LGBTQ+ community, access to mental health services is often a challenge due to a lack of therapists with cultural sensitivity and high out-of-pocket costs. Pride Counseling is an online therapy company that says it “wanted to help,” according to its FAQ page. That’s why we decided to review Pride Counseling and see how well it is truly helping the community it says it serves. To do this, we surveyed 105 users of Pride Counseling, reached out to the company with questions, and I signed up for therapy services myself. We also compared it to 54 other companies—here's how it compared.

What Is Pride Counseling?

Pride Counseling is an online therapy company owned and run by BetterHelp that aims to provide mental health care to LGBTQ+ people. It allows users to connect with licensed therapists via video calls, asynchronous messaging, and audio calls. It also simplifies the process of finding a therapist by automatically assigning users to one after they complete a simple questionnaire. It doesn’t treat medical conditions, unlike larger companies like Teladoc, and it doesn’t offer medication management services as Talkspace and other competitors do. Pride Counseling also says on its website that using its services shouldn’t deter you from seeing an in-person provider, especially if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or require medication. 

Although users reported positive outcomes from using the service, Pride Counseling’s ride has been bumpy since it was launched as a sister company to BetterHelp. For example, in 2018, it was called out by members of the community for its offensive and exploitative advertising strategy.

What Services Does Pride Counseling Offer?

You do not have to identify as LGBTQ+ to use Pride Counseling, though the company says it is geared towards queer and trans adults over 18. It only offers individual therapy; you cannot sign up for couples or group therapy at this company. 

Therapy sessions are conducted via: 

  • Live chat
  • Asynchronous messaging
  • Audio calls
  • Video calls 

Each monthly subscription includes up to four video, audio or live chat sessions (i.e. one a week), which last between 30 and 45 minutes, as determined by your therapist. But users can also send an unlimited number of messages to their therapist between live sessions. 

In addition to therapy, your subscription also includes access to an online journal, a blank space where you can reflect on your sessions or answer prompts. It is up to you whether you want to share your entries with your therapist. Considering that a recent meta-analysis (i.e. a study of studies) indicated that journaling can have mental health benefits with little to no risk, this feature is a useful addition.

As an online therapy subscriber, you also get unlimited access to group webinars that can help you learn more about mental health and wellness. Each webinar will cover a mental health topic, such as sleep hygiene, and be led by a licensed therapist. 

Who Is Pride Counseling For?

As noted above, Pride Counseling is aimed at LGBTQ+ adults. According to its FAQ page, its therapists can help treat:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship issues
  • Parenting issues
  • Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Anger issues
  • Family conflicts
  • LGBTQ+ identity issues
  • Grief
  • Religion
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep issues

While all therapists at Pride Counseling are licensed mental health professionals, the company’s terms and conditions note that these clinicians cannot diagnose mental illness. Since the company also does not offer medication management or prescribe any medication, it appears that the company is best for people only experiencing mild mental health conditions.

The service is also not for minors, people ordered to undergo therapy by court order, or anyone in crisis. If you are in crisis, the site directs you to a list of more appropriate resources

How Much Does Pride Counseling Cost?

Pride Counseling offers therapy on a monthly or weekly subscription plan, ranging from roughly $240 to $360. (I was quoted $320 for the month when I signed up.)

Like all BetterHelp-owned companies, these prices vary depending on your location, the therapist you’re matched with, and demand in your area. In other words, the company engages in “surge pricing”— if a lot of people are seeking therapy near you, you might pay a higher rate than someone else. You may also pay more for therapy in New York or Washington than other states. 

You will be billed for your subscription once a month, though you can change this once you’ve signed up in your settings—I was able to change to a weekly plan that charged me $110 every week, for example (which is a whole $120 more than it would be if I could afford to pay for the whole month upfront).

As noted above, this subscription includes up to one weekly live session per week, unlimited webinars, journal access, and unlimited messaging with your therapist. 

Although Pride Counseling’s rates are similar to other online therapy subscriptions offered by competitors, the surge pricing may penalize users in “therapy deserts,” aka places where there are few local therapist options and/or limited mental health care. This is a big issue: 26% of LGBTQ+ people live in rural areas in poverty and there is a correlation between these areas and therapy deserts. 

It also doesn’t make Pride Counseling’s prices accessible to its targeted clientele. Poverty affects 21.6% of LGBQT+ people—and the rate is even higher (29%) for transgender folks. While 60% of our surveyed users found the service “affordable” or “very affordable,” it’s worth noting that only 2% of our respondents identified as transgender.

Does Pride Counseling Take Insurance?

Pride Counseling does not accept insurance nor will it submit reimbursement claims to insurance companies. All users pay out of pocket. 

Does Pride Counseling Offer Discounts?

Yes, Pride Counseling usually offers discounts on the first month of service. It also offers a discount to all Verywell Mind readers. The company also offers financial aid to people who are eligible, though it is unclear how the company determines who is eligible. 

Navigating the Pride Counseling Website

Pride Counseling’s website is barebones. 

PC Homepage

The top menu bar only has four buttons: a login button, a “get started” button, an FAQ option, and a contact page. 

Nav Bar

The home screen features an animated gif of a pride flag behind the words “Professional therapy for the LGBTQ community” (it is noteworthy that the company did not include the +). Below that you’ll find the first question of its intake questionnaire, prompting you to begin the sign-up process. 

Below the first question, you’ll also see a purple box with a person’s face and the words “Hi, I’ll be walking you through the process of finding the best therapist for you! We’ll start off with some basic questions.”

This implies that a person is guiding you through the process, which isn’t actually the case. All of our editors saw the same face and you are never given a person’s name. The company also confirmed that the matching process is done by an algorithm when we reached out via company questionnaire. 

Below this, you’ll also find a brief explanation of how therapy works at Pride Counseling.

How it works

Depending on how you access the website (i.e. if you arrive via Google), you may also see a slightly more thorough page, featuring testimonials from patients for specific therapists. 


At the very bottom of the site, you’ll see links to crisis support and footer links to the FAQ page, contact information, terms and conditions, privacy policy, and cookie settings. 

The company’s diversity statement is a single sentence on the home page saying, “We support equality and acceptance by providing a safe space to every identity.” 


The FAQ page provides most of the information you’ll likely need to decide whether Pride Counseling is right for you. It explains clearly how each mode of contacting your therapist works, as well as insurance and payment information. However, it doesn’t offer any insights into if or how the company’s therapists are trained to address LGBTQ+ issues. 

Pride Counseling’s social media presence is nonexistent. Its Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2018 and it doesn’t have a Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok account. Its parent company BetterHelp’s social media rarely mentions Pride Counseling either. 

Does Pride Counseling Have An App?

Pride Counseling does have an app. Users can sign up, message, and schedule with their therapist via the app. The app’s user interface is straightforward since it is a miniature version of the desktop (minus the live-session feature). It is available on both Apple and Android phones. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Pride Counseling? 

Signing up for Pride Counseling begins with completing an intake questionnaire that feels like a series of diagnostic tests. 

Match to therapist

First, you’re asked for information regarding your sexual and gender identities, then you’re prompted to answer 23 questions meant to evaluate your mental health, such as "Are you currently experiencing overwhelming sadness, grief, or depression?". There are also questions about substance use, the medications you’re taking, and your religious affiliation if you have one. 

I recognized many of these questions from previous mental health evaluations. However, one question that stood out to me was how much I thought my queer identity contributed to my mental health concerns. The way the question was worded felt odd to me because it seemed to imply that my identity was contributing to my mental health issues, rather than it being the discrimination I experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community that was impacting my mental health.  

Mental health Questions

Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you’ll be asked for more general information, such as the state where you live and your contact information, and you’ll be prompted to create a username and password. 

Next, you’ll be asked if you have any preferences regarding what therapist you’re matched with. For example, it will ask you if you want your therapist to identify as LGBTQ+ or simply specialize in treating this community. You can also select other specialties as well, ranging from “bipolar disorder” to “life purpose.” 

Pride Counseling understanding a particular user’s needs is invaluable to LGBTQ+ therapy-seekers. It increases the chance that the client will be comfortable with their therapist and that the therapist will understand the intersection of the user’s particular mental health condition and their identity. It should also reduce the risk that the therapist will say something insensitive or even offensive in the session. 

I indicated that I didn’t particularly prefer an LGBTQ+ therapist because I wanted the soonest possible appointment. However, I felt uncertain about this choice. The site didn’t clarify what type or how much sensitivity training its therapists receive. I had to assume that my therapist would know how to approach issues, such as transitioning, but I was left feeling disconcerted. 

It is also worth noting that during the sign-up process, there were no questions asking if users had any preferences regarding the race or ethnicity of their therapist—which could dissuade queer and trans BIPOC users from signing upm or reduce the chances that they match with a therapist that meets their needs.

As the last step of the sign-up process, you’ll be asked for your payment information, which you have to provide before seeing what therapist you’re matched with. In fact, you pay up to 48 hours before getting matched with a therapist.  

Overall, the sign-up process felt tedious, but it was fairly straightforward and it implied that the company cared about my mental health history and preferences for a therapist. The users we surveyed also found the sign-up process simple; 79% of them said the process was “easy” or “very easy.”

Matching With a Therapist At Pride Counseling

Once you’ve finished signing up, you are given access to your personal portal, which includes a messaging platform, a journaling system, and a calendar of group webinars you can attend. The messaging platform notifies you that it may take a few days to find you a therapist. (You can’t choose your own.) Once it does, you are able to start messaging them instantly. All of the therapists at Pride Counseling are currently licensed in their respective states. 

I found the matching process anxiety-provoking. It took two days for the company to match me to a therapist and once I was assigned one, the platform didn’t provide any information about who my therapist was. She also did not introduce herself via the chat. This meant that scheduling my appointment felt like scheduling an appointment with a new primary care doctor; I knew nothing about her before we met and didn’t know what to expect from the appointment. And since the match turned out to be a poor one, this rubbed me the wrong way. 

Pride’s matching algorithm also seems slightly inadequate. Only 20% of our user survey respondents reported they were likely to remain with their therapist six months from now, and over half said that they had switched therapists at least once with Pride Counseling.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Pride Counseling?

As noted above, therapy sessions at Pride Counseling take place via video or audio session, live chat, or messaging. 

Live Sessions

My therapy sessions at Pride Counseling felt transactional. Video and audio sessions are shorter than other forms of therapy, lasting only 30 or 40 minutes, unlike the traditional 45 minutes to an hour that most therapists provide.

You receive reminder emails about upcoming sessions both 24 hours and 13 minutes before the session. You enter a session by logging onto your profile at the time of the session. Then, the therapist will call you from the page.

Furthermore, unlike in more traditional therapy, my therapist didn’t ask me any intake questions regarding my mental health history, nor did she reference the intake I completed when I signed up. Instead, she asked me what my chief complaint was, and we talked about strategies on how to navigate it. Although this sounds more efficient than doing an intake process, it meant that she never understood the context of the situation I presented. For example, I spoke with her about discussing transitioning with my parents, but she never asked me what my parents’ personalities or political views were. 

The biggest complaint I have about my experience is that my therapist seemed to not understand how to talk about transgender issues. At one point, she inquired about whether I have transgender friends by asking if I had “friends in the lifestyle.” Gender identity isn’t a lifestyle choice. Admittedly, I haven’t heard similar reports on social media, so my experience may not be reflective of most Pride Counseling users, but it was incredibly disconcerting to think that a therapist on a platform designed for queer people could make such an obvious mistake. 

Messaging Your Therapist

Outside of video and audio calls, the main way I could contact my therapist was via the asynchronous messaging platform. Her response time ranged from 30 minutes to a full day, regardless of the length of my message. While her responses were clearly not scripted, they also didn’t feel personal. She often repeated ideas/advice she brought up during sessions and rarely asked any follow-up questions. Plus, if I sent a longer message with more details, she only addressed the question I was asking rather than expressing empathy or relating her answer to the context I gave her. 

Pride Counseling does offer a live chat feature as well; however, there is no streamlined way to access this. Instead, you have to schedule a time for both you and the therapist to be on the chat at the same time. There’s no separate platform for live chatting nor any indication on the existing chat that your live chatting session has started. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session?

If you miss a session, you will be fined for the missed session. Your therapist will then message you asking if you would like to reschedule since you’re paying weekly regardless of how often you see your therapist. 

Switching Therapists at Pride Counseling

Switching therapists is very easy on Pride Counseling.  Simply go to the user-portal menu drop-down and select the “change therapist” option. 

Then, you’ll be asked to fill out a two-question survey. It asks you how likely you are to recommend your current therapist to a friend and then asks if you have any preferences for the qualities of your next therapist. For example, you can ask for a therapist of a different race or one who provides Christian-based therapy. 

The service will then begin the process of finding you a new therapist based on the information you provided, which can take a few days. 

Canceling Therapy at Pride Counseling

Canceling your Pride Counseling membership is equally as straightforward. You go into your account settings and click "change membership/cancel membership." A pop-up comes up, and you choose "cancel membership." 

Then, you fill out a short form where you can opt to cancel the membership at the end. 

It is worth noting that if you select that you have not spoken to your therapist about canceling, a pop-up advises you to talk to your therapist first before leaving. Also, depending on what reason you select, a pop-up may appear asking if you want to change therapists instead. 

It will then tell you that your access to services will continue until the end of the billing period—you cannot be reimbursed for any unused time remaining on your subscription. 

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

Studies have shown that services like Pride Counseling can be effective at addressing mental health concerns. For example, in one 2019 study, 37.8% of BetterHelp users (Pride Counseling’s parent company) with depression experienced decreased symptoms within three months of regularly using the service. And while chat exchanges alone cannot serve as therapy, research indicates that adding them to therapy services improves outcomes. 

Although I see how Pride Counseling’s services could be helpful if delivered by an effective therapist, I didn’t feel that I received high-quality mental healthcare. My therapist focused exclusively on the practical issue I presented her with rather than investigating the general state of my mental health. 

Goal-oriented mental healthcare isn’t a bad thing, but the fact that she didn’t try to get to know me before we delved into the topic made the entire exchange feel impersonal at best. She asked me nothing about my career, living situation, interests, or even what “non-binary” meant to me. Her glaring mistake, as noted above, in referring to gender identity as a lifestyle choice, didn’t help my impression of her either.

Fortunately, our surveyed users had better experiences than mine. Eighty-nine percent of them ranked their therapist’s qualifications as “good,” “very good,” or “excellent”—though perhaps they had to switch therapists a few times before finding someone that could deliver this quality of care. A quarter of our surveyed users switched therapists once, while another quarter switched two or three times.   

Pride Counseling is also limited in its ability to help address LGBTQ+ mental health issues. It does not employ psychiatrists, meaning that if you have a more serious issue—or you’re in crisis or dealing with suicidal thoughts—you will need to look for care elsewhere.

It’s also worth noting that only 42% of the users said that their therapist “met all of their needs,” but this is on par with other online therapy company users we surveyed. Seventeen percent said that not all of their needs could be met. 

Transgender users should know that the company makes it clear that it's up to individual therapists whether they offer letters of recommendation for gender-affirming medical care and that most don’t because of the limitations of the platform. There is no way to choose a therapist that will. 

Privacy Policies at Pride Counseling

While Pride Counseling’s privacy policy is straightforward and aligns with much of the internet’s (i.e. cookies are used to track your movements but no identifying information is given to third parties), one should be wary of using Pride Counseling. 

Nowhere on the site does it mention being HIPAA-compliant. Furthermore, a review conducted by Firefox labeled the site as “privacy not included” due to the volume of data it shares with Facebook. This aligns with scandals at BetterHelp—Pride Counseling’s parent company—regarding privacy and data sharing

The good news is that Pride Counseling encrypts all messages and has other security measures in place. Plus, you can always “shred” a message you send if you want to eliminate the chance of it being shared. 

Pride Counseling vs. Its Competitors

Pride Counseling is one of the few online therapy services on the market that is geared towards a minority group, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. For example, Talkspace also offers services designated for LGBTQ+ people—and if you need it, you can add on medication management if you require more than individual therapy. It also offers couples counseling and teen counseling all in-house. Plus, like Pride Counseling, it offers both chat and video/audio therapy. 

That said, Talkspace may not be any more affordable: the inclusion of messaging, live sessions, and medication management varies by different subscription plans and the most comprehensive can be more expensive. For example, when I looked, a plan with four weekly sessions and text-therapy would have cost me a full $30 more per week than at Pride Counseling. 

Other options for queer-friendly therapy include the Gay Therapy Center, which focuses on providing therapy for gay cis men, and Kip Therapy, which provides inclusive care for all LGBTQ New York residents.

Therapy directories might have an edge for queer and trans therapy seekers because they allow you to really look for the right therapist for you. For example, the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) enables BIPOC transgender therapy seekers to find a therapist who shares their identities in their local area, including those who offer therapy via video calls. Since you can’t specify what race you would like your therapist to be at Pride Counseling, this might be a better option for BIPOC queer people seeking therapy. 

If you are seeking affordable therapy, OpenPath Collective might be a better option than Pride Counseling. It is a network of therapists who offer discounted services. Clients can join for a single lifetime access fee of $59, after which they can negotiate a steeply reduced rate, and then they can find therapists that offer sliding scale rates. 

Still, Pride Counseling was popular with the users we surveyed that had tried other online therapy companies. Seventy percent said that Pride Counseling was “better” or “much better” than a company they’d tried before, which is a similar number to most other companies’ users we surveyed. Nearly half said they preferred it because the therapists were better qualified and another third cited ease of use. While Pride Counseling has considerable downsides, our survey indicates that it might serve you better than other online therapy platforms. 

Final Verdict

Pride Counseling could be a good option for LGBTQ+ therapy seekers suffering from mild to moderate mental health conditions that value convenience. The messaging services are convenient, billing is straightforward, and if you happen to match with a therapist you can’t connect with, changing is easy. The service is available in all 50 states and you can message your therapist anytime via chat. Users that want to talk about what’s bothering them in the moment might be particularly drawn to this feature. This is likely why 80% of our survey respondents said that they were “likely” or “very likely” to recommend the service to a friend or someone like them and another 85% rated the company as “good,” “very good,” or “excellent.” 

That said, we have some concerns about the company. While the company says all its therapists are trained to treat members of the LGBTQ+ community, not all therapists on the platform identify as queer or trans themselves and the company is not very upfront about what kind of sensitivity training its therapists have had. My therapist clearly didn’t have a strong understanding of what it means to be transgender, since she referred to my identity as a “lifestyle.” 

The prices also may not be affordable to the community the company says it is serving. While you can pay less if you can afford to pay for a month upfront, people living paycheck to paycheck may need to pay weekly—but doing so will end up costing them significantly more in the long run. It also doesn’t accept insurance, forcing you to pay out of pocket. This may not be an option for everyone. 

If you are a transgender person looking for a letter for medical transition therapy, someone seeking medication management, or need to use insurance to pay for therapy, this may not be the service for you. And with no transparency regarding its therapist recruitment process, whether or not you will have a positive experience with Pride Counseling appears to be the luck of the draw. If you believe that Pride Counseling’s infrastructure can give you the support you need, sign up—but I would only do so with your guard up. Mental health is often a battle for LGBTQ+ people. Don’t let an uninformed therapist put yours at risk. 


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.

We also signed up for the companies in order to get a sense of how this process worked, how easy to use the platform is, and how therapy takes place at the company. Then, we interviewed [TK number] of therapists we found who either currently work or worked for this company in the past and worked with three subject matter experts to get their expert analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers. 

3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. United States Census. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2019.

  2. James SE, Herman JL, Rankin S, Keisling M, Mottet, L, & Anafi M. The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. National Center For Transgender Equality.

  3. Badgett, M. V. L., Choi, S. K., & Wilson, B. D. M.. LGBT poverty in the United States: A study of differences between sexual orientation and gender identity groups. The Williams Institute.

By El Wilson
El is a current master's student at Emerson College’s Writing and Publishing program and writes about mental and physical wellness for VeryWell Mind, VeryWell Fit, Shape, and EatingWell. 

Edited by
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
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