Queer Couples Center Online Therapy Review

A company that vets patients before accepting them

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Queer Couples Center

Queer Couples Center

Verywell's Rating
1.0

We had high hopes when reviewing the Queer Couples Center, but were disappointed to learn that the service vets new patients as if they were applying for a job in order to determine if it should offer them online therapy. Additionally, it asks intrusive questions about the amount of money you have saved for therapy, which is a highly unusual practice. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Website is easy to navigate

  • Diverse clientele are represented in site imagery

  • Offers couples counseling, individual counseling, and coaching

  • Video blogs are available

Cons
  • Repeated questioning of why QCC should accept you as a patient, including an interview

  • No mention of costs on website

  • No insurance coverage

  • FAQ page is a challenge to find on site and only lists one question

  • Site terms, conditions, privacy, and cookie pages are all broken links

  • Questions prospective patients about their savings and finances

  • Condescending tone to prospective patients

Key Facts
Price
At least $2,000 to begin
Is Insurance Accepted?
No
Type Of Therapy
N/A
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.

A majority of LGBTQ+ people say they or an LGBTQ+ friend or family member has been threatened, sexually harassed, or experienced violence because of their sexuality or gender. In addition, almost 60% say they have fewer employment opportunities; 38% say they have experienced slurs, and 28% say they have received insensitive or offensive comments due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Even more alarmingly, 22% of transgender folks say they have avoided health care providers out of concern they would be discriminated against.

That’s why we had high hopes for the Queer Couples Center, a company that offers individual and couples therapy online. It seemed, on its surface, to understand the issues faced by its community and offer help to queer-identifying individuals that were struggling in their relationships. However, it turns out that it posits its services as something exclusive and inaccessible—which we found unacceptable. To evaluate Queer Couples Center, we surveyed 105 users who had used the service, and I went through the initial intake process. Here is what we learned. 

What Is Queer Couples Center?

Queer Couples Center offers online therapy for individuals and couples. as well as relationship coaching. It also has six in-person locations in Oakland and San Francisco, California. 

It was founded in 2017 by Brandon Neff-Hall, a marriage and family therapist who calls himself “the love therapist” on Facebook.  

The company’s website site offers considerable info about each of its therapy options and notes that its therapists are trained in emotionally focused therapy. The company does not explain what that is, though, so it’s impossible to know if it would be a fit for you without doing your own research on the modality. This is strange, especially since competitors, especially those that specialize in a particular modality, generally go into detail about how that type of therapy works. For example, OnlineTherapy.com focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy, and the company goes into great detail about what that therapy modality is and why it's used. 

There is also no information available about who the therapists are at QCC, nor their qualifications, which is off-putting as a potential therapy seeker. 

What Does Queer Couples Center Offer?

Queer Couples Center offers emotionally focused therapy to queer couples and individuals. Its therapists all identify as queer, and it is geared towards queer clientele. 

How Much Does Queer Couples Center Cost?

There is no per-session pricing listing on the site, which again, is off-putting if you’re a potential therapy seeker interested in its services. 

The only way to find out anything about how much services might cost at QCC is to actually begin the intake process. Once you do, you’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire and in that questionnaire, you’ll read that you, as the therapy seeker, are expected to have at least $2,000 on hand to begin therapy with QCC. You’ll also be asked whether or not you have this amount accessible right now for your “investment” in therapy. 

One of our subject matter experts on this project, Amy Marschall, PsyD, clinical psychologist and author, says that “[this] wording could come across to clients as blaming, like the client isn't worthy of help if they do not happen to have $2,000 free at the moment they seek care.” 

$2,000 is also incredibly expensive.

“I don't think the average person has $2,000 set aside when signing up for therapy, including the average LGBTQIA+ person,” Dr. Marschall says. “I know therapy costs money, but this seems like a very large barrier to beginning care.”  

Nicholas Hardy, PhD, LCSW, agrees. “This amount far exceeds the cost of most individual sessions, regardless of location in the United States,” he says. He says he considers the pricing plan more on par with executive business coaching—for whom the primary clientele could be expected to include executives and entrepreneurs—than online therapy. 

Does Queer Couples Center Accept Insurance? 

Queer Couples Center does not accept any insurance plans. It is not in-network with any insurance providers, and it will not bill on your behalf. Expect to pay the full cost out of pocket, especially since most insurance providers do not reimburse couples therapy. 

Navigating Queer Couples Center’s Website

The Queer Couples Center homepage is stark; the first thing you see against a plain white background is “Welcome to the Queer Couples Center Online” with a large YouTube video below (featuring the founder) explaining the virtual sessions. 

QCC homepage

The website isn’t the easiest to read. Once you scroll down, all print is in a small font. That said, it’s easy to get started with QCC because the “Schedule An Appointment” icon lower on the page is large and prominent. That icon, when clicked, takes you to the beginning of an online questionnaire. 

QCC page

The clients shown on the QCC website appear diverse, but in reality its services would not be viable for most of the people represented there due to its upfront costs.

There are links to many different social media profiles, but the company has never posted on most of them. Its Twitter profile has seven followers, and though the profile was created in 2018, it has no posts; Facebook has just over 300 followers and occasional posts; and its Instagram and YouTube accounts both have zero followers and zero posts. 

Signing Up for Therapy at Queer Couples Center

Signing up for therapy is not quick, nor does it mean you will be able to receive therapy with the company. First, the site requires you to watch a video by the founder about how wonderful QCC's services are. 

founder

Then, you fill out a lengthy application, and in doing so are told repeatedly that the company won’t accept all potential patients and you need to plead your case for why it should select you. This process is highly unusual. 

Questions2

“It is not a common practice for therapy services to ask a client why they should be considered for services,” Dr. Hardy tells us. He says this switches focus away from client needs, and notes that “this question invokes an exclusive feel, whereby services are reserved for a select group of individuals.” 

Dr. Marschall agrees. She says she has never heard of a therapy service asking why they should consider someone as a client.

"The question as it's worded reads like a job interview or college application,” she says, “and doesn't feel appropriate for someone seeking a therapeutic relationship.”

Prospective patients are also not given any information in advance about Queer Couples Center’s therapists. There is no mention of who they are on the website, and the online questionnaire ends with you scheduling a Zoom interview—it’s not clear with whom—to discuss your therapy needs, after which the service will decide if it wants to accept you as a patient. 

For anyone new to therapy, this could feel nerve-wracking because it presents therapy as a privilege a person has to be worthy to receive. Even as someone who is a therapy veteran, I found myself taken aback and insulted by this questionnaire and method of vetting potential clients. 

Nowhere on the site can you find out who the therapists are that could work with you. After filling out the long intake form, I asked my editors to stop the process prior to the Zoom interview because of how abnormal it is to be interviewed to gain access therapy.  

Q22

They agreed to my request, which I appreciated. The experience of potentially being rejected from therapy sounded like a terrible one: no one wants to bare their soul about why they want professional mental health assistance, only to be told they didn’t make the cut.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Queer Couples Center?

There is no way to directly schedule a therapy session through Queer Couples Center. Your only option is to fill out the lengthy questionnaire and then schedule a Zoom interview in the hopes that it will accept you as a client. 

Only 22% of respondents thought that this website was very easy to navigate, and 11% found it difficult or very difficult. There’s no information on the website about missed appointments or canceling sessions.

Once in therapy, barely over one-third of respondents had all of their needs met, and less than one-third had most of them met. Only one-third of people surveyed said that Queer Couples Center met all of their needs, less than one-quarter said they reached their therapeutic goals, and one in every seven respondents said that QCC therapists did not have the needed experience to serve them.  

Switching Therapists

There is no information on the website about switching therapists. Since you don’t have the option to look any up prior to the Zoom interview, you don’t have any way of knowing if you will want to work with the provider QCC gives them—and that’s if the company accepts you as a client, which it repeatedly states it may not. 

None of our respondents successfully switched to a different therapist at this company.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

I was not able to try therapy with Queer Couples Center due to their discriminatory selection process. The tone of the questions I had to answer in the application was off-putting at best, and insulting at worst. 

Both of our subject matter experts agreed that the entire screening process is odd. “These questions carry a tone that implies that the primary focus is about the client’s ability to financially cover treatment,” Dr. Hardy says, and also notes that “when you lead with questions like this, it can turn away clients who are in need of support, but may be limited financially.” 

Our user survey results didn’t suggest users who did get selected were happy with the quality of care, either. 

Therapist qualifications were not well-regarded by users, with one in every seven participants not feeling their therapist was qualified to serve them with the needed experience or expertise. In addition, 39% of users rated the therapists somewhere between fair and terrible, with 13% of that being in the “terrible/unprofessional” ranking. 

Additionally, 12% found the diversity of therapists available to be terrible, and 16% would not recommend trying to find a therapist through this site at all. Only 27% would recommend it to a friend; 16% rated the services overall as average and 10% rated it as poor (which was far higher than the 3% average across all 54 other companies we reviewed).

Privacy Policies

As of the writing of this review, the privacy policy on the Queer Couples Center website is a broken link, which is incredibly alarming because it’s impossible for users to know what the company does to protect its clients' private data or whether it shares it with third parties.

This is another serious red flag. 

Queer Couples Center vs. Its Competitors

There are many online therapy providers that do not require an upfront investment of thousands of dollars, and that serve the LGBTQIA+ population without making potential clients fill out an application about why they are worthy of therapy. 

Many LGBTQ+ centers offer sliding scale, or even free, therapy to queer couples, and some offer it virtually. For individuals in California, which is the primary audience for QCC, one option includes Affordable Therapy, which offers statewide telehealth assistance. Pride Counseling also serves LGBTQ+ users in all 50 states and offers a monthly subscription. 

If you are looking for couples therapy, options that do not specialize in the LGBTQ+ population but do well at serving them may be a better bet. 

Couples Therapy Inc. has a better overall satisfaction rate, and over 70% of users found the website easy or very easy to navigate, compared to only 22% of users of Queer Couples Center. Forty-nine percent of Couples Therapy Inc. clients met all their therapeutic goals or no longer felt they needed therapy, and over 70% rated their therapist’s qualifications as excellent or very good.

For example, 41% of respondents said they were very likely to recommend Couples Therapy Inc. to a friend, while only 29% of users of Queer Couples Center would. Therapist diversity also scored better for Couples Therapy Inc., with two thirds of users considering it excellent or very good; Queer Couples Center had only 40% of respondents landing in those two categories, and far more in the terrible category, at 12% versus Couples Therapy Inc. at only 4%. With more qualified therapists and a more diverse pool of providers able to better meet client therapeutic goals, Couples Therapy Inc. fared better overall even without a specific LGBTQ+ focus. 

Final Verdict

We do not recommend Queer Couples Center for therapy due to its discriminatory and unusual intake process. In addition, the patients we surveyed appear to have been predominantly underwhelmed with its services, with only a quarter of respondents considering it excellent, and one seventh considering it “terrible.” “The language on its intake forms does not create a welcoming feel, particularly for someone who is going to counseling for the first time,” says Dr. Hardy. 

Dr. Marschall agrees and states that “The wording of these questions gives me pause so I would want to investigate their business practices further before sending potential clients their way.” As a potential patient, I found the intake process to be insulting and condescending, and I would not refer anyone I know who was looking for therapy to this site. 

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 signup and therapist matching processes, therapist qualifications, types of therapy offered, the service's quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, average cost and value for money, whether it accepts insurance, how easy it is to change therapists, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood that clients would recommend them.

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 Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, & The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Discrimination in America: Experiences and views of LGBTQ Americans.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.

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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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.

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