Two Chairs Online Therapy Review

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Two Chairs Online Therapy

Two Chairs Online Therapy

Two Chairs may not be a service for people in a rush because its personalized matching system can take a few weeks. However, if you can afford the wait, you’ll get the kind of personalized care that other larger companies simply cannot give. You’ll get matched with a therapist that meets your individualized needs, and the company’s Care Team can help you navigate your insurance and will even submit claims for you. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Personalized and individualized care provided

  • Accommodates most people’s schedules

  • Both in person and online therapy is available

  • Therapists are carefully matched to clients

  • Therapists create a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan

  • Measurement-based care

  • Tracks your progress throughout care

  • Flat rate fees available

  • Sign-up is hassle free

  • The website is easy to navigate

  • Accepts insurance and handles claims for you

Cons
  • Might take 2-4 weeks before you have your first appointment

  • Requires scheduling a matching appointment first

  • Higher price point for each session

  • No sliding scale options

  • There are cancellation fees

  • No free trial available

  • Not covered by all insurance plans

  • Only available to residents of California and Washington

Key Facts
Price
$205/ session
Is Insurance Accepted?
Yes
Type Of Therapy
Individual Therapy
Communication Options
Video Chat
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.

In order for therapy to be successful, you have to feel comfortable opening up to your therapist. You have to feel like they can relate to you in some ways, that they are empathetic towards you and that they respect you. That rapport is what makes you feel safe in session. In fact, studies have shown that the patient-therapist relationship is one of the most reliable predictors of whether therapy will be successful and lead to positive outcomes for the therapy seeker. Of course, it’s also important for a therapist to have the right specialization and background in order to be able to truly help you with your mental health. 

However, when it comes to choosing a therapist, it isn’t necessarily easy to find someone that’s the right fit on your own. If you go to a directory, you’re essentially picking a therapist based on what you can read in their bio and a photo. Insurance companies may give you referrals, but when you reach out, there is no guarantee they’re actually taking on new clients. Meanwhile, many large online therapy companies have developed algorithms to match you, but this too can feel impersonal. 

Two Chairs, however, is different. This company takes the time to meet with you and talk with you one-on-one before it matches you—which is why, it says, 98% of its clients find the right therapist on their first try. It takes all the guesswork out of finding the right therapist for you. Our survey results reported that 80% of users were satisfied within their first two matches. 

In order to write this review, we surveyed 105 people who had used Two Chairs (as well as 105 users at 54 other companies), sent the company a questionnaire, and I tested the service myself. Here is how it did compared to its competitors.

What Is Two Chairs?

In 2016, Alex Katz, a former business analyst, founded the online therapy Two Chairs to meet people’s online and in-person needs. He sought to create a better matching system after watching his partner struggle to find care that suited her needs—a process that she found overwhelming because she wasn't sure what kind of therapy she wanted, what therapists took insurance, or even how to find a therapist with availability. So, Two Chairs developed a matching process with a licensed therapist so that you can get the help you need by finding a therapist who can not only meet your scheduling needs but your desired therapeutic approach as well. 

Originally founded to serve the Bay Area exclusively, which is why we opted not to review the company last year, Two Chairs is a rapidly expanding business. It now currently serves the entire state of California, as well as Washington, and it has opened five in-person practices in San Jose, Oakland, Redwood City, and San Francisco.

As of September 2022, Two Chairs employs over 160 licensed therapists from a range of different clinical backgrounds and expertise. Many of the therapists also speak a number of different languages, including Spanish, French, German, and American Sign Language (ASL). Additionally, the company says that 45% of their therapists on staff are members of BIPOC communities.  It is worth noting, however, that only 10 therapists have bios publicly available on the website to review. 

What Services Does Two Chairs Offer?

Two Chairs only offers individual therapy to residents of California and Washington state. It serves adults and teens, but not young children. 

It does not offer couples therapy or group therapy. It also does not offer medication management or psychiatry services, but it does offer counseling for addiction and substance use treatment. 

Who Is Two Chairs for?

Unlike some of the other companies we looked at, Two Chairs doesn’t feature a list of mental health conditions that it treats or doesn’t treat. The only conditions mentioned by name on the website are anxiety, depression, and substance use, so it is not evident whether its therapists have the specialized experience to treat patients with other conditions as well, though the site does say that its therapists have over 90 areas of expertise, which implies that it does.

The website also says that its therapists practice over 32 different therapy modalities, including:

How Much Does Two Chairs Cost?

At Two Chairs, you pay per therapy session rather than one monthly subscription fee. This is similar to how most in-person therapy practices work, but it's different from some of the larger online therapy companies, such as Talkspace and BetterHelp.

However, the session rates at Two Chairs are very simple and straightforward: First, you pay $179 for your matching appointment, then you pay $209 for each visit with your matched therapist if you’re paying out-of-pocket. 

Nationally, therapy services range from $60-$250 for an hour-long session, so at $209 per session, Two Chairs is on the higher end of the national price point. 

Still, of the users we surveyed, 80% found this service to be somewhat affordable, with 49% of respondents using their insurance to pay for services. Twenty-eight percent of users found it very affordable and 8% found it not at all affordable. 

Does Two Chaire Take Insurance?

Two Chairs does accept insurance, which means that if you have one of their accepted plans, you will pay less than $209 for each session depending on the terms of your plan and whether the company is considered in-network or out-of-network. Mental health services are generally guaranteed since the passage of the Affordable Care Act within individual, small-group, and Medicaid expansion plans. 

Two Chairs will submit your insurance claim for you too so you don’t have to get reimbursed later, as is the case at some therapy companies. 

Does Two Chairs Offer Discounts

Two Chairs does not offer free trials or discounts. 

However, it will refund the cost of your matching appointment if you are unsatisfied with the Q&A conducted by the matching therapist. 

Navigating the Two Chairs Website

The first thing you see on the Two Chairs website is “Let us take all the guesswork out of therapy,” which is a reassuring first impression. And there is no “guesswork” when navigating the homepage either. 

Two Chairs Home Page

Two Chairs

Immediately, “Book an appointment” is visible in bold type, and if you click this button, you’ll be taken to a page where you can schedule your matching appointment.

Two Chairs Appointment Booking

Two Chairs

Across the top of the homepage, you can explore therapist bios, locations, pricing and insurance, and peruse its blog. On the Two Chairs blog, you will find a host of resources, largely written by its therapists. These blog posts include company news, mental health tips, relationships and family, personal stories, and industry insights. Occasionally, you will even find a few authored by Two Chairs founder and CEO, Alex Katz. 

If you scroll down the bold and vibrant homepage, you’ll learn more about Two Chairs’ matching process, statistics about its matching success rate (as well as more green buttons inviting you to book an appointment), and statistics about how the company claims it can help you “feel better faster.” This is where you’ll find its claim that 80% of its clients see a reduction in their anxiety and depression symptoms after just 12 weeks.

Two Chairs Matching Process

Two Chairs 

Towards the bottom of the page, you’ll learn a bit more about the company’s therapists, as well as a link to where therapists looking for employment can learn more about joining the company. 

Two Chairs

Two Chairs

Below that, you can find out more about what locations it offers for in-person, virtual, or hybrid therapy.

Two Chairs

Two Chairs

At the very bottom, just above the footer, you’ll find a client testimonial, another green button inviting you to “Book Appointment,” and six collapsable Frequently Asked Questions. 

Two Chairs

Two Chairs

In the footer of the page, you’ll find links to the company’s Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as a place to sign up for its newsletter. Two Chairs has 5,839 followers on Instagram with almost 500 posts, though on Facebook it has a much smaller following of 595. On these social platforms, you will find (almost daily) posts that include: clinician spotlights, mental health tips and quotes, and company background. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Two Chairs?

As mentioned above, to sign up for Two Chairs, you start by booking your matching appointment. 

Two Chairs

Two Chairs

The first step in this process is to give your credit card information—which is an unusual first step compared to some of the other online therapy companies we reviewed.

After the payment method is settled, you fill out a brief questionnaire about yourself where you’ll provide information about your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and age. You’ll also answer a series of questions about your reasons for seeking therapy. All in all, it takes less than 10 minutes to answer all the questions and schedule your matching appointment—the next step in the process. 

When I tried to do this, the first available appointment was nearly two weeks out, which surprised me. Had I been someone who was looking for immediate counseling, this would not have been ideal.

The Matching Appointment

The matching appointment takes place with a licensed therapist that has been trained in the company’s matching protocols to interview and match patients with other compatible therapists. 

The first 15 minutes of my matching appointment consisted of some basic housekeeping. This therapist confirmed my identity and location, read all necessary privacy and safety disclosures, verbally asked if I understood them as they were read, and asked for my consent to undergo therapy at the company. After that was done, I was asked why I was seeking therapy and what my goals were.

After determining what I wanted to work through, we discussed the how. I was asked to define how I wanted my sessions to go. Did I want the therapist to guide the session and keep me task-oriented or did I want an open and free model? Was I looking for homework between sessions? Was I open to suggestions and direction, or merely a listening ear? 

By the end of this hour-long session, the matching therapist asked me what my availability was for therapy sessions and how frequently I wanted to meet with my therapist once we were matched (they highly recommended once a week). Once all the information was gathered, I was informed that it could take up to two weeks for Two Chairs to match me with a therapist. When the matching appointment concluded,  I felt that the matching therapist took her time to get to know both my therapy needs and desired therapy style. This interaction boosted my confidence that the impending match would be carefully curated and assigned.

And sure enough, eleven days after my matching appointment, I was notified via email that I had matched with a therapist. The email included my proposed therapist's bio and a day/time for our weekly appointments. All I had to do to agree was click on the “confirm appointment” link in my email and my first session would take place in three days. Before confirming, I read my soon-to-be therapist’s bio and was pleased with our apparent compatibility. 

Unfortunately, the next day, the appointment that I confirmed was later canceled (due to a scheduling conflict), and I was rematched with another therapist, which pushed the start of my therapy by another week. Naturally, I found this delay frustrating, but I held out hope that my next therapist would also be carefully selected. When I was rematched, I felt that the new therapist was even more compatible than the prior selection. 

Our survey found that 66% of its users thought Two Chairs was helpful when connecting them with a therapist. 

Therapy Sessions at Two Chairs 

Therapy at Two Chairs can take place in-person, online, or in a hybrid model (i.e. sometimes you see them in person, sometimes you meet online).

I opted for online therapy for this review, and these sessions were conducted through Zoom. As a busy mom of three, this was perfect for my ever-changing needs. 

Live Video Sessions

Prior to each of my sessions with Two Chairs, I received a reminder email requesting appointment confirmation. 

On the day of the appointment, I received a “Pre-Session Wellness Survey.” This survey took about five minutes and consisted of some basic mental health questions that gaged general moods, emotions, and energy levels. My therapist later explained that this survey was used to track levels of depression and anxiety from appointment to appointment, in order to determine if I was experiencing fewer symptoms. This would also tell my therapist what techniques were working and which ones weren’t as much.

When I met with a therapist for my first session, I had to complete the same privacy and safety disclosures that I addressed during my matching appointment, which again took about 15 minutes. This felt a bit redundant. However, once we moved past this portion of the session, I felt that this therapist had been accurately matched when she proposed how we would function moving forward, and what her participation in our weekly sessions would be. 

The flow of each appointment was typically some Q&A, mindfulness discussion, and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). My therapist was always very professional, attentive, and compassionate, often asking thoughtful questions and responding insightfully. She appeared to be in a dedicated office that was free from interruption or distraction. In my matching appointment, I indicated that I would like some take-home work, so she would usually give me some CBT applications I could practice on my own. I found them to be very helpful at reinforcing practices that I hoped would better my mental health. 

In between appointments, if I had concerns or questions, I was able to email my therapist directly. I usually got a thoughtful, genuine, and personalized response that same business day. 

In-Person Sessions

At the moment, Two Chairs is primarily operating on a virtual basis. They have in-person clinics in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they transitioned to all virtual sessions, and have just begun to offer a small amount of in-person sessions again. Its website claims that it hopes to fully open its clinics in the Fall of 2022, but no specific date is mentioned. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session?

If you need to miss a session, Two Chairs requires a 48-hour advance notice of cancellation. If you do not give notice prior to the 48 hours, you will be charged the full amount of the missed session—a higher fee than missed session fees at other companies.

Switching Therapists

As I mentioned above, the first therapist that I was matched with was unable to meet with me, so I had to switch to another. This process was facilitated by my matching therapist—and the process of matching was a lot faster the second time. I was rematched and rescheduled for the following week. 

If you didn’t like the therapist you were matched with for any reason, you could request a switch too. This can be executed through your matching therapist. After meeting with your matching therapist, you are given their email so that you could contact them in the future, should you require a new or different therapist. Bear in mind, though, that it will take at least a week to get an appointment once you have been rematched. 

Pausing or Canceling Therapy

If you would like to cancel your therapy sessions altogether and stop therapy at Two Chairs, you need to email or call your therapist directly because they are responsible for removing you from their schedule. 

If you need to temporarily pause or cancel your appointments, you can do so directly through your therapist. They require 48 hours' notice–otherwise, you will be billed for the appointment. Typically, a therapist will allow for up to a three-week hiatus before they would permanently remove you from their schedule. 

This may be intimidating to some. Personally, I would rather deal with a customer service representative. 

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

Through this process, I met with two therapists: the matching therapist and the therapist that I matched with. In both cases, I found them to be empathetic and accommodating. They asked relevant questions that facilitated a productive conversation. I would have been happy continuing care with either of them, particularly the therapist I had sessions with. I think this speaks to the success of their matching service.

Dr. Amy Marschall, a clinical psychologist and one of the subject matter experts we worked with for this project, agrees. 

“Many people have to try out a few therapists before finding one who is the right fit, and many people don't even know where to start in determining whether a therapist's training, expertise, and personality are a good fit for them,” she explains. “I think [the matching appointment] could be more effective than a survey or algorithm because it can capture that personality factor.” 

In other words: Two Chairs matching therapists can get a far better sense of what you’re looking for in a therapist when they actually meet you, rather than just have you answer an online questionnaire. 

Two Chairs also has a high provider retention rate, which is a big draw because therapist turnover can disrupt care for therapy seekers and hinder progress. On Glassdoor, Two Chairs has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars. This score is comprised of 39 employee reviews. Additionally, Glassdoor gave Two Chairs 4.5 out of 5 stars for its diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

Our survey reflected that 85% of respondents gave Two Chairs a positive rating overall, 77% indicated that at least most of their needs had been met by their therapist, and 73% rated their therapist's qualifications as excellent or good. Our survey also found that only 42% of our participants thought Two Chairs is affordable, and only 59% found the website easy to navigate. 

Privacy Policies

Two Chairs takes privacy very seriously. At the beginning of my first two appointments, each therapist explained in great detail the confidentiality requirements and scenarios that would cause them to break that confidence. 

In addition, its website explains what personal information it gathers, how it can use this information, when it would disclose personal information, and how it handles data security. Two Chairs is HIPAA-compliant and follows the industry's best practice policies.  

Two Chairs vs. Its Competitors

Without a doubt, Two Chairs takes a lot longer to match you with your therapist than other therapy companies out there, including BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Brightside, where you can generally be matched in about 48 hours or so. All in all, it took me about three weeks before I finally had my first real therapy session after trying to sign up. 

Companies like BetterHelp and Talkspace also rely on surveys and algorithms to match you with a therapist, rather than a live session with a person. This is partly why the matching process takes much less time. This is a much less personalized approach to matching you with therapists though, and those companies don’t have the same success rate. Our survey reported that 69% of Two Chairs participants were satisfied with their first therapist, while BetterHelp only saw a 61% satisfaction rate. 

Therapy costs are also generally lower with subscription therapy companies. For example, when I checked, BetterHelp said its costs ranged from $60-$90 per week for a monthly subscription, depending on where you are, demand (they engage in surge pricing), and the therapist you’re matched with. However, BetterHelp does not accept health insurance, though Talkspace does for some types of therapy. 

Companies like BetterHelp, Brightside, and Talkspace also have far greater reach, serving all 50 states and beyond compared to the two that Two Chairs serves.

Still, I found Two Chairs more appealing than BetterHelp because of its live matching process. Speaking with a therapist, asking questions, and getting immediate answers is a personal touch that lacks in most modern technology matching systems. An organic conversation felt more personal than a sterile survey—and I was more confident in the match at the end. I was impressed by the attention to detail throughout the matching process and I felt like my match was the correct choice. The matching process made me feel further invested in the relationship with my therapist because of the confidence it gave me.

“[The matching service] makes it seem like Two Chairs has a truly holistic and systems-centered approach to therapy,” Hannah Owens, LMSW and the mental health editor at Verywell Mind, says. In other words: the company seems to believe that many things in a person’s life affect their mental health. 

“It’s also notable that their matching experts are licensed and are trained extensively in this kind of matching,” she adds. This only reinforces the company’s dedication to getting the match right in order to help you receive the quality care you deserve. 

My sentiments are shared by our users too. We found that 77% of respondents felt most of their needs were met by their Two Chairs therapist. 

Another similar therapy site is Kip Therapy. Kip therapy offers a $25 intake session with a Kip therapist that is 45 minutes in length. This is similar to Two Chair’s matching appointment, but it's much less expensive. Kip uses this service as a way to audit your potential therapist and complete your intake survey at the same time. Its users can filter their search based on cost, level of a therapist's qualifications, and other personal preferences. 

Kip’s session costs are based on tiers of qualifications. Tiers range from sessions with graduate interns all the way up to senior clinicians, and costs range from $95-$225 per session. You can find our full review of this service here.

While Kip’s session rates are lower than Two Chair’s, it is important to note that Kip does not accept medical insurance. 

Our survey results indicate that of the participants that had used other therapy companies, 85% found Two Chairs to be a better therapy service. 

Final Verdict

Two Chairs may not have the reach, the low price point, or the ability to match you with a therapist as quickly as some of the big companies out there, but in many ways, the company stands out against them because of how personalized its services are. I found the sign-up process at Two Chairs to be detail-oriented, reassuring, and intuitive. 

Admittedly, I have never sought therapy before trying Two Chairs, but that too is why I found the matching process so helpful. The matching session helped me as a newbie best decide what type of therapy was best suited for me and helped me think of things to look for in a therapist that I would never have looked for on my own. And I think the matching process worked.

My therapist and I share common goals, and I agree with the strategy she has developed in order to help me achieve these goals. I would definitely recommend and use Two Chairs again.

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.

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 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. BMC Psychology. "Trust and respect in the patient-clinician relationship: preliminary development of a new scale."

  2. The Commonwealth Fund. "How has it impacted mental health care?"

  3. Two Chairs. "FAQ."

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
and
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