Verywell Mind's 2021 Online Therapy Awards

Our first annual 2021 Online Therapy Awards celebrate the top platforms for mental health support. We’ve researched the entire landscape of online therapy providers and—through our expert-driven methodology—selected winners who made the most significant impact across 20 important categories during a time when our mental health has been challenged unlike ever before.

Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind

Technology has helped drive change in how people access therapy, removing challenging barriers for those seeking support. With no prior comprehensive reviews of the space, Verywell Mind wants to fill that void so that people can find services that will work best for their individual situation.

— Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind

How We Chose the Winners

To ensure the utmost integrity in our selection process, we surveyed 33 online therapy services about their offerings and polled 3,500 real users about their experiences.

Using this comprehensive research, we created a thorough rating system to score each service across 300 metrics in order to determine the winners in each of the 20 categories. Within our expert-driven review methodology, we rated everything from cost and payment flexibility to cultural competency and therapist availability.

This evaluation was led by Amy Morin, LCSW, Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind, and Rachel Berman, SVP and GM, in partnership with Mary Tatum, MS, LMHC, who helped to review each online therapy service with a professional, objective eye.

Meet the Experts

To highlight the winners and the importance of these online therapy categories, we tapped into the mental health professionals and board-certified physicians on our Review Board. Learn more about the experts who review our content to make sure it is accurate, trustworthy, high-quality, and inclusive.

Online Therapy Panel of Judges

Meet the Winners

With the most robust review of the entire online therapy landscape, we are pleased to present the winners of Verywell Mind’s first-ever Online Therapy Awards.

Online Therapy Awards Large

Best Large Service

BetterHelp logo

What to Know: For many people, it's comforting to know that an online therapy provider has helped millions of others and continues to grow. If you're in search of a platform that offers a variety of therapists to choose from, offers treatment for many conditions and issues, and is supported by an expansive clientele, BetterHelp is our top pick.

Why We Chose It: BetterHelp continues to be one of the most well-known, easy-to-use, and popular online therapy companies today. Their team of counselors are psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors—all of whom have a master's or doctorate degree and possess at least three years and 1,000 hours of experience as mental health professionals. While they don't have psychiatrists on their team, they partner with a company called Brightside that allows you to see a doctor remotely and receive a prescription for depression or anxiety.

Compared to its biggest competitors, BetterHelp has higher overall customer satisfaction ratings with the users we surveyed: 72% rated the services they received through BetterHelp as either very good or excellent, and 91% stated they were either likely or very likely to recommend BetterHelp to someone like them.

Online Therapy Awards Small Service

Best Small Service

E-Therapy Cafe Logo

What to Know: Despite a humble clientele and team of therapists, you won't have to compromise on the care you receive from E-Therapy Cafe. As a smaller-sized boutique therapy service, E-Therapy Cafe has emphasized quality client-therapist relationships where each client can get more personalized care.

Why We Chose It: What sets E-Therapy Cafe apart from some of its competitors is that it offers not only e-therapy services but also wedding planning coaching and prescriptions for emotional support animals. Among its e-therapy services, they offer relationship and marriage counseling, couples counseling, college counseling, LGBT counseling, and military counseling. Sessions with your therapist can take on the form of live video, instant texts, and e-journal (a cross between an online journal entry and a letter to your therapist)—perfect for those with busy schedules or unconventional working hours.

Albeit a smaller team compared to its competitors, 98% of users said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options available, and 83% said they found the therapists’ qualifications to be either very good or excellent. 93% percent of users also told us they were likely or very likely to be working with an E-Therapy Cafe coach or therapist a year from now.

Online Therapy Awards Patient Satisfaction

Best for Patient Satisfaction

Cerebral logo

What to Know: During a time when the number of online therapy services has exploded, with several large and small companies competing to offer the best virtual therapy, user feedback is more important than ever. From our reader survey, one provider stood out with the best user reviews.

Why We Chose It: With three different membership plans that include medication and care counseling, medication and therapy, or therapy alone, Cerebral gives users the option to chat with their therapist, get monthly prescribed medication delivered straight to their door, and/or receive regular progress checks and evidence-based behavioral health counseling all in one place. The rates are affordable, starting at $7/week for the first month and capping at $76/week for their most expensive plan for the following months. Specializing in treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, and ADHD, Cerebral offers a free emotional assessment that will determine a treatment plan with your prescribing provider through a phone or video call to get started.

Cerebral ranked the highest overall in customer satisfaction: 83% of the users we surveyed said the service was excellent or very good. Of those, 53% said it was excellent. Caring for your mental health shouldn't feel complicated. That's why Cerebral is well-loved by its members, and that's why it stands out as the best service for patient satisfaction.

Online Therapy Awards Accessibility

Best Accessibility

Talkspace logo

What to Know: One of the more attractive elements of online therapy is the ability to access a therapist at any time or place. That said, some online options are more accessible than others. When it comes to therapy, it's important for services to have reliable 24/7 availability, a wide variety of scheduling options, and provide as many different communication options as possible, because you don't always know how or when you'll need some help.

Why We Chose It: If you are looking for a therapy service that will be there whenever and however you need it, Talkspace is our top choice. One of the first and largest online therapy providers available, Talkspace therapists are available for text messaging, phone calls, and video chats, and users have reported very good experiences with all of these options.

As a large company serving millions of users since its launch in 2012, Talkspace is geared toward helping the most amount of people possible, including those in marginalized communities or dealing with any number of mental health struggles.

Online Therapy Awards Flexibility

Best Flexibility

Dr. On Demand logo

What to Know: Not everybody can afford the time or financial commitment of a steady therapy schedule, and that's OK. If you need a bit more wiggle room in your wallet or calendar, Doctor on Demand is our top pick for payment flexibility. With an attractive pay-per-session model, you get full control over how much to spend and how often you see your therapist.

Why We Chose It: Doctor on Demand offers urgent care, preventive health, and chronic care services in addition to mental health providers, making it an appealing all-around telehealth provider.

Not only do customers appreciate this service's payment flexibility, but 75% rated it very good or excellent for overall satisfaction, 86% thought highly of their therapist's qualifications, and 90% said they would recommend it. "Flexible" doesn't have to mean "cheap" or "low-quality," and that's why Doctor on Demand makes our list.

Online Therapy Awards Financial Value

Best Financial Value

Cerebral logo

What to Know: The notion of getting our money's worth is never easy when it comes to healthcare, an often costly investment we have to make to feel our best. Luckily, you can have the best of both worlds with Cerebral. Our pick for best patient satisfaction also offers a variety of services and payment plans depending on your needs.

Why We Chose It: Topping our rubric with the highest rating of 4.4 stars, Cerebral stands out as a top option when it comes to getting bang for your buck. The attractive starting cost of $20 per week for a subscription is made sweeter by the fact that you can start your first month for $7 per week, and includes regular assessments, video/phone appointments with your prescriber, medication management, and medication delivery. You also have the option to choose a medication and therapy plan, or a therapy plan alone—both of which are also quite affordable compared to many online services.

Cerebral's care team of licensed prescribers offers treatment for more than just anxiety and depression. Not to mention, Cerebral is in-network with several insurance companies, making it a great and affordable option for a variety of people.

Online Therapy Awards Low-Cost

Best Low-Cost

Wellnite logo

What to Know: Individuals seeking treatment for mental health issues may find cost to be one of the biggest barriers to getting started, but money should never be the difference between receiving and not receiving critical care. Especially for those without health insurance, cost is one of the most important factors in choosing an online therapy provider. That's why Wellnite tops the list for 2021.

Why We Chose It:
With packages as low as $75 a month, Wellnite has the lowest cost among the services we reviewed that provide treatment for depression and anxiety. This includes weekly mental health consultations, monthly access to doctor support, and a prescription if your provider thinks it's appropriate for your situation.

Wellnite champions the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), one of the most effective therapeutic methods for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. While it lacks some of the offerings of larger and more expensive services, Wellnite is a strong option if you're looking for a treatment that won't break the bank.

Akeem Marsh, MD

While the need for mental health services exists in all segments of the population, it is not readily available for all. Therefore the importance of income-accessible services cannot be overstated. High-quality, low-cost options do exist out there.

— Akeem Marsh, MD
Online Therapy Family

Best for Family Therapy

Rethink My Therapy Logo

What to Know: Even the most tight-knit families have challenges, often complicated by circumstances facing different individuals at vastly different stages of life. No matter what yours is dealing with, there are online therapy options for you. When seeking therapy for family issues, it's critical that the service has licensed therapists qualified to treat various mental health issues, including addiction, child behavioral issues, grief, and more.

Why We Chose It:
With 24/7 availability and licensed professionals such as behavioral therapists and psychiatrists, ReThink My Therapy structures their family plans to provide optimal access to care. This service also provides learning modules to help parents learn more about some of the struggles their kids might be dealing with, such as sleep difficulties, ADHD, and bullying.

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

If the family unit feels ruptured or broken in some way due to ongoing parent-child conflict, communication breakdowns, trauma, or a change in the family system due to divorce, death, or separation, families may find greater benefit from participating in family therapy.

— Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP
Online Therapy Awards Group Therapy

Best for Group Therapy

Circles logo

What to Know: Therapy is often thought of as a private, individual experience. In many cases, however, talking things out with a group of people who relate to your experience can be remarkably healing. It also reassures people they aren't alone. Support groups can help with grief, relationship struggles, stress, and much more more.

There are currently only a small handful of companies offering this kind of group support, so it was critical in our review to hold them to a high standard. Circles is a standout in the world of online group therapy and takes the top spot for 2021.

Why We Chose It: The numbers speak for themselves, with 80% of users rating their experience with Circles as very good or excellent. With a motto of "Share. Not Shame", Circles seeks to provide a safe space for meaningful group interaction and support. Guided by professional therapists, users can expect weekly video sessions, group chats, and exercises to help facilitate the healing process. The company also offers a free trial period to see if it feels like a good fit. Especially at a time when in-person group interactions have been unavailable, Circles provides an invaluable service to those in need.

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE

Group therapy has been shown to be a very effective and critically important psychotherapeutic tool, and can be a very helpful way for people to achieve their [recovery] goals.

— John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE
Online Therapy Awards Stress and Anxiety

Best for Stress and Anxiety

Online-Therapy.com logo

What to Know: Whether we're stressed, anxious, or a combination of both, understanding how we're feeling is the first step toward managing how we care for our mental health. While managing our mental health can largely involve talking through our feelings, it also involves other activities that enrich our souls. Luckily, online-therapy.com offers all of that in one place.

Why We Chose It: Online-Therapy.com is far from your average online therapy service. Not only do you get traditional talk therapy from your personal therapist through video, phone, or text, you're also guided to supplement your journey through reading material, worksheets, an easy-to-use journal, an activity plan, and yoga and meditation videos. This "happiness toolkit" gives users the tools and support they need to be happier and naturally sets the service apart from other online therapy providers.

Their operation is based on proven, well-researched treatments drawn from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you challenge and overcome your dysfunctional thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Online-Therapy.com treats a number of areas, including agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), health anxiety, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic attacks, social anxiety, speech anxiety, and more. Their holistic and hands-on approach to stress and anxiety puts them at the top of our list for this important category.

Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS

Although many therapists are trained to help individuals more generally, seeing an expert in this area can be very beneficial as they will use evidence-based treatments to help you better manage your stress and anxiety.

— Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS
Online Therapy Awards Depression

Best for Depression

Talkspace logo

What to Know: No two people are affected the same way when it comes to depression, but you don't have to go through it alone. By connecting with a licensed therapist on Talkspace, you will get practical guidance to feel happier, healthier, and more empowered every day with the same kinds of strategies you'd receive from an in-person therapist.

Why We Chose It: Talkspace was one of the first online therapy companies to hit the market back in 2012, and it's showed no signs of slowing down. Since then, it has expanded its services to offer psychiatric evaluation services, medication management, couples therapy, and teen therapy. It’s relatively affordable, thanks to its many plans; it’s easy to use; and it has a large, diverse staff of licensed therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, and nurses, increasing the chances you’ll find someone you want to work with.

It’s also a good choice for people who prefer to write about (or text) how they’re feeling through unlimited messaging, especially when they're dealing with uncomfortable feelings. While they offer video and phone sessions, you can also feel safe texting with your therapist at any time of day in your own "private room." If you are struggling with depression—whether it’s something you’ve battled your whole life, or are facing it for the first time, work through it with a dedicated therapist at Talkspace.

Akeem Marsh, MD

Untreated depression is a very common cause of morbidity, missed workdays, and missed opportunities. It does not have to be this way as It is very treatable, and with adequate access to treatment, we can reduce unnecessary suffering.

— Akeem Marsh, MD
Online Therapy Awards Relationships

Best for Relationships

Regain logo

What to Know: If you and your partner are having difficulties, communication issues are often a major blocker toward getting back on the right track. Fortunately, with the help of a trained relationship counselor such as a licensed marriage and family therapist, partners committed to resolving their problems can find their way back to a happy and healthy connection.

Why We Chose It: ReGain, which is owned by Betterhelp—our winner for Best Large Service—features licensed therapists with thousands of hours of experience, all of whom specialize in couples treatment. Users can match with a therapist themselves, incorporate their partner later in the process, or work with their partner and therapist together from the beginning.

While they encourage video sessions, therapists are also available via text, online chat, phone, or even voice memo. Users reported being likely to remain with their therapist after 12 months, and it's easy to see why. Whether you're dealing with intimacy issues, communication struggles, or personal concerns in your relationship, ReGain therapists are trained and ready to support you for as long as you need.

Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS

Although general therapy can still be helpful, there are specific skills and tools that a relationship expert can provide which will help you better manage the issues you may be having, specifically with your partner and/or in relationships.

— Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS
Online Therapy Awards Psychiatry

Best for Psychiatry

Teladoc logo

What to Know: Showing up to therapy is a brave first step, but if you're looking to take the next step in your mental health journey, Teladoc is your best bet. While a therapist might be limited to counseling, Teladoc's team of psychiatrists can not only counsel but also diagnose and prescribe medication for emotional, mental, behavioral, and developmental issues.

Why We Chose It: If you're looking for around-the-clock access to a psychiatrist who can treat your depression, anxiety, stress, grief, and many other conditions, you're in good hands with Teladoc—which is available across all 50 states. Through its intuitive app and website, you can work with a board-certified psychiatrist to get an expert review of your existing mental health diagnosis and a treatment plan that will help you feel better when you need to.

After completing a brief medical history questionnaire, you can choose the expert who will be the best fit for you, select preferred dates/times that work with your schedule, and sync up with each other over phone or video. Best of all, Teladoc's service is well-received among its users, with a whopping 95% likely or very likely to recommend.

Online Therapy Awards Teens

Best for Teens

Teen Counseling logo

What to Know: Teenagers face an entirely different set of stressors than they did as children, and it can be tough for parents to manage this transition. With over 9,000 licensed, accredited, and experienced therapists on standby for both teens and the parents who need advice on how to help them, Teen Counseling sets the bar for the best online therapy for teens.

Why We Chose It: Whether you or your teen is dealing with depression, anxiety, relationships, bullying, trauma, or other issues, Teen Counseling offers the same professionalism and quality you would expect from in-office therapy, but with the ability to communicate how and when you want.

Teen Counseling provides two separate, private session environments to the parent and the teen with completely confidential counseling (unless there is a serious risk) and four options to connect with your therapist. The platform allows you to exchange messages with your therapist directly, speak to them over the phone, chat with them live, or connect over video conferencing. All teens can benefit from having professional, affordable, and discreet therapy at their fingertips, which is why Teen Counseling gets our vote.

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

With the last year and a half being an especially big challenge for teens during a time in their life when social and peer support are significant, a qualified mental health professional can be a needed and healthy escape for them.

— Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP
Online Therapy Awards Peer Support

Best for Peer Support

Peer Collective logo

What to Know: Everyone needs someone they can talk to at times that’s not always a best friend, partner, or family member. So, if you want to laugh, cry, or air out your grievances (judgment-free) with someone who gets it, Peer Collective is our number one choice for peer support.

Why We Chose It: Somewhere between the intersection of a trusted friend and a traditional therapist lies a Peer Collective peer counselor—a highly vetted one at that. In fact, only the top 3% of Peer Collective's applicants have the unique privilege of becoming a peer counselor, which speaks to the rigorous testing they do to accurately measure which types of people will be amazingly empathetic to your needs. Upon answering a quick six-question assessment, you can choose to book a 30- or 60-minute phone or video call with a peer counselor of your choice.

Peer Collective stands firm in the belief that emotional support shouldn't be a luxury, and at an attractive pay-per-session rate of $14–$28, it proves to be an affordable alternative to therapy. Not to mention, 99.2% of people who’ve used Peer Collective said the experience was “very useful” or “extremely useful." Peer Collective wins us over for affordable, quality, and convenient peer support.

Online Therapy Awards New Parents

Best for New Parents

Amwell logo

What to Know: Becoming a parent can be one of the most stressful times in your life. Luckily, Amwell’s therapists are available nationwide to help you manage stress, anxiety, or depression—before, during, and after pregnancy.

Why We Chose It: From parenting stress to postpartum anxiety, Amwell offers reliable and convenient therapy visits with licensed and highly trained therapists—but it doesn't end there. In addition to talk therapy, Amwell also offers a number of services, like urgent care, pregnancy and postpartum care and nutrition, pediatrics, psychiatry, and more. Appointments can be scheduled online with one of their physicians or psychiatrists, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For new parents especially, we know price is a big factor when it comes to care and counseling. Pregnancy-related counseling visits cost $99 (master’s-level provider) or $110 (doctoral-level provider) and usually just a co-pay or meeting a deductible if your employer or insurance company offers a telehealth benefit. With an extensive list of service and treatment options at prices that edge out its competitors, Amwell comes out on top as our favorite option for new parents.

Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP

It’s OK to love being a new parent and strongly dislike it at the same time. Therapy provides that platform to express these seemingly conflicting internal messages.

— Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP
Online Therapy Awards BIPOC

Best for BIPOC

Ayana Therapy logo

What to Know: Finding a therapist who can understand your unique cultural struggles and lived experiences can be the difference between therapy you tolerate and therapy you look forward to every week. Ayana Therapy helps bridge the gap between minority groups or marginalized peoples and quality therapists who share and understand their values and background.

Why We Chose It: Ayana Therapy's mission is to serve communities—namely BIPOC—that have traditionally been underserved by traditional therapy, and they achieve it well. Backed by a diverse group of licensed therapists who come from different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and cultures, Ayana Therapy takes great care to match you with your ideal provider based on your answers from a culturally sensitive questionnaire. Ayana Therapy believes that "finding the ideal therapist is a right, not a privilege," and that sentiment clearly resonates in their affordable, accessible, and inclusive business model.

Online Therapy Awards LGBTQ

Best for LGBTQ+

Pride Counseling logo

What to Know: Despite increasing awareness and acceptance of gender and sexual diversity, discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community still exists. In turn, they suffer from mental health issues at a disproportionately high rate. Pride Counseling makes help accessible and accepting of everyone, regardless of their gender, orientation, and identity, with licensed therapists who specialize in online counseling for the LGBTQ+ community.

Why We Chose It: Pride Counseling delivers on what it promises: private, affordable counseling from licensed, board-accredited professionals who support equality and offer a safe space to every identity. With a subscription package that gives you the option of scheduling a live video or phone session, plus unlimited messaging, it's also a breeze to schedule a live session from your private portal at your convenience.

While you are initially matched to a therapist based on your background and the issues you're dealing with, you have the flexibility to switch to another therapist if it's not a perfect fit. With 83% of customers who said their therapist’s qualifications were excellent or very good and 94% who said they were very likely or likely to still see a therapist 12 months from now at Pride Counseling, the results speak for themselves.

Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS

It is important for individuals to have access to therapists who have experience and are familiar with the challenges that LGBTQ+ individuals may struggle with.

— Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS
Online Therapy Awards Christian

Best for Christians

Faithful Counseling logo

What to Know: By bringing together a network of professional counselors who are practicing Christians, Faithful Counseling seizes an unprecedented opportunity to help believers access the help they need, when, and how they can best receive it.

Why We Chose It: If you're looking to improve your life but prefer to seek guidance from a Christian perspective, Faithful Counseling is a solid bet. By combining Biblical wisdom with clinical expertise in mental health, their therapists will work to formulate actionable plans that best address the unique challenges their clients face with the goal of increasing psychological and spiritual wholeness. Faithful Counseling's therapists specialize in a wide variety of specific issues, such as stress, anxiety, relationships, parenting, depression, addictions, trauma, self-esteem, and more (though if you're seeking counseling on strictly spiritual issues, they recommend traditional pastoral counseling such as through a church).

Faithful Counseling also marks high in accessibility as it's set up to serve multiple states and offers the most communication options—with unlimited text messaging, phone, live chat, or video sessions. Not to mention, it's well-loved by its users, with 91% very likely or likely to recommend, and is ranked higher in value for money than others in the Christian counseling space.

Online Therapy Awards Alcohol Abuse

Best for Alcohol Abuse Services

Monument logo

What to Know: Specialized alcohol therapy from Monument helps you manage thoughts about alcohol, build healthier habits, and improve your overall mental health so that you're not simply quitting alcohol—you're putting it further and further down the list of things that are important to you.

Why We Chose It: Monument is designed to get meaningful results even if you’re short on time and don’t have the budget for expensive treatment programs or alcohol rehab. In addition to CBT-centered online alcohol therapy, their personalized treatment plan includes ongoing optional medical care, a 24/7 anonymous forum to connect with others navigating a similar journey, and therapist-moderated support groups for expert guidance and peer accountability.

After signing up for a plan, users can work with their Care Team to personalize their treatment roadmap—which helps you make positive changes on your own terms. Users can choose from a series of three subscription plans, depending on their preferred number of therapy sessions, or a free community membership which offers 24/7 access to the community forum and therapist-moderated support groups. Monument's innovative platform, community support, evidence-based tools, and personalized treatment options from quality healthcare providers makes this service our top pick for alcohol abuse services.

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE

People often try to cut back on their drinking by switching to drinks that contain less alcohol or following a rule that they won’t drink alone. If that doesn’t work, it may be critical to find a therapeutic option that will help them regain control.

— John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE

Illustrations by Catherine Song and Julie Bang