Online counseling, also known as online therapy, has rapidly become one of the most convenient and effective ways for both medical professionals and patients to interact with one another via the Internet. Currently, there are plenty of online counseling services for a wide variety of issues, such as relationship issues (i.e. online couples counseling) and mental health counseling for depression and/or anxiety. Whether you’re a counselor or a patient, there’s a handful of notable apps and sites to use at your disposal. We’ll be recommending some of the best services for you in this article, and provide insight to help choose the best service for any situation.
Why Online Counseling?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand why people choose online counseling over a face-to-face counseling session with their therapists. Some of the benefits to online counseling are included below:
- Convenience: Online counseling can be done from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Therefore, it’s an added benefit to both counselors and their patients, as neither of the parties have a requirement to travel and arrange to meet at a certain place.
- Extra privacy: Online counseling sessions provide extra privacy and confidentiality as you’re not talking to someone face-to-face, so you’ll be more comfortable and open to expressing your true feelings (as a patient). Sometimes, body language isn’t required in a therapy session!
- Affordability: More often than not, online counseling is a more cost-effective option when compared to face-to-face counseling sessions. This is due to factors such as commute time and waiting time; factors that are non-existent with online counseling.
Top online counseling apps, sites and programs
We’ve assembled a list of top counseling apps, sites and programs that are on the Internet currently. In no particular order, listed below are our recommendations:
BetterHelp is a website and smartphone platform for private online counseling sessions. BetterHelp matches people with counselors that specialize in a wide variety of issues - depression, stress, anxiety, addiction, relationships and more. The way it works is quite simple - fill out a questionnaire, get matched to one of the 3,000 therapists on BetterHelp, then communicate with your therapist through message and/or phone/video sessions. According to their website, the cost of counseling ranges from $40 to $70 per week, billed on a monthly basis. If you’re looking for an online counseling service for relationships, mental health and/or depression, this app may just be what you’re looking for!
Talkspace is a popular platform for online therapy, with over 3000 licensed therapists for their service (according to their website). Talkspace is compatible with Android, Mac, and PC devices - basically, everything. In addition, their online therapy sessions can be done through simple messaging, voice chat, or live video. Similar to BetterHelp, Talkspace works by getting an assessment, choosing the plan that suits your budget, then finding your match through their online platform. Once you’re matched with a therapist, you’ll be working with him/her every time you use their service (barring any issues, of course). The price for using their service can range from $49/week (Talkspace for teens) to $79/week (couples therapy) - rather affordable when you consider that you can use their service as much as you want with these plans.
On the other hand, if you’re a therapist, you can start your online practice on Talkspace if you meet their minimum requirements, including 3 years of direct clinical experience, professional malpractice liability insurance policy, and more.
Counselling Online is a government-funded program that is operated by Turning Point. Counselling Online is unique in that it’s a program funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health, and their online counseling services are free and available 24 hours a day. On this basis, Counselling Online’s primary service is online text-based counseling for people with alcohol and/or drug use issues. According to their website, they also offer support by email and an online community forum to connect with other people for support. For more information, we recommend visiting Turning Point’s website by clicking here.
If you’re interested in free online counseling services, relate.org is the site you’re looking for. Their website offers online live chat services with a trained relationship counselor, and according to their website, relationship therapy sessions typically last around 25 minutes on their site. Here are their opening hours (United Kingdom Time Zone):
- Monday: 9AM - 5PM; 7PM - 9PM
- Tuesday: 9AM - 5PM; 7PM - 9PM
- Wednesday: 9AM - 4PM; 7PM - 9PM
- Thursday: 9AM - 4PM; 7PM - 9PM
- Friday: 9AM - 3PM
- Sunday: 7PM - 9PM
*Closed all day on Saturdays.
5. 7 Cups
7 Cups is an online counseling service with a focus on people with emotional health concerns. Touting themselves as “The World’s largest Emotional Support System”, they’ve amassed over 32 million conversations on their platform, according to their homepage. What separates 7 Cups from the other services on this list is that in addition to connecting you with online counselors, they also match you with ‘listeners’, anonymous people who will chat with you about any of your problems. Connecting with listeners on 7 Cups is free, whereas support from an online therapist on their platform will cost you upwards of $33 / week.
Online counseling jobs from home
If you work in the medical field, there are plenty of online counseling jobs from home that are available for you. Excluding the apps and programs we’ve mentioned above, there are other services that may more strongly match your needs. For instance, if your schedule typically doesn’t allow for 30+ minute breaks, Callmart enables you to earn money even with just a few minutes of free time. All you’ve got to do is create a listing on the app, then share your listing’s URL with your patients and anyone in your social network! In addition, Callmart is an international app, so anyone around the world with access to your listing's URL can call you.
In either case, whether you’re a professional counselor or seeking a professional counselor’s help, there’s a diverse selection of online counseling apps and services that are readily available on the Internet, so make sure to do your due diligence before committing to a service!