Top 7 Free Online Counseling Services

  Thursday, March 4, 2021

People are beginning to have a better understanding of the benefits of therapy. Mental health is becoming a much larger conversation with today's challenges. People face all kinds of issues, and many need help but don't know where to get it. There are many reasons you might look for a therapist, but sometimes you need help in an emergency, or you might feel anxiety having an in-person therapist. 

The good news is if you find that you need a therapist right away or that you don't want to go to an in-person clinic, you can seek online therapy. There are platforms where therapists and psychiatrists can help you through digital means like text, phone, or video chat. 

Users on these sites will sign up and will also answer questions about their situation. From there, the site will identify the kind of treatment and therapist the user needs and assign a way for the therapist and the user to begin working together. These sites aim to help those with busy schedules or who need therapy during an emergency like panic or anxiety attacks.

Online therapy also takes away the stress of commuting and meeting with your therapist at a clinic. You can get the help you need from the comfort of your home at a time that is convenient for you. In some cases, patients have found that they prefer online therapy compared to in-person therapy sessions.  

There are many online therapy platforms for you. Our top seven list ranking considers each site's technological innovation for e-counseling, modes of therapy, and therapist experience. You will find various kinds of treatments are available on most sites, and you can use this list to find the best online therapy for you. 

1. JournalOwl

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Journaling is fully integrated with online counseling 
  • Works with your busy schedule 
  • Military-grade security and opt-in anonymity for sensitive discussions 
  • Therapists offer free 3 touchpoint introductory 

Cons:

  • Responses can take up to 48 hours
  • Health insurance not accepted

JournalOwl TouchPoints is the best platform for busy professionals looking for online therapy or counseling services. JournalOwl began as a platform for people to develop better journaling habits through a free online journal. Now it has evolved into a platform for innovative mental health and wellness coaching. 

The site hosts therapists, health coaches, and psychotherapists who sign up with JournalOwl to reach a growing network of professionals facing anxiety, work stress, family dysfunction, addiction, and depression. Journalers on the site can connect to this network of coaches in their free time. Journal Owl is flexible, so it can help those with demanding schedules. 

With JournalOwl, you don't need your therapist to be there with you to get help. You can record a video, send that video and then wait for your therapist's response in the form of video, text, or audio, which will come within 48 hours. 

Many Journal Owl therapists give you a free two-week trial with three touchpoints. On JournalOwl, a touchpoint is a closed-loop communication. An example of this is sending a therapist your video, and your therapist responds to that video. That call and answer interaction is one touchpoint. Recorded videos on JournalOWL are up to 10 minutes.  

To begin with JournalOwl, you first sign up and identify a therapist who specializes in the care that you need and then connect with them. JournalOwl will ask you to give a quick introduction video about yourself and the challenge you are facing. 

Your therapist will analyze your situation and then provide you with advice in either video or written form. From there, you'll continue sending videos to address your needs. 

2. BetterHelp.com

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Various therapies available
  • A+ Rating by Better Business Bureau
  • Competitive pricing 

Cons:

  • Hard to cancel 
  • Cumbersome user-experience 

BetterHelp's is another option for online counseling. The counselors at BetterHelp commit to accessible, affordable, and convenient care for anyone's challenges. Their counselors have accredited psychologists, family therapists, clinical social workers, and board-licensed counselors. These are professionals with the training and accreditation to help people facing all kinds of struggles. 

On their website, BetterHelp is proud of its results. Their study shows 98% of their visitors have made significant mental health progress, and 94% of visitors would rather use BetterHelp than use face-to-face therapy. 

BetterHelp's team is a group of "passionate and compassionate professionals". These are people who want to help people live better and happier lives. You can start at BetterHelp by completing the initial questionnaire on their site. This will give insight into the kind of care you're looking for and the kind of therapist you need. From there, the site will pair you with a therapist and begin treatment. 

You can communicate with your therapist through messaging, chat, phone, and video. They make it easy for you to get help wherever you are or whenever you need it. You can message your therapist at any time without the need to schedule. For live sessions, you can schedule a time with your therapist from your phone or computer. 

3. TalkSpace.com

 

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Unlimited messaging 
  • Teen counseling, LGBTQ+, family therapy
  • Over 3,000 trained therapists 

Cons:

  • Sessions don't start immediately 
  • Does not suit every budget 

Currently, Talkspace has several different kinds of therapists, from teens, family, and LGBTQ+. Priding itself as a place for users to "improve your mental health most conveniently and affordably", Talkspace is a platform with a loyal user and therapist base. 

Talkspace uses a system where you can "start your journey in just 4 easy steps". These steps are assessing, finding a therapist, picking a support level, and then beginning therapy. You begin with a 60-second assessment. When you first sign up, a matching therapist will match you with a therapist who suits your needs. You can always change your therapist if you find that you don't like your match. 

Therapy on Talkspace is flexible and takes place in audio, video, and text messaging. They hope to "eliminate commute time and scheduling hassles" with their service for online counseling. Talkspace has a user-friendly HIPAA-compliant app that patients can use for easy access. 

Users can save money on mental health support and also switch between therapists at no extra cost. Talkspace users find that 80% of users feel Talkspace is more effective than traditional therapy. 

4. Online-Therapy.com

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Free Trial Therapy
  • Affordable $32 and $64 per week cost
  • Live video, phone, text

Cons:

  • Not 24/7

 

Since 2009, Online-therapy has focused on being "the complete online therapy toolbox there is." Inside this toolbox is Online-therapy's access to therapy, live sessions, worksheets, journal, and even yoga. They hope to provide patients with any support they might need whenever they might need it. 

Using a unique system, Online-therapy allows new users like you to get mental health services for free initially. That means you can get free online counseling in the beginning. It is a way for you to get to know how the website works and the quality of the help you'll be getting. Once you sign up, the site will pair you with a personal therapist who will be with you from start to finish. 

Online-therapy utilizes a cognitive behavioral therapy approach to help its users. CBT is a proven method to help with anxiety and depression by identifying negative thought patterns and then creating more constructive ones in their place. Online-therapy professionals carry certifications for "top-quality therapy" as they use well-researched treatments based on CBT. 

Online-therapy aims to be available at any time with their "therapy on your terms". This is therapy in phone, text, and live video chat. They aim to help you feel their support in between sessions and during your hectic schedule. 

5. AmWell

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • 24/7 on-demand therapy
  • Telemedicine included
  • Psychiatry 

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only real-time phone and video sessions 

 

AmWell provides both telemedicine, online counseling services, and psychiatry services.  Their licensed therapists are "on call to provide treatment whenever you need help". Amwell is a trusted source of licensed and effective online therapy with over 3 million Amwell App downloads and a 97% client satisfaction rating. 

Users know Amwell for its affordability. They have some of the lowest rates you will find for the best online therapy. Amwell gives you the option for their psychiatrists to work alongside your primary care physician for your condition. This is so they can prescribe you the correct medication if you need it. You can ensure that your full range of health works cooperatively with your mental health. 

Along with the available personal therapists, Amwell has numerous resources for people struggling with particular conditions. People with anxiety disorders, insomnia, PTSD, and cognitive disorders can find the help they need with their researched articles. 

Here, you can talk to licensed professional counselors and social workers about whatever you need. In their aim to provide an authentic therapy experience, their live video sessions last 45 minutes at a time. Their therapist specializes in helping patients with anxiety, depression, stress, OCD, insomnia, and panic attacks. 

6. 7 Cups

 

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Over 300,000 "listeners" for free
  • $150 per month 
  • Teen listeners 

Cons:

  • Does not accept health insurance 

 

Founder of 7 Cups Glen Moriarty founded this site after he noticed that being heard is crucial for everyone, but not everyone has someone to talk to. 7 Cups focuses on being a place for online counseling with "180 professional therapists and 300,000 trained listeners". With a focus on making listeners available, users have 24/7 access to volunteer listeners for emotional support over online chat. 

Users have access to scheduled group sessions, one-on-one sessions, and chats for support. 7 Cups has a warm sense of community upon the platform, so users belong to a group of supportive people who want to help each other. 

New users can count on 7 Cups for professional, affordable, convenient, and effective mental health support on 7 Cups. With their online therapy, you will work with a therapist throughout the week instead of just one session at a time. You get help through their HIPAA-supported app, so you can message Monday-Friday anytime. 

Teens, LGBTQ+, those with depression, anxiety, or people with relationship challenges can find help on 7 Cups. It is a site where "you'll be heard and cared for." Users can find support anonymously and completely free and have access to professional therapists with one monthly payment. You will find some of the cheapest online counseling on 7 Cups. 

7. Ginger

 

 

 

 

 

Pros:

  • Budget option 
  • 24/7 mental health support
  • Same day therapy sessions 

Cons: 

  • Best plans are more expensive 
  • Does not accept health insurance 

 

Ginger regards itself as an "on-demand mental health support, day or night". Users can quickly speak with behavioral health coaches or meet with licensed therapists and psychiatrists in just a few days. 

Ginger allows people with any kind of budget to have access to their services. This flexibility comes from their price range options for other access. Since Ginger also has an app, they make their services available anywhere, any time. Ginger may be the best online counseling for veterans. 

You'll find support for a variety of different challenges. These include stress, depression, and relationship challenges. The Ginger workers commit to offering the kind of care that you need no matter what type of care you need. The website's virtual presence lets its members access to care in the mode that best suits them like text, activities, and video. 

Ginger's unique approach is a focus on "collaborative care". When you're at Ginger, you have coaches and therapists who are available to you for help. The entire staff who works with you will also work together to help you, ensuring that your care is a team approach to help you with your challenges. 

It's essential to care for your mental health, but you don't need the stress of meeting with a therapist in person. With these platforms, you can find the care that you need from your home. Of all the media, we recommend JournalOwl as the best online counseling and therapy platform. 

Health Disclaimer

JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.

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