Unlike text-based therapy services, video therapy is backed by peer-reviewed research and closely mimics an in-person appointment. We like that our top pick offers security and presents a unique interface that makes it feel most like a traditional therapy session. But we can’t guarantee you’ll find the right therapist through the service. We suggest that you use our recommendations of the best online therapy platforms to look for a therapist, but that you not consider them to be the final word on which service will provide you with the best health care.
Increased nationwide demand for mental health services has made finding an available licensed therapist more difficult, both online and in person. The New York Times has tips for both insured and uninsured individuals seeking a therapist, including soliciting personal referrals and asking about any therapy-related benefits associated with employee assistance programs.
This secure, accredited video therapy platform allows you to hide the view of your face on your own screen for an experience that’s most like an in-person conversation.
Amwell is accredited by URAC (formerly known as the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission). That recognition provides assurance that the company follows best practices for keeping your information safe and your sessions truly private (such as making video sessions accessible only to you and your therapist, and not recording them). The platform offers a surprisingly unique feature that makes video-based therapy on Amwell feel most like a traditional in-person session: You can hide the view of your face on your own screen during the appointment. And at either $109 or $129 per 45-minute session in out-of-pocket costs, Amwell’s pricing is on a par with that of most of the top competition in the online therapy field. It also accepts some insurance.
Teladoc offers a nationwide secure, HiTrust-certified video therapy platform, with more total therapist choices than Amwell, but it lacks URAC accreditation and the ability to hide your view of your own face on the screen.
Teladoc, offers 45-minute sessions for $99—the most affordable out-of-pocket costs among our picks. Plus, at the time of our research, Teladoc had quadruple the number of therapists to choose from than Amwell, nationwide. However, the site and corresponding phone app are slightly buggy, and Teladoc’s video platform doesn’t allow you to hide your view of your face on the screen. Teladoc accepts some insurance, but it lacks the URAC accreditation that Amwell and Doctor on Demand both have.
The MDLive platform is HiTrust certified, but it lacks the URAC accreditation that Amwell and Doctor on Demand have, plus the ability to hide your view of your own face on the screen (which Amwell offers).
MDLive’s out-of-pocket costs are about the same as Amwell’s, at $108 per 45-minute session. However, its platform is not accredited by URAC, and the site’s video platform doesn’t allow you to hide your view of your face on the screen. It has double the number of therapists that Amwell does (though fewer than Teladoc). Like Amwell and Teladoc, MDLive accepts some insurance.
Doctor On Demand by Included Health
The Doctor On Demand platform also meets our basic requirements of being secure and accredited, but sessions cost almost twice as much as they do through Amwell, and you can’t hide your view of your face on the screen.
Doctor On Demand, part of Included Health, is also URAC accredited. Its therapist roster is filled only with psychologists (Amwell, Teladoc, and MDLive all employ psychologists as well as other mental health professionals). But at $180 per 50-minute session, it’s the priciest service we tested (though like our other picks, Doctor On Demand accepts insurance). The site also offers fewer therapist choices than Amwell, Teladoc, and MDLive do, as it uses your computer’s location to determine therapist availability (thus limiting scheduling options). The platform lacks the ability to hide your view of your own face on screen. Like our other picks, Doctor On Demand accepts some insurance.