Amwell Online Couples Counseling Review

Telemedicine platform Amwell provides virtual, comprehensive couples therapy from the comfort of your home.

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Amwell

Whether you’re a seasoned married couple or newly wed, Amwell’s couples therapists can help  you to grow or change together with conveniently scheduled appointments from the comfort of home. Amwell can pair couples with a qualified therapist to work on a variety of relationship issues.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Comprehensive therapist list
  • Licensed couples counselors available
  • Flexible scheduling including night and weekends 
  • Therapists available when traveling from your home state
  • “Test My Computer” feature ensures technology works before session
  • Therapist proactive about scheduling future sessions 
  • Conflict-resolution skill building

Cons

  • Appointment scheduling on the therapist’s side not always reliable 
  • Video cuts off exactly at the 45-minute mark
  • No subscription, bundles, or discounts offered 
  • Difficult to reach customer service via telephone

Couples counseling, or couples therapy, may help you improve your relationship with your romantic partner by addressing your issues with an unbiased third party. Yet the average couple waits up to six years to address concerns in their marriage or partnership, even when they face infidelity, infertility, financial stress, and communication issues. 

The need for couples therapy has also recently increased. “Demand has increased significantly since COVID began,” explains psychologist Amy Marschall, PsyD, one of the subject matter experts we worked with to evaluate the company. “Many couples struggled with the increased stress during lockdowns or quarantines.”

As one of the most well-known telemedicine companies in the U.S,, Amwell is in the unique position to be able to help address this increase in demand because it can offer couples counseling—in addition to other mental health services—to people in all 50 states. In order to evaluate if it’s succeeding, we surveyed 105 users of the company, spoke with experts, and my husband and I also tried Amwell’s couples therapy service ourselves. Here’s how Amwell compares to other companies offering couples and marriage counseling.

What Is Amwell?

Amwell, formerly known as American Well, is a telemedicine company based in Boston. The company was founded in June 2006 by brothers Ido and Roy Schoenberg, who both attended medical school in Israel. 

Currently, Amwell has roughly 800 employees and operates across all 50 states. It treats common non-emergency and urgent care conditions for a set fee per visit. In July 2021, Amwell acquired SilverCloud Health and began offering mental health services, and in May 2022 it rolled out a new comprehensive behavioral health care program, which includes couples counseling.

What Services Does Amwell Offer?

Amwell offers a number of different video therapy session models, including individual therapy, couples therapy, teen counseling, group therapy, medication management, psychiatry, nutritional care, menopause counseling, urgent care for adults and children, and breastfeeding support. 

As noted above, we tested its couples counseling for the purposes of this review. 

Among its therapeutic models are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). All sessions are 45 minutes long and only available if you live within the U.S.

Who Is Amwell For?

There is not one model of what an ideal therapy seeker needs to be for Amwell. In fact, one of Amwell’s core values is to understand and support clients and all of their unique needs. 

That being said, there are some situations where telehealth is not appropriate, and in-person medical assistance should be sought. Amwell is not for those experiencing:

  • Domestic violence
  • Neurological symptoms, suggesting a stroke
  • Dizziness or loss of consciousness
  • Patients who want to hurt themselves (suicidality)
  • Patients who want to hurt others (homicidality)
  • Schizophrenia or hallucinations

How Much Does Amwell Cost?

At Amwell, session costs depend on your therapist’s qualifications. Sessions with a licensed therapist who has a master's degree are $109 each, whereas sessions with a licensed therapist who has a doctoral degree cost $129.

Psychiatry appointments cost $279 for the first visit and $109 for each follow-up. These are set fees and there is no option to purchase a subscription or multiple-session package, nor is there an option to receive a discount for prepaid sessions. 

Patients are charged upfront for each session and they receive an email automatically upon payment.

Does Amwell Take Insurance?

Amwell does take insurance, though it is important to note that most insurance providers do not cover couples or marriage counseling. So make sure to check your plan to see if this service is covered.

That said, you will likely be able to use your insurance for Amwell’s medical services or individual therapy. At this time, Amwell also accepts all HSA and FSA plans.

Navigating Amwell’s Website and App

The Amwell website is not difficult to navigate. However, the site does feel rather outdated, style-wise, and could use an update. When you type “Amwell” into your browser, you are taken to its business homepage. From there, you'll need to move to the upper right-hand corner and tap where it says “For Patients.” 

Amwell Bussiness page

Once there, you will be greeted with a page that outlines how the service works and the conditions providers treat. You will also see a login and sign-up button in the upper right-hand corner. 

Our survey respondents agreed that navigating the website was user-friendly — 73% said it was very easy or easy. 

Amwell

Amwell

There’s a link to a page on couples counseling and how it works right in the middle of the homepage. 

As you scroll down, you’ll see information about pricing, online therapy, and the various insurance plans Amwell accepts. This information may feel overwhelming due to its volume. At the bottom of the page, there is a button that encourages users to “Continue,” which takes you through the sign-up process. While there is also a sign-up button in the top right corner of the homepage, neither is very prominent, and they could be easily missed. 

Amwell

Amwell

Does Amwell Have an App?

Yes, Amwell does have an app that is available to download on iOS and Android. Once downloaded, in the app you can either log in or sign up. The processes are the same as those on the website, giving you the opportunity to schedule appointments, read blog resources, and connect to board-certified professionals. Sessions can also be conducted via the app. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Amwell?

Signing up for Amwell’s service is quick and easy, and you can choose your own therapist when you sign up for an appointment. On a desktop browser, click on “For Patients" in the top right corner of Amwell's site. 

Sign up for Amwell

Fill out the prompt form and let Amwell know if you have insurance; you don’t need to have insurance to use its services. It will also ask you if you have a service key (some employers and health insurance plans offer discounts/service keys to activate a new service—this is optional).

Amwell

Amwell

Create an account by entering basic contact information like your location, date of birth, gender, email address, and full name. Insurance or credit card information is required at this point.

You will then be taken to a page where you can choose the type of service you are interested in and what area of specialty you want to try (couples therapy, urgent care, healthy living, etc.). You can then browse the list of providers and make an appointment. If you require additional support, there’s a service number you can call for help.

Amwell

Amwell

How Do You Choose a Therapist at Amwell?

There are many providers to pick from, but the list you see will vary depending on the type of therapy and specialty you noted you were interested in during sign-up. To schedule an appointment, you can select the date or provider you want (if you have already worked with one and want to continue that relationship). If you choose by date, within seconds, Amwell will curate a list of available providers licensed to work in your location.

There are further options to filter by provider gender, language, and specialty. You can also browse the providers’ biographies, which house key information like the languages they speak, years of experience, areas of expertise, schooling, and other professional credentials and biographical information. Next to each provider’s name there is a list of their available time slots. Simply select the one that works with your schedule, and your appointment is booked. 

The price of each session is listed under the provider’s name. For instance, next to my provider’s name it said: “Visit Cost: $109 (may be covered by insurance).” That way, there are no surprises when you are billed for the visit. 

You can also engage with your therapist in advance of your sessions. I had initially opted for one provider because she seemed like she had the background I was looking for to help with my personal circumstances. However, I messaged her to confirm that she is available to help couples, and she immediately responded that she was not and gave me advice on some providers who I could schedule with instead. 

Though Amwell advertises it provides couples therapy, it’s trickier to find a suitable couples’ therapist than individual therapists on the portal. One tip is to read each biography to make sure that your provider specializes in this area. Another tip is to look for providers who have a LMFT credential (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist). 

Only 4% of survey respondents reported using Amwell for relationship issues/counseling—this may be attributed to the fact that it is unclear how many Amwell therapists specialize in couples therapy and whether they have enough availability. 

Overall, the majority of the providers are highly educated and have a number of years of experience. They are professional, quick to respond, and helpful. Our survey respondents agreed about the quality of the therapists—48% said they were very satisfied with the therapist options available and 28% said they were satisfied with the quality of therapists.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Amwell?

Once you schedule an appointment, you receive an email notification about the date and cost. You also receive an email notification reminding you of your upcoming appointment and a link to the virtual session. Amwell recommends that you log in 10 to 15 minutes in advance in case there are any technical issues. I received a text an hour before my appointments reminding me about my visit and providing a link to where I could log in for my session. 

Messaging Your Therapist

You can communicate with your therapist via the internal messaging program on Amwell’s site or app. In a few circumstances, my therapist and I communicated over text messages because of a unique billing and scheduling issue. However, this is not the norm as Amwell does not offer the option of text-based therapy. Furthermore, this level of communication may not be comfortable for everyone, though I always have access to my personal phone so I didn’t mind. 

Video Sessions

The video sessions are automatically programmed to last 45 minutes. There is a reminder during the session that the session will end, but otherwise there is no way to continue the session once the timer runs out. 

Once, my session automatically closed while I was mid-way through a conversation with my therapist, so she reached out to me via text message to send me reading materials to consider for our next appointment. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session at Amwell?

You can reschedule a session up to 24 hours before your scheduled appointment at no cost. This is easily done by going into the app or website and making the changes. If you don’t reschedule, or if you miss the session without advance notice, you may be charged $40.

How Do I Switch Therapists at Amwell?

Since patients are scheduling appointments at their own discretion, it is easy to change therapists. The process is the same as selecting a therapist initially. Your original therapist is not notified that you went with someone else, so there is no need to worry about awkwardness or feel like your rapport will be negatively impacted. 

Personally, I read through the biographies of a few therapists I was originally presented with, then ultimately decided to stick with my original therapist. I’d developed a good rapport with my first therapist and wanted continuity. 

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at Amwell

There is also no formal process to end therapy at Amwell; you can choose to stop or resume at any time. Since there are no bundle options available, you are only paying for the sessions you want. 

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

I was satisfied with the quality of care I received at Amwell.  My husband and I tried Amwell’s couples therapy services to help us process our upcoming move abroad and found it really helpful because we were able to proactively plan steps related to finances, our living situations, and managing our careers with the help of our therapist. 

I found the therapist because she was a licensed couples counselor and had many years of experience. After speaking with her for a few sessions, I thought that she really zoned in on my needs, tried to understand each of our personalities, and offered tangible advice where both he and I could come up with our own solutions. She was kind, attentive, and asked thought-provoking questions that neither my husband nor I had ever considered, and she was very objective.

“A good couples therapist does not take sides and does not encourage the couple to take sides,” explains licensed master social worker Hannah Owens. ”Making sure that each party is heard and understood (by both their partner and the therapist) is necessary in couples counseling, and a good couples therapist makes sure the conversation is equal and balanced,” she says. “This might look like engaging the more quiet partner in a session, facilitating the conversation more carefully, or spending alternating sessions focusing on one partner and then the other.”

The quality of the therapists at Amwell is one reason why its popularity remains high. Of our survey respondents, 76% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options provided. Only 4% reported being unsatisfied. 

Additionally, the therapist qualifications were particularly noteworthy: 72% of survey respondents said their therapist’s qualifications were excellent or very good. 

Privacy Policies at Amwell 

There has not been any indication that Amwell has used people’s confidential information in a negative or unscrupulous way. I was not concerned about how Amwell protects my private information and I did not feel, at any point, that there was going to be a breach of my information. 

Amwell’s privacy policy clearly lays out how the company handles information that is provided to it directly, information it collects, and information obtained from healthcare providers. The way it uses this information is also specified. Amwell will only use the information in the following ways: to provide and improve services; contact you; fulfill your requests for products, services, and information; and send you information about additional clinical services or general wellness from Amwell or on behalf of its affiliates and trusted third-party partners.

It may also use your information to analyze the use of the services and user data to understand and improve services, customize the content you see when you use the services, conduct research using your information, which may be subject to your separate written authorization, and prevent potentially prohibited or illegal activities and otherwise in accordance with its terms of use.

Amwell vs. Its Competitors

As a large telehealth platform, Amwell’s biggest competitor is Teladoc. Teladoc is also a telemedicine and virtual healthcare company. However, in terms of therapist diversity, Amwell is not as well-regarded as Teladoc, according to our survey respondents. Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents rated the therapist diversity at Teladoc as good, compared to 25% for Amwell. Additionally, Teladoc scored higher on helping individuals deal with their relationship issues compared to Amwell—11% of survey respondents used Teladoc services for relationship or marriage issues, whereas only 4% used Amwell. 

That’s not to say that Amwell cannot successfully be used for couples therapy.

“Looking at their site, Amwell offers couples therapy with qualified professionals using telehealth services,” says Dr. Marschall. “I don't see anything that makes it really stand out from other platforms, but I also don't see any red flags that make me concerned they are offering a service they're unqualified to perform. I would say they seem like a solid option for couples seeking couples therapy through telehealth.” 

If you are interested in flexible couples therapy sessions without committing to a bundle pack beforehand, then Amwell is a great service to try. Forty-four percent of survey respondents agreed and said they are very likely to recommend Amwell to their family and friends. Note that 47% of survey respondents also said they’re very likely to recommend Teladoc.  

Overall, 35% of users rated Amwell’s services as excellent compared to a close 32% for Teladoc. Despite the competition, 48% of survey respondents for both Amwell and Teladoc reported that all of their needs were met after using each of the respective services.

Final Verdict

I’m a firm believer that couples, even newlyweds like myself, can benefit from therapy to learn how to strengthen their relationships. This is a service I would consider using for a longer period because it’s helpful to have an objective party provide perspective and tips. I also appreciated carving out time each week to discuss certain areas of our marriage that we otherwise feel we are too busy to talk about. I would especially recommend this platform for couples who don’t have time for in-person appointments and are looking to have candid conversations with a qualified professional who can help them improve their relationship. That said, this service might not work for couples who prefer to work on their communication in person and value an appointment that is scheduled at the same time each week. 

Amwell is also a great resource for medication management; in fact, 14% of survey respondents opted for this service for that reason. Psychiatrists can treat anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and PTSD, among other conditions. Of course, psychiatric appointments are for individuals, not couples, but a couples counselor may suggest one of you see a psychiatrist separately, and you can do that without signing up for a separate online psychiatry service.

Overall, I had a great experience with Amwell’s therapy services, and enjoyed the flexibility in scheduling sessions. My only criticism is that the website looks outdated. In order to attract more millennial and Gen Z individuals, the user design experience could be improved. 

Key Specs

  • Price: $109–$129
  • Is Insurance Accepted? Yes
  • Types of Therapy Offered: Individual, couples, family, kids, teen, group, medication management, psychiatry, substance use treatment, eating disorder treatment, and more.
  • Communication Options: Live video therapy only
  • HIPAA Compliant? Yes
  • Is There an App? Yes
  • Accepts HSA or FSA? Yes
  • Prescriptions Available? Yes. All doctors on Amwell can provide a prescription in accordance with state laws and when medically appropriate. Some states require a video visit. To find out if you can be prescribed medication via telephone call 1-844-SEE-DOCS.
  • Billing Cadence: Pay per session

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. 

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