LifeStance Health Online Couples Counseling Review

Approachable therapy and psychiatric support available virtually or in-person

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LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health provides convenient and accessible couples counseling, as well as therapy and psychiatric services for adults, teens, children, and families. Initial appointments are easy to schedule online after browsing the company’s database of diverse clinicians—many of whom offer a wide range of appointment times to accommodate most schedules. However, while LifeStance prioritizes simplicity in its scheduling, its pricing and billing practices are another story, and can be both frustrating and confusing. 

Learn more about LifeStance Health online couples counseling.

Key Specs

  • Price: Varies by provider
  • Is Insurance Accepted? Yes
  • Types of Therapy Offered: Individual, couples, family, kids, teen, group, medication management, psychiatry, substance use treatment, eating disorder treatment
  • Communication Options: Email, live video, in-person
  • HIPAA Compliant? Yes
  • Is There an App? No
  • Accepts HSA or FSA? Yes
  • Prescriptions Available? Yes
  • Billing Cadence: Pay per session

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Simple, straightforward sign-up and scheduling 
  • Secure and HIPAA-compliant video chat
  • In-person and virtual sessions available
  • Low commitment required
  • Diverse clinician directory
  • Accepts most commercial insurance plans

Cons

  • Lack of openness around session fees
  • No online scheduling beyond the initial appointment

Living through a global health crisis has put marriages around the world under intense pressure. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic—when we grappled with lockdown orders, shuttered businesses, and homeschooling—34% of adults reported more marital stress, according to the American Family Survey. Across the pond, Stewart’s, the UK’s leading family law firm, saw an alarming 122% jump in requests for divorce consultations in the period between September and December 2020. 

To help offer support to struggling couples, companies like LifeStance Health are making telehealth relationship counseling accessible, approachable, and affordable. Employing licensed therapists across the country, LifeStance Health provides customized treatment to individual patients navigating a wide range of mental health conditions, as well as couples, group, and family therapy. To assess the company’s services, my partner and I underwent four weeks of online couples therapy. Our experience, combined with a survey we conducted of more than 100 LifeStance clients, offers an honest and comprehensive view into the way LifeStance provides mental health treatment and marriage support. 

What Is LifeStance Health?

Founded in 2017 by Danish Qureshi, Gwendolyn H. Booth, and Michael Lester, LifeStance Health is a for-profit telehealth company with offices across the country. Employing a network of psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and licensed therapists, LifeStance Health seeks to provide compassionate and approachable treatment—including medication management—to people of all ages. Appointments are readily available in virtual, in-person, or hybrid formats. 

LifeStance Health excels at providing compassionate care that meets the needs of its clientele. But the company falls short where financial aspects are concerned, with plenty of online complaints surrounding its secrecy around pricing and billing practices. 

What Services Does LifeStance Health Offer?

LifeStance Health offers individual therapy and psychiatric sessions for adults, teens, and children, as well as family therapy, group therapy, and couples counseling—which is the service we tested for this review. 

Experienced clinicians provide a range of treatment modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in both virtual and in-person settings. 

Each appointment is scheduled for 60 minutes and telehealth visits are conducted using a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform, allowing patients and providers to meet by video chat only. For psychiatric patients, medication management is available. 

Who Is LifeStance Health For?

LifeStance Health makes therapy available to all ages. However, patients must reside in one of the 32 states in which LifeStance practices. 

Couples therapy at LifeStance addresses a wide range of relationship issues including infidelity, anger, substance use, communication problems, and sexual difficulties. Individual therapy can help with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the company doesn’t just attend to patients with formal diagnoses. People struggling to manage stress, life transitions, imposter syndrome, low self-esteem, and more can find support here. 

For those interested in pursuing couples therapy, the number of qualified clinicians varies by state. 

For example, in Illinois, there are currently 55 available couples therapists, while in Florida, there are only 13. While the options may be slimmer depending on your location, rest assured that many of the therapists employed by LifeStance specialize in couples-specific therapy, such as emotionally focused therapy, narrative therapy, and solution-focused brief therapy. 

How Much Does LifeStance Health Cost?

The cost of therapy sessions through LifeStance Health depends upon your insurance coverage and the clinician, which is one of the more frustrating aspects of the company given that there is no standard fee scale. Clients pay for services per session, rather than by subscription. 

There are no pricing details available on the LifeStance website, and I wasn’t aware of the cost of my sessions until I was billed for them through the company’s patient portal. 

At this point, I discovered we were charged $150 per session, significantly more than the $60 to $90 range a notable competitor, ReGain, charges. 

Clients are responsible for the cost of treatment and any fees not covered by their insurance plans. 

Does LifeStance Health Take Insurance?

LifeStance Health accepts most commercial insurance plans. What’s more, for those interested in attending therapy online, many insurance companies have expanded coverage to include telehealth appointments as a result of the pandemic. But couples therapy may not be covered by insurance because very few plans think relationship therapy is medically necessary. Users should check with their insurance plan. 

In our user survey, 25% of participants cited insurance coverage as a deciding factor when seeking treatment—and 72% of them were satisfied that their treatment would be covered by their plan. While clients always have the option to self-pay, having health insurance cover even a portion of therapy costs may help make services more affordable for many.

Navigating the LifeStance Health Website 

The LifeStance Health homepage feels uniquely comforting. I chalk this up to a video montage featuring people from all walks of life taking a deep breath or smiling knowingly. 

Homepage

Featuring a diverse representation of its clientele, the homepage makes it clear that LifeStance therapy is for everyone. The site highlights the company’s mission statement to “help people lead healthier, more fulfilling lives by improving access to trusted, affordable, and personalized mental healthcare.”

Couple these friendly faces with muted tones and the overall effect of the homepage is warm, welcoming, and primed to put visitors at ease. 

How t worlks

The site is also simple, clean, and easy to navigate, displaying prominent buttons to begin the sign-up process by finding a provider. Want to check the company out on social media first? Scroll to the bottom of the site for links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

The LifeStance Health website offers a near comprehensive view of its practices (with the exception of its pricing structure). It provides a full list of services, mental health conditions the company treats, and a clinician directory. 

LS

Online visitors will also find plenty of supportive resources, such as a guide to finding the right therapist for you, a blog featuring expert insight, and an informative podcast that covers topics like gratitude and time management, while also diving into specific diagnoses. 

Unlike some of the other companies we reviewed, such as Talkspace, LifeStance Health does not have an accompanying app but instead uses an online patient portal to keep track of items like paperwork, upcoming appointments, and messaging. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at LifeStance Health?

Signing up for therapy through LifeStance Health is a simple and straightforward process. The website’s homepage highlights a “find a provider” button several times, which is the first step in the sign-up process. 

State Sign up

Once I clicked the provider button, I was prompted to select my home state to ensure LifeStance offered treatment in my area. From there, I was given the option to choose between booking an appointment online or by phone. Ever the introvert, I chose to access the online directory, which led me to ZocDoc, a third-party medical scheduler. 

Provider

There, I had the option to filter the clinician directory based on several factors, such as who accepted my insurance, their availability, treatment modalities, gender, languages spoken, and more. Each clinician’s entry includes their credentials, whether they provide telemedicine services, and a calendar of available appointments. 

In this process, I was never prompted for credit card information, though I did provide my insurance information to ensure a proper therapist match. I shared basic details about myself, including my name, birthdate, sex assigned at birth, and address, as well as my mental health history. 

Choosing a Therapist at LifeStance Health 

Choosing a therapist at LifeStance Health is as simple as browsing the clinician directory. Without filters applied, the search was overwhelming, presenting nearly 700 therapists, with plenty of diversity in terms of race, gender, age, and credentials (e.g., licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, and more). 

After filtering for therapists who accepted our insurance and offered couples counseling virtually, I narrowed my search down to 34 providers. From there, I browsed headshots and calendar availability to see who might have time for us in the next week. Once I settled on a provider and appointment slot that worked well for my partner and me to begin couples therapy, I selected the calendar spot and booked the appointment. 

I was able to schedule an appointment within a few days, and both my partner and I were confident we chose the right clinician for us. Similarly, of the patients we surveyed, 73% of LifeStance clients were able to find a therapist who met all or most of their needs. 

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at LifeStance Health?

After scheduling our initial appointment, I received an automated response from LifeStance explaining that our session would be confirmed after our therapist of choice was contacted. We were then sent an invitation to the patient portal and instructions for signing into our first session. Later that day, I received both an automated email and text message confirming our appointment. 

When it was time for our session, my partner and I clicked the link provided by LifeStance and were taken to an online waiting room. From there, we did a quick search for our therapist’s name and waited until she began our session and allowed us into the video chat. Connecting to our session via video chat went seamlessly—no glitches or anything else unexpected. 

Couples Therapy Sessions

Our first session was dedicated to introducing ourselves and establishing a rapport with our provider. She was warm and welcoming and asked open-ended questions that allowed us to paint a full picture of the life my partner and I have together. 

We shared information about our occupations, family, and relationship and learned more about our therapist’s treatment style. In our first session, we established a therapy goal. Our clinician explained that she wouldn’t be assigning homework outside of sessions, but would provide pertinent reading material by email. 

The duration of treatment depends upon your individual needs, though most often couples enroll in therapy short-term, signing up for anywhere between 12 and 24 sessions. 

“My goal as a couples therapist is for my clients to no longer need to see me,” says Leanna Stockard, LMFT, a clinician at LifeStance that I interviewed for this article. “We work on accomplishing their goals, and when they [have], the work with me concludes and the couple can move forward with the tools that they have developed.”

Messaging Your Therapist

During our intake process, my partner and I shared our email addresses with our therapist. Once she shared supplementary materials with us by email, we were able to respond to her message with follow-up questions and scheduling issues. We also had the option to message our provider through the patient portal, though email seemed easiest to us. 

In-Person Sessions

LifeStance Health offers a flexible therapy model, providing the option to switch between virtual and in-person visits depending on your needs and whether there’s a location near you. After you schedule your initial appointment online through the automated system, all subsequent sessions are booked directly through your clinician and you may choose the format that works best for you. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session at LifeStance Health?

LifeStance Health asks that you cancel or reschedule your appointment at least 48 hours beforehand, somewhat longer than similar online therapy services which just ask for 24 hours notice. To do so, you must contact the office by phone. The contact information is included in an automated confirmation email. Failure to cancel or reschedule your session within this timeframe results in a $50 no-show fee, which is added to your next bill. 

Switching Therapists at LifeStance Health

For the purposes of this review, my partner and I went through the process of switching therapists mid-treatment—even though we were overwhelmingly pleased with our initial choice. Similar to our experience, 47% of users we surveyed were pleased with their first choice of a clinician, and 24% switched therapists once before finding one they were satisfied with. 

To make a change in the clinician you see, you must call the intake office and allow an operator to guide you through the process of selecting a new therapist, based on your preferences. The office will cancel any upcoming appointments with your initial clinician and alert them to your decision to change providers, saving you from a potentially awkward conversation. 

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at LifeStance Health

After the initial sign-up process, you schedule subsequent sessions through your therapist. Pausing or canceling therapy at LifeStance Health is as simple as no longer scheduling appointments with your provider, or calling the office to cancel your upcoming session.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

As someone who has attended therapy sporadically for more than a decade, I found telehealth sessions remarkably similar to in-person visits. The clinicians we worked with over the course of our review period were kind, approachable, and welcoming. Both my partner and I felt at ease during our virtual appointments and found that building a trusting relationship with them came naturally.

“I have successfully worked with couples both online and in-person,” Stockard says of the quality of care therapists at LifeStance can provide virtually. “I started [working at LifeStance] right before the height of the pandemic, and so have had many of my clients begin with teletherapy work.” 

Though we only attended couples therapy for a short time, my partner and I gained meaningful insight into how our marriage works, including how to show our appreciation for one another and how to better communicate our needs. Had we continued our therapy sessions, I’m certain our therapists would have given us space to explore how to grow and strengthen our relationship.  

Overall, I appreciated the simplicity of signing up, finding a therapist, and accessing services through LifeStance. The company’s approach to therapy is straightforward and inviting, and both my partner and I found our clinicians to be insightful, compassionate, and non-judgmental. 

Our experience with LifeStance was similar to our surveyed users—90% said they thought their therapist’s qualifications were good to excellent, 75% of participants said they would recommend the company to a friend, and 88% reported they felt satisfied with their overall experience. Additionally, 51% of those surveyed said they were either likely or very likely to continue seeing their LifeStance therapist six months from now. 

While only 20% of surveyed users rated LifeStance’s customer service as excellent, I had no problem when I contacted my local office. My sole complaint with this company is its lack of transparency around pricing.  I found myself repeatedly frustrated by the company’s communication around pricing and billing. I would have appreciated a note about therapy fees in the FAQ, and perhaps even inclusion of rates within the clinician directory, so that I didn’t have to go through the entire sign-up and scheduling process before knowing what I’d be billed.

Privacy Policies at LifeStance Health

LifeStance states that its therapists prioritize patient privacy and always comply with HIPAA regulations. When accessing care virtually, the company uses a secure HIPAA-compliant platform that encrypts all data from your session, including video and audio.  

This means your information should only be used for the purposes of treatment. However, the company may use your basic personal information without your authorization for business purposes. 

LifeStance Health vs. Its Competitors 

Overall, 88% of users surveyed said LifeStance was an improvement over similar services they’d used in the past. Yet only 59% of users said they’d begin their search for a therapist again at LifeStance. 

When compared to Talkspace, a therapy company that also offers online couples counseling, LifeStance performed similarly in our survey. However, unlike LifeStance, Talkspace is a subscription service that costs between $69 to $129 per week, depending on the plan selected. While LifeStance only offers live video sessions, Talkspace users can choose between text-based messaging with unlimited access to therapists five days a week, live therapy with four chat, phone, or video-based appointments each month, or a combination of the two. 

Ninety percent of Talkspace users were satisfied with their experience overall compared to 88% of LifeStance users. Additionally, 50% of Talkspace users shared that they would likely continue working with their therapist after six months, while 51% of LifeStance users reported the same. When it came to finding qualified clinicians to meet their needs, 85% of Talkspace clients in our survey felt satisfied with the selection in their state, and 79% of LifeStance users reported the same. 

The biggest differentiating factor appears to be cost. Talkspace may be a more cost-effective option with subscription plans beginning at $69/week. Prices per 60-minute virtual therapy sessions vary by provider at LifeStance, but I was billed $150 for each of our appointments. 

Final Verdict

When first visiting the LifeStance Health homepage, I immediately responded to the company’s warm and welcoming messaging. It was clear to me that LifeStance Health prioritized offering non-judgmental treatment for people from all walks of life. After four weeks of couples counseling, I can say that both my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed our experience. 

We found the site and patient portal easy to navigate, our therapists were compassionate and offered invaluable insight, and dealing with customer service was never an issue. Like many of our surveyed users, I felt satisfied by my experience with LifeStance, and I would confidently recommend this platform to a friend in need of therapy services.

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 interviewed a therapist who currently works for this company and 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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