Online-Therapy.com Online Therapy Review

An affordable, online CBT-based couples therapy platform

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Online-Therapy.com Review

Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com is a comprehensive online therapy platform for individuals and couples, specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The service offers great value, with experienced practitioners at an average per-session cost lower than many competing brands. Services are offered on a subscription basis and sessions are offered via voice, video, or text. Live sessions start at $80 per week for individuals and $110 a week for couples. 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Experienced, thoughtful therapists 
  • Comprehensive program, including live therapy, worksheets, and other helpful resources
  • Easy sign-up
  • Allows you to select your own therapist and easily switch at any time
  • 20% discount on first month
  • Affordably priced compared to similar services

Cons

  • No insurance accepted
  • Online only, no app
  • No group therapy
  • Not available for those under 18
  • No medication management
  • Cannot pay per session, subscription only
  • Limited choices in terms of therapists

Navigating mental health services, including therapy, can be overwhelming and expensive. With one out of every five adults in the U.S. experiencing a mental illness every year, making mental health care accessible and affordable is more important than ever, especially considering that only about half of those experiencing mental illness actually receive treatment. This is where Online-Therapy.com comes in.

Online-Therapy.com is a comprehensive online therapy program hoping to make services more attainable, convenient, and affordable for individuals and couples with various needs. The subscription-based program specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with live sessions available in the form of audio, video, or text. Patients can also choose from a variety of packages, and opt for weekly or biweekly sessions. The program also offers support on a daily basis with supplementary worksheets, yoga videos, a virtual journal, and the ability to message your therapist.

To understand how Online-Therapy.com works, I tested the couple’s counseling services and spoke to one of our subject matter experts, and we surveyed 105 Online-Therapy.com users.

What Is Online-Therapy.com?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of evidence-based psychological treatment that helps people learn how to identify destructive or disturbing thought patterns that negatively influence their behavior and emotions and offers tools on how to change it. There is ample evidence supporting CBT as an effective treatment for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and some personality disorders. 

There is also research supporting web-based CBT’s efficiency compared to face-to-face therapy sessions. Carl Nordstrom, who was looking for a new business venture after spending five years as an investment banker, was intrigued by this research. He founded Online-Therapy.com in 2009, with a clear mission statement: To make CBT affordable and accessible to people around the world. ”CBT is a highly structured, outcomes-based therapy modality,” explains subject matter expert Hannah Owens, LMSW, “which is a useful approach for someone wanting to address their ‘here-and-now’ problems in a focused way. Additionally,” she says, “CBT is especially conducive to virtual therapy because it is based in problem-solving and not deep emotional psychoanalysis, the latter of which might require more intensive in-person services to properly support the client.”

What Services Does Online-Therapy.com Offer?

Online-Therapy.com is a comprehensive program that offers both individual and couples therapy, in which couples receive treatment and use the virtual program together. Weekly or bi-weekly therapy sessions are typically 45 minutes long for both individual and couples services and can be conducted via text message, over the phone, or through live videos.

Membership is on a subscription basis and includes lots of extra resources, including an eight section CBT program with 25 worksheets and daily worksheet replies from your therapist. The monthly fee also includes yoga and meditation videos, a journal, activity plans, and tests, as well as unlimited messaging with your practitioner. 

Amy Marschall, PsyD, clinical psychologist and subject matter expert, explains that CBT often includes "homework" for clients, “basically ways for them to build skills in between sessions,” she says. “The ongoing feedback and additional resources are consistent with this approach.” This can help clients practice coping skills, build emotional regulation, and improve self-care, while creating opportunities for ongoing supportive services and resources beyond therapy sessions alone.

Who Is Online-Therapy.com For?

Online-Therapy.com is for individuals and couples over the age of 18 seeking CBT. According to our survey, 53% of users suffer from anxiety while another 52% suffer from depression.

The company's website states it treats the following conditions and issues:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Anger management
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Depression
  • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Health anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Weight problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Relationship issues
  • Social anxiety
  • Speech anxiety
  • Stress

How Much Does Online-Therapy.com Cost?

Online-Therapy.com offers four tiers of services. While it breaks the cost down by week, billing is done on a monthly basis. 

  • Basic: $50 a week ($200 a month); includes unlimited messaging with your therapist, the eight-section CBT program, and access to worksheets, yoga videos, the online journal, an activity plan, and daily replies from your therapist on worksheets on weekdays
  • Standard: $80 a week ($320 a month); includes one 45-minute counseling session per week conducted via video, text, or voice, in addition to everything included on the basic tier plan 
  • Premium: $110 a week ($440 a month); includes two 45-minute sessions per week conducted via video, text, or voice, as well as everything included in the basic program.
  • Couples therapy: $110 a week ($440 a month); includes one 45-minute couples therapy session per week conducted via video, text, or voice plus access for both of you to everything in the basic program. 

The cost of therapy typically ranges somewhere between $60 and $200 per session, depending on a variety of factors such as location, therapist credentials, and type of treatment. This puts Online-Therapy.com’s services on the lower end of mental health care costs. Most of the users we surveyed also found Online-Therapy.com affordable—16% identified it as very affordable, 35% as affordable, and 33% ranked it as somewhat affordable.

Does Online-Therapy.com Take Insurance?

Online-Therapy.com does not accept insurance. However, it does provide you with itemized receipts so you can request reimbursement or direct payment.

It also accepts health savings account (HSA) and/or flexible spending account (FSA) cards. 

Because the cost per session is significantly lower than many competitors, those without insurance may find Online-Therapy.com a great option. 

Does Online-Therapy.com Offer Discounts?

Online-Therapy.com offers a 20% discount on the first month of service. 

 Navigating the Online-Therapy.com Website

The Online-Therapy.com website is very easy to read and navigate. The landing page design is very clean, featuring cheery colors like green and orange, with easy-to-read white and black text.

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You are immediately given options to sign up or login with “get started” and “sign up” buttons, informed of the 20% discount off your first month, and presented with the chance to learn more about individual or couples therapy through buttons at the top of the page. 

As you scroll down the page, you are given access to reviews, a summary of services offered as part of the Online-Therapy.com plan, a quick “How am I doing?” test, and even an informational video with CBT consultant to Online-Therapy.com, Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, explaining the program. The website also provides a clear link to the help center, to answer any questions you might have. 

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Online-Therapy.com makes information easy to access with seven informational tabs in addition to “login” and “get started” links for those who want to bypass everything else. 

In the first tab, “How It Works,” the program is clearly and intricately detailed. Each component of the program is broken down and many frequently asked questions are answered, such as “How much time do I need to spend on the program?” and “For how long should I use your services?” 

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The “Couples” tab focuses on the couples therapy part of the program, clearly breaking down strategy and objectives, including identifying your problems, making long-term goals, breaking dysfunctional patterns, and providing a holistic toolbox with options like journaling, activity plans, and yoga classes. 

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The “Reviews” tab offers an extensive selection of user reviews. However, it should be noted that the only reviews featured are those with four out of five stars and above, which likely means that negative reviews have been filtered out. 

There is also a “Business” tab for employers who want to provide mental health services in the workplace and a “Therapist Jobs” tab for those seeking employment.

Finally, there is an “About” tab with other useful information, including FAQs, an in-depth explanation about CBT online, a link to a therapist search tool, yoga videos, the company’s blog (which includes many helpful mental health resources), and its terms of use and privacy policy.  

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The website is missing a diversity statement and overall inclusivity. The photos depict mostly White people with only a few people of color. 

Does Online-Therapy.com Have an App?

No, Online-Therapy.com does not have an app. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Online-Therapy.com?

Signing up for services at Online-Therapy.com is relatively easy and takes approximately 10 minutes. On the landing page and within every tab you are offered the option of signing up (“Get Started”). After clicking on this link, you are first asked whether you are signing up for couples therapy or individual. I clicked on couples. 

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Then, you are asked questions about what you want to work on; why you want to sign up; gender of therapist desired (male or female); and whether you want video, voice, or text therapy sessions. You are also asked for contact information for both yourself and your partner. There are no questions about desired racial, ethnic, cultural identity, religious beliefs, language, or sexual orientation of your therapist. That's unfortunate, because this information could ensure that you are assigned a therapist who is affirming of and informed about your identities—which is especially important for those in marginalized communities who have traditionally had problems finding the support they need from mental health professionals.

At this point you are informed that you are being matched with a therapist. However, before you get to see your match, you are brought to the package sign-up page and have to input your payment information and create a password.

After payment, you enter into a private portal with access to all included features and the ability to make appointments. If you sign up for couples counseling, your partner creates their own login and has access to the same features. 

Choosing a Therapist at Online-Therapy.com

After signing up, you are immediately given a limited number of therapist options. I was given 11 based on my location, one of which was specifically recommended. Other therapy programs, including Talkspace and BetterHelp, take 48 hours or longer to make a match or provide suggestions, making this program a better option for those who want to jump right into treatment. 

Online-Therapy.com offers impressively detailed bio pages for its therapists, including their credentials, license numbers and expiration dates, informational "About Me" text, reviews, and types of therapy offered (text, video, email, couples, individual, etc.).

While I wasn’t offered many options, I felt as though the selection was inclusive in terms of age, gender, and BIPOC identities. In terms of diversity, other users of Online-Therapy.com were also satisfied with options. Twenty-five percent of those we surveyed rated the diversity of therapists as excellent and 37% very good. However, 25% of those surveyed expressed a desire for more therapists from a similar background/culture as them, 10% desiring more therapists from the LGBTQIA+ community or with experience working with members of the community, and 14% wished there were more with specialized training, such as in eating disorders or addictions. 

One thing I did notice (as did 10% of those in our survey) is that most providers aren’t in your state. In fact, only one of the therapists lived in my state, with at least half located outside of the United States with credentials I wasn’t familiar with. Therapists can be licensed in multiple states, so this is only a problem if you are seeking in-person services with an out-of-state provider.

I was impressed with the therapist who I was matched with, a licensed professional counselor (LPC) with an impressive educational background and interesting work history.

After selecting the therapist but before I was able to make an appointment with them, my partner needed to fill out his initial sign-up information. When I finally was able to book an appointment, I noticed that I was only given the option to sign up for text sessions. I reached out to my assigned therapist to ask about this. Within a few hours she responded, explaining to me that those were the only type of sessions she was offering at the moment, but I was free to change therapists for voice or video sessions. This was a little frustrating, as her bio page clearly stated that she offered all types of sessions and I explicitly requested video sessions in my intake forms. 

Luckily, changing therapists at Online-Therapy.com is refreshingly easy (more on this below).

I ended up selecting a male therapist with over 30 years of experience. And, like other users, I was very happy with my selection. General provider satisfaction in our survey was high, with 83% of users very satisfied or satisfied with the therapists presented. 

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Online-Therapy.com?

After signing up, scheduling and attending sessions with your therapist is incredibly easy. After signing into your portal from a tablet, phone, or desktop, you are brought to a dashboard. From there you can access all of the Online-Therapy.com resources, schedule and attend appointments, or send messages to your therapist. 

 Messaging Your Therapist

Unlimited messaging with your therapist during business hours is included in your package. Messages can be sent and received through the portal. My therapist regularly sent messages about upcoming appointments and reminders to fill out recommended worksheets. Also, when I forgot to make an appointment for our third session, he reached out to make sure everything was okay. If you message a therapist over the weekend, you are reminded that they will not respond until Monday. 

Video Sessions

After booking my first appointment, I was sent a confirmation email, which included information on how to start my session. The session day and time were automatically saved to my calendar. Live video sessions are conducted in a virtual room accessible via an emailed link. You can also access the room directly by logging into your account and clicking the “live sessions” button. My therapist showed up to the session right on time, and immediately got to work asking questions. 

Audio Sessions

Live audio sessions are also available. These sessions are booked the same way as video and are conducted exactly the same. However, instead of visually seeing each other, there is a blank screen. There is no option to conduct sessions over the phone. 

Live Text Sessions

For those who are not interested in video or audio sessions, live text sessions are an option. Appointments are made and executed the same way. The text format is similar to the messaging included in every plan. However, instead of having to wait minutes to hours for a response, the therapist responds almost immediately within the 45-minute window. 

“Although texting is convenient and can be done anywhere,” says Owens, “it is generally not a great substitute for actual therapy, as there is no establishment of a safe therapeutic space to explore issues and emotions, and establishing a rapport with your therapist is more difficult because they cannot see or hear you and therefore cannot react to any non-verbal communication like inflection or body language. However,” she adds, “messaging can be a good complement to talk therapy, and can provide necessary support between sessions.”

Couples Therapy Sessions

Couples therapy sessions work exactly the same as individual sessions. However, links are emailed to both parties or via each person’s portal. A nice feature is that you don’t have to be in the same place as your partner during therapy sessions. My husband was at work, so he signed into the portal the same way as I did and we both entered into the session with three video windows. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session at Online-Therapy.com?

Rescheduling a session is easy. You click on your scheduled appointment and are given the option of canceling or rescheduling. Canceling or rescheduling with less than 24 hours' notice forfeits your session for the week. If you miss your session, you also forfeit therapy for the week.  

Switching Therapists at Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com makes it easy and comfortable to switch therapists at any time, no questions asked. When you log into your profile and enter your dashboard, you immediately see your therapist’s photo and right under it, in bright orange font, a “change therapist” button. If you click on it, you can select from the other available therapists by clicking on each of their profiles. If you click on “pick me,” you are able to schedule an appointment with them. Or, you are free to stay with the same therapist. 

Compared to other online therapy programs I have used, some of which require you to reach out to customer service to request a change, I found this to be one of Online-Therapy.com’s standout features. 

According to our survey, 48% of Online-Therapy.com platform users tried out two to three therapists before finding the right fit.

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at Online-Therapy.com

Canceling your Online-Therapy.com subscription at any time is easy and can be done the moment you sign up. When logged into your account, you click on the “subscription” tab under “account.” Click on “cancel” and you are done. You are able to cancel your subscription for the next month, up until the next billing date.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

I was very impressed with the quality of care I experienced with Online-Therapy.com. My husband and I have seen several couples’ counselors over the years, many costing significantly more than $110 a session. Both of us felt immediately comfortable with our therapist and felt as though he was attentively listening to everything each of us had to say and actually cared. 

Married for 50 years, he regularly used anecdotes or touched upon his own experiences to make his suggestions relatable. He also gave us activities to do with each other between sessions, which were surprisingly simple but enlightening.  

During the session, I asked him a little about his history and how he ended up at the company. He explained to me that he was semi-retired after working for most of his career in the penal system, and enjoyed the comfort and flexibility of working from home. 

Overall, Online-Therapy.com users in our survey had a good experience with the company, with 85% rating it as good, very good, or excellent overall. In terms of therapists, 34% of our respondents reported finding a therapist who met all of their needs, while an additional 38% said that most of their needs were met. Eighty-nine percent of users thought their therapist’s qualifications were good, very good, or excellent.

After three sessions, we are still happy with our counselor and plan on continuing with our weekly sessions. 

Privacy Policies at Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com’s privacy policy is written in legalese and is difficult to decipher. Its online services meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) guidelines. The site uses 256-bit encryption for all communication (text, video, and audio) between clients and therapists. The company also maintains that all personal health information is hosted behind a three-tiered web application, with multiple checks and controls to keep your data safe. The company also gives detailed explanations as to the purpose and legal basis for every single point of its privacy policy. 

Online-Therapy.com vs. Its Competitors

Online-Therapy.com is a solid option compared to the competition, especially in terms of value.  

For couples counseling services, Online-Therapy.com’s biggest competitors are Talkspace and BetterHelp, both offering individual and couples counseling services. 

Out of the three, Talkspace has the highest overall positivity rating on our survey, with 90%, followed by BetterHelp with 86%, and Online-Therapy.com close behind with an 85% rating of good, very good, or excellent overall.

In terms of price, Online-Therapy.com averages out to $80 for individual 45-minute sessions and $110 for 45-minute couples counseling sessions, both rates including unlimited messaging and other features. Talkspace charges $99 a week for 30-minute video sessions plus messaging and $109 for couples. BetterHelp is $60 to $90 weekly; however, it is important to note that BetterHelp practices surge pricing (charging more for its services in areas where mental health care is in high demand). This means that if you live in a place where many people are seeking mental health services, you will have to pay more for those same services than people in places where the demand is not as high. This could easily make BetterHelp’s services unaffordable in areas that need them most.

Online-Therapy.com boasts the highest rating of the trio in terms of value for the money, with 79% pleased with the value, compared to 76% for Talkspace, and 73% for BetterHelp. However, 78% of Talkspace users reported that they found a therapist who met all or most of their needs, while 76% of BetterHelp users and 72% of Online-Therapy.com users felt this way.

Final Verdict

Online-Therapy.com lives up to its mission of making CBT therapy affordable and accessible to people around the world. Overall, the online platform is user-friendly and glitch-free. For those in need of immediate therapy, the comprehensive program begins as soon as you sign up for the monthly services. Compared to other online therapy programs, selecting and even switching therapists is very easy and efficient. 

Overall, the majority of people in our survey were also satisfied, with 85% of Online-Therapy.com users maintaining they had excellent experience and with 82% likely or very likely to recommend the platform to others.

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 subject matter experts to get their analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers. 

Key Specs

  • Price: $50 to $110 per week
  • Is Insurance Accepted? No
  • Types of Therapy Offered: Individual, couples
  • Communication Options: Text-based, audio, video
  • HIPAA Compliant? Yes
  • Is There an App? No
  • Accepts HSA or FSA? Yes
  • Prescriptions Available? No 
  • Billing Cadence: Monthly subscription
Edited by Simone Scully

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