Thriveworks Online Therapy Review

A flexible therapy option with transparent pricing that sets you up quickly with a quality mental health provider.

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Thriveworks Recirc

Thriveworks

With over 380 locations, Thriveworks provides flexible teletherapy and in-person options for couples all over the country. Although Thriveworks does not match users with a provider, the company's selective hiring process ensures that it employs quality therapists with a wide range of specialties and offerings, including couples and marital counseling.

Key Specs

  • Price: Per-session therapy fees starting at $99
  • Insurance Accepted? Y
  • Types of Therapy Offered: Individual, Couples, Family, Child, Teen, and Group, Therapy, Medication Management and Psychiatry available in certain areas
  • Communication Options: In-person, live video, phone, and audio
  • HIPAA Compliant? Y
  • Is There an App? Y
  • Accepts HSA or FSA? Y
  • Prescriptions Available? Y

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Online and in-person options
  • Easy scheduling
  • Accepts most major health insurance plans
  • Friendly customer service
  • Offers couples therapy
  • Access to online courses, called Fireside courses, and mental health blogs
  • Searches can be filtered by location, specialty, and accepted insurance

Cons

  • No therapist matching
  • Therapist availability depends on location
  • Messaging unavailable

People who live in smaller towns and less populated areas can experience difficulty finding therapists, and oftentimes the therapists working in these areas have full caseloads. This phenomenon, known as a "therapy desert," isn't new—but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. And affordable and accessible couples and relationship counseling can be especially difficult to find. 

Thriveworks offers online individual and couples therapy options with a mission “to help people live happy and successful lives.” It accomplishes this with an intuitive therapy network that connects people to licensed, qualified mental health providers. 

So to figure out how well Thriveworks was living up to its mission, I navigated the process and signed up for therapy sessions through its website. I spent time speaking with two therapists who work with Thriveworks and a customer service representative. We also surveyed 105 Thriveworks users to get a better sense of how they felt about the company. We then compared these results to 54 similar companies. Here’s how Thriveworks measured up to the competition.

What Is Thriveworks?

Thriveworks is a therapy company that was founded in 2008 by AJ Centore, PhD, a professional counselor who is licensed in multiple states and also co-authored the book Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book. The company has continued to grow and now provides mental health services in over 380 locations in 45 states. 

Thriveworks aims to deliver affordable, accessible therapy while also providing exceptional customer service and flexible offerings. Therapists with Thriveworks help their clients manage life’s challenges, whether that be anxiety, relationship issues, or major life transitions, by offering video and phone therapy from counselors with evening and weekend availability.

What Services Does Thriveworks Offer?

The services available through Thriveworks depend on which state you live in and the therapists available there. Each therapist lists which therapy types they offer, including individual therapy, couples therapy, and family therapy, as well as whether they offer in-person or online therapy.

Counselors also advertise their specialty areas, such as addiction counseling, grief counseling, and ADHD. Thriveworks provides limited psychiatry with medication services. Access to this care depends on availability in your area. 

When scheduling an appointment, most providers offer hour-long sessions. Each therapist may choose to structure their sessions according to their specialties and the needs of their clients.

Thriveworks also offers some additional resources, including Fireside courses. These online modules are pre-recorded by therapists and are complimentary. One Fireside course is "Before I Say I Do (a Premarital Counseling Program)" which has 24 video sessions of varying lengths for couples to work through at their own pace.

Who Is Thriveworks For?

Thriveworks offers therapy sessions for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families, based on availability in your area. Therapists are available throughout the day and during evenings and weekends. The accessibility of online therapy sessions makes Thriveworks a great option for couples who are trying to fit therapy into their busy schedules. 

It treats a number of mental health conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Relationship issues
  • Family issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief
  • LGBTQ+ issues 
  • Trauma

However, its providers don’t treat some serious mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder.

How Much Does Thriveworks Cost?

For out-of-pocket customers, the average cost-per-session is $99, although rates depend on who you see (and where you live). 

Only 47% of users surveyed described Thriveworks as an affordable option. This was a lower rating than most major competitors, including Talkspace and BetterHelp, both of which 58% of surveyed users found affordable. But Thriveworks is comparable to in-person therapy options in your area, which may range between $60 and $200 generally. It does not advertise or offer any payment plans or bundle rates.

The most common complaints about Thriveworks concern its cost and billing practices. Although Thriveworks promotes fee transparency, most of the company's criticism has been about unexpected costs and charges. Social media and Better Business Bureau searches yield many angry customer comments noting unexplained charges on their accounts or who have canceled their services and continued to receive bills. However, most of these complaints are regarding Thriveworks' former $39 monthly membership fee, which it no longer charges as of January 2023.

Does Thriveworks Take Insurance?

Yes, it does. That’s why Thriveworks touts itself as an affordable option; it works with most major companies, including:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Humana
  • Optum
  • UnitedHealthcare

Although how much your sessions cost depends on your insurance coverage, most insured patients pay a copay of $15 to $40 a session. Thriveworks states it helps check your coverage before you book so you know exactly what you will owe for your sessions ahead of time, although the most common complaint against the company is unexpected account charges.

When you’re searching for a therapist, Thriveworks will show you the per-session cost for any clients seeking a private pay option. The typical cost of a session without insurance is $99. 

Although Thriveworks accepts many major insurance plans, not all insurance companies cover the costs of marital counseling because many providers do not deem couples therapy to be “medically necessary.” So if you’re interested in Thriveworks for its couples therapy, make sure you check what’s covered by your insurance plan. 

You can also check how your therapist bills for your therapy. For example, I spoke with a therapist who said therapists bill using particular codes and that they can make one person in the couple the "identified patient" in the relationship. This person's insurance would be billed. 

I did not have qualifying medical coverage so I had to pay the private price of $99 a session. However, Thriveworks' competitive pricing and flexible therapist schedules may make it a more practical choice. This price was comparable to what I paid in the past for premarital counseling and it was way more convenient than traditional in-person therapy.

Does Thriveworks Offer Discounts?

Thriveworks does not offer any discounts, bundles, or a sliding scale at this time. 

Navigating the Thriveworks Website

The Thriveworks website is intuitive and easy to navigate. Using a blue and yellow color scheme, the website mixes clear text boxes, charts, and explainer videos. As soon as I connected to the homepage, there was a big green box with a button to "book a session." 

TW1

Clicking this link sent me to a directory of therapists in my area with their calendar of availability. Each therapist box included the therapist's name, photo, and if they offered in-person, video visits, or both. 

Thriveworks1

You can click each counselor's "view profile" link to read their bio and learn more about their specialties, like couples therapy, addiction counseling, or teen counseling. 

TWBio

The menu bar stays the same no matter which page you land on. The drop-down options are organized effectively and I was able to quickly find answers to all my questions. 

Regardless of membership status, Thriveworks maintains a blog that publishes multiple articles a week on a variety of mental health topics including anxiety, grief, and mental health related to current events. 

Unlike many of the other companies we reviewed, Thriveworks does not currently offer an app. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Thriveworks?

Signing up for therapy at Thriveworks is incredibly easy. A bright yellow link to book a session is prominently displayed on the homepage. A Book a Session link is also available in the top menu no matter which page you navigate to. 

TWContact

Once I clicked "book a session," I was able to search for therapists in my area. I could refine my search by the type of therapy I was interested in, therapist specialties, in-person or online therapy, and my insurance type.

Each therapist listed had a calendar with available days and times listed. 

After clicking the appointment time that worked for me, I was prompted to enter my email or to create an account with a password. I opted to enter my email instead of creating a password and was sent a link. 

The sign-up process at Thriveworks honestly felt like I was online shopping. I was not required to fill out a questionnaire or really give any personal information beyond my demographic information and credit card number. 

After signing up, the emailed link gave me access to the portal where I could schedule and confirm my sessions. 

Choosing a Therapist at Thriveworks

I had never heard of Thriveworks before so I assumed the service would act as a matchmaker between me and my future therapist. I was looking forward to this because the hardest part about finding a good therapy match is weeding through all the options. 

Instead, Thriveworks is more of a directory of therapists. I had to do the legwork and read through each therapist’s bio. The process felt similar to opening a search engine and typing in "therapists in Kansas." Except at Thriveworks, when I first began my search, there was exactly one therapist available in the state of Kansas—this made my decision really easy, but not very reassuring.

Only 11% of the users we surveyed had the same struggle as I did and felt they had below-average or poor therapy options. Nearly 90% of users felt they had many good options to choose from when searching for a therapist. Twenty-eight percent of surveyed users said they had many options that they liked where they lived, 39% said there were a decent number of options, and 22% described their options as good and were able to find a therapist that met their needs.

I was curious about how diverse Thriveworks' offerings were, so I did a search of other states. More populous states, like Pennsylvania, had a variety of counselors to choose from. I could actually use the filter feature and explore different specialties and forms of therapy or find a therapist with a specific ethnic background or gender identity.

About a week after my first session, a new therapist popped up in my search, so I was able to compare two therapists in my area. She ended up not being new to Thriveworks, but lived close to the Kansas-Missouri border and was now seeing clients in Kansas. Personally, I have many in-town therapy options, but those living in rural areas may rely on companies like Thriveworks to provide access to teletherapy.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Thriveworks?

Thriveworks gives the choice of in-person or online therapy for all its therapy services, including couples counseling. With over 380 locations, you are likely to find a therapy option that fits your needs and schedule. 

Couples can find a therapist by filtering their search by “couples therapy.” When you sign up for couples therapy, you sign up as an individual and add your partner to your account. One of you is considered the primary account holder and this is who the insurance and billing will go through. 

Messaging Your Therapist

When searching for therapists, I could not find any contact information on their profiles and assumed all communication went through Thriveworks. Before my first therapy session, all communication I received was from Thriveworks and not my specific therapist. I could not locate a messaging feature in the portal either.

My second therapist emailed me before our session to introduce herself and to remind me of my appointment (along with the Thriveworks company reminder), so I was able to communicate with her through email outside of our scheduled therapy sessions. 

Couples Therapy

Because my partner was unable to be with me during the times that fit into the therapist's and my schedule, I did not complete a couples counseling appointment, but this is how they work.

Your first couples therapy appointment will be an intake appointment with your therapist. A Thriveworks representative told me that your intake questionnaire will vary based on your therapist and why you are seeking couples therapy. A couples therapist will ask you why you are seeking counseling and give some history about your relationship. 

My partner and I have done premarital counseling in the past and the process at Thriveworks sounds very similar: both partners meet together with a therapist to work through specific relationship issues such as lack of trust, healthy communication, or navigating a big change. Sessions are scheduled for an hour. 

Individual Sessions

Since my only initial in-person option in Kansas was a three-hour drive from my house, I had to schedule a video session with my therapist. I did not receive any communication from her before our session but did receive reminder emails from Thriveworks. A Zoom link was sent 24 hours before my scheduled appointment.

The link sent me to an AdvancedMD site where I clicked to join my session. AdvancedMD is an online platform used by many medical practices. Companies like Thriveworks use the program to securely keep patient notes, create and send consent forms, and share secured links for teletherapy appointments.

I was then prompted to wait until my therapist let me into our session. 

My first impression was not a great one. My therapist was nearly 10 minutes late to my appointment and was clearly frazzled. She said she’d had a hectic morning, apologized, and jumped right into telling me a bit about herself and asking me seemingly random questions. It did not feel like a formal intake and I did not see her taking any notes, but I later found out she was going through an intake form. The experience felt very comfortable and friendly. We bounced around from topic to topic. The session ended with her explaining there are no hard feelings if I didn't want to continue with her.

Our second session was much better. We started on time and she was a bit more organized. The conversation was more focused and lasted the whole hour. When I went to book a third session with her, a different therapist popped up with availability for couples counseling, so I selected a session with her instead. 

This therapist was totally different from the first. When we began our session she could see my previous Thriveworks therapy sessions and asked me about them. She then went into a series of disclaimers about privacy and HIPAA. 

It was during this session that I found out my initial therapist had begun an intake form on me and that this therapist had access to the information that was put in there. She asked me a couple of clarifying questions about my responses and finished the intake form with me. 

In-Person Sessions

Neither of the therapists I saw offered in-person sessions, but the booking process is the same. If you are interested in in-person therapy, you can filter your search to only include in-person options. 

What Happens If I Miss a Session at Thriveworks?

You are able to cancel a session with at least 23.5 hours' notice without penalty. If you cancel without 23.5 hours' notice or miss a session without canceling, you will be charged $99. Your insurance will not be billed and you will be responsible for the full amount.

Switching Therapists at Thriveworks

There is no how-to information for switching providers on the website, but changing therapists at Thriveworks is super simple. My first therapist informed me I could stop seeing her at any time with no hard feelings. Thriveworks recommends contacting the support team if you want to switch providers and they will find a new match for you. 

Originally, I only had one therapist option so I wasn't planning on switching, but when I went to book another session, I saw a new provider listed. Since I had no way of contacting my first therapist, I simply booked a session with the new therapist. 

I thought I would be able to switch without any awkwardness, but my new therapist was able to see all my past scheduled appointments with Thriveworks. She asked me quite a few questions about why I had just met with a provider and was now seeing her and I explained that I was trying to find the best fit.

In all honesty, I was also a little confused because I could find my first provider in my portal and click to book a session with her, but when I search "Kansas," she no longer shows up on my list of therapists. 

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at Thriveworks

Because Thriveworks no longer charges a membership fee, canceling services is as easy as logging into your patient portal and canceling all future sessions. You can also reach out to customer service and ask to cancel - they will ask for your therapist's name and if there is anything they can do to change your mind. You say no, and that's the whole process.

Unfortunately, I tested this company before the monthly membership was done away with, so the only way to cancel my membership with Thriveworks was to call customer service. This also meant that I could only cancel during the hours customer service was available. When I called, there was no clear membership cancellation option so I chose the option  "to schedule a follow-up appointment or to cancel or reschedule an existing appointment." 

I was connected with a customer service representative who was extremely friendly and helpful. I was asked my reason for canceling and when I mentioned my insurance was not covered by the Thriveworks therapists in my area, he offered to apply a waiver to my account and take off my monthly membership fees. 

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

My husband and I had sought premarital counseling with a couples therapist before we got married. She helped us navigate difficult topics and gave us practical suggestions for navigating new challenges like dividing chores and household tasks, creating a plan for money management, and fostering more constructive communication during disagreements. The experience with Thriveworks was very similar, except I didn't have to rush across town for appointments. 

Even with my limited options, I was impressed with the two therapists I saw. Based on our limited sessions, I would have continued to seek therapy from either of them. The second therapist I saw fit my personality a little better, so I would have stuck with her. This seems to be a shared sentiment with the Thriveworks users we surveyed. Eighty-two percent were satisfied with their therapist at Thriveworks.

My first therapist did not offer couples therapy, but I was able to work with her on some relationship issues. We spent a session discussing how to make chores and tasks more equitable between my husband and me. She offered advice and left me with a few action items to try out with my spouse, including some specific phrases to use to get the conversation going. 

Thriveworks provides the same quality of care for mental health issues that a traditional therapist's office might. Besides the premarital counseling my husband and I did nearly a decade ago, I have also received in-person therapy at three different times in my life, and my experience with Thriveworks felt very reminiscent of those experiences. What makes Thriveworks unique is its flexibility and the quality of services its licensed therapists offer throughout the country. Eighty-eight percent of our user respondents had a positive view of their therapists' qualifications, with 31% of users viewing their therapists' credentials as excellent. 

You can find both in-person and online therapy options that fit your needs. Many therapists offer evening and weekend availability, making it easier to find a therapist who fits your schedule. Overall, the majority of surveyed Thriveworks users had a positive therapy experience: 80% of those surveyed would recommend Thriveworks to a friend or family member and 70% would choose Thriveworks to restart their therapy journey. 

The therapists I spoke with seemed to enjoy that they had access to benefits and a 401K through Thriveworks, but still felt they maintained a similar level of flexibility and autonomy as they would if they owned their own company or worked for themselves. 

Privacy Policies at Thriveworks

Thriveworks follows all HIPAA compliance regulations, so your therapy sessions are considered private information and cannot be shared unless you pose an immediate danger to yourself or others. 

Thriveworks provides virtual therapy through a secure AdvancedMD portal. However, it cannot guarantee the security of all other forms of communication, like emails, texts, and phone calls.

Like most company websites, Thriveworks does collect your non-personal data through cookies and may sell that information to third-party entities. 

Thriveworks vs. Its Competitors

The biggest difference between Thriveworks and its competitors, like BetterHelp and Talkspace, is that Thriveworks does not employ a matching process. Both BetterHelp and Talkspace use screeners to match you with a therapist, whereas Thriveworks provides a list of therapists outlining their services and availability.

Based on our user survey, Thriveworks is on par with its competitors in several areas. For instance, 41% of surveyed Thriveworks users stated their provider met all of their needs, compared to 38% of BetterHelp users and 38% of Talkspace users. Thriveworks also scored similarly to competitors when looking at how easy it was for users to find a therapist. Twenty-seven percent of Thriveworks users found finding a therapist very easy, while 25% of BetterHelp and 26% of Talkspace users found it very easy to find a therapist.

Thriveworks did score lower than these competitors in some other areas, though. Thirty percent of BetterHelp users described their therapist options as "excellent," while both Thriveworks and Talkspace had 28%. When asked about their therapists' qualifications, only 31% of Thriveworks users described them as "excellent," while 41% of BetterHelp users and 34% of Talkspace users surveyed rated theirs as "excellent."

Final Verdict

The convenience and flexibility of Thriveworks make it an appealing choice, especially if you don't want to choose between only in-person therapy or only online therapy. With over 380 Thriveworks offices in the country, you’ll have a good chance of finding a provider nearby who fits your therapy needs, or at least an online therapist who can work with your availability. Even with the limited providers in Kansas, I was able to find days and times that worked with my full-time working and parenting schedule. 

While I found a therapist I jived with, I was expecting the company to match me with a provider instead of having to search through a list and find my own. I was also surprised Thriveworks didn't use an initial intake or screener questionnaire as part of the sign-up process. But, even without those features, 78% of our user respondents stated their therapy needs were met.

Thriveworks also provides excellent customer service. Between text and email, the company really makes sure its subscribers are prepared for their therapy sessions and are able to log on and get started.

Overall, I would recommend Thriveworks to someone with insurance looking for couples therapy options as long as they were comfortable looking for their own therapist instead of getting matched with one by a company. Booking sessions was incredibly easy, I didn't experience any surprise costs, and even though I had very few therapists in my area, I felt they were both really good options.

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 2 therapists we found who either currently work or worked for this company in the past 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. 

Article Sources
Brides takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Aassociation. Worsening mental health crisis pressures psychologist workforce

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