If you call a therapist’s office and ask about per-session pricing, you’ll get a straightforward answer. It’ll be something in the range of $50 to $250 for cash pay clients. But when you’re investigating the cost of online therapy, it’s not quite as straightforward.
Yes, you can sign-on as a client for weekly sessions with standard pricing through some teletherapy websites. However, many providers offer online therapy packages that go beyond scheduled appointments.
The Cost of Online Therapy
Due to the nature of online therapy, pricing isn’t always session-related. While some providers stick to the traditional formula of a per-appointment rate, others have weekly and monthly packages.
Therapy bundles typically include a weekly session plus unlimited text, phone, or chat room messaging. Some plans solely revolve around messaging, eliminating scheduled appointments altogether.
Online therapy rates
Generally, online therapy sessions cost much less through providers that focus on bundles. The appointments are typically 30 minutes instead of an hour, and clients pay for monthly packages.
- Online therapy – providers that are exclusively session-based = average range $80 to $110 per session
- Online therapy – sessions included in a package along with messaging = average range $60 to $80 per week
- Online therapy – no dedicated sessions – average range $0 to $40 per week
There are so many top-rated online therapy providers with different package deals, so the above is just a general range. Clients can even sign up with some online therapy providers with unlimited monthly sessions totaling less than the cost of one in-person appointment.
If you’re interested in more detailed information, be sure to check out our online therapy pricing section. It’s a handy resource that’ll help you to narrow your options.
The Cost of In-Person Therapy
Online therapy primarily fluctuates based on the overall treatment plan, meaning the services above and beyond sessions with a dedicated therapist.
However, the cost of in-person therapy is more location-based, in line with the cost of living in each area. For example, in US cities like San Francisco or Manhattan, office appointments will typically be $200 to $250. In smaller markets, the cost of in-person therapy could be anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour.
Providers set individual hourly rates influenced by their level of experience, specialties, certifications, and office location.
Is Online Therapy Cheaper than In Person?
When you compare in-person and online therapy sessions, the cost is usually much more favorable with teletherapy. It’s even more so with treatment consistency. Online therapy monthly bundles with 30-minute sessions combined with self-study guides and unlimited messaging with a dedicated therapist can be less than what one in-office appointment could run you.
Comparing the cost of one therapy session
If you’re not interested in the messaging component and are focused on one-on-one sessions, location dictates affordability when comparing rates to traditional in-office appointments.
The top-rated online therapy session providers, sticking to appointment-based treatment, charge somewhere in the vicinity of $80 to $110. So, depending on where you live, in-person therapy could be subject to similar rates. Of course, you then have to factor in your travel time and costs.
Clients who live in larger markets will probably consider an average of $95 to be a bargain, though, as some local therapists charge upward of $200 per session.
Bundled online therapy plans are more economical
Online therapy is even more cost-effective with bundled-service web-based providers. One of the most common plans includes one to four live video or phone sessions a month, combined with self-assessment tools and an unlimited messaging plan. Combined teletherapy allows patients to continuously contact their therapist or counselor to vent, ask questions, or simply check-in throughout the week.
These types of therapeutic packages average about $60 a week ($240 a month). When you consider the unlimited access combined with shorter (30-minute) one-on-one scheduled appointments, you can see how online therapy is an attractive proposition for budget-conscious clients.
Don’t count out health insurance
Another consideration is some online therapy providers now accept insurance. It’s not across the board, nor for every plan. But if you’re covered, you can reduce already discounted online therapy costs even more.
Can I Afford Online Therapy?
Whether online or in-person, therapy isn’t at the top of the list with health insurance providers. Depending on the plan, you could have full or partial benefits. And, just because you have mental health coverage doesn’t mean that your preferred provider accepts it.
More online therapy providers have signed on to some health insurance plans in recent years. But, in some cases, you might be better off being a cash-pay client after you factor in deductibles, length of coverage, and the online service packages allowed.
Covered services and free online therapy
When you’re deciding whether you can afford online therapy, you might want to start with your insurance provider or Employee Assistance Plan for an accurate assessment of what’s available to you and how much you’ll pay out of pocket.
If your budget is tight, you could start with a free online therapy plan. It won’t include face time with a dedicated therapist, as it’s a self-guided program, but you should still be able to reap some benefits.
TIP: When you’re looking at online therapy costs, be sure to read through all pricing information. Some teletherapy providers list their weekly rate but require you to pay monthly.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Online Therapy
We’ve covered some online therapy pricing ranges to give you a general idea of what to expect. But, other considerations determine the specific cost of online therapy.
We’ve already touched on this topic and have an entire page dedicated to it. But insurance is something that you need to research as it’s specific to you. Don’t just assume that you’re covered or that your benefits are beneficial. In some cases, you might find that paying cash is preferable.
Length of session
Online therapy providers that stick to traditional sessions by appointment tend to allot more face (or voice time). If you have a therapy package that includes messaging, it’s more cost-effective because therapist-client sessions are usually only 30 minutes.
The cost of online therapy depends on whether you’re seeing a licensed therapist or counselor, or you schedule an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
A combined-service package is typically the most cost-effective when you set aside insurance benefits. The virtual therapy approach, including various combinations of video or phone sessions, text messaging, chat rooms, and access to printed materials, meditation, and stress-relieving techniques, is comparatively inexpensive.
Like in-person therapy, rates vary depending on who is providing the service. However, you won’t find as many pricing variations online. The top telehealth or teletherapy providers have standard rate cards used by everyone on staff, which could be hundreds of therapists.
How Much Does Talkspace Online Therapy Cost?
|Therapy Plans||Monthly Pricing||Quarterly Pricing||Biannual Pricing||Features|
|Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus||$260||$708||$1,248||Unlimited text, video, and audio 5 days a week|
|Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium||$316||$852||$1,512||All Plus Plan options + 1 monthly live session|
|Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate||$396||$1,068||$1,896||All Plus Plan options + 4 monthly live sessions|
|Couples Therapy||$396||$1,068||NA||All Plus Plan options + 4 monthly live sessions|
|Teen Therapy||$260||NA||NA||Unlimited text, video, and audio 5 days a week|
|Insomnia Therapy||$260||$520 (for 8 weeks)||NA||8 weeks of therapy|
How Much Does BetterHelp Online Therapy Cost?
|Plan||Weekly Cost||Monthly Cost||Features|
|4 Week Plan||$60 - $80||$240 - $320||Unlimited text, video, audio messaging + 1 live session per week|