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If you’d like to meet with a therapist but getting to an appointment is difficult for any reason, seeing someone online may be much easier. Video therapy is backed by peer-reviewed research and closely mimics an in-person appointment, unlike text-based therapy services.
We like that our top pick offers security, has more therapists than any other online therapy service we tested, and presents a unique interface that makes it feel most like a traditional therapy session. But we can’t guarantee you’ll find the right therapist through the service. We suggest that you use our recommendations of the best online therapy platforms to look for a therapist, but that you not consider them to be the final word on which service will provide you with the best healthcare.
The first place we’d look
This secure, accredited video-therapy platform has more therapists than the leading competition, and it allows you to hide the view of your face on your own screen for an experience that’s most like an in-person conversation.
Amwell is accredited by the American Telemedicine Association. That recognition provides assurance that the company follows best practices for keeping your information safe and your sessions truly private (such as making video sessions accessible only to you and your therapist, and not recording them). The platform offers more therapists than the competition (we counted 465 nationwide in December 2019), so you’re more likely to find a provider who fits your needs and schedule. Plus, one pleasant and surprisingly unique feature of the video system makes therapy on Amwell feel most like a traditional in-person session: You can hide the view of your face on your own screen during the appointment. And at either $85 or $100 per 45-minute session in out-of-pocket costs, Amwell’s pricing is on a par with that of the top competition in the online therapy field. It also accepts insurance.
Slightly more expensive, fewer therapists to choose from
The MDLive platform meets our basic requirements of being secure and accredited, but it offers fewer therapist choices than Amwell and lacks the ability to hide your view of your own face on the screen.
MDLive is also accredited by the American Telemedicine Association, and at $100 per 45-minute session, out-of-pocket costs are about the same as with Amwell. However, the site offers fewer therapist choices, and its video platform doesn’t allow you to hide your view of your face on the screen. Like Amwell, MDLive accepts insurance.
Doctor On Demand
Much more expensive, even fewer therapists to choose from
The Doctor On Demand platform also meets our basic requirements of being secure and accredited, but sessions cost more than twice as much as they do through Amwell, it offers far fewer therapist choices, and you can’t hide your view of your face on the screen.
Doctor On Demand, too, is accredited by the American Telemedicine Association, and its therapist roster is filled only with psychologists (Amwell and MDLive both employ psychologists as well as other mental health professionals). But at $180 per 50-minute session, it’s the priciest service we tested (though like our other picks, Doctor On Demand accepts insurance). The site also offers fewer therapist choices than Amwell and MDLive, it uses your computer’s location to determine therapist availability (thus limiting scheduling options), and the platform lacks the ability to hide your view of your own face on screen.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Online Therapy Services We’d Use