Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (2024)

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Even if you have never been in therapy, you’ve probably heard of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s an incredibly well-researched approach to psychotherapy that works by teaching you how to gain awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and unhelpful behaviors so that you can cope more effectively with life stressors, and challenge any negative or distorted thought patterns that are making things worse. These skills are practiced both in therapy and between sessions, sort of like “homework.”

While no single type of therapy—or modality, in therapy-speak—works for everyone, CBT has been proven to be an effective in-person or telemedicine therapy for a wide range of mental health concerns, from insomnia to depression to anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s even inspired some offshoots and subtypes, such as prolonged exposure (PE) therapy for PTSD, trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

Our subject matter expert, clinical psychologist and certified TF-CBT provider Amy Marschall, PsyD, says ACT and DBT draw from their CBT roots to help you radically accept your circ*mstances and mindfully focus on what you can control. Marschall notes the difference is that “DBT is designed to help individuals with intense emotions and issues with regulation to cope with their feelings effectively, and ACT is more focused on accepting emotions mindfully and without judgment.” (She adds that DBT is more well-supported than ACT—primarily because “DBT has also been around longer, so there has been more time for research.”)

Not only do many large online platforms offer CBT and its subtypes from trained providers, a number of free and paid apps and self-guided courses have cropped up to help users practice CBT coping skills independently as well. While these apps can never replace seeing a licensed therapist, counselor, or psychologist who’s trained in CBT, we think they can be beneficial self-help tools to complement and reinforce what you’re working on in therapy.

So, to help find you the best online therapy companies and apps offering online CBT, we surveyed over 10,000 users of 80 online therapy platforms and directories. Then we tested these companies and 28 apps ourselves before compiling this list with the help of three licensed therapists—Marschall; Hannah Owens, LMSW; and Nic Hardy, PhD, LCSW. Here are the eight we recommend.

8 Best Online CBT Services We Tested in 2024

Why Trust Us

80

Companies reviewed

10,637

Total users surveyed

350

Data points analyzed

We surveyed 105 users from 55 online therapy companies and 180 users from 25 therapist directories and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we tested the services ourselves across multiple states, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and evaluated our results with the help of three licensed therapists.

The 13 Best Online Therapy Services That Are Tried, Tested, and Expert-Approved

Privacy

When choosing an online therapy provider, we recommend that you read the company’s privacy guidelines before you sign up to better understand whether it is HIPAA compliant and whether it shares any private information with third parties. There have been some concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several government officials about what user health information online therapy providers collect and what they do with any information they collect.

We Tried 100+ Therapy Services and Apps—And We Recommend These 8 for Online CBT

We Tried 100+ Therapy Services and Apps—And We Recommend These 8 for Online CBT

  • Our Top Picks
  • Brightside
  • Online-Therapy.com
  • NOCD
  • Thriveworks
  • Wellnite
  • BetterHelp
  • ReGain
  • MoodKit
  • Amwell
  • See More (6)
  • Compare Providers
  • Guide to Choosing

  • FAQs

  • How We Tested and Reviewed

Best for Depression :Brightside

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (1)

  • Price:$95-$349 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:Yes
  • Type Of Therapy:Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry

Special Offer

Verywell Mind readers get 20% off their first month of BetterHelp membership.

This offer is a partnership between Verywell Mind and BetterHelp. If you click this link and sign up for the BetterHelp membership, we will receive a commission. Learn more.

Why We Chose It

In 2021, about eight percent of all U.S. adults (or 21 million) had at least one major depressive episode—and fully 14.5 million were severely impaired by this condition. That’s a lot of suffering. If you live with depression, we recommend trying Brightside Health because it specializes in treating mild to severe depression using CBT, medication, or both. We found the platform’s additional tools—like a progress tracker, quizzes, and a CBT self-care course—to be very helpful in reinforcing our therapy sessions. There’s also a Crisis Care program for psychiatry clients with elevated risk for suicide.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers therapy and psychiatry nationwide

  • Experienced therapists with CBT training

  • Offers weekend and evening availability

  • User-friendly, HIPAA-compliant site

  • Unlimited messaging to therapists

  • Accepts FSA/HSA and insurance

  • Helps you track and visualize your progress

  • Crisis Care program for people with elevated suicide risk

  • Interactive self-care worksheets and lessons

Cons

  • Can’t pick your own therapist

  • Must be at least 18 to sign up

  • Requires CBT “homework”

  • No therapist bios available on the site

  • Crisis Care only for eligible applicants

  • No couples, family, or group therapy

  • Slower therapist switching process

Our Experience

We had three people (including one mental health professional and two people with moderate depression) from New York, California, and North Carolina try therapy with Brightside for a month each. Overall, we were able to find competent therapists who provided customized treatment plans and high levels of care, and had a wide range of appointment times to choose from. We were glad that we could message our providers any time if we had questions about the “homework” they assigned us, or if we needed help coping with depression between sessions. We also found the site’s CBT tools and resources to be helpful and engaging.

Getting started was simple: An intake questionnaire helped assess our symptoms, provide a provisional diagnosis, and match us with a therapist, which is a little different from Brightside’s competitors that let us choose our own therapists. Still, it only took about 15 minutes total to sign up and fill everything out (including some depression and anxiety screening questionnaires) before we were able to indicate our preferred days/times for our first sessions.

Tip

We were a bit torn about this aspect of Brightside, actually. In some ways, it was annoying not to have input over which therapist to try first, but in other ways it took some of the hassle out of the sign-up process. We could see it being a helpful feature if you’re struggling with being overwhelmed or are too depressed to make the decision yourself.

We also appreciated Brightside Self-Care, a self-guided program with 10 short video lessons that helped us learn CBT skills and reframe our irrational and negative thoughts. The “homework” (worksheets that Brightside therapists sent us to complete between sessions) was helpful and thought-provoking, in our opinion, and so were the weekly check-in quizzes and mood tracking… though they required some dedication to keep up with. When we had the energy and motivation to stay on top of our homework, we found it was a great opportunity to reflect on what we learned in sessions, challenge unhelpful thought patterns, and learn coping skills. In the process, we noticed an increase in quality of life and a decrease in depression. We also gained a better understanding of our thoughts and feelings—and so did our therapists, since they were able to view our answers once we’d finished each sheet.

Caution

Again, though, self-guided CBT activities only bring new insights and skills if you can actually keep up with them. The homework Brightside provides might have been too overwhelming if we had been dealing with severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or executive dysfunction. If that sounds familiar, we suggest treatment with an in-person provider who can keep you accountable while still meeting you where you’re at.

Though we didn’t try psychiatry with Brightside, having the option to incorporate medication would be useful if we’d needed it. If we had been experiencing suicidal thoughts, we would’ve had the opportunity to apply to the Brightside Crisis Care program—which is based on the highly researched Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) protocol—as long as we lived in a state it was offered in, and we weren’t in need of immediate psychiatric or medical care. This offering sets Brightside apart from many competitors—and research does indicate that internet-based CBT (i-CBT) may successfully reduce suicidal ideation.

There are a few things to consider before trying Brightside therapy, though: First, services are only for individual adults. We used insurance to pay for sessions, but self-paying clients must commit to a membership plan—there’s no option to pay for appointments as you go. Also, the intake questionnaire asked questions about height and weight, ostensibly to calculate our body mass index (BMI) behind the scenes. Answering this question may be triggering for those dealing with an eating disorder; plus, we don’t support the use of BMI as an indicator of mental or physical health, anyway.

Finally, we experienced some frustrations when trying to switch therapists—for instance, North Carolina had few therapist options available at all, and in general, the providers we were referred to weren’t always actually taking new clients. In fact, we waited nearly a week to meet with a new provider, only to learn two days before the appointment that that therapist was no longer with the company. We were matched with another therapist after that, but then had an additional wait to meet with them; we hope that the company will strive to handle provider turnover in a less abrupt manner.

Plans & Pricing

Choose from these membership plans:

  • Psychiatry: $95 per month for one 15-minute virtual psychiatric evaluation, medication delivery, and ongoing provider support and monitoring of your care
  • Therapy: $299 per month for unlimited messaging and four monthly video sessions (45 minutes) with a therapist; additional video appointments are $59 each
  • Psychiatry + Therapy: $349 per month
  • Crisis Care + Psychiatry: Your copay will vary, but insured clients can have weekly (or more frequent) video sessions with CAMS-trained providers

Brightside accepts a number of major insurance plans, including Aetna, Optum/UnitedHealthcare, Anthem CA, Allegiance, and Cigna/Evernorth. You can also pay with pre-tax funds using your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).

What Users Say

We surveyed 100 Brightside users, and the results were generally very positive. Ninety-eight percent of respondents rated it good, very good, or excellent overall. Another 99% who had tried therapy rated their therapists’ qualifications as either good, very good, or excellent. Ninety-nine percent said they were likely or very likely to recommend Brightside to a friend like themselves, and another 69% said they had never switched away from the therapist they’d first been assigned.

Just over two-thirds of our respondents had sought therapy for depression. Respondents received CBT (32%) and/or its subtypes DBT (5%), ACT (30%), or PE therapy (3%).

Best for Anxiety :Online-Therapy.com

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (2)

  • Price:$200-$440 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:No
  • Type Of Therapy:Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy

Why We Chose It

Being anxious can keep you stuck in a rut just like depression can—but luckily, CBT has been proven very effective for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and other subtypes. Thanks to a combination of coping tools, self-paced learning, and CBT from experienced providers, we think Online-Therapy.com can help anxious therapy seekers gain momentum and confidence by setting and achieving small, realistic goals. We’re also glad that Online-Therapy.com offers couples therapy as well, as we’re no strangers to the ways anxiety impacts relationships.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Specializes in CBT for a range of conditions

  • Weekend and evening availability

  • Quick, easy sign-up

  • View provider bios and dashboard before paying

  • Offers self-paced CBT course

  • HIPAA-compliant site

  • Includes an online journal, an activity planner, and more

  • No app needed

  • Available nationwide

  • Contact with therapists five days a week

  • Accepts FSA/HSA

  • Possibility for out-of-network coverage

  • First-month discount

Cons

  • Not in network with any insurance plans

  • No psychiatry or medication management

  • Individual and couples CBT only

  • Can’t pay per session

  • Technical issues

  • Must be 18+ to sign up

  • Limited provider choices

  • Not all providers are therapists

Our Experience

To test Online-Therapy.com’s individual and couples therapy, we enlisted the help of two mental health professionals and three journalists—hailing from South Dakota, California, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania—who live with anxiety, stress, grief, depression, and ADHD. Overall, we found the tools and self-guided CBT course accessible and insightful. We ended our testing confident that the platform’s licensed and vetted therapists would be a good option for adults and couples looking for help with mild-to-moderate conditions like social anxiety disorder (SAD), health anxiety, panic attacks, speech anxiety, and, of course, GAD.

The sign-up questionnaire did a great job of collecting important mental health information without being overwhelming—which was definitely a bonus at times when our nerves are already shot from stress and overthinking. Once the intake form was completed, we immediately got to see the bio of an available therapist who had expertise in the conditions we checked off. Then we could accept the suggested match and request an appointment. When we had to switch therapists, we found the process very easy and fast to do with just a click or two.

Note

That was a relief for us, considering some of our past experiences in therapy. When a platform made it difficult to change therapists, or required one last meeting with the therapist we no longer wanted to work with, the path of least resistance was to simply stop scheduling appointments. (And, as we’ve said, therapy sessions can only work if you actually attend them.)

Once we found a good fit, our therapists and counselors took a solutions-focused approach with us. Keeping the conversation mostly on the present and the concern at hand, rather than spending a lot of time delving into the past, let us get to everything we needed to in our 45-minute sessions. (This was especially important for couples therapy.) Our therapists sent us insightful worksheets and helped us challenge cognitive distortions (negative or irrational thought patterns) using CBT theories. They also led us through body scan meditations and breathing exercises and even recommended CBT books that would be helpful for our concerns.

We loved the flexibility to choose video, audio, or text chat sessions. Though some therapists don’t consider text-based therapy on the same level as in-person therapy or audio or video sessions, research indicates it can be effective for milder forms of anxiety and depression. Still, there are many people who do not communicate with verbal language but still need and deserve therapy, including those who are nonspeaking autistics, d/Deaf or hard of hearing, or who have severe social anxiety or body dysmorphia.

Online-Therapy.com’s eight-part CBT course was a great way to learn more about the brain and mental health, and complete optional activities and plan small steps to start addressing our anxiety. It’s truly self-paced, but at least one of us was able to complete the entire course in one day. We were also impressed by the site’s “happiness toolbox” of resources: an online journal with guided prompts to help us reframe our thoughts, CBT worksheets we could fill out and then get therapist feedback on, meditation and yoga videos to help us learn to lower stress and anxiety levels independently, and an activity planner that helped us keep ourselves accountable for doing “Work,” “Exercise,” “Meditation,” and “Just For Fun” activities each day.

Ta-Da!

We especially liked that marking a goal as complete added it to our “Ta-Da” list (as opposed to a To-Do list). At times when we were feeling stuck and pessimistic about our progress, looking back at all our accomplishments in the last week was a nice reminder of the therapeutic message that not all of the thoughts that come to mind are necessarily true.

Some potential downsides to keep in mind: First, insurance isn’t accepted, so we had to be able to afford the full cost of a therapy subscription on our own. There are no psychiatric or medication management services, either, and this company is only for people 18 and older. We also experienced some technical difficulties in sessions, which are held in a web browser only, since there’s no Online-Therapy.com app. The live chat function was especially prone to preventing us (and our therapists) from communicating fluidly; these sessions felt like a stilted text message conversation rather than a therapy session. However, we were offered make-up sessions to compensate for the frustration and wasted time.

Plans & Pricing

Online-Therapy.com offers four plans:

  • Basic: $200 per month for the self-guided CBT program, unlimited messaging with a therapist, and access to worksheets (with therapist responses), yoga videos, an online journal, and an activity plan
  • Standard: $320 per month for one 45-minute session per week via live video, text, or voice, plus everything included in Basic
  • Premium: $440 per month for two sessions per week (for a total of eight monthly sessions), plus the other benefits of the Standard plan
  • Couples: $440 per month for one 45-minute couples therapy session per week conducted via video, text, or voice, plus access to everything in the Basic plan for both of you

All new clients automatically get a 20% discount on the first month of any plan. The platform is not in network with any insurance providers at this time, though its therapists can provide superbills for you to seek at least partial out-of-network coverage—a benefit that two-thirds of our survey respondents reported receiving.

What Users Say

Our survey of 102 Online-Therapy.com users largely indicates that it’s an effective platform: One hundred percent of survey respondents rated it positively overall. Additionally, 99% would recommend it to a friend, and 91% would start their search there again if needed.

Fifty-seven percent of users sought therapy through Online-Therapy.com because of anxiety, with respondents reporting that their sessions incorporated CBT (23.5%), ACT (21.6%), DBT (2.9%), and/or PE (1%).

Read the FullOnline-Therapy.com Review

Best for OCD :NOCD

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (3)

  • Price:$170 per session
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:Yes
  • Type Of Therapy:Individual Therapy, Teen Counseling

Why We Chose It

While many people associate OCD with a fear of germs, there are many more ways to experience obsessions and/or compulsions, as well as the rituals and other behaviors that “feel right” to do but actually cause more distress. Obsessive-compulsive disorder traits can manifest as hoarding disorder, relationship obsessions, or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), to name only a few examples. If that sounds familiar, specialized OCD treatment might be the solution—and we think NOCD, the largest platform focused on this family of disorders, is a great place to start your search. Its therapists utilize CBT and exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, which are considered the gold standard for OCD treatment.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Accepts insurance

  • Pediatric, teen, and adult OCD therapy

  • Therapists with CBT and ERP training

  • 24/7-monitored community forum

  • Unlimited messaging to therapists

  • Text, voice, and video sessions

  • Serves the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and parts of Canada

  • Provider bios available without sign-up

  • HIPAA-compliant site and app

  • Free support groups available

Cons

  • ERP doesn’t help all cases of OCD

  • Must be 18 or older to sign up

  • No subscription or membership discounts

  • Limited providers available

  • Expensive without insurance

  • Doesn’t accept FSA/HSA

  • No psychiatry or medication management

  • Website lacks accessibility features

Our Experience

To test NOCD, we had someone from Massachusetts with OCD (and some visual impairments, which will be relevant later) try four sessions over two weeks. NOCD is the only platform we’re aware of that specializes in treating multiple types of OCD and related conditions like skin-picking disorder. Its therapists receive training to use CBT, as well as ERP, an approach that involves gradually being exposed to triggering thoughts or situations and learning to find healthier ways of coping that don’t involve distressing compulsions or rituals. Overall, we found it to be a strong option for those who respond well to ERP—although we weren’t fortunate enough to be able to include ourselves in that group. It’s also good for people with insurance.

Takeaway

We appreciate NOCD’s narrow focus and emphasis on provider specialization, as well as its detailed content about OCD subtypes. These are both crucial since we know from first-hand experience how often OCD is misunderstood—both in popular culture and by mental health providers who don’t have adequate training and expertise.

To schedule a free 15-minute call to learn about NOCD, we filled out a brief questionnaire about our situation and any preferences we had for our therapist’s gender, racial, or religious identity. We could also indicate which areas of expertise we needed help with: Options included nail biting, phobias, trauma, and more. Provider bios were available to browse without signing up, and the site uses badges to indicate at a glance which OCD subtype certifications or competence trainings each therapist has completed. (For instance, there were providers available who had LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent competence training.) We thought that was a helpful feature.

We were quickly matched with a suitable therapist who impressed us with their knowledge of OCD, and started therapy only four days after registering for an account. The cost of the program included unlimited messaging to our therapist anytime, and our personalized treatment plan started out with extra support—two sessions per week. The app has two tools: a self-guided exercise to complement therapy, as well as an “S.O.S” tool that can recommend an exposure exercise based on what was causing the most trouble at the moment. We also had access to free support groups offered throughout the day, seven days per week; we attended a few groups and found them comforting and full of camaraderie. NOCD’s community forums are also monitored 24/7, so we could interact with and support peers with OCD in a safe environment.

We think NOCD is a good choice for many, though it isn’t for everyone. Some evidence indicates that ERP may only be effective about 50% to 60% of the time, and in our NOCD testing experience, it became apparent that continuing with ERP might have worsened some of our symptoms. There weren’t any accessibility features that we could find to accommodate our visual impairments, so we couldn’t read all of the site’s content. NOCD is also expensive without insurance, without any discounted bundle or membership savings, and the platform’s specialized nature automatically results in a smaller pool of therapists to choose from.

Finally, busy people and parents may not want to choose NOCD. Although we stopped scheduling new sessions after two weeks, it was clear that finishing the whole program would’ve required a significant time commitment.

Tip

Having two weekly sessions for the first few weeks, plus online forms and assessments to fill out, sometimes felt like a lot of time and energy, even without kids to worry about.

We also don’t recommend it for those who don’t feel ready to start exposure therapy, because tolerating new sources of distress requires dedication. Still, considering the issues we’ve had with previous therapists not understanding OCD well enough to treat us effectively, we think NOCD is a great place to get help with obsessions and compulsions—as long as ERP works for your particular case of OCD.

Plans & Pricing

NOCD doesn’t have subscriptions or memberships—it’s pay-as-you-go only—and it’s important to know that therapists may recommend meeting more than once a week for the first month. However, just by signing up, you’ll automatically have access to the community features. The session rates for self-paying clients are:

  • $170 per 60-minute therapy session
  • $120 per 45-minute session
  • $90 per 30-minute session

NOCD is also in network with a number of major insurance companies.

What Users Say

Our 100 NOCD survey respondents reported overall satisfaction. Just under 95% said their NOCD provider met all or most of their needs, and 96% rated NOCD's value for money positively.

Respondents reported that their therapists had used CBT (46%) and/or ACT (33%), DBT (18%), or PE (17%) in sessions. Forty-one percent said they’d initially sought therapy for OCD.

Read the FullNOCD Online Therapy Review

Best for Trauma :Thriveworks

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (4)

  • Price:$160 - $240 per therapy session, $300 - $375 for initial psychiatry/medication management session, $210 - $300 for follow-ups
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:Yes
  • Type Of Therapy:Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling

Why We Chose It

An important and very common reason to seek therapy is to heal from traumatic experiences, and—once again—CBT and its subtypes are effective in-person and online options to try for trauma and PTSD. We particularly like Thriveworks because we received quality, trauma-informed care; the platform can also treat a range of other concerns in almost the entire family. If wanted (and appropriate), its board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs) can also prescribe psychiatric medication to address anxiety and PTSD symptoms.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Trauma-informed CBT and DBT

  • Accepts insurance and FSA/HSA payments

  • Offers a wide range of services

  • Treats children and adults

  • HIPAA-compliant site

  • 2,200+ licensed therapists with flexible availability

  • Good customer service

  • 380 physical clinics

  • Psychiatry and medication management available

  • Choose your own therapist

Cons

  • Online CBT may not be appropriate for severe PTSD

  • Fees may vary by location and provider

  • No live chat sessions or messaging features

  • Some states have fewer providers

  • Search filters could be improved

  • Fewer resources than some competitors

Our Experience

We had two writers in Massachusetts and Kansas, plus one mental health professional in South Dakota, sign up for and test individual or couples therapy for a month. We also had two parents in Kentucky and Missouri sign their kids up for pediatric therapy and sit in on these sessions when requested by the provider. (We did not try psychiatry, group therapy, or family therapy.)We brought an assortment of mental health conditions to our sessions—including anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, transgender identity, and relationship issues. One of us came to therapy looking for tools to cope with trauma; our positive experience and high quality of care left us confident recommending Thriveworks for the condition.

Its large network of therapists and counselors have the training in TF-CBT and DBT—as well as other evidence-based techniques, like eye-movement desensitization and reprogramming (EMDR)—to provide informed, effective trauma therapy. We had overall positive experiences with the platform, and our providers were warm and competent.

Signing up was easy and efficient: We found providers we liked by narrowing the therapist bios by state, and then by a number of other details (like clinician gender, language spoken, and therapy approach). Had that process been too overwhelming, we also would’ve had the option to call the Thriveworks team for help getting matched, which we could definitely see being an advantage if we’d been maxed out from hypervigilance and anxiety. Most providers we saw accepted insurance—including Medicare, as well as Medicaid in some states—which is another big draw for people who qualify for these programs due to trauma and/or another disability.

Note

We were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the level of personalized treatment we and our kids received. In fact, it felt like getting therapy directly from a private-practice therapist we’d chosen for ourselves, rather than from such a large company. We also got to start therapy in a matter of days, which let us potentially skip weeks or months of heightened symptoms and stress.

Our sessions helped us learn mindfulness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance. We liked our therapists and felt supported (not judged) when opening up about our triggers and anxieties. That’s important: Feeling safe enough to be vulnerable with therapists during sessions is crucial to establishing a therapeutic relationship, especially when trauma (or PTSD) is involved.

Our CBT homework was effective in helping us figure out our triggers or other negative patterns of thought and behavior, and our efforts helped our providers help us. Additionally, we liked the educational resources that were on offer: namely, informative video courses in the company's Fireside series; free e-books with titles like “Grappling With Grief,” “Understanding Causes and Types of Depression,” and “Drugs and Other Addictions;” plus blog posts on a number of different mental health and self-care topics.

I’m a Psychologist With ADHD Living in a Therapy Desert, So I Tried Thriveworks

There are a few potential downsides to Thriveworks that we noticed. First, we had no way to message our therapists between sessions. There were only video or phone sessions to choose from—no text sessions were available if we’d preferred this format. The platform could use more CBT-specific tools and resources like mood trackers and activity planners, as well as more search filters to make it easier to find providers with similar backgrounds and identities. Finally, the services can also be expensive without insurance, some states have few therapists available at times. But all that said, we still think Thriveworks is a comprehensive platform for providing trauma-informed therapy for individuals, couples, spouses, families, and other groups.

Plans & Pricing

No subscriptions or memberships are available, so you’ll pay as you go. The self-pay rates vary by state:

  • Therapy: $200 to $240 for the initial session, and $160 to $195 for follow-ups
  • Psychiatry/medication management: $300 to $375 for the initial session; $210 to $300 per follow-up session

Thriveworks also accepts a wide variety of insurance plans, including:

  • Aetna
  • BCBS
  • Beacon Health
  • Cigna
  • Humana
  • Tricare West
  • Optum/UnitedHealthcare
  • Medicare

What Users Say

Thriveworks left a great impression on the 100 users we surveyed: Ninety-eight percent rated it positively overall. The same amount rated their therapist’s qualifications positively. Eighty-four percent said they’d start their search there again if needed.

Twenty percent had initially sought services with Thriveworks because of a traumatic event; respondents said their treatment plans included CBT (32%), ACT (25%), DBT (9%), and/or PE (7%).

Best for Adjustment Disorder :Wellnite

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (5)

  • Price:$95 per month (charged bi-weekly) for medication management only; $450 per month for regular therapy sessions; $245 per month for medication management and 1-2 monthly therapy
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:Yes
  • Type Of Therapy:Individual Therapy, Medication Management

Why We Chose It

If you’re having a persistently difficult time adjusting to a stressful life change or loss, you might have what’s called an adjustment disorder. Luckily, CBT can help with this too. We like that Wellnite’s therapists can combine CBT, ACT, DBT, and many other techniques and approaches to help teens and adults with a wide range of conditions, including adjustment disorders. If medication appeals (and is called for), Wellnite psychiatrists can provide evaluation and prescribing services. And, if you’ve got one of the accepted PPO insurance plans, you can receive out-of-network reimbursem*nt for your sessions.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Providers with CBT and DBT training

  • Offers psychiatry/medication management

  • Video, audio, and chat sessions available

  • Accepts clients 13 years old and up

  • Offers couples therapy and a supportive community

  • Sliding scale rates available

  • Flexible session lengths and availability

  • HIPAA compliant

  • Choose your own therapist

  • Works with PPO insurance

Cons

Our Experience

We had one Massachusettsan and one mental health professional in Texas try Wellnite therapy (but not psychiatry) for a month. Our concerns were mainly ADHD, anxiety, autism, depression, and transgender identity—neither of us had an adjustment disorder personally—but our experience still showed that Wellnite is a compelling option for teens and adults who are experiencing difficulties coping with change and loss.

Takeaway

It’s also the only company we can recall seeing that specifically advertises its adjustment disorder services, so we recommend it to people with this concern, especially if there’s a chance that medication might be necessary.

Signing up was pretty straightforward. We created an account and selected a membership plan, and then we were able to view provider bios and schedule sessions directly with available therapists. Wellnite offers three types of plans: therapy only, medication management only, and therapy and medication management. We liked the ability to choose the payment frequency that made the most sense, from monthly to annually, though it did take a little effort to feel like we fully understood the pricing structure. We were also able to use PPO insurance (for instance, Aetna, BCBS, Optum, or UnitedHealthcare) to get reimbursed up to 90% for the cost of our subscription. However, if we hadn’t been able to afford the standard rates, we could’ve also requested sliding scale rates during sign-up.

Wellnite therapists are trained to provide CBT and multiple subtypes to help therapy seekers fight anxiety, cope with grief and loss, and learn to accept the changes that are causing so much distress. Wellnite's clinicians can provide other types of therapy as well, ranging from EMDR to mindfulness techniques and even art therapy (which we quite enjoyed). Our therapists were warm and encouraging and met us where we were without sounding too scripted.

There’s a lot of flexibility built in, too, which we thought was great both for fitting therapy into a busy schedule and for adapting to fluctuations in our mood and energy levels. We could choose from video, audio, or live chat sessions, as well as more frequent (but shorter) sessions, or less frequent (but longer) sessions.

Note

Our Wellnite providers led us through breathing and relaxation techniques, visualizations, and guided meditation exercises, and—of course—used plenty of CBT in our sessions and in our homework. Many therapists on the platform send clients guidebooks, worksheets, and journal prompts; however, be aware that Wellnite lacks some of the tools (like trackers, journals, and activity planners) that are built into many competitors’ apps.

Wellnite might not be right for everyone. First, it’s not available in all states yet, plus the pricing structure is confusing, there are no refunds for unused sessions, and insured clients can only get reimbursem*nt with certain PPO plans. We found it puzzling that we could only filter the providers by name, not gender, specialties, or provider type. And finally, the most affordable payment frequencies for services at Wellnite are biannual and annual, which would have been a lot of money to pay at once and then wait for reimbursem*nt, compared to a monthly plan. Still, based on our experience with Wellnite, we think the platform is a good place to get CBT-based treatment for adjustment disorder and more.

Plans & Pricing

Wellnite’s services come at several different price points, depending on your chosen payment frequency.

  • Therapy: For $450 per month, you can choose from six 30-minute sessions, four 45-minute sessions, or three 60-minute sessions; access to Wellnite’s private community is included. You can also subscribe semi-annually and pay $360 per month (every six months)—or $292.50 per month (billed as one payment every 12 months).
  • Medical Care: $95 per month, in two biweekly installments, covers one doctor visit, wholesale pricing on medication, and free shipping. For savings, opt to pay biannually ($76 per month, every six months) or annually ($61.75 per month, billed every 12 months).
  • Medical Care + Therapy: $245 per month includes one doctor visit, discounted meds, and free shipping, as well as your choice of either one 60-minute or two 30-minute therapy sessions. Semi-annual subscriptions are $196 per month, paid every six months—and an annual subscription ($159.25 per month, paid up front) offers savings of nearly $100.

Wellnite is also an out-of-network provider with some major PPO insurance plans, including Pay the monthly cost upfront, and then Wellnite can provide a superbill to submit to your insurer for reimbursem*nt.

  • Aetna
  • BlueCross Blue Shield
  • Optum
  • UnitedHealthcare

What Users Say

The 102 users we surveyed ranked Wellnite as average or slightly better than average among all of the therapy platforms and directories we evaluated. Eighty-three percent said it was better than services they’d used in the past, a similar 8 in 10 rated their therapist’s qualifications positively, and 59% would start their search there again if needed. Half of all respondents reported receiving some amount of insurance coverage, with some reporting $0 out-of-pocket costs once they’d been reimbursed through their plans.

Thirty-six percent reported seeking therapy to cope with some sort of grief, loss, or traumatic event (including the COVID-19 pandemic), with a separate 65% citing anxiety as a reason. Respondents told us their providers used CBT (23.5%), DBT (4.9%), ACT (34.3%), and/or PE (4.9%) in sessions.

Best for Starting Therapy Fast :BetterHelp

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (6)

  • Price:$70 to $100 per week
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:No
  • Type Of Therapy:Individual Therapy

Why We Chose It

Sometimes you’re just looking to start therapy somewhere, ASAP, and don’t require highly specialized treatments or medication management. If that’s you (and you’re not under 18), we think BetterHelp is worth considering. Many of its 30,000-plus providers use CBT in sessions, and the fact that there are so many therapists available meant that we could have our first sessions within a day or two of signing up. That sure beat waiting for weeks or months to begin working on the thoughts and stressors that are bringing us down in the present.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Over 30,000 licensed therapists

  • Offers CBT and related subtypes

  • Serves all 50 states

  • Financial aid for eligible clients

  • Easy to switch therapists

  • Unlimited messages to your therapist

  • Free group therapy sessions

  • Accepts FSA/HSApayments

  • Start therapy quickly

Cons

  • Must be 18 to sign up

  • Not in network with insurance

  • No medication management or psychiatry

  • Individual CBT only

  • Prices vary by demand and location

  • Some sessions are only 30 minutes long

Our Experience

Thanks to its network of tens of thousands of therapists, BetterHelp is effectively the fastest way to begin individual CBT in any state in the country. To test the platform, we had six writers in different locations (Massachusetts, New York, Missouri, Kansas, and the U.K.) and one Californian mental health pro try therapy for a month. Our overall good experiences in sessions left us confident that BetterHelp is a great place for starting therapy fast; in fact, we were able to begin sessions within a few days.

Many of the independent therapists who work with BetterHelp offer CBT, and there are a whole host of other approaches on offer as well, including DBT, psychodynamic therapy, and emotionally focused therapy (EFT). We liked that the intake is on the lengthy side (about 20 to 30 minutes), which we felt made it more likely we’d be matched with suitable providers.

Tip

BetterHelp is for individual therapy only, though. If we indicated in the intake questionnaire that we were looking for couples therapy, teen therapy, Christian counseling, or LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy, we were directed to one of BetterHelp’s sister sites with that specific focus.

Still, BetterHelp itself offers some free group sessions, as well as online worksheets that we found useful for reinforcing the CBT we were doing in therapy sessions. We also appreciated the convenience of being able to choose between live text, phone, and video sessions each week, since sometimes life circ*mstances made it difficult to appear on camera every week. Our sessions ranged from 30 to 45 minutes, and we could also message our therapist, social worker, counselor, or psychologist anytime using our portal. We felt generally satisfied with the quality of care we received, and when we didn’t, we liked how easy it was to switch providers.

We wish that it accepted insurance, that it didn’t practice surge pricing, and that there was a guaranteed response time for therapists to respond to asynchronous messages. It’s also not appropriate for severe mental health concerns or for finding specialized care. Still, if you need to start individual talk therapy, and you need to start it now, BetterHelp is a very accessible option to explore.

Plans & Pricing

BetterHelp offers one monthly subscription plan, with weekly rates that are subject to surge pricing (meaning that the prices we were shown differed depending on which state we were in and how many therapists were currently available in that area). Most of us paid $70 to $100 per week, for a total of $280 to $400 charged monthly, although reduced rates are available for qualifying therapy seekers.

BetterHelp doesn’t accept insurance, but it does accept FSA/HSA payments.

What Users Say

Our 100 survey respondents thought BetterHelp was a solid choice for therapy, reporting a generally good rate of satisfaction. Ninety-seven percent of BetterHelp respondents rated the platform’s overall quality as good, very good, or excellent. Ninety-six percent said their therapists’ qualifications were either good, very good, or excellent. Ninety-six percent were either likely or very likely to recommend BetterHelp to a friend like themselves.

Eighty percent told us that they’d sought therapy for anxiety, with another 65% mentioning depression as a reason. (They were allowed to pick more than one reason.) When it came to therapy types, respondents received CBT (28%), DBT (6%), PE (2%), and/or ACT (18%) as part of treatment.

Read the FullWe Had 7 People Try BetterHelp: Here’s Our Review

Best for Relationships :ReGain

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (7)

  • Price:$260-$360+ per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:No
  • Type Of Therapy:Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy

Why We Chose It

Cognitive behavioral couples therapy (CBCT) is one of the most well-established approaches to couples therapy. If you need relationship help and you want to try CBCT, ReGain’s got you. Its network of over 12,000 providers throughout the country are trained to offer many evidence-based modes of relationship therapy to both individuals and couples, including CBT techniques. With the ability to send unlimited messages between sessions, it was easy to stay in touch with our therapists, who helped us adapt to stressful life changes such as adjusting to the birth of a child. We felt the platform’s worksheets, journaling, and guided activities were a great way to practice CBT skills, whether we worked on them alone or with a spouse.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Focus on relationship-based CBT

  • Quick, easy sign-up

  • Therapy for individuals and couples

  • Video or audio sessions

  • Unlimited messaging with your therapist

  • Partners can join sessions from separate devices

  • Can be more affordable than in-person couples therapy

  • Groupinars are available

  • Option to schedule back-to-back sessions

  • Accepts FSA/HSA payments

  • Qualified, adaptable therapists

  • Flexible session times

Cons

  • CBT for relationships only

  • Doesn’t accept insurance

  • Not a HIPAA-covered entity

  • No medication management

  • Prices vary by demand and location

  • You can’t pick your initial therapist

  • Sessions may be too short

  • Partners can see each others’ messages

Our Experience

To evaluate ReGain, four journalists—one each in Ohio and the United Kingdom, and two in New York—as well as one mental health professional in South Dakota tried relationship-focused therapy for a month, either as a couple or just as an individual. Overall, we were pleased with the quality of services we received, and we think it’s more affordable than traditional couples therapy.

We found it easy to sign up for and use this nationally available service, and the intake matching process enabled all but one of us to find qualified therapists whom we gelled with within 48 hours. When switching therapists was necessary, we didn’t have a difficult time doing so: We clicked a button indicating that we wanted a new therapist, and ReGain sent us new matches within 48 hours.

Takeaway

In therapy with a partner or spouse, we had positive experiences with warm, attentive therapists who provided insightful feedback, as well as worksheets and activities to try together and apart between sessions. We also liked the e-journal feature that we could use to process thoughts and concerns, and then share them with our partners and therapists.

Groupinars were also available on a wide variety of relevant topics, which we could see being useful for couples who want to connect with peers.

One thing testing made abundantly clear to us? A single 45-minute session was not always long enough for two people to discuss their concerns, thoughts, and behaviors in the same depth. Ending a session on a frustrated and emotionally charged note and then having to deal with the fallout offline, without a mediator, usually left us angrier than when the session began.

Tip

We definitely think it’s worth taking advantage of the ability to schedule two sessions back-to-back for only an additional $25, although our therapists' schedules didn’t always have this kind of availability.

We also feel that the monthly subscription price might be more expensive than it’s worth, especially if 90-minute sessions aren’t always available. It also made some of us uncomfortable to have to share the messaging room with our spouses.

Additionally, when we tried to get therapy as individuals, we encountered several therapists who seemed disinterested and disengaged at the prospect of working on relationship baggage in a one-on-one format. This gave us the impression that ReGain is a better option for those working on their relationships as a couple and that BetterHelp is the intended destination for all individual therapy seekers. That said, whether you’re looking for CBCT alone or in combination with other evidence-based couples counseling techniques, we still think ReGain is a great platform to investigate.

Plans & Pricing

ReGain shares BetterHelp’s surge pricing structure, charging between $260 and $360 or more per month for four weekly sessions, depending on therapist availability in our area when we signed up. For instance, one of us was offered the choice between $95 per week, billed weekly, or a significantly lower $80 per week, billed every four weeks.

We could also have extra-long appointments for an additional $25 by scheduling back-to-back sessions when our therapists had availability.

ReGain does not accept insurance, but couples counseling generally isn’t eligible for insurance coverage anyway.

What Users Say

Our 100 surveyed ReGain users rated the company’s services as better than average. Ninety-eight percent said their therapist met either most or all of their needs, and 100% rated the therapist’s qualifications as either good, very good, or excellent. Ninety-one percent of ReGain users thought they were either likely or very likely to still be seeing the same therapist in six months’ time.

A total of 11% of respondents had sought therapy for relationship or marriage issues, to get premarital counseling, or because they were considering divorce. Respondents reported that their therapists used CBT (23%), DBT (15%), PE (5%), and/or ACT (34%) in sessions with them.

Read the FullReGain Online Therapy Review

Best CBT App :MoodKit

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (8)

  • Price:$4.99
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:No

Why We Chose It

If you want to practice CBT skills on your own, there are a plethora of apps available to help you. While many of them are free, we really like the paid (but affordable) app MoodKit, by Thriveport. Although it isn’t actual therapy or coaching, this app is available to users 16 and older throughout the country and helped us gain better insight into our emotions and learn coping skills by journaling, tracking moods, challenging negative thoughts, and trying tailored activities. All that, for only five bucks!

Pros

  • Very affordable

  • Available to users 16 and older

  • Choose which activity categories you’d like to focus on

  • Can be used offline

  • Mood tracker visualizes your recent moods

  • Option to export and share data with your therapist

  • Doesn’t sell personal information to third parties

  • Available nationwide

Cons

  • Daily use requires some self-discipline

  • iPhone only

  • Not a substitute for CBT with a trained therapist

  • App could be more user-friendly

Our Experience

We had one North Carolinian with ADHD, anxiety, and depression try MoodKit for a month. In the end, we were very impressed with the CBT skills that this app helped us learn and practice, all for just the price of a cup of coffee. It’s not a replacement for therapy with a trained provider, and we found it takes some self-discipline to stick to using the app daily. But as long as you’re 16 or older and have an iPhone, we recommend MoodKit as a truly inexpensive way to try CBT techniques or supplement therapy.

We think MoodKit is a great option for those who are dedicated to using an app to change behaviors. It features several simple but helpful tools that we could pick and choose how often to use. They helped us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings, try out mood-improvement activities, and learn to challenge cognitive distortions (like overgeneralizing, all-or-nothing thinking, and jumping to conclusions). A number of different built-in template formats helped us use the e-journal feature in “specific ways known to help improve mood,” as Thriveport puts it. The handy Mood Tracker was a great visual record of how we’d been feeling. The Thought Checker also helped us check in with how stressful experiences affected us, as well as to challenge the negative self-talk we were engaging in.

Takeaway

We particularly enjoyed using the Activities tool, with its 200-plus behavioral activation challenges across five mood-improvement categories (productivity, social skills, enjoyment, physical health, and healthy habits) plus a special category called ThriveTips.

We liked having the ability to bookmark our favorite activities, share them with others, add them to our calendar, and write journal entries about them right in the app as well. When we were overwhelmed by the options, we just could just fill out a mini-quiz to get a guided suggestion on what to try next or tap the “random” button to have the app choose for us.

We also appreciated there are no ads or in-app purchases to take away from the experience of using MoodKit. We didn’t even have to create an account to get started, because the company says it stores app data locally (i.e., on our phones)—and also on iCloud, if sync was enabled. That kept everything we wrote completely private from Thriveport. We were also able to add a passcode or use touch/face ID as additional layers of security, although there would’ve been no way to reset our code if we had forgotten it.

Takeaway

Still, considering the deeply personal thoughts you might be recording, there’s comfort in knowing that Thriveport can’t sell your data to third parties, because it doesn’t have access to it.

That said, there are a few other potential downsides to MoodKit. The first—and probably the biggest—is that it’s available for iPhone only. Next, if you find it difficult to muster the motivation or executive function to use an app every day, MoodKit may not be the best fit. We wish there was the option to add reminders or notifications to help hold users accountable for using the app daily. You’ll also need to back up your data regularly or risk losing access to all of it, in the event that you forget your passcode. Overall, however, we think MoodKit is a very affordable and private way to work on CBT skills outside of therapy sessions.

Plans & Pricing

Download MoodKit for iPhone on the App Store for a one-time fee of $4.99.

What Users Say

We have not yet surveyed app users for their opinions. At the time of updating this roundup in August 2023, Moodkit was ranked the 33rd most popular app in the Health and fitness category, with an average of 4.3 stars across 224 ratings. (However, it seems that the bulk of these ratings are from 2022 or before.)

Best for Chronic Pain :Amwell

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (9)

  • Price:$109 to $279
  • Is Insurance Accepted?:Yes
  • Type Of Therapy:Couples Therapy, Family Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling

Why We Chose It

While it’s not a cure for chronic pain, adding CBT—even online CBT—to your pain toolkit can have an impact on chronic pain levels. We think Amwell is a strong option for people with chronic pain to find mental and physical health care in one place. Not only does it have psychiatrists and therapists with training in CBT and other subtypes at the ready, but it also offers general telehealth care and even physical therapy so you can start to tackle pain from multiple angles. Finally, Amwell is in-network with a wide range of insurance companies, and its self-pay prices are lower than the national average, which is important if your pain has made it hard to work enough to afford traditional therapy.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Accepts insurance and offers superbills

  • Available in all 50 states and D.C.

  • Offers CBT, DBT, ACT, and other evidence-based techniques

  • Serves clients 10 and older

  • Offers individual, couples, and adolescent therapy

  • Psychiatry, medical care, and physical therapy available

  • Choose your own providers

  • Support team and providers are responsive

  • Wide session availability (even same-day)

  • Accepts FSA/HSA payments

  • HIPAA-compliant site and iOS/Android app

  • Switching providers is easy

Cons

  • CBT only has mild to moderate impacts on pain

  • Can’t see final cost until insurance goes through

  • Therapy sessions are on the short side

  • $40 cancellation fee

  • Some states have fewer providers (especially for kids)

  • No guaranteed message response time

  • Site isn’t always user friendly

  • Doesn’t prescribe controlled substances

Our Experience

We had two people and one child (with parental consent) from Florida and both Carolinas, plus one therapist from California, try individual, couples, or teen therapy at Amwell for a month. It’s important to note that our main concerns were issues other than chronic pain (like ADHD, depression, anxiety, stress, and worry about starting high school), and that we didn’t test the psychiatry or general medical services. Still, our research and our mostly positive experiences in therapy—plus input from one of the authors of this roundup, who’s had pain from fibromyalgia, scoliosis, and other invisible illnesses for decades—left us with the impression that Amwell is a solid place to start gaining CBT coping skills to address a wide variety of concerns, including chronic pain.

With Kids at Home, I Have Little Spare Time—So I Tried Online Therapy at Amwell

Now, the thought of addressing chronic pain in part with CBT may seem invalidating, like being told, “You’re making this up.” Bear with us a moment, though: Chronic pain is real pain, with real medical causes—but it’s also true that certain mental behaviors like ruminating over negative thoughts actually can lead to decreased functioning levels when chronic pain is involved. Our subject matter expert, Dr. Marschall, adds that “many individuals with chronic medical issues experience mental health problems as a direct result of their medical problems… [and] CBT can help with the mental health issues tied to pain and reduce pain triggered by somatic issues.”

We found signing up for therapy at Amwell to be fairly straightforward, with minimal information required to be able to read provider bios and schedule therapy, psychiatry, and medical appointments from our portal. Since the platform charges by the session, there’s a bit more flexibility than sites with membership plans, and we liked that we were allowed to cancel sessions for free with at least 24 hours’ notice.

Tip

In our opinion, that means there’s a bit less pressure about a pain flare (or any other reason) forcing you to miss an appointment that was already paid for—and also less guilt and financial stress to worry about, too.

There were plenty of session times available, from early morning to evening to weekends. If we’d had chronic pain to take into account, this would’ve allowed us to try to schedule sessions for whatever part of the day (or evening) we usually had the least pain.

Depending on our needs, therapists could recommend things like grounding and relaxation exercises, ERP, and manual mood tracking. There’s also an informative blog with educational posts on various aspects of mental health and therapy. CBT “homework” at Amwell, like at Wellnite, is a bit more ad hoc and therapist-directed than apps that have lots of built-in interactive tools, journals, and trackers.

We noticed a few downsides in our testing though: When using insurance, we weren’t told our final out-of-pocket cost for each provider until the system had processed our policies before each appointment. We experienced occasional glitches, for instance when trying to schedule appointments. We also wish there were more search filters for choosing your therapist. Other than that, we believe Amwell is a great platform to try if you need virtual CBT mental health care for chronic pain—especially if you have insurance.

Plans & Pricing

Individual and couples therapy sessions are available at two out-of-pocket price points, based on provider qualifications:

  • Master’s degree: $109 per session with a licensed therapist, social worker, or counselor with a master’s degree
  • PhD: $129 per session with a licensed PhD-level provider (like a psychologist)

Initial psychiatry sessions are $279, with follow-ups coming in at $109 each. Medical visits start at $69 each.

However, Amwell is also in-network with over 100 insurance plans, including Aetna, BCBS, UnitedHealthcare, and more, so your final costs could be much less.

What Users Say

Our 100 survey respondents reported above-average levels of satisfaction with Amwell. Ninety-nine percent rated the platform overall as either good, very good, or excellent. Fully 98% were able to find therapists who met all or most of their needs. Seventy-four percent of Amwell respondents were likely or very likely to be with the same therapist in 12 months’ time, and 95% were likely or very likely to recommend the platform to a friend or someone like themselves.

Respondents told us their therapists used ACT (26%), CBT (31%), DBT (5%), and/or PE (7%) in sessions. More than two-thirds of the respondents said they’d sought therapy with Amwell for anxiety, with a separate 57% citing depression as their driving factor.

With Kids at Home, I Have Little Spare Time—So I Tried Online Therapy at Amwell

Compare the 8 Best Online CBT Services We Tested in 2024

Best For

Price

Is Insurance Accepted?

Does it Accept HSA/FSA?

Type Of Therapy

Communication Options

Reset All

BrightsideBest for Depression$95-$349 per monthYesYesIndividual Therapy, Medication Management, PsychiatryMessaging, Video ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

Online-Therapy.comBest for Anxiety$200-$440 per monthNoYesCouples Therapy, Individual TherapyAudio, Messaging, Video ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

NOCDBest for OCD$170 per sessionYesNoIndividual Therapy, Teen CounselingN/ALearn More

Hide, not for me

ThriveworksBest for Trauma$160 - $240 per therapy session, $300 - $375 for initial psychiatry/medication management session, $210 - $300 for follow-upsYesYesCouples Therapy, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen CounselingAudio, Phone, Video ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

WellniteBest for Adjustment Disorder$95 per month (charged bi-weekly) for medication management only; $450 per month for regular therapy sessions; $245 per month for medication management and 1-2 monthly therapyYesNoIndividual Therapy, Medication ManagementLive Chat, Phone, Video ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

BetterHelpBest for Starting Therapy Fast$70 to $100 per weekNoYesIndividual TherapyMessaging, Phone, Video ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

ReGainBest for Relationships$260-$360+ per monthNoNoCouples Therapy, Individual TherapyAudio, Live Chat, Messaging, Video ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

MoodKitBest CBT App$4.99NoNoN/AN/ALearn More

Hide, not for me

AmwellBest for Chronic Pain$109 to $279YesYesCouples Therapy, Family Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen CounselingVideo ChatLearn More

Hide, not for me

Guide to Choosing the Best Online CBT for You

Whether you’re looking for a CBT app or an online therapy platform, there are a number of considerations when deciding what’s the best fit for you. They include:

  • Your needs: Marschall notes that using a CBT app is better than doing nothing at all to build skills, if that’s all you have access to. But apps and even full-blown online therapy platforms are not suitable for emergencies. If you’re in crisis or experiencing severe mental health issues, seek immediate, in-person mental healthcare services.
  • Price: If your budget is tight, focus on platforms and directories that offer sliding scale rates, financial aid, or that accept your insurance (if applicable). Or, opt for an app as a more affordable way to practice skills on your own.
  • Type of treatment: While many therapists and counselors are trained to use CBT on its own or in tandem with other therapy modalities, not all providers receive training on every subtype or more specialized uses (for instance, CBT for eating disorders). Be aware of this while searching.
  • Scheduling: One of the biggest appeals of telehealth is the ability to attend sessions at convenient times. If you need flexibility, prioritize platforms that offer sessions outside of standard business hours—for instance, early mornings, evenings, or weekends.
  • Providers: Some services—like peer counseling and faith-based counseling—don’t require a license. If looking for therapy or psychiatry, though, make sure the platform has therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists who are licensed to practice in your state.
  • Session types: Depending on the platform, sessions might be available as video, audio, or text chats. If you want flexibility, opt for a company that lets you choose. If you know you have a preferred mode of communication, focus on platforms that offer it.
  • Resources available: Many therapists will provide “homework” in the form of handouts and suggestions for activities to practice CBT skills. Unless you don’t mind potentially working with scanned PDFs and other downloads, you may want to look for a platform that builds in features like worksheets, mood trackers, and guided meditations right into your private portal or app. (Reminders to actually use these features are helpful, too.)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Does Online CBT Work?

    Whether online or in-person, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a well-studied type of therapy that focuses on cognition (thoughts) and behavior (actions). In sessions, CBT therapists point out problematic thinking patterns, irrational beliefs, and distorted perceptions and help you learn how to challenge and change those thoughts. Homework is a big part of reinforcing the skills you’ve worked on in therapy, so be prepared to receive handouts, reading recommendations, suggested activities, and worksheets to practice CBT techniques between sessions. If you stick with it, CBT and its homework may help you shift the thoughts that pop into your head and develop new patterns of behavior.

  • Is Online CBT Treatment Effective?

    Yes, online CBT “has a strong evidence base for many mental health concerns, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety,” Marschall says, meaning it’s an effective treatment for a wide variety of mental health disorders, including OCD, depression, panic disorders, phobias, substance use disorders, and generalized anxiety, and more. “It can also be a great resource for folks who do not have the means to receive long-term care,” she adds, “as many CBT protocols are time-limited.” It’s not for everyone, though—particularly if you have certain conditions like severe depression, psychosis, a severe personality disorder (like antisocial personality), and/or an intellectual disability. Also, be aware that neurodivergent children are often encouraged to “act more neurotypical” using behavioral therapies, which Marschall says can lead to shame and trauma.

  • How Much Does Online CBT Cost?

    The cost of CBT therapy can vary widely. You can find CBT therapy online for as low as $30 for a session with a student intern all the way up to $250 per session and beyond. It’s important to compare prices from different companies or different providers if you’re reaching out to them directly. Online therapy companies that have subscriptions or offer discounted session bundles can often be an affordable way to get therapy. Self-guided apps are also potentially effective as a supplement to therapy, with free and paid options available at a wide range of price points.

  • Can You Do CBT Treatment by Yourself?

    Our expert, Marschall, puts it this way: “While there are self-guided apps and resources for implementing CBT techniques independently, it is important to remember that these are not a substitute for therapy. Yes, you can track your thoughts, emotions, triggers, et cetera, on your own, but this is not the same as receiving treatment from a qualified therapist. If you cannot access mental health care, I would say that self-guided CBT resources can be better than nothing. However, I have yet to discover a therapeutic resource that replaces therapy altogether.”

  • How Long Do CBT Sessions Last?

    A CBT therapy session lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, much like other forms of therapy. Short sessions may not be sufficient to make real, lasting progress, however. A session length of 45 minutes or more is ideal.

What If You’re Having Thoughts of Harming Yourself?

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please reach out to one of the resources below.

LGBTQIA+ youth can reach out to The Trevor Project.

Transgender adults can call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.

Anyone can call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. However, be aware that the first responders, if necessary, will likely be the police—and that it’s unfortunately common for wellness checks to escalate to police brutality. If you or someone you know experiences a mental health crisis, you may wish instead to contact friends, relatives, or other community organizations that are committed to nonviolent responses.

Best Mental Health Apps

How We Tested and Reviewed Online Therapy Services

We evaluated 80 online therapy companies and therapist directories in order to compile this list. We also tried around 20 mental health and wellness apps, some of which offer CBT tools.

Firsthand Experience

As part of our research, we signed up for talk therapy at all 55 online therapy companies we reviewed. We tested each company's therapy services, and if the company offered other services (such as couples therapy and kid or teen therapy) we tested those too. Our testers are located all across the United States and abroad, meaning we have extensive information about each company's services in a variety of areas. We also tried out the mobile apps for several weeks to see how well they helped us learn skills and track thoughts and moods.

User and Brand Surveys

In addition, we surveyed more than 10,000 therapy users: 105 at each of the 55 online therapy companies and 180 at each of the 25 therapist directories. We collected over 100 different data points, asking users to evaluate each company's services, from their therapist's qualifications to whether they found a therapist who met all their needs to how they'd rate the company overall. We also sent questionnaires to each company we considered, asking for their perspectives on the services they provide, and we interviewed former patients and therapists at the companies where possible.

Research

In addition to the extensive research we performed on each of the 55 online therapy companies we reviewed, we also researched dozens of therapy directories. We tested each by searching for appropriate therapists for 37 hypothetical scenarios that might lead someone to search for a mental health provider across 18 ZIP codes. We then rated the results by how well the therapists we found in each directory could address each scenario, looking into whether it had competent, licensed therapists that were qualified to treat these issues.

Expert Recommendations

Once we completed this testing and these surveys, we evaluated our findings with the help of three licensed therapists—Amy Marschall, PsyD; Nic Hardy, PhD, LCSW; and Hannah Owens, LMSW—in order to make our recommendations. These therapists provided extensive insight into the ethics and efficacy of online therapy as well as information about relevant therapeutic modalities and approaches.

Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (10)

Article Sources

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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Tested and Expert-Approved: Our Top 8 Services and Apps That Offer CBT Online in 2024 (2024)

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