The Top Text Therapy Platforms Reviewed If you’re seeking mental health care, text therapy may…
Discover the Top 4 Resources for Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Exploring The Top 4 Online Resources for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective form of psychotherapy that helps individuals challenge negative beliefs impacting their mental health. While some online therapy platforms offer CBT, others provide courses and worksheets to supplement therapy.
In this review, we highlight the best online platforms for CBT, including options for free resources and financial aid programs.
Our Best Online CBT Platforms: Top Picks for Your Mental Health
- Best overall: Online-Therapy.com
- Best for financial aid: BetterHelp
- Best for choosing your therapist: Thriveworks
- Best self-guided CBT app: Sanvello
Why You Can Trust Us
We are committed to providing our readers with the best information possible. To ensure accuracy and reliability, we have taken the following steps:
- Conducted independent research
- Mystery shopped each of the brands
- Contacted customer service teams to gauge responsiveness
- Consulted with leading psychologists and psychiatrists
- Tried the online therapy providers ourselves
- Reviewed academic research on the effectiveness of online therapy compared to in-person therapy.
Comparing the Best Online CBT Platforms
|Platform||Cost||Session Types||CBT Support Via||Accepts Insurance?|
|Online-Therapy.com||$50 to $110 per week||Text messaging; live video, voice, or text sessions||A CBT program, CBT worksheets, and live therapy sessions||No|
|BetterHelp||$60 to $90 per week||Video, voice, or text messaging; live video, phone, or text sessions||Live therapy sessions||No|
|Thriveworks||Starts at $99 per session; optional membership starts at $39 per month†||Live video||Live therapy sessions||Yes|
|Sanvello||$8.99 per month ($2.25 per week) for premium app features; therapy session costs vary with coverage*||Live video||Mood-tracking app, thought-reframing exercises, and live therapy sessions||Yes*|
† Cost may be higher based on the provider or practice location.
* In-network insurance plan users can only book therapist sessions.
As CBT continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to find the best online resources for treatment. We’ve compared the top four platforms to help you make the best choice. From affordable pricing to insurance acceptance, these options have something for everyone.
Best Online CBT Providers in 2023
1. Top Choice for Online CBT: Online-Therapy.com
- All therapists are trained in CBT
- Includes online CBT support materials like worksheets
- Can choose from three plans that include unlimited messaging
- Does not accept insurance
- Only way to contact customer service is through email
- Self-guided resources aren’t available offline
Cost: $50 to $110 per week
Session Format: Text messaging; live video, voice, or text sessions
Online-Therapy.com is a comprehensive online CBT platform that offers a range of tools to support users in their mental health journey. All therapists on the platform are trained in CBT and provide personalized support through live sessions and messaging. The platform also provides an eight-section online program to learn about CBT principles and how they relate to your mental health, including worksheets and activity plans that go along with the program’s sections.
Subscribers can choose from three plans that include unlimited messaging and daily worksheet replies Monday through Friday. The basic plan does not include live sessions but does provide access to CBT support materials. The standard and premium subscription plans include one or two live sessions per week respectively, conducted by licensed therapists trained in administering CBT. Live therapy sessions can be conducted via video, voice, or text.
In addition to regular sessions, users can message their provider throughout the week, and therapists will track their progress and provide daily feedback on their homework Monday through Friday. Online-Therapy.com also includes a journal that prompts users with questions when they start and end their day, yoga and meditation videos, and a progress test that users can take any time to reflect on their emotional well-being over the previous two weeks.
Unfortunately, Online-Therapy.com does not accept insurance, and the only way to contact customer service is through email. Additionally, the self-guided resources are not available offline.
Online-Therapy.com recommends sticking with its services for at least a month, but users who benefit from ongoing support can stay longer. In a survey of 1,000 online therapy users conducted in April 2022, 184 respondents used Online-Therapy.com, and 57 percent of subscribers used the platform for eight months or fewer.
Comparing Online-Therapy.com Plans: Which One is Right for You?
When looking for online therapy, it’s important to consider your budget and the level of support you need. Online-Therapy.com offers three different plans with varying levels of features and support. Here’s a breakdown of the Basic, Standard, and Premium plans to help you decide which one is right for you.
The Basic Plan is the most affordable option at $50 per week. It includes access to CBT support materials, unlimited messaging with a therapist, and daily worksheet replies (Monday through Friday). However, this plan does not include any live therapy sessions.
The Standard Plan costs $80 per week and includes everything in the Basic Plan, plus one live therapy session per week. This plan may be a good fit for those who want to talk to a therapist regularly but don’t need more than one session per week.
The Premium Plan is the most comprehensive plan, costing $110 per week. It includes everything in the Standard Plan, plus two live therapy sessions per week and the option for express replies to messages. This plan may be a good fit for those who need more frequent therapy sessions or want faster responses from their therapist.
Which Plan is Right for You?
When considering which Online-Therapy.com plan to choose, it’s important to think about your budget and the level of support you need. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t need live therapy sessions, the Basic Plan may be the best option for you. If you want to talk to a therapist regularly, the Standard Plan may be a good fit. And if you need more frequent therapy sessions or want faster responses from your therapist, the Premium Plan may be the way to go.
Overall, Online-Therapy.com offers a range of plans to meet different needs and budgets. By considering your own needs and preferences, you can find the plan that works best for you and get the support you need to improve your mental health.
2. Best for Financial Aid: BetterHelp
BetterHelp offers both live therapy sessions and unlimited messaging via video, audio, and text for users seeking mental health support. Its therapist-matching questionnaire helps users find a therapist to suit their needs. However, while BetterHelp has licensed therapists in all 50 states, it doesn’t specify whether it has CBT therapists available in every state.
- Includes live sessions and unlimited video, audio, and text messaging
- Offers financial assistance to qualified applicants
- Doesn’t accept insurance
- Need to request a CBT therapist during the matching process
- Need to reapply for financial assistance every three months, if needed
Session Format: Unlimited messaging; live video, phone, or text sessions
Cost: $60 to $90 per week
Accepts Insurance: No
Finding a CBT therapist on BetterHelp requires users to email customer service or use the “change therapists” feature to request one, rather than choose from a list of CBT therapists.
Users can send unlimited messages to their therapist, and weekly live therapy sessions are available via video, phone, or text. Response times vary, with half of the users surveyed receiving responses within a day, and 8 percent taking more than a week.
BetterHelp offers a financial assistance program that assesses users’ financial situations and can discount their subscription by up to 40 percent. Users who qualify for financial assistance must reapply every three months to keep their discounts active.
BetterHelp Plan Options and Pricing
BetterHelp’s pricing ranges from $60 to $90 per week, billed monthly, depending on the user’s preferences, location, and therapist availability. The basic subscription plan provides messaging support and live sessions, while the premium subscription plan provides additional features, such as a personalized treatment plan and a dedicated chat room with your therapist.
3. Best for Choosing Your Therapist: Thriveworks
Thriveworks is an online therapy platform that allows users to select a CBT therapist of their choice from a pool of licensed professionals. With Thriveworks, users can book appointments with therapists who meet their specific preferences and needs.
- Can select a CBT therapist via the provider search tool
- Responsive customer service
- Accepts insurance
- Requires a monthly membership to contact therapists between sessions
- Not available in all states
Session Format: Thriveworks offers live video sessions with therapists that last between 50 to 60 minutes. In addition, users have email and phone access to their therapist between sessions, but this feature is only available with a monthly membership.
Cost: Thriveworks pricing varies depending on provider location and experience. Online live video sessions with a therapist start at $99 per session. Access to email and phone sessions between live sessions requires a monthly membership, which starts at $39 per month.
Accepts Insurance: Thriveworks accepts insurance, making it easier for users to access the therapy they need without financial strain.
Selecting Your Therapist
Thriveworks allows users to search for a therapist by specific criteria such as CBT specialization, insurance, and location. Users can also utilize the live chat feature on the Thriveworks website to speak with knowledgeable agents who can help match them with the therapist of their choice.
Therapy Buddy App
Thriveworks offers a mobile app, Therapy Buddy, that helps users stay on track with their therapy goals. The app provides helpful prompts after sessions, the ability to note topics for future sessions, and a homework assignment task list to keep users engaged.
As of October 2022, Thriveworks does not have therapists licensed to practice in New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia.
In summary, Thriveworks offers a unique online therapy experience that allows users to select their preferred therapist from a pool of licensed professionals. While the platform requires a monthly membership to access email and phone sessions between live sessions, its responsive customer service and acceptance of insurance make it a valuable option for those seeking CBT therapy.
4. Best self-guided CBT app: Sanvello
Sanvello, previously known as Pacifica, is a popular self-guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness app that offers a range of free and paid features to help users manage their mental health. The app provides a unique combination of CBT and mindfulness tools that Sanvello defines as “the practice of worrying less and noticing more.” In this article, we will explore the features of the app, including its pros and cons, plan options, and pricing.
- Free mood tracker and CBT resources
- Low-cost premium subscription to access self-guided CBT tools
- Peer support chat groups available on the free version
- Only users with in-network insurance plans are eligible for therapy sessions
- Therapy option not available in all states
- Messaging option with a coach, not a therapist
Sanvello Self-Guided CBT Features
Sanvello offers free CBT resources that include audio and video lessons, guided meditations, breathing exercises, journaling prompts, and trackers for mood, physical health, and thoughts. These resources are designed to help users manage their mental health independently. The free version also provides access to unmoderated group chats with individuals who have similar interests and mental health concerns.
A clinical study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research in June 2019 showed that the mindfulness tools on the app were effective in reducing users’ self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress after one month. However, the study was funded by Sanvello, and two of the study’s authors received a salary from the company.
Sanvello Plan Options and Pricing
Sanvello offers three plans: premium, coaching, and therapy. The premium plan is the only one that users can access without insurance, and it costs $8.99 per month. It includes access to a full meditation library and additional guided journeys and tools not offered by the free plan.
The coaching plan is only available to users who have Sanvello as part of their employee assistance program. It includes everything in the premium plan, plus a personal trained mental health coach. Coaches have a background in mental wellness and over 200 hours of CBT training, but they are not necessarily licensed therapists. The coaching plan also provides access to live group classes that help users learn how to apply Sanvello techniques to their lives.
The therapy plan adds the ability to schedule live video sessions with a licensed therapist. However, users need in-network insurance to use this plan, and therapy sessions are only available to users in certain states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Sessions cost an average of $140 for the initial appointment and $85 per follow-up appointment, depending on the user’s insurance plan.
Sanvello Plan Comparison
Sanvello offers three different plans to meet the needs of different users: self-care, coaching, and therapy. Here’s a closer look at the features and benefits of each plan:
Self-Care (Sanvello Premium)
- Access to all CBT tools and activities
- Full meditation library
- Additional guided journeys and tools not offered by the free plan
- Cost: $8.99 per month without insurance
- Everything included in the premium plan
- Personal trained mental health coach
- Access to live group classes to learn how to apply Sanvello techniques to your life
- Cost: Only available to users who have Sanvello as part of their employee assistance program
- Everything included in the coaching plan
- The ability to schedule live video sessions with a licensed therapist
- Billed per session in addition to the subscription cost (average cost of $140 for the initial appointment and $85 per follow-up appointment, depending on your insurance plan)
- Only available to users with in-network insurance plans
- Available to users in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin
Comparing the plans, the self-care (Sanvello Premium) plan is the most affordable and accessible option, with access to all CBT tools and activities, the full meditation library, and additional guided journeys and tools not offered by the free plan. The coaching plan is only available to users who have Sanvello as part of their employee assistance program, but it offers access to a personal trained mental health coach and live group classes to help users apply Sanvello techniques to their lives. The therapy plan is the most comprehensive option, with access to all features of the coaching plan and the ability to schedule live video sessions with a licensed therapist, but it is only available to users with in-network insurance plans and in select states.
Overall, Sanvello offers a range of plans to fit different user needs and budgets, with a combination of free and paid features to support mental wellness.
Understanding CBT: A Comprehensive Overview
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that is based on the concept of addressing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to psychological distress. It helps patients develop problem-solving skills to cope with challenging situations, understand the behaviors and motivations of others, and face their fears. According to the Mayo Clinic, CBT is generally considered short-term therapy that lasts between 5 and 20 sessions.
The Structure of CBT
During CBT, there is a set agenda for sessions, and patients are typically assigned at-home exercises to complete between sessions. These exercises include journaling or tracking unhelpful thoughts as they arise and the emotions that come up, and then challenging them. These exercises help reinforce the work done during sessions, according to the Mayo Clinic.
CBT builds on the assumption that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all related to one another. For example, a person with depression may think that they are a burden to their friends —an unhelpful belief that can exacerbate negative feelings. A CBT therapist would point out that this belief is a cognitive distortion. The therapist then asks questions that may help the person reevaluate and think more flexibly. This is the cognitive aspect of CBT.
To address the behavioral aspect, the person and their therapist work together to modify dysfunctional behavior patterns. For example, they might use exposure therapy, which is a form of CBT used to reduce responses of fear and anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In exposure therapy, a person is gradually exposed to a feared situation or object, learning to become less sensitive over time.
Benefits of Online CBT
Online CBT allows for the convenience of connecting virtually with your therapist, and some platforms have extra resources like worksheets or journals to help. Virtual sessions may be easier for individuals with busy schedules or social anxiety issues that make it challenging to meet in person. Remote sessions have made therapy of all kinds more accessible than ever before, and in one study, more effective. A review published in July 2020 in eClinicalMedicine found that online CBT was at least as effective as in-person CBT for reducing the severity of depression.
What Can CBT Treat?
CBT can help improve many mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and sleep disorders, eating disorders, sexual disorders, bipolar disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance use disorders. Beyond treating mental health conditions, CBT can be used to address a broad spectrum of emotional challenges, such as navigating loss or grief, resolving relationship issues, and even chronic physical symptoms.
Different Types of CBT
There are many types of CBT that work to address underlying thought patterns that may contribute to psychological distress. Multimodal therapy, for example, is based on the theory that psychological issues can be treated by addressing the seven different yet interconnected modalities: behavior, imagery, affect, cognition, sensation, interpersonal factors, and drug or biological considerations. The exact balance is tailored to the patient’s specific needs, according to Dr. Hafeez, founder and director of the treatment center Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services in New York City.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online CBT Therapist
If you’re looking for a CBT therapist online, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you find the right one. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
One of the first things to consider when choosing a CBT therapist online is your personal preferences. For example, you may want to filter therapists by gender, sexual orientation, years of experience, or language spoken. Websites like BetterHelp and Thriveworks offer these options to help you find a therapist who meets your individual needs.
Another important factor to consider is the type of session you prefer. Do you want video calls, audio calls, or live chat messaging? Live sessions may provide quick feedback, while asynchronous messaging may allow you to communicate with your therapist more frequently throughout the week. Consider which type of session will best meet your needs and comfort level.
If you’re motivated by completing activities and exercises, it may be helpful to choose a platform that provides CBT resources to support your therapy. Websites such as Online-Therapy.com and Sanvello offer mood trackers, activity plans, and worksheets that you can complete between therapy sessions to reinforce what you learn in therapy. Make sure to choose a platform that offers these resources if they are important to you.
In conclusion, finding the right CBT therapist online requires considering your personal preferences, the type of session you prefer, and whether the platform provides CBT resources to support your therapy. By taking the time to research and choose the right therapist and platform, you can improve your mental health and well-being.
The Bottom Line: Choosing the Best Online CBT Therapy Platform
For individuals seeking a structured therapy program with virtual sessions and homework assignments, online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be a suitable option. Online CBT platforms offer various resources, such as mood tracking, activity planning, and online worksheets, to support their users.
After conducting extensive research, we have identified the following online CBT platforms as the best options:
- Online-Therapy.com – This platform offers a comprehensive CBT program, a range of CBT resources, and a team of therapists trained in CBT, making it our top pick for the best overall online CBT platform.
- BetterHelp – This platform has a dedicated customer service team that matches users with a therapist who specializes in CBT. Additionally, it provides financial assistance to qualifying users, making it our top pick for the best online CBT platform with financial aid.
- Thriveworks – This platform’s provider search tool enables users to find online CBT providers who meet their specific therapist preferences, making it our top pick for the best online CBT platform that lets you choose your therapist.
- Sanvello – This is our top pick for the best self-guided CBT app, as it provides free CBT tools and optional live therapy sessions for users with in-network insurance.
Additional reporting by Emily Orofino.
In Emergency Situations:
It is essential to note that in case of an emergency, such as having suicidal thoughts or plans to harm oneself or others, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe. Individuals in such situations should immediately call 911 or the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) offers a free and confidential 24/7 treatment referral and information service for individuals facing mental or substance abuse disorders.