Whether you’re looking for pre-marriage, marriage, or relationship counseling – with the right therapist – couple counseling is worth it.
The options for online couple counseling are countless, representing a challenge as much as it represents a quick pathway to efficacy and feasibility.
Therapy can change your life and the flow of your relationship or marriage.
It’s a safe way to improve your relationship by learning or relearning healthy ways to communicate, interact, and resolve issues with your partner.
Through extensive research and testing, we have had a closer look at couples therapy and counseling services online.
Thus, we’ve categorized 1) The best, most reasonable, and reliable options; and 2) Options you should avoid or at least have second thoughts about.
This article is not sponsored by – nor affiliated with – any of the services, therapists, programs, and companies mentioned.
What’s the difference between couples counseling and online couples counseling?
A couples therapist is generally a professional who’s a licensed therapist, MFT, clinical psychologist, relationship expert and coach, clinical and licensed counselor, etc.
You can reach a couples therapist and make an appointment online or in person. The difference between making an in-person and online appointment is that
- In an in-person consultation, you (and your partner) have to be present in the room with the couples counselor.
- In an online consultation, you (and your partner) can be present online through video call, or writing form (e.g. online chat).
The key difference is that online couples therapy works and operates through the Internet.
How does online couples therapy work and help?
Couples therapy can be tremendously helpful for your relationship regardless of the stage you’re in – whether it’s healthy or toxic.
As long as you do your research, check the reviews, and find out more about the couples’ therapist you’re about to book, you’ll be good to go.
Here’s how online couples’ therapy works:
– The first step is finding a couples’ therapist or service that provides couples therapy online and reaching out to them.
If you reach out to a site that provides online couples counseling, someone from the support system will reach back to you and help you make an appointment.
However, if you reach out to a couples therapist directly, you’re likely to hear from them personally.
This is the part where you can discuss prices, schedules, and methods.
You can ask questions about the services, and estimate whether you’d be comfortable with any of them.
– Once you make the decision, you can start therapy with your partner.
Depending on the methods that the couples therapist goes by, you can have the therapy session(s) through email, video calls, or via text through the platform.
How to find the right platform for online couples therapy?
Picking the wrong therapist in attempts of healing or improve your relationship can cost you many things, including your relationship.
This is why you must be very careful and wary when choosing a platform or therapist for couples therapy, be it online or in person!
Here’s what you must consider when in search for online couples counseling:
- Do your research on the site or therapist. Look them up on Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot, and make sure to read reviews from online forums such as Reddit or Quora.
You can read the reviews on Reddit or Quora, by simply googling the name of the site and adding Reddit or Quora next to it.
While you’re at your research, besides the reviews, you want to check the therapists’ titles, qualifications, and degrees.
You want to look for someone who’s capable of offering couples therapy. Essentially, someone who has titles such as a licensed therapist, clinical and licensed counselor, clinical psychologist, LMFT, relationship expert and coach, etc.
- Ask about the techniques that are used during therapy. Different therapists choose different methods for practicing their therapy.
This is why you have to find a therapist whose practices you and your partner are comfortable with.
This will also allow you to have a better idea of how therapy is going to work, be it through video calling, phone calling, or writing form.
The video call sessions tend to be more effective in comparison to writing form, hence make sure to ask about it beforehand.
- Try finding out if the services or therapists accept insurance. This can make therapy more affordable, considering its high prices.
Hence, try either asking directly about whether they accept insurance, or find out by having a closer look at the platform or therapists’ profiles.
- See if the therapist assigned to you, or the therapist you’re thinking of choosing has worked long enough with couples therapy.
Experience plays a crucial role in professionalism and accuracy. Especially in therapy.
A more experienced therapist can have more advanced techniques and experience in the field, making therapy more likely to be effective.
- Watch out for the sponsored lists on the internet.
Renowned mental health sites often tend to get sponsored by online therapy platforms, hence not-so-reliable sources make it into their ‘best online couples therapy services’ lists.
You can tell a site has listed a sponsoring service by clicking on the links in the names of services listed.
If the link that redirects you to the service is clear, for example, psychologytoday.com, the site likely isn’t sponsored by Psychology Today.
Not all sites state that they’re sponsored by a service, hence try doing extensive research on a suggested online therapy program.
What’s the best couples therapy program online for you?
Among the countless options for couples therapy programs online, there are ones that are reliable and ones that have good marketing strategies.
Unfortunately, most of those with good marketing strategies tend to be on a hunt for people’s money.
Once you filter them out, you get genuine and reliable sources that can tremendously change your life. Here’s what we’ve found!
6 of the best online programs for couple therapy and how they work!
1. Psychology Today.
Pricing: depends on the therapist.
Acceptance of insurance: depends on the therapist.
Besides offering psychological advice for free through their blogs, Psychology Today offers a network of therapists which you can reach out to online.
The psychologists and therapists on the site are licensed and verified, hence making Psychology Today one of our top picks as a trustworthy source.
You can reach out to one of their – what they call – Teletherapists by selecting ‘online therapy’.
You will then have to enter your city name or Zipcode to be referred to online therapists near you.
The next step after that is selecting the therapist you think will suit your needs best!
You can filter the therapists listed by adjusting preferences such as price, issues, insurance, sexuality, gender, etc.
Each therapist profile has a description, is verified, has a phone number available, and can be accessible through email.
This will allow you to do your research and have your questions answered by the therapist – ideally, by the therapist – before booking an appointment.
This is one of the biggest advantages when compared to the rest of the platforms that offer online therapy: you can choose your therapist by yourself.
Pricing: depends on the therapist.
Acceptance of insurance: depends on the therapist.
The Gottman Referral Network is yet another large network of licensed and verified therapists.
The Gottman Institute is widely known for groundbreaking research including renowned therapists, making them another reliable source for online therapy.
One of the greatest advantages of the Gottman Referral Network is that it allows you to choose your couples therapist instead of it choosing it for you.
You’re required to write down a state, city, or therapist name to begin your search for a therapist in this network.
You can also narrow the search down by filtering areas such as services and specialties.
Most of the profiles have a description where the therapists state their qualification(s), license states, availability, insurance acceptance or not, etc.
This allows you to choose your therapist, take time to think, and do research on them to find out whether they’re the right therapist for you.
Some of the therapists include their websites too. That gives you the opportunity to do more research on them.
On the other hand, some of the therapists give you the opportunity to message them.
This is great to ask the questions you should ask before picking the therapist for you!
Pricing: depends on the therapist or coach – overall affordable.
Acceptance of insurance: depends on the therapist.
Relationship Hero is yet another great network that gives you the space to go through therapists’ and coaches’ profiles until you find the right one for you and your partner.
This option is suitable for those who are on a budget looking for a cheap way to have access to online therapy or online relationship coaching.
By selecting ‘coaches’ you can take a look at the coaches available through the site.
You can go through their profiles and read information such as pricing, biography, qualification(s), and reviews that their clients left on their profiles.
Relationship Hero has a total of 1,684 reviews on Trustpilot, 92% of which are 5-star reviews, 7% are 4-star reviews, and the rest (3, 2, 1) are 1% each.
This makes this site very reliable and affordable if you’re on a budget!
4. Danica Byler.
Pricing: $174 per session.
She has been practicing her job as a licensed professional counselor for over 21 years and has a certificate from American Counseling Association.
Her LinkedIn profile further lists her qualifications and degrees, making her an even more reliable therapist to reach out to.
We’ve noticed a slight issue with her site St. Louis Couples Therapy, it seems to have a glitch and is slightly confusing to use.
However, her profiles on Psychology Today and Gottman Referral Network have her contacts listed, and you can easily reach her through her phone number, email, or through these sites directly.
We chose her as a reliable source considering her transparency, level of education, years of experience, qualifications, and flexibility of payment procedures.
This is one of the exceptional profiles that shows professionalism and reliability.
5. Jack Saul.
Pricing: is determined individually by the length and frequency of the session(s).
Jack Saul is a renowned licensed psychologist. He’s known for his work and publications in psychology including
- “Collective Trauma, Collective Healing: Promoting Community Resilience in the Aftermath of Disaster” – Book.
- “Building resilience in families, communities and organizations” – Training.
- “The International Trauma Studies Program”
You can reach out to him directly regarding your questions about setting an appointment with him.
He provides individual, couple, and family therapy.
You can check his website out, know more about his work and projects, then decide whether he meets your criteria for the right couple therapist for you and your partner.
6. Adele Hurst.
Pricing: starting from $140 per session.
Doesn’t accept insurance.
Adele Hurst is specialized in relationship issues, making her a reliable therapist for couples therapy.
She does couples therapy online hence making her services easier to access.
Her site isn’t available currently, hence, you can only reach out to her through her Psychology Today or GRN profiles.
It might not be your first option, since for some her sessions can be costly, especially considering that she doesn’t accept insurance.
However, she’s part of our top picks because of her professionalism, qualifications, and years of experience.
A quick warning about some popular online therapy platforms!
A quick search on Google about online couples therapy can show you both sponsored results and non-sponsored ones.
However, some of the counseling or mental health sites that appear on top of your search results or are mentioned on online couples therapy lists tend to be suspicious if you do research beyond what is shown on their sites.
Part of the research, before you decide a platform or a therapist is right for you, is looking them up on BBB and Trustpilot.
We did have a look at what the previous clients had to say about these platforms or therapists, and we’ve found some very popular ones that should be taken with a grain of salt.
Here are some of those very popular online therapy platforms we found to be a bit suspicious:
Doesn’t accept all insurance plans.
You can only choose between three suggested – by Talkspace – therapists.
Despite it being talked a lot about, and having its positive sides mentioned, Talkspace seems to have some downsides that are hidden from potential clients.
Talkspace on Better Business Bureau has 101 reviews, and out of 5 stars, the average of the reviews reaches 1 star only.
Some of the reviews the customers left include complaints about professionalism, under-qualification of therapists, and payment issues.
Looking Talkspace up on Trustpilot, the reviews there aren’t any better either.
It has 177 reviews, and out of 5 stars, Talkspace has a 1.5-star review average. Meaning, 90% of the reviews are 1-star reviews.
The complaints involve issues regarding subscription cancellation, scamming, under-qualification of therapists, and customer service.
Does accept insurance.
You can choose a therapist out of a limited number of therapists suggested by Thriveworks.
This is yet another mental health service that’s very poorly rated on BBB and Trustpilot.
Thriveworks on BBB has 44 customer reviews with an average of 1-star reviews out of 5 stars.
The complaints tend to be regarding the therapists’ unprofessionalism and under-qualification, payment issues, and scamming patterns.
With a lower number of reviews on Trustpilot, only 19, Thriveworks isn’t well-rated there either. Out of those 19 reviews, 95% of them are 1-star ratings.
The most common complaints seem to be regarding scamming patterns, overpricing, billing department, and therapists’ unprofessionalism.
Does not accept insurance.
You can’t choose your therapist, the site matches you with one depending on your answers on a questionnaire you’re required to fill out beforehand.
This service has great reviews all over the internet.
BetterHelp on BBB has over 500 reviews, and the average review rate is 4 stars out of 5.
There are a lot of positive reviews regarding therapists, customer service, and billing procedures.
However, what puts BetterHelp on our warning list, is an alert about it by BBB that says,
“[…] the FTC [ Federal Trade Commission] charged that BetterHelp used and disclosed consumers’ email addresses, IP addresses, and health questionnaire information to Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest for advertising purposes despite promising consumers that it would only use or disclose personal health data for limited purposes.”
BetterHelp was charged $7.8 million for sharing user information with social media, despite their claims to their users for confidentiality.
You can read FTC-s full report here.
Does not accept insurance.
No option to choose between therapists.
Regain has great reviews all over the internet. Forbes wrote about it, and it seems like a reliable source so far.
However, for your safety, it is worth mentioning that Regain is owned by BetterHelp (which turned out to be not a very trustworthy business).
The reviews on Regain are overall great, but the complaints seem to be regarding subscriptions, pricing, and the unacceptance of insurance.
What are your free alternatives to online couples therapy?
Therapy tends to be expensive. And due to the work it takes during it, there aren’t many reliable sources that offer free couples therapy.
However, we did manage to find something…
– A couples therapy free course online by Couples Therapy Inc.
Unfortunately, Couples Therapy Inc does not have any reviews on Trustpilot or BBB. Hence, we can’t know for sure whether their claims are genuine or not.
You can find the free course and check more details here.
We did have a look at their free couples therapy online course, and we found that the course is divided into three parts.
- Getting started – you’re introduced to basics such as the Couples Therapy Inc approach, choosing a therapist, and types of therapy.
- Difficult topics – elaborates on more concrete topics that relate to couples therapy such as counseling and trauma, and affair recovery.
- After therapy – elaborates on keeping the momentum going after therapy.
Each part provides you with video lessons on the topics and issues it involves.
At the end of most lessons, there are questions for you and your partner to answer and discuss together.
Overall, as a free course on couples therapy, it is worth a try!
Choosing the right therapist online for couples therapy takes a lot of research.
Avoid having a ‘quick look’ at the popular sites that suggest particular therapists or therapy services online and leave it at that. Instead,
- Go for the services that allow you to choose your online couple therapist.
- Have a look at the therapists’ profile(s) on the internet to see their qualifications, years of experience, and reviews.
- Avoid choosing a service that matches you with a therapist instead of giving you options to choose one by yourself (they tend to prevent you from doing research on the therapist before you’re assigned to them).
- Contact different therapists through email or phone number. It will give you a better look at their approach and professionalism.
A good couples therapist can change your life. Hence, make choices carefully and with caution.
All the best,