Do you know any good text or online-based therapy options?
October 30, 2021 6:58 PM   Subscribe

(Asking for a friend.) Do you know any good text or online-based therapy options? The person asking would like to see someone as soon as possible, but will not be able to do it in person because of their current life circumstances. They don't want to talk on the phone but would probably do a zoom. They are based in NYC if you have local options. Thank you!
posted by ferret branca to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Your friend can find someone that works online and is licensed to practice in New York using this directory.

In many states text based therapy is not allowed. I'm not sure what the rules are in New York. Having said that, Better Help and Talkspace both have messaging plans and you'll find plenty of people for New York that are doing messaging therapy (I think they call it something else to sidestep the board guidelines). The quality of providers is variable, as they don't pay the providers well.
posted by crunchy potato at 7:14 PM on October 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have had an amazingly wonderful experience with Brightside. Scheduling is amazingly easy, they prompt you for check-ins frequently, you get charts showing your answers to questions about how you feel so you can map your mental state. I'm in my 40s and this is honestly the best therapy experience I've ever had. I signed up on a Friday and was able to schedule an appointment by Monday via Zoom. Any time I've felt like something was off, I'd send a note and immediately be prompted to schedule a rapid appointment.
posted by erst at 7:31 PM on October 30, 2021 [6 favorites]

I did Better Help for a while. My therapist was ok (on the spectrum of therapists I’ve had, a 6/10) and it was all text based. None of it was real-time tho, and I hated that. It’ll vary therapist to therapist.
posted by OrangeVelour at 7:36 PM on October 30, 2021

A very large number of therapists are still doing "telehealth" -- i.e. screen-to-screen (not ZOOM, because it's not HIPAA-compliant, but usually a HIPAA-compliant version of it like or others) -- because of COVID, and it looks like that option may stick around even after COVID is less prevalent. It's worth shopping around as if you were looking for a therapist normally, while asking if they do telehealth as a requirement.
posted by MollyRealized at 7:38 PM on October 30, 2021

As a social worker (so take this for what it's worth) I'm leery of the Better Help / Talkspace type outfits that you hear about from podcast ads... both as a professional in the space that they're trying to uberize and because I don't know how well it works in terms of accountability for a professional responsibility to the client, proper supervision of the therapist, etc.

That being said, a lot of therapists are doing telehealth anyway because pandemic, and to some extent I expect this to continue after the pandemic is over. My usual recommendation to people looking for a therapist is to browse the listings at You can filter by a number of properties including insurance company, specific issue, etc. and the listing also notes whether the therapist practices online therapy and gives a picture and a blurb from them, so it's a bit easier to get a sense of what their approach is.

You can also usually contact therapists through the contact form right on the site, which minimizes the need to make several phone calls to different people -- just write a brief thing and copy-paste it to a few counselors.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:39 PM on October 30, 2021 [5 favorites]

Almost any therapist will offer online appointments. It would actually be harder to find someone who doesn’t.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:04 PM on October 30, 2021 [4 favorites]

Betterhelp pays therapists very low rates and sells client info. Don't go that route.

As stated above, most therapists everywhere are still doing telehealth. If insurance is an issue you can check out for sliding scale therapy ($30-$60/hr).
posted by bearette at 2:31 AM on October 31, 2021

Tivalasvegas beat me to it, but psychologytoday will show you therapists that offer online therapy. You can search by zip code, insurance, language, religion, gender and more.

My suggestion is to email four or five at once to ask if they’re accepting new clients, give it a few days, then try another batch if needed. It can be a little challenging to find someone - and a lot of therapists are booked out because of covid - so be patient with yourself during the process.
posted by bunderful at 5:14 AM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a good experience with Talkspace. The main downside was that they don't take any insurance.
posted by nalyd at 5:48 AM on October 31, 2021

Your friend might look into Lavender. They are (I think?) exclusively video/phone appts only, and this service was recommended by my local teaching hospital's psych dept when they were too busy to take on new patients right away.
posted by eunique at 9:26 AM on October 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have not yet used Brightside for therapy, only to talk to a PNP and get meds (which was an excellent experience), but I was actually pleased to see the therapy plans are not dirt cheap, which I hope means they are getting paid some kind of fair wage for the work.

I had also considered going with Lemonaid at the point I chose Brightside, but last week they were acquired by 23andMe which...seems creepy. Maybe they're all creepy, I don't know.

I will note that in my research I found that all the aggregators (as opposed to individual therapists/practices) focus pretty narrowly on anxiety and depression and possibly "sexual health" which I think is a euphemism for erectile dysfunction. Nothing I saw suggested they were equipped to deal with serious trauma, and I'm pretty sure any hint of consideration of harming oneself, or history of same, will nope you out of their programs.

If it's a situation where talking to someone ASAP will help, and possibly meds would help de-escalate the current situation, I think it's worth it as a stopgap until something else can be arranged.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:11 AM on October 31, 2021

I found a really good match through Octave (NYC & SF) and have been doing weekly zoom sessions for the past several months. I filled out the questionnaire and had the patient intake call scheduled within a few days. They did take a couple of weeks to match me with 2 potential therapists, and from there I had an initial session with both and decided which one to continue with, so it might take a little longer than your friend would like. But if they have a stopgap option for the next several weeks, this might be an option for the longer term.
posted by kiripin at 10:39 AM on November 1, 2021

I have a friend who works for and gets paid decently to do web-based therapy. She's awesome, though I can't vouch for the firm beyond that.
posted by acridrabbit at 2:08 PM on November 3, 2021

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