The Best Online Couples' Therapy Services Of 2023 With Licensed Clinicians
If you've decided to go to couples' therapy, finding the right therapist can feel like a huge undertaking—especially when you think about searching for one that both you and your partner will love. Luckily, online therapy makes the process much easier by putting a network of therapists right at your fingertips.
Before starting your first couples' therapy session, most outlets have you and your partner complete a self-assessment to evaluate your needs. You'll also have the opportunity to add information about your insurance provider and budget. From there, the services will narrow down their therapists into categories that match your and your partner's needs.
Below, we've hand-picked the best online couples' therapy, as well as your most asked questions about whether these virtual sessions actually work and who can benefit from starting couples' therapy.
What is couples' therapy?
First things first, couples therapy is different from counseling. The former is a type of psychotherapy that's focused on the problems both "within and between the individuals in a relationship," per the American Psychological Association, while the latter is often short term and focused on resolving problems between spouses. Before starting, it's important to decide which of these options is best for your relationship, as many telehealth companies offer both services.
If you opt for therapy, the sessions will focus on helping you work through challenges, improve communication, and create a deeper understanding of the relationship. Often the therapist serves as a neutral third party to help both partners better understand each other's perspective with specific therapeutic techniques and interventions.
Whether you choose to pursue therapy or counseling, it's important to find a licensed clinician, which includes a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed professional counselor (LPC), or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
How we picked:
Couples may differ in how they want to approach therapy, so we sought out brands offering a spectrum of services, including video sessions, text chats, and self-guided plans.
Therapy should be accessible to all, so we sought out options within a range of price points. Many telehealth companies take insurance to help cover costs or offer a sliding payment scale.
The term therapist is often used loosely, so we stuck to services that vet their network. Each brand included must use licensed clinicians, such as licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), licensed professional counselor (LPC), or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).
Not only did we comb through reviews and seek out trusted companies with firm privacy policies to secure your data, but it was also important to focus on companies with spectacular customer service—such as the flexibility to easily shift therapists.
mbg's picks for the best online couples therapy services of 2022:
Best Variety: ReGain
- Specialized for couples
- Can start without partner
- Variety of communication types
- Price varies
- Therapist selected for you
ReGain is the couples therapy arm of BetterHelp, which has more than 15,000 licensed professionals available. To get started, you can navigate to the homepage of either site, where you're prompted to take a questionnaire.
Choose from a list of topics you'd like to cover, which includes things like resolving conflicts or bettering your communication skills. You can also specify in your opening assessment whether you're searching for a therapist with specific certifications, such as professionals certified in emotionally focused therapy. The final therapist is assigned to you, but there's flexibility to easily change your mental health professional if you don't feel that it's a match.
Once you're officially signed on with a therapist, you'll have access to live video sessions, as well as text communication for an extra element of convenience. Another perk of ReGain is that it allows you to start without a partner, although all sessions will still focus on relationships—but unlike many other services, there's never an extra charge for adding a partner.
Best for Beginners: Talkspace
- Variety of communications available
- High standards & licensing requirements
- Easy-to-use app
- Limited therapist background before sign-up
- Not always in network for health insurance
Talkspace provides potential clients with a questionnaire that algorithmically narrows down the list of therapists into a group that's best suited to the couple's needs. While this means you won't get full access to every licensed clinician within the Talkspace network, it does make the process feel less overwhelming for anyone seeking out their first therapy session.
Not only can you rest assured knowing the brand has strict licensing requirements for all therapists—guaranteeing the best care—but it also puts access to licensed clinicians at the tip of your fingers with a streamlined app. Use it to schedule appointment times, message your therapist, or manage medications.
When you're ready to start your first session, you'll have the choice of range of communication types including phone, video chat, or messaging. The couple's therapy plan also includes four live video sessions.
Best for LGBTQIA+: Pride Counseling
- Therapy databases have banking-grade encryption
- Can cancel subscription online
- Doesn't take insurance
- Therapists may take time to reply
When you join Pride Counseling (a subsidiary of Betterhelp), you can select from a few different types of therapy, including trauma-focused, psychodynamic, or more traditional cognitive behavioral therapy structures. While the therapists have different certifications—including marriage and family therapists—they are all licensed within their own states and have at least three years of experience under their belts.
Similar to other online therapy services, the outlet offers phone, video, or live chat sessions, so that you can choose what works best for you and your partner. It also allows for messaging in between sessions through private chat rooms, which are available 24/7 through the app.
Best for Gottman Method Couples' Therapy: Couples Therapy Inc.
- Science-based couples' therapy
- Long sessions
- Limited communication options (video & in-person)
Couples Therapy Inc. focuses solely on treating couples, and all of the therapists have advanced training or certifications in the Gottman Method. Couples will start with an extensive assessment, which is actually a requirement of this particular method of therapy.
The assessment looks at each individual's relationships with their families and friends, how well they trust others, and how they handle conflict, in addition to other personal components. Therapists trained in the Gottman Method emphasize this assessment as a cornerstone of their ability to understand and work with the couple. Because the setup is a far more traditional style of therapy, Couples Therapy Inc. doesn't offer text services. Instead, it sticks to a formula in terms of treatment available through live video sessions or at an in-person clinic.
Honorable mention: Our Relationship
- Self-guided programs
- Coaching available
- Most affordable option
- No licensed therapists
This program offers couples the rare opportunity to take online classes at their own pace. Available for heterosexual, homosexual, and military couples, these 20-minute classes involve watching videos and completing lessons, which couples can choose to do with the guidance of a relationship coach for an additional fee. It's worth noting that these coaches are not licensed therapists but rather psychology doctoral students. But don't discredit the course altogether; it was designed by two psychologists.
The site notes that the programs are more successful when taken with a partner; however, they do have a version of the program geared toward individuals. The courses aim to improve communication skills and solve relationship issues by helping partners build up their trust in each other. If you're working through the courses regularly, they should take about two months to complete.
Does virtual couples' therapy work?
Most people find virtual therapy to be very similar to in-person therapy, and oftentimes, people report liking it more due to its convenience factors. It can also be better if one partner feels apprehensive about therapy since it allows them to stay in their familiar environment.
Who could benefit from online couples' therapy?
While a lot of people think of couples therapy as something that should be sought out only when you're experiencing challenges in your relationship, it can be helpful for couples at any phase. Especially if you're going through a big life transition, including a move, new job, or family tragedy, it can be especially important to have a therapist to guide you and your partner toward methods of healthy communication.
Does online couples' therapy accept insurance?
Yes! Online couples' therapy generally works by narrowing down a larger pool of therapists based on the types of insurance that they accept, as well as the couple’s preferences. These sites have the ability to cross-reference couples' preferences and intro questionnaires with the specialties of different therapists, so it makes the process of searching for the right person much easier. While this isn't true of every outlet, most of the options that don't accept insurance will work with you based on your budget.
While couples' therapy will help you and your partner improve your communication skills, if you want to do a little extra work outside of your sessions, you could work with your partner to assess your attachment styles. This will help you better understand the way the two of you express love and hopefully be somewhat of a fun activity. Overall, online therapy is a great way for you and your partner to fit sessions into your schedules with a therapist that fits the needs of both of you.