Whether you’re newly engaged or celebrating decades of marriage, you and your partner may benefit from couples counseling. Research shows that your relationships can impact mental health, and working on your relationship together could be mutually beneficial. Online therapy is one way to work on your relationship at home.

We’ve researched and tested some of the best online therapy platforms to help you find the right one for your relationship. We evaluate each platform for therapist availability, the onboarding process, additional learning materials, and cost. Read about our top five picks.

Our picks of the best online couples counseling platforms

In a mental health emergency:

Online therapists may not be the most appropriate resource to help in a mental health crisis. If you or someone you know is a danger to themselves or others around them, it is an emergency, and cannot wait for an online therapist’s response.

Don’t wait. You can find help immediately by:

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence (IPV), there are free, confidential, and immediate ways to get help.

  • Chat with someone from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/
  • Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Text “START” to 88788

All the above options will connect you with trained professionals who can provide crisis support. You can find even more resources, including international options, on our helpline directory page.

Our testing experience

The Handbook Team has researched more than 70 online therapy platforms, directories, and networks. Based on our research, we sign up for the top platforms to test out for ourselves. To test couples therapy, we ask real couples to test the platforms and report back.  Here’s what we do with each online therapy platform: 

Our Online Therapy Testing Process
Fill out the intake assessment. Fill out the intake assessment.
Subscribe as a new user. Subscribe as a new user.
Get matched with a therapist. Get matched with a therapist.
Schedule and attend sessions on the platform for one month. Schedule and attend sessions on the platform for one month.
Go through the steps to switch therapists. Go through the steps to switch therapists.
Contact customer support with questions. Contact customer support with questions.
Explore platform features such as journals, worksheets, and group sessions. Explore platform features such as journals, worksheets, and group sessions.
Cancel subscription. Cancel subscription.

Testers explore the platforms and attend online therapy sessions for at least four weeks. We instruct testers to test the platforms through the lens of a real user, paying attention to how easy or difficult it is to find a therapist they can talk to. Testers log their experience in a diary and come together to share their findings.

We find that most testers feel the need to switch providers, especially the ones testing platforms that initially match users to their providers. With couples therapy, it’s important to find a therapist both partners feel comfortable with.

From our tester

“We immediately felt like we didn’t connect with this therapist. She didn’t seem to understand the technology we were talking about (like spending time on Instagram instead of interacting with each other after we put the girls to bed). She also spent a surprising amount of time talking about herself and her own family, which felt inappropriate. We decided to switch therapists.”

Still, in both couples and individual therapy, we are pleased that most of our testers are able to find a therapist they trust. “I’ve been through many therapists before, but I was surprised when I found a therapist who specialized in my concerns and had a different approach to therapy,” says one tester. “I learned a new perspective to frame my ongoing concerns and got to connect with a caring provider that I felt comfortable with.” While the ease of switching providers varies by platform, all the platforms we’ve tested allow you to switch therapists. 

Handbook’s research into online therapy platforms

of research
10,000+   hours
of research
70   platforms
20   platforms
2,000   people
30   people
60+   experts

Collectively, the Handbook Team has put in more than 7,500 hours of research, testing, and evaluation to review different online therapy platforms, down to the fine print. This review can guide you in finding a provider who best fits you and your partner’s needs. 

Compare the best online couples counseling platforms of 2024

Monthly Cost* $260–$360** $436 or the cost of your insurance copay per session $440 $800*** $640–$700**** or the cost of your insurance copay per session
Services Offered Individual and couples therapy Individual and couples therapy; Psychiatry Individual and couples therapy Child and parent therapy; Psychiatry Individual, couples, child, teen, and family therapy; Psychiatry
Accepts Insurance? No Yes No Yes Yes

* Monthly cost for four weekly live therapy sessions without using insurance.
** Price increases if you choose to do both individual and couples therapy. 
*** Estimated monthly cost for kickoff session ($20) and four follow-up sessions ($195 each).
**** Estimated monthly cost for an initial session ($220) and three follow-up sessions ($160 each), or four follow-up sessions. Actual costs may vary by clinician or location, per Thriveworks customer service.

The best online couples counseling reviews

Regain: Best overall

Best overall


  • Best for: Relationship therapy, premarital counseling, divorce counseling, and co-parent counseling.
  • Cost: $436 per month for both people.
  • Session lengths: 30–45 minutes.
  • Types of services offered: Individual therapy and couples therapy.

Pros & Cons

Pros Choose your own therapist. Evening and weekend appointments available. Provides a digital journal to record thoughts. Classes available between sessions. Cons Does not accept insurance. Customer service is inconsistent. Some users continue to be charged fees after canceling service.

Our final verdict

Regain by BetterHelp is our pick for the best overall online couples therapy platform. We like the ability to choose a therapist and the flexible appointment times. You can schedule a session after work hours, an option some online therapy platforms do not provide.

Insights from our testers

Our testers like being able to request therapists for couples counseling based on preferences like gender, faith, age, or allyship with the LGBTQ+ community. When you’re matched with a therapist, Regain also sends a list of other therapists in your state who match your preferences. You can read bios of potential therapists and even chat with them in the app to see if they’re a good fit. This feature allows you to switch therapists even before your first session if you find a provider you think you’ll like better.

Between sessions, the therapist will message the couple to check in on how they’re doing, a feature we really love on this platform. It’s important to note that messages to and from the therapist are visible to both partners. Entries in your digital journal are private unless you share them with your therapist and partner in the group messaging room.

Regain matches couples with a therapist trained in the Gottman Method, an approach to relationship therapy based on more than 40 years of research in helping couples improve their relationships. This method is founded on the idea that couples who can reframe conflict and engage in more positive interactions can improve communication and intimacy.

While our Regain testers didn’t love their first therapist match, they were able to easily find a second provider they felt they could trust. They found the sessions to be engaging and helpful, and were offered tangible strategies for building more connection in their relationship.

From tester

“Our therapist has been sending us interesting and unique ideas. It doesn’t feel like she’s going off of a script. She had us write down fun things we could do at night together after we put the girls to bed instead of watching TV or scrolling through our phones, and we put them in a big jar. Once per week, we have a ‘jar night’ where we grab a slip of paper from the jar and do whatever is on the paper. We’ve played new games, gotten back into puzzles, and explored mixology. It’s been so fun and was such a creative idea on her part!”

What other users are saying

In a survey of 600 online therapy users we conducted in October 2023, 55 percent of respondents find online therapy through platforms like Regain more effective than in-person counseling sessions. When searching online rather than locally, you may have more choices of therapists, especially if you live in a rural area or have transportation barriers.

A note on the company’s legal filings

BetterHelp faced legal issues in 2023 related to consumer data breaches across all its apps, including Regain.us, BetterHelp.com, TeenCounseling.com, FaithfulCounseling.com, and PrideCounseling.com. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), BetterHelp used third-party online tracking codes dating back to August 1, 2017, and shared users’ email addresses, IP addresses, and health information on Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Criteo for targeted advertising. The FTC ordered BetterHelp to pay $7.8 million in partial refunds to affected users and banned the company from using business practices like these going forward. BetterHelp platforms are now certified by HITRUST, which ensures that companies use the strictest possible requirements with sensitive information.

Talkspace: Best for using insurance

Best for using insurance


  • Best for: using insurance.
  • Cost: $436 per month (or the cost of your copay per session).
  • Session lengths: 30–45 minutes.
  • Types of services offered: Individual therapy and couples therapy.

Pros & Cons

Pros Accepts insurance. Licensed marriage and family therapists on staff. First session can take place 48 hours after matching with a therapist. Able to message your providers between sessions. Cons Some counselors do not fully incorporate the app’s extra features in sessions. Limited diversity of therapists available.

Our final verdict

Talkspace is our choice for the best online couples counseling that takes insurance. Talkspace has therapists specifically licensed in relationship and marriage counseling, and they accept insurance from Premera, Cigna, Optum, Aenta, and more. For couples who have insurance, Talkspace offers an affordable, convenient way to work on their relationship from home.

Insights from our testers

To start with Talkspace, you and your partner will answer a few questions about your relationship issues and your therapist preferences. While the initial assessment is brief, it may be a good opportunity for you and your partner to get on the same page about what you’re looking for in a couples counselor. Next, you’ll indicate whether you’ll pay out-of-pocket or with insurance. We like that Talkspace tells you whether or not they take your insurance before you create an account.

According to the American Psychological Association’s 2023 Stress in America survey, 60 percent of Americans surveyed report that money is a cause of a lot of stress and fights in the family. If financial strain is an issue in your marriage but you have access to insurance, Talkspace could be a great choice for couples therapy. Average insurance copays for Talkspace are $30 or less, while out-of-pocket per-session fees for in-person couples therapy usually start around $100 per session, but can be as high as $200 or more per session. Removing the financial stress of therapy may make it easier for both partners to feel positive about moving forward with couples counseling.

It’s important to note that Talkspace offers both marriage counseling and relationship counseling for couples who aren’t yet married or choose not to be married. Premarital counseling is also a key Talkspace offering for couples who want help navigating new changes in their relationship as they had towards marriage. Research shows couples who have premarital counseling generally have better outcomes than those who don’t. “Every couple would benefit from pre-marital counseling,” says Audrey Schoen, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) at Balanced Private Practice. “Couples can have difficult but important conversations in a safe and facilitated environment, providing them with valuable skills and deep understanding of each other that will serve them for a lifetime.”

For couples saving for a wedding or buying a house, insurance could allow them to fit counseling within a tight budget. Typically, only one person’s insurance is billed for couples counseling, and often billing is connected to one partner’s diagnosis. For example, if one partner has a diagnosis of depression that affects the overall relationship, their insurance will cover couples therapy. It’s always a good idea, though, to confirm coverage with your insurance company.

“For couples counseling, know the details of each person’s personal insurance plan and what is covered. When providers bill insurance, we use billing codes that identify what kind of therapy was provided (individual, family, couples). A good way to know is to inquire with the insurance company to see if they offer coverage for a partner in support of an existing client with a diagnosis. But, if someone is billing for an individual therapy session and a different kind of session took place, that can be considered insurance fraud.”

Johanna Padilla, AMFT

What other users are saying

Talkspace offers a seven-day free trial, but you must put a credit card on file. We appreciate the option to “try before you buy.” However, this free trial is mobile-only and might not be a good option for people who prefer to use a computer.

Online-therapy.com: Best for improving communication 


  • Best for: improving communication.
  • Cost: $440 per month.
  • Session lengths: 45 minutes.
  • Types of services offered: Individual therapy and couples therapy.

Pros & Cons

Pros Focus on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) Bonuses like yoga tutorials available on the app. Offers discounts at checkout. Cons Does not accept insurance. Some difficulties with appointment scheduling.

Our final verdict

Online-Therapy.com is our choice for improving communication between couples because all of its therapists are trained in solution-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We also like that Online-Therapy offers bonus features, including yoga videos, and is a more affordable option for couples paying out-of-pocket. Subscription plans start at just $88 per week for the first month (with the 20% discount offered at checkout).

Insights from our testers

All of Online-Therapy’s providers are trained in CBT, which has been shown to be effective in improving communication and resolving conflict between partners. The Online-Threrapy couples program is intended to help you identify issues and patterns, create long-term goals, and then break the patterns that are holding you back.

Through Online-Therapy, couples can work with their therapist on CBT-specific communication skills, such as changing negative beliefs about oneself or one’s partner and developing self-awareness and self-regulation. According to Johanna Padilla, AMFT, the CBT approach in couples counseling “supports clear and concise language with an emphasis on exploring evidence for negative thoughts and beliefs.” For motivated couples, Online-Threapy also offers an intensive CBT-based program—offered on mobile or desktop— that can be completed as a complement to therapy. Our testers liked that Online-Therapy.com offers worksheets, activity plans, and even yoga videos for use outside of sessions. Couples can work through the materials individually or together.

Notes from our testers indicate that Online-Therapy providers interact with the platform’s CBT features to a varying degree. If you’re focused on improving communication skills and want to use the platform’s CBT tools to develop those skills, be sure to make this clear to your therapist early in your sessions.

What other users are saying

Unfortunately, setting up appointments on Online-Therapy is a pain point for some users. Availability of therapists varies by location, and some testers encountered a poor selection of available appointment slots when trying to schedule with different therapists, including:

  • Appointments only available for two hours during the weekday.
  • A few random time slots available during the weekday.
  • Appointments only available on Sunday.

Because couples are balancing more than one schedule, using the Online-Therapy platform could be challenging. Be aware that you can always request to switch providers to find someone with a schedule that better matches your and your partners’ needs.

Little Otter: Best for parenting issues

Best for parenting issues
Little Otter


  • Best for: parenting issues.
  • Cost: $800 per month (or the cost of your copay per session).
  • Session lengths: 30-75 minutes, depending on type of session.
  • Types of services offered: Children and couples therapy, parenting support, psychiatry.

Pros & Cons

Pros Family-focused therapy to support parents. Accepts insurance. Online resources customized to your family’s needs. Cons Only accepts a limited number of insurance plans. Out-of-pocket cost may be prohibitive.

Our final verdict

Little Otter is our top choice for couples seeking therapy specifically to address parenting issues. The providers on this platform are licensed therapists trained in child and family mental health. In addition to live video sessions, couples can take assessments to track their progress and get access to content curated for their family’s needs.

Insights from our testers

Little Otter is a platform with a cute name but a serious approach to your family’s mental health. Their offerings are focused on helping the entire family get through hard times. To get started on Little Otter, you’ll take a brief assessment about your family and receive a free, personalized report with a summary of your responses. The report outlines behaviors within your family, identifying them as either typical or concerning, and offers an analysis of those behaviors and tangible ways to start finding solutions. Our tester’s report showed typical levels of family stress, but still offered the suggestion that it’s a good idea to work on family dynamics when things are going well, in preparation for harder times. After reading your report, you’ll book a “kickoff” session during which a provider will get the information they need to build a care plan.

For couples, Little Otter offers either parent support counseling or parent specialist sessions.

Parent therapy helps couples build a better atmosphere for their children by learning to manage their stress and improve their communication skills. The parent specialty program is a little different in that it helps parents develop strategies for specific parenting challenges, such as managing difficult behaviors in their children, helping their children cope with grief, or easing sibling rivalry.

The Little Otter app includes ongoing assessments, educational resources, and progress trackers. We like that the platform takes a team approach to counseling, bringing in different providers depending on your needs. For example, if medication management becomes part of your care plan, you can see a psychiatrist in one of your monthly sessions.

What other users are saying

The availability of Little Otter therapists may be limited depending on your location. The platform is currently only available to patients in California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Little Otter is currently only in-network with Independence Blue Cross, AmeriHealth, and Sana, which means that most clients pay out of pocket.

Thriveworks: Best for choosing your own provider

Best for choosing your own provider


  • Best for: choosing your own provider.
  • Cost: $640-$700 per month (or the cost of your copay per session).
  • Session lengths: 45 minutes.
  • Types of services offered: Individual therapy and couples therapy.

Pros & Cons

Pros Choose your own provider from an expansive directory. Accepts many major insurance providers. Many therapists offer both in-person and virtual sessions. Cons Availability and price vary by location. Self-pay options are pricey, starting around $200 per session.

Our final verdict

Thriveworks is our top choice for couples who want to choose their own therapist. Their directory has multiple filters for selecting a therapist based on language spoken, counseling approach, and more. We also like that many Thriveworks providers offer in-person options in addition to their audio and video offerings.

Insights from our testers

To get started with Thriveworks, head to their website and click on the “couples/marriage counseling” icon. From there, you’ll be directed to a page listing licensed therapists in your geographic area. You can narrow the results using the following filters:

  • Visit type (in-person or video visit).
  • Clinician gender (female, male, non-binary/non-conforming).
  • Client age.
  • Language spoken by therapist (options include English, Spanish, French, Hindi, and more).
  • Counseling approach (options include cognitive behavioral therapy, Gottman trained, Internal family systems (IFS), and more).

We like that Thriveworks offers so many filters for finding a therapist. Also, most of the therapist bios are highly detailed and informative, including information about fees (including insurances accepted), degrees and certifications, number of years practicing, and a detailed explanation of their approach. Each bio includes a “get to know your therapist” section with answers to questions like, “What types of clients do you work best with?” and “What’s one thing you wish all clients knew?”

For couples who are just starting therapy, working together to find a therapist they both feel comfortable with could help them feel like equal partners in the therapy process. According to associate marriage and family therapist (AMFT) Johanna Padilla, it’s important to agree on a therapist who is “a good fit for the goals and struggles of the relationship itself, not each person’s needs individually. Choosing a therapist who is more aligned with one partner than the other can breed additional arguments or impair the therapeutic alliance in sessions.”

What other users are saying

It’s important to know that the availability of couples counselors on Thriveworks will vary by location. For example, a search for couples counselors in Tallahassee, Florida yields 21 providers, a search in Dallas, Texas yields 17 results, and a search in Bloomington, Indiana yields only three. Some states, like Idaho and North Dakota, do not appear to have Thriveworks providers who offer couples counseling at this time.

Frequently asked questions

Couples therapy can be effective for people in relationships whether they are newly dating, engaged to be married, or committed for decades.

Users can expect their couples counseling subscription to include live video sessions and messaging with their therapist between sessions. When signing up, you may have to fill out an initial questionnaire about why you’re pursuing mental health care before being able to search for a therapist who fits your needs and schedule.

Online couples therapy can cost between $200 and $700 per month. The cost varies depending on whether the platform accepts insurance or offers discounts and financial aid.

  1. Adamczyk, K., Watkins, N., Dębek, A., Kaczmarek D, & Łazarów, N. Relationship (in)congruency may differently impact mental health. (2023, July). International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 3. Link
  2. Kysely, A., Bishop, B., Kane, R.T., McDevitt, M., De Palma. M., & Rooney, R. (2022, February). couples therapy delivered through videoconferencing: Effects on relationship outcomes, mental health and the therapeutic alliance. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. Link
  3. FTC says Online Counseling Service BetterHelp Pushed People into Handing over Health Information – and Broke its Privacy Promises. (2023, March 3). Federal Trade Commission. Link
  4. The Harris Poll. (n.d.). Research method and reading the report (By American Psychological Association). Link
  5. Carroll, J.S., & Doherty, W.J. (2004, February 17). Evaluating the effectiveness of premarital prevention programs: A meta-analytic review of outcome research. Family Relations, 52(2), 105-118. Link
  6. Fischer, D. J., & Fink, B. C. (2014). Clinical processes in behavioral couples therapy. Psychotherapy, 51(1), 11–14. Link