Best Online Marriage Counseling

Regain is our pick for best online marriage counseling, thanks to a user-friendly interface and a variety of communication methods.

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Marriage counseling, sometimes called couples therapy, is a type of counseling that helps people in romantic relationships learn to communicate effectively, resolve conflict, and improve their connection. While some couples who enter marriage counseling have specific areas of improvement they want to target, others are simply looking to get their relationship to a better place. Then there are those who try marriage counseling proactively if they have a significant life change or anticipated stressor coming up, such as a new baby. 

Online marriage counseling follows the same structure and format as in-person marriage counseling but takes place via video chat, phone, live messaging, or text, all typically from a secure telehealth portal. Identifying an online marriage counselor that both you and your partner feel comfortable with can be challenging. To help you choose the best online marriage counseling, we’ve rounded up our top picks below based on extensive research—we surveyed over 100 users at 55 online therapy companies and 25 directories and tested the services ourselves.

Best Online Marriage Counseling of 2023 

01 of 09

Best Overall: Regain

ReGain logo

ReGain

Key Specs  

  • Price: $60-$90 per week
  • Insurance Accepted?: No 
  • Types of Therapy: Couples and individual therapy

Why We Chose It

ReGain has a user-friendly interface, flexible payment options, and multiple communication methods available. It’s an all-around excellent choice for couples who want to use telehealth for online marriage counseling.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Easy scheduling

  • Simple communication with therapist

  • Multiple appointment reminders

  • All therapists licensed

  • Live sessions, worksheets, and resources included

Cons
  • No free trial

  • Cannot view therapist bios before signing up

  • Only one subscription plan offered

Overview 

Whether you’re trying to reconnect with your partner or address unhealthy dynamics in your relationship, ReGain has counselors who can help. Owned by BetterHelp, ReGain has over 12,000 licensed counselors who provide online marriage counseling to couples across the United States. It offers individual and couples sessions for marriage and relationship counseling, though whether you’re on your own or with your partner in a session, your focus is on your relationship. 

When you sign up for couples counseling, you and your partner will set up a shared account that makes scheduling sessions and messaging your therapist easy. You’ll be able to schedule video or chat-only sessions each week at a price that is lower than is offered by many other companies. The platform also makes it easy for therapists to share worksheets and homework for you to complete between sessions.

Sessions at ReGain are typically 30 to 40 minutes long so they’re easy to fit into a busy schedule. You and your partner can also join from different locations if necessary. Beyond these sessions, you can message your counselor 24/7 so smaller issues won’t get forgotten.

Plans & Pricing

ReGain has one subscription option that costs between $60 and $90 per week, and is billed once a month. The rate varies based on location and therapist availability, a practice otherwise known as “surge pricing.” Still, subscription prices are generally lower than in-person rates or most out-of-pocket prices at competitor online therapy companies.

User Satisfaction  

Seventy-seven percent of users rated ReGain positively overall (the average for the companies we surveyed was 84%). Eighty percent of users said their ReGain therapist met most or all of their needs, with over 50% noting that all of their needs were met. That said, only 10% of users noted they came to ReGain for marriage/relationship issues, so keep that in mind when considering these percentages. When we tested this company, we found that the therapists were knowledgeable and qualified to treat couples. 

02 of 09

Most Budget-Friendly: Online-Therapy.com

Online-Therapy.com logo

Key Specs

  • Price: $110 per week 
  • Insurance Accepted?: No 
  • Types of Therapy: Individuals and couples

Why We Chose It 

Online-Therapy offers couples a $110 per week subscription that includes live online marriage counseling, unlimited messaging with a therapist and lots of self-paced resources.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Offers live and self-paced support

  • Easy sign-up process

  • More affordable than many other companies

Cons
  • No plan flexibility

  • Does not accept insurance

Overview 

Online-Therapy.com has an affordable plan for couples that combines live online marriage counseling, text-based support, and self-paced resources to help them reach their relationship goals. At $110 per week, Online-Therapy.com is not necessarily cheap, but it is much more affordable than many other companies and offers much more. 

When you sign up with Online-Therapy.com, you’ll be matched with a therapist within minutes and won’t experience a long waiting period before you begin. The website is intuitive and the sign-up process is easy. You’ll be able to view therapist bios before you sign up; these include information about their education, experience, and areas of specialty. 

With your subscription, you’ll have access to what the company calls “a complete toolbox” of resources tailored to exactly what you and your partner need. You can use these resources between your live online sessions independently and together. You’ll also be able to message your therapist whenever you need additional support between your sessions.

Plans & Pricing

Online-Therapy.com operates on a subscription plan that costs $110 per week. The weekly price includes one weekly live session with an online marriage counselor, unlimited messaging with the therapist, and a wealth of self-paced resources. Online-Therapy.com does not take insurance, but it can provide a superbill if you want to independently seek reimbursement through your provider.

User Satisfaction

Most users of Online-Therapy.com were happy with the service they received. Eighty-five percent of users reported that the company was excellent, very good, or good. Thirty-four percent said they found a therapist that met all of their needs, and another 38% said their therapist met most of their needs. Seventy-nine percent said the service was a good value for the money. Our reviewer agreed, but felt there could be more diversity among the providers.

03 of 09

Best Addiction Counseling: Talkspace

Talkspace logo

Talkspace 

Key Specs

  • Price: Starts at $396 per month for marriage counseling
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes, although most insurance does not cover marriage counseling 
  • Types of Counseling: Individual therapy, couples therapy, teen counseling, psychiatry, medication management

Why We Chose It 

Talkspace’s couples therapy program includes weekly live sessions and unlimited texting, and many of its therapists are experts in both couples counseling and addiction therapy. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Convenient platform that includes an app

  • Available in every state

  • Quick provider match

Cons
  • More expensive than other options

  • Cannot view therapist bios before matching

  • No sliding scale fee options

Overview 

While addiction may seem like it only impacts the person with the problem, it usually causes issues for their partner and can even ripple through the whole family. A trained and licensed counselor with expertise in how couples can navigate some of the big challenges related to addiction may be the best fit for those in this situation.

Talkspace's couples counseling subscription costs $396 per month and includes one weekly online couples counseling session and unlimited texting and messaging with your counselor. The counselors have a range of specialties that includes both couples counseling and treatment for substance use issues. You can also do individual counseling outside of your couples counseling sessions to ensure you’re able to address issues that may be more challenging to discuss with your partner present. Couples counselors that have expertise in addiction can also help address the unique challenges that may crop up in your relationship with a partner struggling with substance use.  

What’s particularly helpful about Talkspace’s program is counselors are available to meet with couples in any state—something that’s not available across all teletherapy companies. You’ll be matched with a therapist when you sign up for the program and won’t have to wait long for your first session. That quick treatment access along with the flexibility that comes with virtual treatment, both face-to-face and via messaging, is what many couples may need to overcome issues with addiction.

Plans & Pricing

Talkspace has one plan for marriage counseling; $396 per week for one live online marriage counseling session plus unlimited messaging with the therapist. Those seeking individual therapy can choose from multiple plans: $69 per week for unlimited messaging and guaranteed response five days per week, $99 per week for four live therapy sessions per month, or $129 per week for both messaging and four live therapy sessions.

While Talkspace accepts insurance, most insurance plans do not cover marriage counseling. One of our reviewers felt that their counselor wasn’t as keyed in during their sessions as they could be, but loved how quickly they were matched, and the ability to connect via messaging at any time.

User Satisfaction

Eighty-three percent of Talkspace users were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience and 92% felt their therapist's qualifications were either good, very good, or excellent. Additionally, 90% felt that the diversity of available therapists was either good, very good or excellent. Seven percent of Talkspace users sought therapy specifically for substance-use issues and 10% sought marriage or couples counseling.

04 of 09

Best for Improving Communication: Growing Self

Growing Self

Courtesy of Growing Self

Key Specs

  • Price: $65-$160 per session
  • Insurance Accepted?: No 
  • Types of Therapy: Couples therapy, individual therapy

Why We Chose It 

Growing Self is a well-regarded program designed to help couples learn how to better express themselves, hear one another, and truly improve their communication.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Free consultation

  • Thorough therapist bios

  • Helpful resources to continue growth outside of sessions

Cons
  • No refunds

  • Not available in all states

  • Does not accept insurance

Overview 

Many couples entering marriage counseling are interested in improving their communication. Growing Self is known for helping couples do just that by providing counselors with experience in modalities such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and internal family systems—both known to help bolster communication skills.

A free consultation allows both parties to ensure they have clear goals and that they connect with their counselor. Growing Self also makes it easy to change therapists if things don’t feel like the best fit once counseling starts. 

With Growing Self, clients pay per session, which offers flexibility that many subscription-based telehealth companies do not. This also allows couples to space their sessions out with enough time to practice new communication strategies they were introduced to in therapy, and really see if they’re effective. This flexibility can be helpful for couples that are experiencing short-term communication challenges and may want just a few sessions to work through the issue vs. purchasing a subscription they won’t likely want or need in just a few weeks or months. 

In addition to regular live sessions (that can happen online or in person), Growing Self offers a bank of resources and educational materials to everyone who participates in couples therapy. These additional resources focus on topics that matter to couples' happiness, including ample information on effective communication. There’s also a helpful blog and podcast.

Plans & Pricing

Growing Self is a pay-per-session service and doesn’t accept insurance. Therapy costs vary depending on the experience level of the therapist. Sessions are 45 minutes long and cost $65 to $150 each, depending on the experience of the provider. 

  • Doctorate level therapists: $150 per session, but may offer some sliding scale fees
  • Advanced level therapists: $135 per session, but may offer sliding scale rates as low as $95
  • Pre-licensed therapists with master’s degrees: $115 per session, with sliding scale rates as low as $75
  • Pre-licensed, recent graduates: $105 per session, with sliding scale rates as low as $65
  • Break-up and recovery support groups: $40 per 60-minute group session.

User Satisfaction

Growing Self’s users largely left positive reviews of their experience. Seventy-two percent of those we surveyed reported that they would recommend the service to family and friends. Users were also particularly impressed with the credentials of the therapists that they chose; 89% felt that their therapist's qualifications were good, very good, or excellent, and 84% were pleased with the diversity of therapists. Our reviewer felt safe and supported by her counselor, and would recommend the service.

05 of 09

Best Intensive: Couples Therapy Inc.

Couples Therapy Inc. Review

Couples Therapy Inc.

Key Specs

  • Price: $150-$275 per session 
  • Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Types of Therapy: Couples therapy

Why We Chose It 

Couples Therapy Inc. offers longer online marriage counseling sessions than most other companies we reviewed as well as in-person, intensive retreats for couples who want to try and tackle issues over one weekend. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Longer sessions than many other companies

  • Highly trained therapists who all specialize in couples therapy

  • Very high satisfaction rates

Cons
  • More expensive than other therapy companies

  • Does not take insurance

  • Lack of diversity among clinicians and couples featured on the website

Overview 

Couples Therapy Inc. offers couples (married or otherwise) the chance to work on their relationship on a short but intensive timetable. Couples can choose to go to an in-person retreat or to participate in regularly scheduled 80-minute sessions over a 12-week period. This intensive approach is designed for couples that are both willing and committed to getting right into the work their relationship needs to improve.

While many therapists offer couples counseling, the counselors with Couples Therapy Inc. all specialize in couples therapy exclusively and many have advanced training and certifications. If you choose online marriage counseling with Couples Therapy Inc., you can expect to be engaged throughout the duration of your 12-week program. You and your partner will work with your therapist to set goals and take action to help achieve these goals both in sessions and via homework and assignments between sessions. 

The company also holds intensive retreats, which it says are for couples whose relationship is in chronic distress—who are existing together but who share no joint passions and are not working towards mutual goals, or who have experienced critical betrayal or a life transition that seems insurmountable. The retreats are expensive, running upwards of $3,500, but offer one night and two days of intensive, focused counseling, which may help you get to the bottom of difficult issues more quickly. 

Sessions with Couples Therapy Inc. do cost more than with many other companies, but, because of the intensive nature of the program, you won’t have to pay for sessions for many months or even years. Reviews did note that this company appears to target and best serve middle- to high-income, white, monogamous couples. The therapists lack diversity and couples features on the website largely appeared white and upper middle class. 

Plans & Pricing

Couples Therapy Inc. is on a pay-per-session plan, and costs vary based on your location and the counselor’s level of expertise.

  • A single 80-minute session costs between $150 and $275, depending on the therapist's credentials.
  • Weekend retreats start at $3,500 (not including travel, lodging, and food).
  • Couples Therapy Inc. does not take insurance.

User Satisfaction

Our survey showed users of Couples Therapy Inc. were largely happy with the counseling they received—90% of people surveyed indicated that they had an excellent, very good, or good experience and 83% reported that they would recommend the services to a friend. Marriage counseling is, by nature, goal-focused. Nearly a third (30%) of Couples Therapy Inc. users felt that they achieved all of their therapeutic goals, with an additional 19% saying they no longer needed therapy because they were feeling better. While the service is on the pricier side, our reviewer felt that the caliber of service provided was worth the money.

06 of 09

Best Grief Counseling: Thriveworks

Thriveworks logo

Key Specs

  • Price: Starts at $99 per session out-of-pocket
  • Insurance Accepted?: Yes, but most insurance companies do not provide coverage for marriage counseling
  • Types of Therapy: Individual therapy, family therapy, couples counseling, children’s therapy, medication management

Why We Chose It

Couples who are working to navigate grief together need a company that specializes in both grief counseling and couples counseling; Thriveworks does just that.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Flexible scheduling (evening and weekend, online and in-person availability)

  • Can schedule and meet with a therapist within days

  • Offers expertise in marriage and family therapy as well as grief counseling

Cons
  • No messaging availability

  • Insurance likely does not cover services

Overview 

During times of grief and loss, going through couples therapy can help you and your partner navigate your emotions and relationship challenges while also strengthening your connection. Thriveworks is known across the United States for providing high-quality counselors who specialize in couples counseling as well as grief counseling. 

It has a large number of online couples counseling professionals and over 380 in-person treatment locations should you prefer to meet with your marriage counselor in person, making Thriveworks more accessible than other companies we evaluated.

Thriveworks' huge network of therapists makes it simple to find someone who specializes in both grief counseling and marriage counseling. You can filter your search for therapists by criteria such as location gender and counseling approach and review therapist bios before your book. With more scheduling flexibility than many other companies, you’ll be able to get the sessions you need when you need them in order to manage your grief with your partner.

Plans & Pricing

Thriveworks bills per session (there are no subscription plans).

  • Sessions start at $99 and last 50 to 60 minutes, though the exact length varies depending on the provider. 
  • Session fees also vary by provider, with final pricing determined by your location and therapist preferences. 
  • Thriveworks does accept many insurance plans, but most insurance plans do not cover marriage counseling.

User Satisfaction

In general, users felt that Thriveworks offered a high-quality experience. Over 90% said that their experience was either good, very good, or excellent, with 42% saying it was excellent. Eighty-six percent of surveyed users indicated that the services they received at Thriveworks were as helpful or better than counseling services they’d used in the past, and 50% said that it was likely or very likely that they would still be seeing their Thriveworks therapist a year from now. Our reviewer felt the service was very flexible and useful, but wished you had more opportunities to message your provider.

07 of 09

Best Self-Guided Course: OurRelationship

Our Relationship Review

Our Relationship

Key Specs

  • Price: $79-$199
  • Insurance Accepted?: No 
  • Types of Therapy: Self-paced course with optional relationship coaching

Why We Chose It 

OurRelationship is not traditional counseling; it offers a self-paced course with the option to add short relationship coaching sessions. The course is well-reviewed and highly effective, according to numerous peer-reviewed studies.

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Can be completed on your schedule

  • Can add relationship coaching sessions for $199 more 

Cons
  • Coaching sessions are less thorough than traditional couples counseling

  • Relationship coaches are not licensed therapists

Overview 

Couples who want to improve their relationships without more traditional counseling may enjoy using OurRelationship. The effectiveness of its program has been proven with multiple randomized control trials and over 35 peer-reviewed studies. The basic program, which offers a self-paced course for couples, is $79, though many qualifying couples (including military families) will be able to complete the course for free. 

Plan on spending eight to 10 total hours over the course of five to eight weeks to complete the online course. If affordability and flexibility are on your list of “musts'' for online marriage counseling, OurRelationship is an option that should be at the top of your list. 

If you’d like to add a live element to your program, you can choose to add five 20-minute relationship coaching sessions. While the relationship coaches are not licensed therapists, many couples find these coaching sessions to be engaging and meaningful. Adding the live sessions will increase the cost of the whole program to $200, which is still much less than many other couples therapy programs and services.

Plans & Pricing

OurRelationship’s self-paced course costs $79. It’s $199 if you want to take the course plus have five 20-minute sessions with a relationship coach. The company does not take insurance, but some couples (including military families) can access the program for free.

User Satisfaction

Users of OurRelationship were generally happy with the experience—87% of those surveyed felt that their coach’s qualifications were either excellent or very good. Seventy-one percent said that the course and the coaching they received was either excellent or very good, and 74% said that the value was excellent or very good for the money. Our reviewer felt OurRelationship was a helpful, cost-effective program, but not a replacement for traditional therapy.

08 of 09

Best for Premarital Counseling: Ours

Ours Online Therapy

Ours Online Therapy

Key Specs

  • Price: $400-$500
  • Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Types of Therapy: Couples counseling

Why We Chose It 

Ours is an online marriage counseling program designed for couples that want to keep their relationship strong and have the kind of conversations that will bring them closer together.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Clear pricing

  • Hybrid-style program (self-paced and live)

  • Comfortable with non-traditional couples

Cons
  • Only two live sessions offered

  • Therapist chosen for you

  • Not covered by insurance

Overview

If you and your partner are seeking counseling when your relationship is in a good place, and/or you’re about to take the leap into marriage, Ours is a worthwhile option. With set pricing, a structured program, and a focus on working with couples to help strengthen their relationship and help them plan for potential issues in the future, Ours was tailor-made for premarital counseling. 

That said, Ours states explicitly that you don’t need to be married or engaged to utilize its services and that those in any sort of intimate relationship who have the desire to invest in it can benefit. All sorts of couples may enjoy the program, but its self-paced program makes it a particularly useful choice for couples who are moving toward a lifetime commitment since it fits easily into busy schedules. It's a simple, accessible way to check in with your relationship and make sure it’s as strong and healthy as possible for the journey ahead. 

You’ll have the chance to complete a set of self-paced modules as well as meet with an online marriage counselor or “guide” for two live sessions. These sessions are directed by your goals and desires. You’ll be able to discuss the things that are most important to you, such as financial concerns and family planning.

Plans & Pricing

The Ours self-paced program costs $500; if you choose to pay $50 up front, the remaining $450 will automatically be taken out of your account one week after your first live session. You’ll receive a $100 discount if you pay the full amount immediately upon signing up. Like most marriage counseling programs, Ours does not accept insurance.

User Satisfaction

In our survey, 79% of users rated Ours as good, very good, or excellent, with 12% of all users falling into the excellent category. Sixty-one percent of users said they would recommend Ours to a friend. However, only 1% of those surveyed said they used Ours for premarital counseling. Another 10% used it for relationship/marriage issues. One of our reviewers loved their counselor, and recommended the service to anyone looking to reinvest in their relationship.

09 of 09

Best Directory: Gottman Referral Network

Gottman Referral Network

Key Specs

  • Price: Free
  • Insurance Accepted?: N/A
  • Types of Therapy: Therapy directory

Why We Chose It

The Gottman Referral Network is a directory of relationship counselors who are trained in the Gottman Method. This approach is known for its effectiveness in supporting couples through a range of life transitions. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Over 1000 therapists listed

  • All therapists are trained and approved

  • The Gottman Method is an evidence-based program

Cons
  • Lack of therapist diversity

  • No search filters for fees or insurance coverage

Overview 

The Gottman Referral Network is highly effective in helping couples who are seeking a Gottman-trained counselor. Because there are a limited number of therapists who are trained in the Gottman Method, it can be difficult to find one using other, less targeted directories. 

The Gottman Method is a type of couples counseling that has been shown to be effective in helping couples improve their relationship. Research indicates that there are several specific factors that lead couples to divorce and that these factors can be addressed. The aims of this type of counseling include disarming conflicting verbal communication; increasing intimacy, respect and affection; removing barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; and creating a heightened sense of empathy and understanding. 

If you’ve read about the Gottman Method and are committed to finding a therapist who uses it, the Gottman Referral Network is a great starting place.

Plans & Pricing

Each therapist in the Gottman Referral Network charges different fees, and will make their unique pricing available once you inquire with them. While some therapists may take insurance, couples counseling is not usually covered by insurance.

User Satisfaction

Sixty-percent of users surveyed who used the Gottman Referral Network found the experience of finding a therapist to be easy or very easy and 55% found a counselor that met all their needs. Additionally, two-thirds of users rated the qualifications of the counselors available on the referral network as either good or very good, and 90% rated the counselor options as very good to excellent. 

“The Gottman Method is an evidence-based approach with literally decades of research behind it,” says Hannah Owens, LMSW, a subject matter expert. “It has been proven to improve interpersonal issues such as communication, empathy, and trust. However,” she says, “most of that evidence is solely based on research involving white heterosexual couples, so if you and your partner identify as LGBTQIA+, if you and your partner are BIPOC, or if you are in a polyamorous relationship, the Gottman Method might fall short in addressing some of your particular identity-specific needs.”

Final Verdict

ReGain is our best overall pick for online marriage counseling because of its simple platform, easy scheduling, and the high satisfaction of the users we surveyed. However, if you’re searching for a self-paced course rather than traditional counseling, Our Relationship is also a good choice. With Our Relationship you’ll have the chance to complete a totally self-paced course with your partner and, if you want, participate in five 20-minute sessions with a relationship coach. 

Depending on your situation, you may have specific ideas about what sort of marriage counselor you are comfortable working with. The Gottman Referral Network makes it easy to find counselors who are trained in the Gottman Method—a renowned couples counseling treatment modality.

Compare Online Marriage Counseling Providers

Company Price Insurance Accepted Types of Therapy 
Regain Best Overall $60- $90 per week No Couples therapy 
Online-Therapy.com Most Budget-Friendly $110 per week  No individual therapy, couples therapy
Talkspace Best Addiction Counseling Starts at $396 per month Yes, but most insurance does not cover marriage counseling  Individual therapy, couples therapy, teen counseling, psychiatry, medication management 
Growing Self Best for Improving Communication $65-$160 per session No Couples therapy, individual therapy  
Couples Therapy Inc. Best Intensive $150-$275 per session  No Couples therapy 
Thriveworks Best Grief Counseling Starts at $99 per session Yes, but most insurance does not cover marriage counseling  Individual therapy, family therapy, couples counseling, children’s therapy, medication management 
Our Relationship Best Self-Guided Course $79-$199 per course package No Self-paced course with optional relationship coaching 
Gottman Referral Network Best Directory Free N/A Therapy directory 

Guide to Choosing the Best Online Marriage Counseling Service

What Is Marriage Counseling? 

Marriage counseling, or couples counseling, is a type of therapy that focuses on intimate partner relationships. It’s typically shorter-term than traditional therapy and focuses on a situational issue, such as financial strain or infidelity. Marriage counseling creates a place where couples can discuss challenges, set goals, and communicate openly about difficult topics with a neutral third party who is trained to help couples communicate effectively and solve their problems. 

Participating in marriage counseling can help couples understand their relationship in a new way, set goals together, and learn strategies to better their relationship. While many people define marriage counseling as “working” if the relationship improves, even a relationship that ultimately ends may benefit from marriage counseling if it helps both parties clarify their goals, learn communication strategies, and feel as if they gave their relationship the best shot they could.

Who Is Marriage Counseling Right For? 

Marriage counseling can be right for any couple in a committed relationship who wish to strengthen or deepen their connection or to address specific issues. Some couples enter marriage counseling because they are feeling discontent in their relationship in some way. Other couples decide to enter marriage counseling even if they don’t have anything they would describe as a problem. 

“It is also suited for couples who are not experiencing major problems, but want to leverage a non-biased, third-party professional to openly communicate and proactively explore areas of potential concern,”  says Nic Hardy, PhD, LCSW, a subject matter expert.

What Can You Expect From Online Marriage Counseling Services? 

After identifying a marriage counselor that you and your partner both feel comfortable with, you will likely have an intake appointment in which you get to know your counselor and share your reasons for seeking marriage counseling. You may also share your longer-term goals, your short-term priorities, and what you’re hoping a marriage counselor can help you accomplish. 

After this, your marriage counselor will share any details about how they practice and what you can expect as you begin your sessions. Some marriage counselors assign “homework” for you to complete individually or together between sessions. The primary difference between in-person marriage counseling and online marriage counseling is that online marriage counseling is conducted virtually, and online counseling tends to be less expensive.

Does My Partner Need to Attend Every Session With Me in Marriage Counseling?

While marriage counseling requires that both parties be engaged and willing to participate in order to be most effective, you may be able to have some individual sessions as part of your counseling plan where you can discuss issues you may not feel comfortable discussing with your partner present. And, if your partner is not interested in attending marriage counseling, you can still seek out the support of a marriage therapist to discuss your challenges and seek their perspective and input. 

How to Compare Online Marriage Counseling Services

There are various factors to consider when choosing which marriage online counseling service is best for you and your partner. Some of these include:

  • Price: The cost of online marriage counseling will vary based on the type of counseling you choose, how often you and your partner meet with your marriage counselor, the length of each session, whether your provider accepts insurance (and your insurance covers couples counseling), and the type of professional you choose. 
  • Type of therapy: There are several therapeutic approaches to online marriage counseling. Some marriage counselors use time-bound programs with specific steps, some are less structured, and some offer a combination of individual and couples sessions. There might be homework, for individuals or for the couple, and you might be able to ask questions of your counselor in between sessions. As you research online marriage counselors, consider what approaches you and your partner feel most comfortable with.  
  • Scheduling: As you research marriage counselors, be sure to keep both your and your partner's schedules in mind since not all counselors have open availability. Consider how often you and your partner will want to meet with your provider, whether there is a significant wait time to start therapy, and whether the counselors you are considering have the flexibility to shift appointment times as needed over the course of your time in online marriage counseling. As such, it might be beneficial to pick a pay-per-session service so you don’t have to commit to weekly sessions you can’t always make. 
  • Ease of switching between counselors: Finding a marriage counselor that both you and your partner feel comfortable with is important. It is common to try several counselors before you identify one that you would like to work with long-term. Some online marriage counseling options make it simple to switch counselors. Be sure to research how easy or hard it is to switch counselors before you commit to a specific company.

What If I'm Having Thoughts of Harming Myself? 

Online marriage counseling is not an appropriate treatment for someone who is having thoughts of self-harm. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself, reach out to 911 or 988 immediately. If you are concerned about or experiencing intimate partner violence, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is the Success Rate of Online Marriage Counseling?

    Various studies have found that the success of marriage counseling depends on a number of factors, including how committed each partner is to improving their relationship and the additional stressors on their relationship. Each couple will define “success” differently, but in general, online marriage counseling can be effective in helping couples address various common relationship issues.


    “Different studies provide different success rates of marriage counseling—particularly in light of demographic, modality, and treatment approaches,” says Hardy. “However, marriage counseling has consistently outperformed non-treatment groups, or couples that do not receive counseling.”

  • What Sort of Counselor Expertise Is Best for Marriage Counseling?

    Marriage counseling can be performed by a variety of mental health professionals including social workers, psychologists, counselors, and others. When looking for a marriage counselor, you’ll want someone “who has prior experience working with couples, and who can maintain objectivity and balance while navigating the complexities of potentially conflicting interests,” says Hardy. 

  • How Long Should I Expect to Be in Online Marriage Counseling?

    Marriage counseling can range in duration. Couples who have a specific short-term goal may find they only want and need a few sessions, while couples working to manage longer-term issues may find they benefit from consistent therapy over several months or even years. Even couples who plan to participate in online marriage counseling for quite some time may find they appreciate setting and meeting short-term goals.

  • Is Online Marriage Counseling Covered by Insurance?

    Marriage counseling (in person or online) is not usually covered by insurance, but may be in some cases. Some online marriage counseling may be eligible for flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) payments, or may be covered by employee assistance programs.

Methodology

We researched 55 online marriage counseling companies and 25 online directories in the United States to find the best options available. Our research focused on many factors including pricing, accessibility, and reviews. Choosing an online marriage counselor can feel overwhelming and having the information you need readily available will help you make a decision you feel good about.  

As we researched the best online marriage counseling options there were many companies that we did not select. While many therapy companies offered counseling only from licensed therapists, others included non-licensed therapists or peer counselors rather than therapists. Some companies that we did not include on this list have notable privacy concerns and others have long waitlists or very limited availability.

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Sources
Real Simple is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Davoodvandi M, Navabi Nejad S, Farzad V. Examining the effectiveness of Gottman couple therapy on improving marital adjustment and couples’ intimacy. Iran J Psychiatry. 2018;13(2):135-141.

  2. Hardy NR, Maier CA, Gregson TJ. Couple teletherapy in the era of COVID‐19: Experiences and recommendations. J Marital Fam Ther. 2021;47(2):225-243. doi:10.1111/jmft.12501

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