LifeStance Health Online Therapy Review

Offers both telehealth and in-person therapy for adults, couples, and families

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4.2

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health offers both telehealth therapy and in-person therapy. There were some initial hiccups with trying to find the right provider and make an appointment, but if you are willing to navigate its onboarding with patience, LifeStance can be a great mental health tool for individuals, adolescents, and couples. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Provider bios and schedules listed on the site

  • Can book an appointment online

  • Can book your first appointment without adding payment information

  • Options to book an appointment as early as the next day

  • Accepts insurance and will list in-network providers

  • Offers video or in-person therapy

Cons
  • Lists providers that aren’t accepting new clients

  • Changing therapists is difficult

  • Not yet available in every state

  • Billing department is understaffed

4.2

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health

LifeStance Health

In the United States, 1 in every 5 people is affected by mental illness. That’s over 50 million Americans. And from 2019 to 2021, the percentage of adults who had received any mental health treatment increased from 19.2% to 21.6%.  

LifeStance Health is a company that strives to meet these needs through affordable care for all ages by bringing together psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and licensed therapists. While many new mental health companies focus on an “anytime, anywhere” approach with telehealth, LifeStance also offers in-person options for patients who prefer to see their provider in an office setting. It also accepts many insurance plans, in an attempt to make its services affordable and accessible for those who cannot pay out-of-pocket. 

To determine how well the company provides mental health services—and how it stacks up to its competitors—we surveyed 105 users of the company, spoke with a subject matter expert, and signed up for LifeStance Health’s services. We also compared it to 54 other companies. Here’s how it fared. 

What Is LifeStance Health?

LifeStance was founded in 2017 by Mike Lester, Danish Qureshi andGwen Booth, and its headquarters are in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company states that “We help people living with a variety of mental health conditions. We provide mental health services when and where you need it.”

As of January 2023, the company operates in 31 states and has a staff of 5,400 trained clinicians, including psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and licensed therapists. Its homepage also lists diversity as a value of the company, and features images of multiracial and same-sex families. When I did a provider search, I was legitimately impressed by the diversity of its clinicians.

What Services Does LifeStance Health Offer?

LifeStance offers virtual and in-person:

  • Psychiatry
  • Psychotherapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • Medication management

Sessions are approximately 45 minutes long, with an initial intake session that is 30 minutes. The intake session is between the patient and their chosen therapist. The session serves as an information-gathering session for the therapist.

Who Is LifeStance Health For?

LifeStance offers therapy and psychiatry to individuals (adults, children, and adolescents) and couples.

My own experience trying to book appointments and having sessions with several different clinicians leads me to believe that LifeStance is best for adult individuals seeking therapy. 

While LifeStance advertises that it offers family therapy, I found it a challenge to find a family therapist via the service. It took multiple phone calls with customer service representatives to find a clinician in my area that offered family therapy, and even then, the option I was presented with didn't specialize in it.

How Much Does LifeStance Health Cost?

Unlike some of the therapy companies we reviewed, LifeStance is not a subscription therapy company. You pay per session. It also does not have a membership fee; you can create a user profile and access the patient portal free of charge.

LifeStance does not list its out-of-pocket pricing on its website, but when I inquired about making an initial therapy appointment without insurance, I was quoted $165 for a 45-minute session. 

The national average cost of a therapy session ranges from $60 to $200, so LifeStance sits on the higher end of that spectrum. Still, 57% of users we surveyed found LifeStance affordable or very affordable.

Does LifeStance Health Take Insurance?

Yes, LifeStance does accept insurance, which is one of the company's biggest perks. (In my home state of New York, for example, it listed 13 accepted insurance providers.)

Patients using insurance are only charged their co-pay, which makes LifeStance’s therapy and psychiatry sessions affordable for most people. Thirty-seven percent of users we surveyed reported that finding a therapist who accepts their insurance was one of the biggest factors in their search.

Navigating the LifeStance Health Website

The LifeStance website is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The homepage features a slideshow displaying videos of people of different ages, genders, races and ethnicities. The font is large and easy to read and the page feels streamlined and not overwhelming. 

Homepage

The homepage has multiple clickable buttons labeled “Find a Provider,” so users can skip straight to finding a therapist if that’s their preference. Scrolling down the homepage, there are lists of common mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Each of these is clickable, so users can learn more about each condition. 

Depression LiveStance

For example, when I clicked on "Depression," I was taken to a page with four clickable topics: 

There is a corresponding blog post that discusses each of these.

There are also a variety of headers at the top of the homepage, some of which feature drop-downs. There is an FAQ page, a link to a blog, podcasts, and other mental health resources. 

states

The homepage also lists the number of states LifeStance serves (32), how many clinicians it employs (approximately 5,400), and the locations of 600 centers for in-person services. Its mission statement includes tailoring care plans to fit each individual’s needs.

LifeStance has an online presence including a Facebook page that has over 40,000 followers and nearly 600 reviews. The comments are hidden on its Instagram profile, which has 15,000 followers. Both Facebook and Instagram feature similar content, including mental health mantras, quotes from providers, and information on topics such as OCD, ADHD, and depression. On Twitter, LifeStance Health has fewer than 500 followers and generally posts links to mental health articles. Its LinkedIn page has 900+ followers and lists job openings, community events, and mental health resources.

It is worth noting that, unlike some companies we reviewed, LifeStance does not have a mobile app. 

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at LifeStance Health?

Signing up for therapy with LifeStance is easy. You click the “find a provider” button on the top of the homepage and then enter your state and some personal information, including birthdate and insurance information. It asked for patient information for an individual, so I had to put in my own information even though I wanted therapy for myself, my spouse, and our young son. You can opt to pay out of pocket. 

Signingup

From there you can choose which type of therapy or psychiatry you are seeking from the drop-down menu. The options listed are adult Psychiatry, adult therapy, adolescent psychiatry, adolescent therapy, and couples therapy.

Finding an appropriate therapist for my situation proved harder since I was seeking family therapy, which is listed on the website but not in the drop-down menu. In our survey, 50% of users surveyed sought individual therapy for depression, and 60% for anxiety. I found that the clinicians listed on LifeStance specialized in these topics, and appreciated that I could access their bios before booking an appointment. 

Since I couldn’t find a family therapy option, I chose adolescent therapy instead and found a provider with availability that fit my schedule. I made an appointment online by clicking Find a Provider, inputting my home state and zip code, and choosing a provider from the options displayed.  

Later that day I received a voicemail that my appointment had been canceled. The provider was not available for the time I had chosen and did not offer adolescent therapy. I was frustrated because I had chosen my clinician from those listed on the website because they said they offered it. I sent several messages to customer support using my private patient portal, but the reply was always that I should call the office. In the end, it took a few days of back-and-forth phone calls with LifeStance to find clinicians that suited my needs, and even then the options were limited. 

Once I was able to get someone on the phone who could list available clinicians that actually fit my needs, I was able to search for them via the website.

While I had some issues finding a therapist and wasn’t happy with the initial option I was presented with, 70% of users we surveyed said they were satisfied with the therapist options provided in the LifeStance directory. 

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at LifeStance Health?

Therapy sessions at LifeStance can take place in person or online. Telehealth appointments are scheduled via the patient portal on the website, and occur via video call on your phone or laptop. However, if you want to occasionally see your provider in person, you have the option to schedule in-person appointments as well.

Messaging Your Therapist

I had two different therapists during my time using LifeStance. My first therapist gave me a phone number and a direct email with which to contact her. She replied to my email the same day I sent it. My next therapist preferred to communicate via the patient portal, where I could send her messages directly, and she also responded the same day. 

Video Sessions

Most virtual sessions occur via video call, which you can attend via your phone or laptop. Of users surveyed, 34% reported that they used their smartphone for their teletherapy sessions, and 20% used a laptop. I used a laptop. 

When it was time for a scheduled session, I would sign into my patient portal and enter the telehealth waiting room. When my clinician was ready for me at our start time, she would join the video chat.

During my sessions with two different therapists at LifeStance, I noticed that the platform the company uses to host its video sessions was in need of improvement. The audio was never quite clear, and my second therapist had a few technical issues throughout our sessions. Sometimes I would lose her audio entirely. I realized that this sort of spotty connection would make it a challenge for me to stick with teletherapy. Talk therapy simply cannot work if you can’t clearly understand each other. 

Couples Therapy Sessions

Couples therapy at LifeStance involves you and your partner meeting the therapist together. After that first joint session, you can schedule individual sessions, but you and your partner will be expected to work together on your relationship issues.

An initial couples therapy sessions will start with standard intake questions about the history of your relationship, values, and cultural background. You’ll also be asked to describe the main problems you are experiencing. 

My wife and I had a shared session with one of my clinicians. We talked about our concerns with our oldest child, some of the stresses we were facing in our family, and some of our strengths and weaknesses in parenting. We didn’t get into many details about our own relationship, but our therapist was open to hearing about specific issues we wanted to address. 

I’m not sure this therapist would have been a good fit for me in the long term. She was very nice but appeared to be younger than me. Personally, I would prefer a provider who is my age or older. She had some connection issues during our appointments as well, so I couldn’t always understand her.

Medication Management/Psychiatry  

Psychiatry sessions are set up the same way as therapy appointments. 

While I did not use LifeStance’s psychiatry services, providers can be chosen via the website, and appointments are 40 minutes long. Because LifeStance uses in-network insurance providers, appointment costs depend on each individual’s insurance plan. Eighty-eight percent of users surveyed reported that they would rate LifeStance’s medication or psychiatry services as excellent, very good, or good.

What Happens If I Miss a Session at LifeStance Health?

There is a 24-hour cancellation policy, and missed appointments are charged in full. I was able to cancel appointments by messaging my clinicians either via email or directly through the patient portal, depending on their preference.

Switching Therapists at LifeStance Health

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said they never switched therapists at LifeStance, and 24% switched providers once. 

My personal experience was that it was difficult to switch providers at LifeStance. First, I emailed my therapist directly to ask how I would go about switching therapists. She let me know I would need to message the intake department. They messaged me back saying that I would have to call their office. 

After a few days of back-and-forth phone calls, I was finally given a list of provider names to choose from, so I went onto the website and searched the providers’ names to find one who was available for an appointment. Approximately six days passed between my email to my original therapist (who I never actually saw) and my ability to make an appointment with a new therapist. I was able to schedule an appointment with my new therapist for the following week, though. 

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at LifeStance Health

I messaged my clinician directly a few days in advance to let her know that I would be canceling my standing appointment, and that I would be in touch in the future if and when I was ready to continue. I still continued to receive text and email confirmations for upcoming appointments, however, so I called the local office to cancel.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

The session length—45 minutes—felt like a suitable and typical length, but I really would have needed to find the right provider to feel comfortable delving into deep issues or topics.  Despite my experience, however, 88% of users surveyed reported that their overall experience with LifeStance was positive, and 75% said they would recommend the company to someone else. 

I only spent a few weeks with my therapist before completing my review of LifeStance, but I felt like we were on the right track in terms of her offering helpful advice. At the beginning of each session, she followed up with what we discussed last time, and asked me if I had any updates, breakthroughs, or anything to add to what we had covered. My wife and I were only able to schedule one session together, but the therapist was attentive to both of us and in the next individual session, she reviewed some of our concerns from our couples session and offered advice.

From our user surveys, 72% reported that most or all of their needs were met by their provider, but 90% reported that they were satisfied with their therapist’s qualifications. Fifty-one percent reported that they would still be seeing their therapist in 6 months. 

After starting my therapy for this review, I noticed other people talking about how much they like LifeStance on social media. Because LifeStance accepts my insurance and I am not experiencing any mental health emergencies, I believe that if I took the time to find the right therapist, I would maintain weekly sessions through LifeStance, and be more likely to recommend it to someone else. Between its patient portal and office, LifeStance is an accessible mental health care provider. 

Because I didn’t use LifeStance’s psychiatry services myself, I turned to the user survey and input from our subject matter expert to get a better picture. 

Eighty-eight percent of users surveyed reported that they would rate LifeStance’s medication or psychiatry services as excellent, very good, or good. While reading anonymous LifeStance employee reviews on Glassdoor, I noticed that 16 reviews mentioned an “emphasis on pushing meds rather than therapy.” I spoke with psychotherapist Nicholas Hardy, PhD, LCSW, who explained that, “Although companies may provide an array of mental health services, items such as the messaging on their website or the expertise of their service providers can suggest a specific area of focus.”

He believed that LifeStance seems geared toward psychiatric services, and used the example of the website describing them as a mental healthcare company that provides “evidenced based, medically driven treatment services.” This, Dr. Hardy believes, supports his view that counseling is a part of their treatment. 

Privacy Policies at LifeStance Health

A link to the LifeStance Health privacy policy appears at the bottom of its website alongside a name, email address, and phone number to contact with questions. 

The company is HIPAA-compliant, but may share personal information if necessary with regard to “treatment, payment and health care operations without authorization from you.”

Treatment information includes medical records, payment information is so that LifeStance can communicate directly with insurance companies if necessary, and health care operations are defined as supporting the business of LifeStance with a detailed list on the Privacy Policy page. Lifestance also might use your personal information to contact you about products and services, a la website cookies. 

It also notes that health records of a patient younger than 23 must be held for five years before they can be destroyed. 

LifeStance Health vs. Its Competitors

Talkspace is heavily advertised and has name recognition for me, and is comparable to LifeStance in what it offers clients, which is therapy and psychiatry for individuals and adolescents. Ninety percent of our user respondents rated the service as good to excellent overall, and 82% of users reporting that they would recommend Talkspace to a friend.

Similarly, BetterHelp offers “convenient and affordable therapy anytime, anywhere,” and its sister companies Teen Counseling and ReGain offer teen therapy and couples counseling respectively. Eighty-six percent of our user respondents rated the service as good to excellent overall, with 77% of users reporting that they would recommend BetterHelp to a friend.

LifeStance received similar ratings to both Talkspace and BetterHelp, but it prioritizes diversity in mental health conditions, which is to say there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health. LifeStance offers both telehealth and in-person appointments, unlike either Talkspace or BetterHelp. Eighty-eight percent of our user respondents rated LifeStance as good to excellent overall, and 75% of users reported that they would recommend LifeStance to a friend.

Final Verdict

I was initially surprised to see that 88% of users surveyed said that their overall experience with LifeStance was positive. I was frustrated trying to find the right therapist during my first few weeks as a LifeStance patient, but I understand that this can be a tedious process. 

I liked both therapists that I had sessions with. They seemed to really want to help and were ready to listen to anything I had on my mind. I did not get far enough in therapy to determine if they could offer real skills for me to put to use. 

I appreciated that LifeStance has a variety of office locations in my area if I decided that in-person therapy was best for me. It also has clinicians available with appointments as early as the next day. I initially liked the ease with which I could search providers, but I found that the bios and availability weren’t always correct. For instance, I initially booked an appointment with a provider and then received a call that the appointment had been canceled. Not only was the clinician unavailable at that time, I was told, but they also didn’t offer the kind of family therapy I was seeking.

Despite this roadblock, 82% of user respondents rated LifeStance as good, very good, or excellent at finding them a therapist, and I would agree with that assessment. Although I wasn’t initially matched with the right clinician, the care team worked to help me find the right fit. I felt like I had a variety of qualified clinicians to choose from. I personally preferred to book with a female therapist and found I had plenty of options.

From my experience, if you are an adult looking for individual therapy, then LifeStance has a range of clinicians who will likely suit your needs. If you need adolescent, family, or couples therapy, then your options may be more limited. However, overall, if I were to continue seeking either telehealth or in-person therapy appointments, I would definitely work with LifeStance again. 

Methodology

To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 55 companies and surveyed 105 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and its users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on the following factors: website usability, the sign-up and therapist matching processes, therapist qualifications, types of therapy offered, the service's quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, average cost and value for money, whether it accepts insurance, how easy it is to change therapists, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood that clients would recommend them.

We also signed up for the companies in order to get a sense of how this process worked, how easy to use the platform is, and how therapy takes place at the company. Then, we interviewed three subject matter experts to get their expert analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers. 

Specs

  • Product Name LifeStance Health
  • Price No plans listed on website
  • Is Insurance Accepted? Yes
  • Types of Therapy Offered Individual, couples, family, kids, teen, group, medication management, psychiatry, substance use treatment, eating disorder treatment
  • Communication Options Text-based therapy, email, live messaging, live audio/phone, live video, in-person
  • HIPAA Compliant? Yes
  • Is There an App? No
  • Accepts HSA or FSA? No
  • Prescriptions Available? Yes
  • Billing Cadence Billed to insurance after each appointment
2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. CDC. What is Mental Health? https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm#:~:text=1%20in%205%20Americans%20will,illness%20in%20a%20given%20year.&text=1%20in%205%20children%2C%20either,a%20seriously%20debilitating%20mental%20illness.&text=1%20in%2025%20Americans%20lives,bipolar%20disorder%2C%20or%20major%20depression.

  2. Terlizzi E, Schiller J. Mental health treatment among adults aged 18–44: United States, 2019–2021. National Center for Health Statistics NCHS Data Brief. 2022:444. doi:10.15620/cdc:120293

By Laura Leigh Abby
Laura Leigh Abby is a writer and podcast host who focuses on memoirs and personal essays but also writes on mental health topics, like online therapy.

Edited by Ally Hirschlag,
Allison "Ally" Hirschlag

Ally is an expert in health, science, sustainability, wellness, mental health, and parenting. She has written for publications including The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC Future, and more.

Learn about our editorial process
Hannah Owens,
Hannah Owens

Hannah Owens is the Mental Health/General Health Editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health.

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and Simone Scully
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Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering pregnancy, parenting, health, medicine, science, and lifestyle topics.

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