Thriveworks Online Therapy Review

It offering therapy to adults, kids, and families in-person and online

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4.5

Thriveworks Online Therapy

Thriveworks Review logo

Thriveworks

Thriveworks is a good option for people who need flexible and immediate scheduling, like parents seeking counseling for school-aged children. Its scheduling system makes the search for a therapist with after-school availability easier because before you book a session, you can see each therapist’s open appointments up to a month in advance. But the range of therapy options offered varies by state.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Efficient scheduling system

  • Flexible therapy options

  • Accepts most health insurance plans

  • Next-day appointment options

  • Highly responsive customer service live chat

  • Offers individual, couples, family, and children’s therapy 

  • Addiction counseling

  • Psychiatry and medication management 

Cons
  • Depending on your location, many services are limited

  • No messaging option for patients

  • Therapist search function offers no identity filters

4.5

Thriveworks Online Therapy

Thriveworks Review logo

Thriveworks

Prompted by the stress, isolation, and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of mental health issues in children have risen to such an extent that finding an affordable children’s therapist who has the necessary credentials, availability, and payment options has become a complicated task for many parents. Unfortunately, in the face of these obstacles, only 20% of children with mental health concerns receive treatment. 

As a virtual therapy practice, Thriveworks is on a mission to address the challenge of finding a trustworthy therapist who fits potential patients' unique criteria. To accomplish this, it offers an intuitive interface that allows users to to filter, select, and book sessions with therapists all in one place. I booked a therapy session for my 11-year-old daughter to evaluate Thriveworks’ children’s therapy services. We also surveyed 105 users of 55 online therapy companies to see how Thriveworks stacks up against the competition.

What Is Thriveworks? 

Thriveworks was founded in 2008 by A.J. Centore, PhD, a licensed therapist committed to building an online therapy practice with the values of integrity, excellence, flexibility, creativity, and teamwork. Since its launch, Thriveworks has grown to over 380 locations across the United States.

Since Verywell last reviewed Thriveworks, the company has added an in-person play therapy program for children ages 12 and under called TherapyLand. These behavioral health centers, in 18 locations across 13 states, offer children a safe place to address a variety of mental health concerns including developmental disorders, parental divorce, grief, and more through the process of play therapy. 

What Services Does Thriveworks Offer?

Thriveworks offers a variety of therapy options including individual therapy for adults and kids, couples and family counseling, and group therapy. In some locations, it offers medication management and psychiatric care as well. In addition to in-person appointments, Thriveworks provides video and phone therapy sessions, but there are no chat therapy options. 

I signed up for kids’ therapy. In my state, the youngest patients Thriveworks providers treat are 11-year-olds. When I think of “kids’ therapy,” I think of younger children. When I began this review, I planned on having my 7-year-old see a Thriveworks therapist for his near-debilitating fear of dogs. I was disappointed when I learned that the Thriveworks' definition of “children” would make this impossible. Considering Thriveworks’ TherapyLand program, however, this seems to be a location-specific issue. Maybe my younger child would have been eligible for care if we lived somewhere else. 

Thriveworks provides flexible scheduling, and therapy sessions are typically 50 minutes long. You can schedule sessions as frequently as you like within your chosen therapist’s availability. 

Who Is Thriveworks For?

Thriveworks’ therapists can help people with a broad range of mental health conditions and concerns, including:

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Domestic abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Family issues
  • Grief 
  • LGBTQIA+ issues
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Relationship issues
  • Trauma

Thriveworks allows potential patients to sift through therapists with the aid of filters such as gender, language, and therapeutic modality. However, Thriveworks does not include identity filters, such as sexuality or cultural background. This could serve as a barrier to care for members of marginalized communities who may feel safer with a therapist who has an informed understanding of their community, culture, and/or experience. 

How Much Does Thriveworks Cost?

Thriveworks used to charge a monthly membership fee of $39, which was still in effect when I tested its services; however, as of January 2023, there is no longer a membership fee.

Thriveworks charges per session, rather than as a monthly subscription. Prices depend on the individual provider, and members have a choice between using their insurance or opting for self-pay, which start at $99 per session. Thriveworks makes the costs of these sessions highly visible on its website, and members can see how much they will be charged for their first session, as well as the cost of follow-up appointments.

The $99+ session fee puts the company's costs towards the middle of the average cost of therapy in this country, with some subscription services edging it out slightly in affordability. In our user survey, 41% of respondents said they would categorize Thriveworks as only “somewhat affordable.” 

Does Thriveworks Take Insurance?

Thriveworks’ insurance policy is very flexible. It accepts most major insurance carriers including Aetna, Cigna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. While some Thriveworks providers do not accept all of the insurance plans that Thriveworks accepts, there is a filter option in the search function that allows you to select therapists that will accept your insurance. 

Does Thriveworks Offer Discounts?

Thriveworks does not offer a sliding scale payment option or discounts.

Navigating the Thriveworks Website 

With a blue and yellow color scheme, the Thriveworks website is warm and welcoming. The pictures of friendly faces throughout the site humanize the experience without cluttering the space and making it difficult to navigate. 

The website is both intuitive and comprehensive and has one or more phone numbers prominently displayed on every page that users can use to contact the company. The majority of the participants in our user survey found navigating the Thriveworks’ website a positive experience, with 38% calling it “easy” and 30% calling it “very easy.”

TW1

The FAQs are on the website’s menu bar, and the menu bar remains pinned to the top of the page throughout a user’s navigation. 

TW2

Thriveworks’ menu bar includes an “About Us” drop-down menu that points users to a bio page, another contact link, the locations where Thriveworks is available, an option for online therapy seekers to access virtual sessions, and another option for users interested in psychiatry and medication with Thriveworks to book their sessions directly. 

TW3

The About Us menu also has a link for more information on TherapyLand, pricing, client benefits, and career opportunities with Thriveworks. 

Another option on Thriveworks’ menu bar is helpfully labeled “Learn.” This option leads to a drop-down bar full of educational materials categorized by mental health concerns such as anxiety, children’s mental health, depression, grief and loss, life transition, relationships, self-care, and stress.

nav bar

If you are ready to book a session, that option is also pinned to the menu bar and remains with users throughout the website. 

Does Thriveworks Have an App?

A membership with Thriveworks comes with access to its app, Therapy Buddy. Therapy Buddy offers users customer service text support as well as supplemental materials designed to enhance therapy sessions. 

Unlike some of the other companies we reviewed, however, you cannot use the app to sign up for Thriveworks; it is purely a supplemental resource for appointment reminders, therapy homework, and other resources.

How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Thriveworks?

Signing up for therapy at Thriveworks is a straightforward process that requires minimal personal details. Unlike with many competitor services, there are no intake questions prior to your first session. Before signing up my 11-year-old child for therapy, I first had to subscribe to the membership plan. This required only the details about my identity necessary for my payment information: my name, address, email, phone number, and credit card number. However, now that there is no membership fee, this process might be different.

Once I signed up for a Thriveworks membership, I had access to a private portal where I was able to book a session with my therapist of choice. I booked my session by entering my email into the website prompt which sent me a protected link directly to my email. I followed this link to the private portal, where I perused my therapist options and their availability for the following month on their calendars. Once I selected which therapist I wanted to book an appointment with, I clicked on the open appointment time of my choice and booked the session. 

I was surprised by how little information I was asked for during this portion. All that was required was my daughters’ basic information: name, birthdate, address, phone number, and email. 

On one hand, this trimmed-down sign-up experience was very convenient and uncomplicated. On the other hand, I felt much less confident with the quality of care my daughter was going to receive when I realized that the therapist wouldn’t know anything about my daughter ahead of her session. 

“Therapy is not one-size-fits-all,” explains Hannah Owens, LMSW, one of the subject matter experts that helped us evaluate the company. “It’s imperative that the therapist gather as much information as possible about their client in order to be able to provide care that adequately addresses their needs. Going into a session with a new client blind serves neither the client nor the therapist, as precious session time might be wasted performing an intake process that could easily have been done earlier.”

Choosing a Therapist at Thriveworks

The ability to select a therapist within the parameters of my child’s needs was a highlight of the Thriveworks’ platform. With the aid of filters, I was able to say I wanted an English-speaking, female therapist who offered online sessions for 11-year-olds. There are also filters for distance, therapeutic approach, accepted insurance, and specific mental health concerns. 

nav

Once I filtered my options and received our final pool of choices, Thriveworks provided profiles for each provider, complete with photos, credentials, session costs, specialties, and perhaps the most helpful, their availability for the coming month. 

TW4

Thriveworks bases its members’ options on where they live, even for online therapy. Considering where I live in the Midwest, this meant my options were limited to seven providers, only four of whom offered virtual sessions. This rendered many of the filters I added to my search useless because from such a small pool of options, it turned out that only one of those therapists treats 11-year-olds.  

The therapists available in my state had a variety of credentials. One had a license in social work, while others were licensed professional counselors, and another was a psychologist. Thriveworks takes pride in accepting only the top 4% of providers into their virtual practice. 

The majority of participants in our user survey were impressed with the quality of Thriveworks’ providers’ credentials with 22% rating them "good,” 39% rating them “very good,” and 28% rating them “excellent.”

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Thriveworks?

After booking my daughter’s first session, I received two email reminders leading up to it. The second reminder, sent the day before the appointment, included a secure link to the virtual therapy platform.

Video Sessions

When it was time for my daughter’s appointment, I followed the link to a virtual waiting room, where our therapist let us into a 50-minute video call. 

I assumed the session would begin with the details that hadn’t been requested when I scheduled the appointment, but instead, the therapy session started with the therapist asking for all the information I had already provided through the system, namely, my credit card details. Once she had our payment information, she began asking standard intake questions such as why my daughter was seeking therapy, if she was having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, if she had allergies or any medical conditions, and what her family structure looked like.

As your typical self-conscious tween, my daughter said she would have felt safer and more at ease if her welcome hadn’t been defined by payment details. The abrupt shift from gathering her mom’s credit card information to asking her if she ever thinks about ending her life closed my daughter off to the experience before it had even begun. 

Once the session was underway, however, it became clear that our therapist was a good match for my daughter. The therapist seemed to have a solid read on the situation and began trying various strategies to put my daughter at ease and open her back up to the experience. I was unsure whether I should stay with my daughter or give her privacy with her therapist. I asked the therapist, and she asked me to stay for the entirety of the first session. 

Thriveworks’ virtual sessions are similar to other online therapy options I have experienced. As a Generation Alpha digital native, virtual counseling was definitely in my daughter’s comfort zone. She told me that being able to sit on her bed with my computer in her lap made the whole experience much less intimidating.

During my daughter’s second session, our therapist ran into technical difficulties when she went to add us to the video call. She was able to contact me through the chat box in the virtual waiting room to let us know she was trying to figure out a few things on her end. Since I wasn’t checking my email at that point, this was a useful feature.

What Happens If I Miss a Session at Thriveworks?

Thriveworks’ has a minimum 23.5 hour advance-notice cancellation policy. I mistakenly scheduled my daughter for an in-person appointment three hours away from where we lived. I caught my error immediately, and went back into my Thriveworks’ portal where I could view my appointment details, and simply clicked “cancel.” Thriveworks then emailed me confirmation of my cancellation. Because I canceled more than 23.5 hours ahead of time, I was not charged a cancellation fee. 

Rescheduling is also an easy process with Thriveworks. I simply went into the portal to book a session with the same therapist and made sure this time to choose an open appointment reserved for video calls. I clicked on an open video-call appointment, selected the patient information I had filled out previously for my daughter, and hit submit. Thriveworks then emailed me confirmation of her appointment. 

Switching Therapists at Thriveworks

Thriveworks encourages users to reach out to customer service if they feel their provider isn’t a good fit. And 36% of previous and current members who participated in our user survey said they switched therapists within the Thriveworks’ system at least once.

When I tried to switch Thriveworks’ therapists for my daughter, however, I found that the provider options were so limited in my state that there was no one else at Thriveworks she could see. These location-specific limitations seemed to be a recurring bug in the Thriveworks virtual practice model.

I live in an area with few therapy options, so I was not surprised that Thriveworks only had one therapist option for my daughter, but I was disappointed. 

“Therapy deserts—or areas in which access to mental health care is severely limited or nonexistent—are a problem even for adults seeking therapy, and finding a therapist who provides a niche service like children's therapy is even more difficult in places where there are already too few providers,” Owens explains. 

Offering such limited options to the residents of the state where I live made switching my daughter’s therapist more difficult than it would have been outside of the Thriveworks’ system.

Pausing or Canceling Therapy at Thriveworks

When it came to canceling my membership, Thriveworks’ subscription model was painfully apparent. Like many subscription services, instructions on how to cancel are difficult to find, and once found, seem deliberately inconvenient. You have to call customer service, where you must choose from several menu options, none of which are identified as the cancellation line. So I had to guess which department might connect me with a real person who could assist me in canceling my membership. I selected the billing department, where, after five minutes on hold, the Thriveworks automated system decided I had waited long enough, told me to try again later, and hung up on me. 

Frustrated and determined to speak to a real person, I went to the live customer service chat box on the Thriveworks homepage. There, I was connected with a customer service representative within seconds. First, they asked me if they could help me find a provider who was a better fit. When I said no, they canceled my account without any further difficulty. 

Now that Thriveworks no longer charges a membership fee, this process is much easier - you can simply log into your patient portal and cancel all future appointments.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

In a fast-paced world, Thriveworks’ flexible and uncomplicated scheduling for both in-person and online therapy sessions is uniquely appealing. Responses to our survey show that 90% of users were satisfied with their Thriveworks experience. 

Before Thriveworks, I once reached out to 15 therapists in a single day to try to schedule an appointment for myself, and only heard back from two—one who didn’t treat the issue I wanted to address and another who wouldn’t have an available appointment for over two months. So I appreciate the need Thriveworks is seeking to meet. And simplifying the process with search filters and a user-friendly scheduling system would be worth the $39 a month subscription fee I paid if I lived in a state where more providers were licensed.

However, my difficulty in finding a provider at Thriveworks appears atypical, given that 82% of surveyed users said they were satisfied with the choice of providers, and 89% reported they were satisfied with the number of quality providers licensed to practice in their state. Additionally, 80% of users said they would recommend Thriveworks to a friend. 

I think this high user satisfaction means that had I been looking for therapy for myself, rather than my daughter, I wouldn’t have had the same issues finding a provider. “There are significantly fewer therapists who treat children than those who treat adults, and the demand for online therapy has skyrocketed since the pandemic,” says Owens.

“The combination of fewer therapists who offer children's counseling and the higher demand for providers means that parents might have even more difficulty finding a therapist for their kids than usual.” Research supports Owens’ concerns, with one study estimating that the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of 28,560 children and adolescent psychologists to meet the growing need for children’s mental healthcare. 

My experience at Thriveworks illustrates this problem. I have a child with a mental health issue that could benefit from professional help, but Thriveworks has nothing to offer a 7-year-old in my state. There isn’t a single Thriveworks provider in the state of Missouri who can treat someone under the age of 11. And for 11- to 17-year-olds, it only offers one.

However, once we overcame the issue of finding a therapist for my daughter, the experience itself was positive and it was clear that the therapist was a good match. Admittedly, I had worried that online therapy wouldn’t be as effective as in-person counseling, but research shows that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. “Kids can absolutely receive meaningful care from a video session, especially considering the fact that most kids in the U.S. just spent a year and a half attending school via Zoom calls,” says Owens. “They're used to the technology because they've grown up with it.”

Privacy Policies at Thriveworks

Thriveworks is HIPAA-compliant, and everything said in the privacy of your therapy session is confidential. As an extra layer of security, to sign into your Thriveworks portal, you must request a unique link that is sent to your email and expires after 24 hours. 

Outside of your therapeutic data, however, Thriveworks is less protective. And, like many other online companies, it tracks your online activity, which it reserves the right to sell. Although this is a standard practice on the internet, it made me uncomfortable in the context of trusting the company with not just my information, but also my child’s. 

Thriveworks vs. Its Competitors

Thriveworks is remarkable for its flexibility and professional level of care. It allows you to schedule a session with a therapist as early as the day you sign up, and its website and app aren’t full of quasi-therapeutic bells and whistles like some of its competitors. In its barest form, Thriveworks is a scheduling system that offers its members access to the appointment diaries of trustworthy and qualified therapists. This model has led to high levels of customer satisfaction. In our survey, 86% of users said Thriveworks was an improvement on other, similar services they’ve used. 

Thriveworks is comparable to companies such as Amwell, with 88% of users rating their overall experience with Amwell positively, to Thriveworks’ score of 90%. In addition, 88% rated their therapists’ qualifications as good to excellent at Thriveworks, coming very close to Amwell's 91% score. When it comes to value for money, however, 88% of respondents scored Amwell positively in comparison to Thriveworks’ score of 78% in the same category. What’s more, 86% of users said Amwell providers met their needs, while only 78% of Thriveworks users said the same. 

While both companies have high scores in these areas, value for money and providers who meet their patients' needs are significant factors when considering potential therapists. Finding a therapist can be a difficult process, so to finally find one only to find out they aren’t worth your copay or can’t helpfully address your issue is disheartening for clients. This makes the even the smallest disparity between Amwell and Thriveworks user satisfaction scores in these areas worthy of consideration. 

Final Verdict

Our user survey indicates that, overall, Thriveworks members seem to be happy with their choice of online therapy. And if my rating could be based entirely on the ease of booking a session for my daughter, I'd be in the same boat. 

As far as children's therapy is concerned, however, your experience with Thriveworks will depend on where you live. Finding a qualified therapist who takes your insurance, has immediate availability, and sees children under the age of 11 was a frustrating process to navigate within the Thriveworks’ system, and ultimately ended in my son being unable to access mental healthcare via the company. 

That said, with over 380 locations, there is a good chance Thriveworks will offer more in your state than it did in mine. Considering its in-person and virtual therapy options, a billing system that accepts most major insurances, and a flexible, intuitive scheduling platform, if you’re looking for therapy for your child, Thriveworks may be a great place to start. 

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 worked with three subject matter experts to get their expert analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers. 

Specs

  • Price $39 a month membership fee, plus a per-session therapy fees starting at $99
  • Is Insurance Accepted? Y
  • Types of Therapy Offered Individual, Couples, Family, Child, Teen, and Group, Therapy, Medication Management and Psychiatry available in certain areas
  • Communication Options In-person, live video, phone, and audio
  • HIPAA Compliant? Y
  • Is There an App? Y
  • Accepts HSA or FSA? Y
  • Prescriptions Available? Y
  • Billing Cadence Per session, plus a monthly membership fee
4 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. Abramson A. 2022 trends report: Children's mental health is in crisis. American Psychological Association Monitor on Psychology.  

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Improving access to children’s mental health care

  3. University of Michigan School of Public Health, Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center. Estimating supply of child and adolescent psychologists

  4. Simpson SG, Reid CL. Therapeutic alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy: A review: Alliance in videoconferencing psychotherapy. Aust J Rural Health. 2014;22(6):280-299. doi:10.1111/ajr.12149

By Olivia Christensen
Olivia Christensen is a highly regarded columnist and freelance writer in the areas of personal finance, parenting, and relationships. She has covered how to talk to kids about money, when to get a prenuptial agreement, the realities of sex trafficking, and more. She has been writing for five years.

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.

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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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