You are on a budget and open to the suggestions of well-programmed robots.
These AI counselors sound a little dystopian until you consider how botlike some responses from a human therapist can be. (“That sounds hard. How did that make you feel?”) One important thing to realize is that they’re not actually trying to replace in-person therapy; they guide you as you help yourself respond to your feelings.
Co-founded by a Bay Area psychiatrist, this bot, which is obviously available whenever you want it, mostly asks questions (“How are you feeling about that?”) and prompts reflection or action (“What could you do to deal with the situation?”). Reddit users note that the tech can observe your history in a way no human therapist ever could. “It tracks how my mental health curve is doing,” writes one. “Everything I text is being saved in my profile. It’s really covering all corners plus a little more.”
Price: $7.50 per month.
Designed for older adolescents and young adults — more peer than authority figure — Woebot, launched in 2018 by a psychologist and Stanford lecturer, has a process similar to Youper’s. In response to a problem, the bot might say, “I’ve got two great tools that can help you with this,” then direct you to guided lessons on breaking habits and challenging negativity. One Twitter user says the bot “helps me reframe my thoughts, work on gratitude, and it has a whole tool kit of emotional regulation tips!”
Plus: The Collective That’s Trying to Make Therapy Affordable for Everyone
When you do find the perfect therapist, paying for the service is often (massively) expensive. Even with in-network insurance coverage, you can face high deductibles and co-pays that quickly add up. Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, founded by psychotherapist Paul Fugelsang in 2012, is trying to change that by organizing private-practice clinicians nationally to offer discounted therapy sessions. After a (onetime) $59 sign-up fee, you can click through the Open Path directory, which lists the available master’s- and Ph.D.-level therapists based on specialty (over 150 topics, from identity issues to fertility) and treatment style. According to patients, navigation is simple: After filtering through therapists based on your preferences, you can read the profiles of the ones who meet your needs, then contact them through the website. One Twitter user with diabetes, @aut0immuneallie, says being able to specifically search for “chronic illness and disability” prevented her from “chaotically Googling ‘diabetes therapist’ and getting unrelated results.” Sessions for individuals, couples, and families range from $30 to $80. —Kayla Levy
The New York Social Clubs Bringing Mental-Health Care to People of Color
According to the American Psychological Association, in 2019, 84 percent of psychologists in the U.S. were white. For people of color, that can make finding a clinician who looks like you and understands your experience a challenge. While some national groups — like BEAM and Black Mental Health Alliance — serve the BIPOC community with databases of therapists of color and POC-led online workshops, there is also a growing network of BIPOC organizations in New York connecting people of color with therapists of color and other culturally trained professionals. Here are two.
Members of this inclusive wellness space and café in Clinton Hill have access to sliding-scale private counseling, including teletherapy from any of 17 clinicians HealHaus has partnered with. (All of them take out-of-network insurance.) Plus there are issue-based one-on-one sessions, like support from an art therapist for mourning the loss of a pregnancy. HealHaus frequently hosts donation-based astrology overviews and other fund-raisers for the HealHaus Therapy Fund, which offers people in the BIPOC community eight free therapy sessions.
Group-therapy sessions at the East Williamsburg–based private club are free to members, led by licensed therapists, and more interactive than most. (One required pen and paper so members could visualize, journal, and then draw out their life path.) In February, Ethel’s Club partnered with Onyx Therapy Group, a D.C.-based Black women-owned business, to offer members one-on-one consults with Onyx’s clinical team of primarily licensed graduate professional counselors and licensed graduate social workers.