Do you have a question for a licensed mental health professional, and you don’t have time to wait? Now you can put your questions to a counselor, therapist or psychologist and receive a personal and confidential reply online right now. Note that links provided here to commercial services represent an informed editorial recommendation of services which pay this site a referral fee when those services are used.
Our free online psychologist service at Ask the Psychologist can only publish single replies to a small number of the many questions we receive every day, and private practices like the online therapy service we used to provide at one of our spin-off sites work with a very limited number of clients at a time. But if you’d like some quicker feedback from a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional — without a waiting list — it may be easier than you think, thanks to reliable third party options.
NEW: Secure Messaging With a Licensed Psychologist, Therapist, or Counselor
At one trustworthy and well reviewed service we’ve recently been learning about, you can sign up to be personally matched with one of over 20,000 available licensed professionals. Select answers for a brief series of questions designed to help identify your preferences and narrow down a match for you. Then sit back while the system matches you with the best available professional. That usually takes 24 hours or less, and if you ever find you’d rather work with a different person, you can change at any time. Because this system works mainly asynchronously — meaning that you exchange secure messages with your counselor, rather than writing to one another in real time via chat — you can communicate at whatever pace suits you, and at any time of day you prefer:
As far as we can tell, the service continues to go from strength to strength, and at least one study has been undertaken to evaluate its efficacy, showing positive results — it seems to be the real deal.
If you’re a mental health professional yourself and are looking to expand into online practice, you can easily register with the service yourself.
OLDER: Secure Chat With a Therapist Live, Right Now
Alternatively, if you’d like some feedback right now, using a different service you can connect with a counselor or therapist of your choice in real time using secure and confidential live chat — with no need to wait for an email reply, and with no waiting lists.
This isn’t a free online counseling service (although all consultations are free for the first few minutes, while you’re deciding whether to work with any given counselor). But it is quick and easy — and you can stop the conversation any time you like, paying only for the time you’ve actually used. Contrast that with the usual arrangement for in-office consultation, where you’ll usually have to pay in advance for the full hour even if you only need five minutes to ask a question and get an answer!
Online Counselor Specialist Areas
The specialist online counseling areas available include (but aren’t limited to):
- Coping with Crisis & Physical Conditions
- Eating Disorders
- Personal Development
- Personality & Emotional Disorders
- Supervision for Professional Counselors
Background on this Live Online Counselor Service
Back in 2005 or 2006, we accepted a brief advertising placement for an online counselor service from a company providing services by chat and telephone. Frankly, the ads were garish and distracting, the service was over-run with online psychics, and after a short time I concluded that the folks in charge weren’t particularly well tuned in to (or interested in) the specific needs of people looking for solid and well-grounded feedback on psychological or general mental health issues. We dropped the ad placement when the contract was finished, and it wasn’t renewed. We did keep an eye on the company, though, in case it eventually matured into the type of service we’d be happy working with again.
Fast forward a few years, and the old service has now been taken over by a much larger company, one which originally specialised in providing live customer support systems — you’ve probably seen their live customer support icons on merchant sites of all kinds. Yes, there’s still a legacy of hundreds of online psychics (no offense if you’re into that sort of thing, and probably a lot of folks who call themselves psychics are pretty psychologically insightful, but I certainly would not call them online mental health professionals). Now, however, the company is putting a serious and sustained effort into building up its team of fully-qualified, licensed, and genuinely non-psychic mental health professionals.
The organisation is now rapidly becoming a real hot-bed of online mental health services. (They also provide live online consultations in a wide range of other areas like computer technical support, health, business, and more; the total number of online consultants numbers in the tens of thousands.) Having worked as an active online therapist myself for several years — apparently becoming the first ever to report completing over 1 million words of fully-documented, fully peer-supervised online counseling and therapy via email — I can say with some confidence that I do not know of any other online counseling service which provides such a breadth and depth of choice, all under one roof.
Obviously, I cannot comment on or recommend any individual mental health professional set up to offer online counseling via this service, but from what I can tell, the service itself is sound and secure.
Getting Started With Online Counseling or Online Therapy via Chat
Getting started with online counseling via secure chat is quick and easy, with a wide variety of prices available — and, notably, it won’t cost you a thing unless or until you decide to you want to hire a specific mental health professional for consultation. You can chat with them first, evaluate their service, and then you decide whether to continue on a paid basis. Your personal details are kept entirely confidential, and credit card billing activities are handled completely by the company providing the service, which never shares these details with the mental health professional. If you do decide to continue on a paid basis, you can stop the session at any time you wish, and you will be billed only for the actual time you spent in the session.
In This Section
- About Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Counselling, Psychotherapy & Mental Health Bibliography
- Mental Health News
- Online Therapy and Online Counselling
- Advantages of Email Counselling and Online Therapy in General
- Assessing Suitability of Email Counselling and Online Therapy
- Disadvantages of Email Counselling and Online Therapy in General
- Encryption and Security of Online Therapy
- Ethics, Security and Real Therapy, Online
- Hints, Tips and Caveats for Effective Emailing
- Secure Web Forms: Are They Really?
- Talk to a Counselor or Therapist Online via Secure Chat or Email
- Self-Help and Overviews
- Symptoms, Diagnostics, and Medications
- Types of Counselling and Psychotherapy
- Web Resources in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Mental Health
All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .on and was last reviewed or updated by