Sanvello helps people struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression using mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) skills. The app’s guided meditations, journals, and courses help you learn and practice useful CBT skills. Chat groups and discussion boards allow you to share your journey and support others. The Sanvello app has a free version as well as premium subscriptions that range from $8.99 to $50 per month. Sanvello also offers video-based therapy in select states and through select insurers.
Pros & Cons of Sanvello
Sanvello is one of the top mental health apps on the market. It has a lot to offer those seeking a one-stop shop for mental health care and mindfulness. The free version of the Sanvello app offers a lot of excellent content and is a great option for those on a budget. ‘Self-Care Premium’ is well worth the monthly cost of $8.99 for its expanded content and tools. However, at $50 per month, I think their third tier coaching package isn’t a good deal for most people as the advice I got felt generic and the response times I encountered were often slow.
Where To Download Sanvello
You can find out information on how to download the app on the Sanvello website.
What Is Sanvello?
The Sanvello app was originally designed to help people struggling with different types of stress, anxiety, and depression. It provides short courses, journaling tools, and mindfulness exercises that help its users learn and practice cognitive behavioral therapy skills. The most recent versions of the app have expanded content that targets even more aspects of physical and mental health.
Sanvello’s core content focuses on mental wellness, but can also be used to develop healthy lifestyle habits such as:
- Regular exercise
- Sleep hygiene
- Moderating caffeine intake
- Moderating alcohol/substance use
Sanvello’s “Community” hub allows you to join discussion groups and/or chat groups on topics ranging from body positivity to infertility and grief support. It may take time to find a group chat that is active daily, but the discussion boards are updated frequently.
Their mental health coaching provides text-based access to a coach who will offer helpful suggestions on how to use the app and which tools to start with. In my experience, this assistance isn’t worth the $50 price tag. I was hoping coaching would offer me some specific advice on my particular situation, but instead, felt like I got an assistant to help me navigate the app. That might be helpful for some people, but it wasn’t of value to me.
Sanvello also offers access to licensed therapists at their highest subscription level, but this is limited to certain states and specific insurance plans. Unfortunately, self-pay isn’t an option for therapy at this time.
Is Sanvello Effective?
Early research on Sanvello has been positive, suggesting that people who use the app feel an improvement in their mild to moderate anxiety and depression.1 People also report that the effects are long-lasting.2
An analysis of research-backed features for a mental health app identified 16 recommendations, and Sanvello’s app incorporates almost all of them, 3 including the use of CBT, reminders, progress tracking, and logging of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Many of these features have also been found to improve user engagement. 4
Who Is Sanvello Right For?
Sanvello is a decent place to start if you are new to mindfulness or CBT. It teaches the basics of using mindfulness for anxiety, such as breathing techniques and visualization tricks, and the CBT journaling features make it a useful tool for those trying to increase self-awareness. It’s a great additional resource for those already in therapy looking to expand upon their skills with a CBT app.
Sanvello is also a good fit for those who want all of their meditations, learning courses, and mood-tracking tools in a single app.
The app does have age restrictions to be aware of, however. You must be 13-years and older to use Sanvello in the United States, and 16-years and older in the EU or UK.
Who Might Want an Alternative to Sanvello?
Sanvello offers a little bit of everything but is not as focused and in-depth as other mindfulness and meditation apps. People who are familiar with mindfulness exercises and meditation practices will likely want to find a different app to use.
People living with a serious mental illness will likely need more support than the app is able to offer. Much of the app is self-guided and there are no live people to talk with in the event of a crisis. The coaching is text-based and the therapy is via video, much like you’d find on Talkspace or BetterHelp, two better-known competitors. Sanvello does not offer access to prescribers and there is no medication management available. To learn all about what these subscription-based therapy platforms offer, please read our detailed Talkspace review or our BetterHelp review.
While the app does include some healthy lifestyle trackers for sleep and exercise, people who are primarily interested in these features would be better served by an app more firmly in the health sector.
Sanvello is geared towards adults and teens older than 13. Parents looking for meditation or mindfulness apps for their younger children can find better ones designed specifically for kids.
What Are Sanvello Users Saying?
Overall, Sanvello has high star ratings and reviews on both app stores. Sanvello holds a 4.8-star rating from 18,000+ reviews on the Apple App Store, and a 4.5 star rating from 22,000+ reviews on the Google Play.
Many users like the CBT-based journals and thought the daily reminders to log their moods, meditate, or go to sleep were really helpful. People also commented that the ‘Guided Journeys’ courses were easy to understand and that the app is an overall good addition to face-to-face therapy. I couldn’t agree more with the reviewers on these points.
Users also really love that Sanvello takes insurance for therapy (Sanvello’s highest subscription tier), but mentioned the process to set everything up takes longer than they expected. Many users point out that this app is not a good fit for anyone in crisis and I absolutely agree.
However, many users also complained that the app would crash randomly or that they couldn’t sign in to their account at all. Many people didn’t like the cost of the premium subscriptions and mentioned that the home page was too overwhelming to navigate. Some also said that the community chat groups were not very active, something they were hoping to utilize more.
While I didn’t have issues with the app crashing, I did find the home page overwhelming and cluttered at first. But the more time I spent looking around the app, the easier it was to navigate and find what I was looking for.
Sanvello Cost: Four Options
Sanvello’s free version of its app is a great way to get to know some of its basic features. When you’re ready to upgrade, Sanvello has three premium subscription options: Self-Care Premium which costs $8.99 per month, Premium + Mental Health Coaching at $50 per month, and Therapy, which ranges in price.
Each subscription builds upon the previous levels offerings, while providing one or two new perks at each level.
Sanvello’s pricing includes four subscription tiers:
The free version of Sanvello includes an introduction to three of the five ‘Guided Journeys’ courses. Each of these introductions has four free modules available to complete. You have full access to the “Community” hub, access to a daily featured premium meditation, as well as 12 free meditations. Four CBT ‘Thoughts’ journals are unlocked, as well as 10 articles in the article ‘Collections’. The free version is perfect for anyone who is curious about what the app has to offer, or for people who want to make sure they like the content before they subscribe.
The cost of Sanvello’s Self-Care Premium subscription is $8.99 per month or $53.99 per year. It unlocks all nine of the CBT ‘Thoughts’ journals, all of the five ‘Guided Journeys’ courses, the full meditation library, and every learning article in the ‘Collections’ section. Self-Care Premium would be a great fit for anyone ready to focus on their mental wellness at a self-guided pace.
Sanvello Premium + Coaching
Sanvello’s Premium + Coaching plan costs $50 per month or $350 per year which gives you everything in the ‘Self-Care’ package PLUS in-app texting with a mental health coach for support and motivation through your programs. Additionally, you’ll have access to Sanvello Live coaching events. Premium + Coaching is great for those looking to work on their mental wellness, but feel they need additional support and encouragement from a coach to keep them going and to guide them through the app.
When you upgrade to Sanvello Therapy, you have access to everything in the Premium + Coaching package, as well as therapy. You must use your insurance to cover the cost of therapy through Sanvello. Your exact out-of-pocket expense will depend on the details of your insurance and the course of treatment recommended by the therapist you work with. It’s easy to check online or in the app to see if Sanvello accepts your insurance.
While the app states that self-pay costs for therapy are $140 for the initial appointment, and then $60 to $85 for follow-up appointments, Sanvello doesn’t currently accept self-pay clients.
Note: Sanvello is only accepting in-network patients with insurance. We are unsure when self-pay patients will be accepted.
Summary of Sanvello Fees
Sanvello’s Self-Care Premium option is more affordable than major competitors in the mindfulness space, such as Headspace at $12.99 per month, or Happify for $14.95 per month. The mental health coaching or therapy sessions, however, may be less of a bargain, especially in cases where Sanvello is not an in-network provider with your insurance plan.
Sanvello Discounts, Free Trials, and Insurance
|Discounts, Trials, & Payment Options||Yes/No|
|Free Trial of Premium Plan||No|
|Insurance||Yes (therapy only)|
Does Sanvello Take Insurance?
Sanvello takes insurance, but only for therapy. Insurance can not be used to pay for Sanvello’s Self-Care Premium or Premium + Coaching subscription plans.
Insurance can be used for Sanvello’s therapy, but you must have an in-network insurance provider such as Beacon Health Options, Cigna, Magellan Healthcare, MultiPlan, Tufts Health Plan, UnitedHealthcare, Optum, Zelis, and more.
It is easy to check if Sanvello is available in your state and what insurance they take, simply:
- login to the app
- choose the ‘Your Team Hub’
- select ‘Therapy’
- follow the prompts from there
Note: Therapy patients who are out-of-network or self-pay are no longer accepted at this time.
Can I use my HSA or FSA for Sanvello?
Yes, you can use your Health Savings Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for Sanvello, but only for therapy. You cannot use your HSA or FSA to pay for Sanvello’s Self-Care Premium or Premium + Coaching subscription packages.
You can use your HSA or FSA for therapy costs including copay, co-insurance, or deductibles.
What If I Want to Cancel or Change Subscriptions?
You can cancel your subscription anytime, but Sanvello does not offer any refunds. Before your next billing cycle, you can choose to cancel your current plan and either upgrade or downgrade for the next month or year. You have to log in through either the Google Play Store, Apple Store, or the web to cancel, upgrade or downgrade your account. Sanvello will not do it for you through email.
Is Sanvello Private, HIPAA Compliant, and Safe?
Yes, Sanvello is HIPAA compliant. You will sign a HIPAA agreement prior to being assigned a mental health coach and before being matched with a therapist. You will not have to sign a HIPAA agreement if you choose to use the free version of Sanvello or for the Self-Care Premium plan.
How To Get Started With Sanvello
Sanvello is available through the Apple or Google Play stores, or you can log in on the Sanvello website. If you want the ability to access Sanvello anywhere and anytime, I recommend downloading the app.
To get started with the free version of Sanvello, download the app through Google Play or Apple Store.
Use the ‘Get Started’ button to begin building your account and customizing the content you will see. You will be able to choose a theme, select up to three goals you want to focus on, and pick a specific time of day to focus on yourself.
After you have customized your content, the app will ask for basic information to complete the registration process. The information required to set up an account includes choosing a username, your email address, and creating a new password. You can also opt to use your Facebook or Google account to log in instead.
When your account has been registered, you will be prompted to complete a check-in. This includes basic questions that help assess your anxiety, stress, and depression. After completing the check-in questions, you are given a baseline score for each category. This score can be used as a point of comparison for future check-ins.
You can tour all of the app’s free features by using the hubs on the navigation bar. There are free articles, courses, and journals for you to read and use.
If you have completed the app’s free offerings or you like the app and want more, you can upgrade your account three ways. Simply click on any of the locked content, go to the ‘Your Team Hub’, or go to your profile and upgrade from your account. Sanvello has subscriptions that range from $8.99 to $50 per month.
It is easy to choose which subscription level you want.
Detailed Review of Sanvello’s Free App
Sanvello’s free app has a lot to offer those who are unsure whether they want to pay for a subscription. Currently, Sanvello has several article ‘Collections’, three ‘Guided Journeys’ courses, four CBT ‘Thoughts’ journals, a dozen meditations, and the entire ‘Community’ space available in the free version.
Feature 1: Article “Collections”
Sanvello’s article ‘Collections’ help you learn to manage different mental health issues, like social anxiety or dealing with work stress. All of them include interactive, supplemental activities, such as meditation, journaling, joining a community group, or beginning a suggested “Guided Journeys” course. Having activities to do while I was reading really helped me to stay engaged in the topic and made me want to read more articles.
While reading ‘Managing Social Anxiety’, you can complete meditations, write journal entries, set social goals, or even begin a “Guide Journeys” course.
Feature 2: Free “Thoughts” Journals
Sanvello’s free version gives you access to four of the nine “Thoughts” Journals. All of these journals for mental health use CBT techniques to help you examine how you are feeling and how to recognize the relationship between your feelings and your experiences.
The free journals give you a free writing space to explore negative thoughts and practice reframing those negative thoughts.
Feature 3: The “Community” Space
When you click the “Community” hub, you will have the opportunity to post on a public discussion board or join a chat group. The discussion boards range in topics from gratitude to loneliness or parenting. All of your posts on the boards can be seen by other Sanvello users and they can give you ‘likes’ or make comments.
The entire community area is available in the Sanvello free version.
There are eight main topics to choose from in the chat area, and each one has a number of different groups to join. I noticed that some of the chat groups were more active than others, and finding these took some time and patience.
Detailed Review of Sanvello’s Self-Care Premium Subscription
Sanvello Self-Care Premium is the first level of the premium subscriptions offered. With the Self-Care Premium plan, you have complete access to the ‘Explore’ hub for either $8.99 per month or $53.99 per year. This hub includes expanded material in the articles, thought journals, guided journeys and meditation collections. It also includes tools that help you set reminders to check in with your support network, track your sleep and health, and stay focused on your goals.
Feature 1: “Guided Journeys”
There are five “Guided Journeys” learning courses that use CBT skills to help manage anxiety and depression. Each course has several modules to complete. For example, in the ‘Braving Anxiety’ course, you have modules like “Anxiety & The Body” and “Sleep & Anxiety.” Because Sanvello has its roots in CBT techniques and skills, there is also a dedicated 11-module-long CBT course that is only available in the premium subscription.
The CBT course is only available in the Premium version.
The amount of time it takes to complete each module within a course varies on how much work you decide to put into it. It is doable to complete one module per day and one course per week and a half, but it’s also important to not to rush through your courses and modules.
Feature 2: Premium “Thoughts” Journals
In the premium version, you will have access to all nine of the “Thoughts” journals. The unlocked ‘Thoughts’ journals will help you further explore the connection between your experiences, your emotions, and your responses.
Deepen your self-understanding through the advanced “Thoughts” journals.
As you work your way through the ‘Guided Journeys’, the ‘Thoughts’ journals begin to correspond with them and play a bigger role in your learning. In my experience, the more effort you put into your ‘Guided Journeys’ and how you choose to use the ‘Thoughts’ journals will dictate how much progress you are making towards the goals you set when you first began the app.
Feature 3: “Meditate”
Sanvello’s compact library of introductory mindfulness and meditation exercises for anxiety is a perfect place to start for novices. In the Premium subscription, there are over 40 mindfulness and meditation exercises to choose from and none of them are longer than 15 minutes.
You can learn the basics of breathing, visualization, and how to perform a body scan. With topics ranging from quieting your inner critic to being present in the moment, there are several ways for you to practice mindfulness and meditation in your daily life.
Learn how to manage your stress through mindfulness practices.
Many of the meditations in Sanvello’s app seemed a little slow to me and I already knew many of the techniques being taught. While it’s always good to have a refresher, I felt like I needed to go to a different app for meditations that were slightly more advanced. That said, I think this is a great starting point for those unfamiliar with meditation practices.
Detailed Review of Sanvello’s Coaching Subscription
Sanvello mental health coaches encourage, guide, and support you as you explore the Sanvello app. They have access to see what “Guided Journeys” course you are taking and can suggest what else you should focus on, based on where you are. Sanvello Coaching costs $50 per month or $350 per year.
What Is Mental Health Coaching on Sanvello & How do I Use It?
After subscribing to Self-Care Premium + Coaching, you will be placed with a coach at random. Their profile will appear in ‘Your Team’ hub, where you can see a picture of them and read about their coaching style, professional training, and specialties. After you click ‘Get Started’ you will be sent to a HIPAA agreement page. Click the “Read More” option, read the agreement and then click ‘I Agree’.
While you can begin to chat with your coach right away through the app, the first messages from your coach are automatically generated. They tell you that you’ll receive a personalized message in one business day. To begin your coaching, you are asked what area of life you want to work on, and to share anything else about your mental wellness goals.
It’s important to note that your coach is not a licensed therapist and cannot give you medical advice. It does take about 24 hours for your mental health coach to respond to any messages you may send to them, and sometimes I got the impression the messages were generic. Coaches are also unavailable to text over the weekends and on holidays. With this in mind, someone looking for more immediate or synchronous communication might be better served by the Therapy plan or a different mental health coaching app.
How Are Coaches Vetted?
All of Sanvello’s coaches hold degrees in psychology, social work, health, or wellness. All have five or more years of experience in mental health and in coaching. Many of the coaches also have additional health coaching certificates as well as undergo CBT skills training.
How Does Matching with a Coach Work?
Matching with a mental health coach on Sanvello is a random match. Once you sign-up, you are automatically placed with a coach and unable to browse coaches or choose a specific coach to work with.
Can I Change Coaches?
If you end up not liking the coach you are placed with, it’s very easy to leave them and get placed with someone else. When you pull up your coach’s profile, you will see a ‘Leave Coach’ button at the bottom. After you select this, you will be asked to make sure you want to disconnect. After you disconnect from your coach, you can be placed with a new coach.
Detailed Review of Sanvello Therapy
Therapy with Sanvello will give you access to a dedicated therapist in addition to everything in the Self-Care Premium + Coaching subscription for one fee. The average initial appointment fee for self-pay patients is $140 and follow-up appointments are around $85, however, Sanvello is not accepting any new self-pay patients at this time. The monthly cost for Sanvello Therapy depends on what your health insurance covers.
Because Sanvello isn’t accepting self-pay patients, I wasn’t able to test the Therapy services myself. While I did live in a state where they offer therapy services, they didn’t accept my insurance, and I couldn’t access this feature of the app. I look forward to updating this section if and when I am able to try it out.
What Is Therapy on Sanvello?
After you sign up for therapy with Sanvello, you will answer a series of questions before you’re able to view and filter therapists in your area. Once you have made a choice and you are matched, you can select a date and time that works best for you to meet your new therapist.
All of your sessions will be in the app and will take place in a video call. In your first session, you can expect to talk about how often you will meet, start talking about a plan for your future sessions, and discuss how your therapist will work with your mental health coach.
Therapy with Sanvello is more work than the mental health coach option. All of Sanvello’s therapists use the same cognitive behavior approach found within the app. You will be expected to do homework outside of your sessions, which will be assigned in the app and available in your ‘To-Do’ list on the ‘Your Team’ hub. Your therapist will want you to come prepared each session to talk about the work you are doing on your own.
Sanvello is not accepting new self-pay patients at this time, and you must verify through the app if they take your insurance.
How Are Therapists Vetted & Credentialed?
All Sanvello therapists must hold a masters-level degree in psychology, counseling, or social work. They must also have an unrestricted state license in licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional counselors (LPC), licensed master social workers (LMSW), licensed independent clinical social workers (LICSW), or licensed marriage and family therapy (LMFT). All therapists must have three or more years of working with patients in a clinical setting.
All therapists must undergo a full review of their credentials and licenses. Sanvello’s credentialing standards follow the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s recommendations.
How Does Matching with a Therapist Work?
When you sign up for Sanvello Therapy, you will answer a couple of questions about yourself before being sent to the Sanvello directory. In the directory, you can filter results first by state, and then by your other preferences (ie. specific gender, specialty areas, etc.). You can then select the therapist that you feel best suits your needs.
If you end up wanting to change therapists, you can leave their care and choose a new therapist at any time.
What States Does Sanvello Offer Therapy In
Sanvello Therapy is available in the following 21 states, with plans to expand.
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
Sanvello vs Headspace vs BetterHelp
There are a growing number of apps in the mental health sector, many of which offer the same services as Sanvello. Two major competitors in the market are Headspace and BetterHelp. Headspace is strictly a mindfulness and meditation app, while BetterHelp is a teletherapy platform like Sanvello.
Sanvello vs Headspace
Headspace is focused on mindfulness and meditation, whereas Sanvello also includes CBT skills and exercises. Those looking exclusively for meditation exercises will be more pleased with Headspace. Those with other goals might be drawn to Sanvello because of the more diverse skills and features of the app.
Sanvello’s Self-Care option is also cheaper at $8.99 per month compared to Headspace at $12.99 per month. But by and far, Headspace offers a wider range of meditation topics and mindfulness skills to learn. To learn all about this amazing meditation app, you can read our detailed Headspace review.
Free 14 Day Trial Of Headspace
Sanvello vs BetterHelp
Much like Sanvello, BetterHelp is an online teletherapy provider. They have emerged as a leading provider of online counseling, connecting you with a designated licensed therapist. BetterHelp is also a subscription-based service, with monthly subscriptions ranging between $60 to $90 per week which is billed monthly. Sanvello’s therapy rates are on a $85 per-session basis, with the exception of the $140 initial session. Currently, however, they are not accepting any self-pay patients. If you have insurance and Sanvello is in-network, then you might find Sanvello’s therapy much more affordable than BetterHelp, which does not accept insurance.
BetterHelp’s subscription cost provides you with options to communicate with your therapist through online chats or messaging, or through weekly phone or video sessions. A big difference here is that Sanvello only offers video sessions. BetterHelp is more established in the teletherapy sector, and Sanvello is new to the scene. Plus, Sanvello is not currently available in all states. To see how subscription-based therapy can work for you, read our in-depth review of BetterHelp.
How Has Sanvello Changed Over The Years?
Sanvello, formerly called Pacifica, was founded in 2014 by CEO Dale Beermann and developer Chris Goettel. Their goal was to create an app based in cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness. Beermann used mindfulness practices to help overcome insomnia, while Goettell reduced his social anxiety with CBT. Pacifica was renamed in 2019, after being acquired by Sanvello, Inc., a branch of the insurance company UnitedHealth.5
In recent years, Sanvello has made its way into already crowded mental health app sectors with its new updates, like health tracking and teletherapy sessions. After the switch from Pacifica, people complained that they had a hard time navigating the updated app. Some users also complain that Sanvello has strayed from its original roots of using CBT and mindfulness to help manage stress, anxiety and depression. It now offers meditation exercises, mental health coaching, and therapy, all of which come with an additional cost.
Sanvello has also discontinued several promotions since taking over Pacifica, like the “lifetime membership” offer, which previously allowed lifetime premium subscriptions for a one-time fee of $199, and Sanvello for Clinicians designed for therapists.
Currently, Sanvello is not offering any new patient appointments to those paying self-pay. They are only accepting patients who are in-network with insurance. There is no timeline as to when self-pay patients will be accepted again.
Final Verdict on Sanvello
Sanvello has become a major player among mental health apps, offering a range of content to explore as well as therapy options. You can use Sanvello to learn and practice CBT skills and mindfulness exercises to help improve your anxiety and depression symptoms. Sanvello also offers a unique community space to connect with other like-minded people.
All of the ‘Guided Journeys’ courses and learning articles are engaging and informative. The mindfulness and meditation exercises are a great foundation to build your practice on, but more experienced practitioners may want to find something different.
Overall, Sanvello is a really good self-paced tool for learning CBT skills and is worth the cost of the Self-Care Premium option. I really enjoyed the “Guided Journeys” course I completed on Braving Anxiety, and each module taught me something new in an engaging way. Relearning about my own anxiety and being given tools to manage it was helpful.
At $8.99 per month, their Self-Care Premium subscription beats out many competitors who offer paid subscriptions with more limited offerings.
But the mental health coach I was matched with seemed too impersonal and distant to recommend this upgrade. I felt like she was always referring me to something in the app and wasn’t actually talking to me. The cost of coaching wasn’t worth it for me, but I can see how others could value having a guide to help navigate such a complex app.
Sanvello Therapy could be a good option for those looking for more one-on-one help, but is only available in 22 states, and only currently available to those who are in-network with certain insurance providers in those states. They are not accepting self-pay patients at this time.
Sanvello should not be considered a substitute or alternative to professional mental health treatment. However, when used in addition to treatment, or as part of an ongoing self-care plan, the app can be extremely helpful to those looking to prioritize their mental health.