Thriveworks is a franchise that offers online and in-person mental health services for teens, individuals, couples, and families that earned 4 out of 5 stars during our independent review. With Thriveworks, you can attend live 60-minute video sessions as needed with the option to send emails to your provider between sessions. Thriveworks therapy costs start at $99 per session and Thriveworks takes many insurance plans.
Rating of Thriveworks Online Therapy
Over the past year, I have dedicated a considerable amount of time to researching, personally using, and reviewing online therapy platforms. Not only do I sign up for online therapy services and use their websites and apps, but I also attend live therapy sessions with each platform. I reach out to each online therapy platform before I begin researching and reviewing them to ask numerous questions about their products that users are likely to want answers to. All of this is done to ensure that consumers get the information they need to make intelligent purchases. During our independent review, Thriveworks earned 4 out of 5 stars overall for their online therapy services, performing best in the categories of clientele served, treatment approaches, and geographic location. However, Thriveworks underperformed in the categories of online therapy cost, and client interface and user experience compared to its competitors.
Pros & Cons of Thriveworks
Thriveworks has online mental health services available in the majority of US states, with in-person locations available in select cities. They can offer services to a wide range of clients and accept insurance, including Medicaid at very limited in-person locations. However, the sign-up process is somewhat complicated compared to other online therapy platforms.
What is Thriveworks?
Thriveworks is a mental health franchise available in 40 US states that offers online and in-person mental health services for kids and teens, individuals, couples, and families. Thriveworks therapy costs $99 – $199 and psychiatry services cost $99 – $349. The exact costs for therapy sessions and psychiatry appointments depend on your location and the provider you choose.
All services that Thriveworks offers are available online, however, some services may not be available at in-person locations. Each physical location of Thriveworks will offer different services, accept different insurance plans, and may not be conveniently located to you. However, whatever way you choose to attend sessions and appointments, you will be able to choose your own provider from the Thriveworks online directory. Thriveworks offers a range of specialties and can offer services to kids and teens, couples, and even families. Due to these reasons, they earned 5 stars in both the “Clientele Served” and the “Range of Therapist Specialties & Treatment Approaches” categories of our online therapy scoring criteria. Many providers have next-day, early morning, evening, and weekend appointments available. Therapy sessions are 60 minutes long with the first session being a comprehensive client intake. Initial psychiatry appointments are 60 minutes long with follow-up appointments lasting around 30 minutes.
While the Thriveworks website seems easy to navigate and user-friendly, it can be frustrating and confusing to add payment types, insurance, and find patient forms. Thankfully, there is a customer service phone number you can call and receive one-on-one help from a representative. The customer service team is able to help you set up your account, find a therapist, and add your payment and insurance information. Thriveworks accepts several major insurance plans with select in-person locations accepting Medicaid.
Once your account is all setup, you can book your appointments and you will gain access to Thriveworks’ self-paced mental health lessons called “Fireside Courses”. There are eight lessons in total and are on topics like anxiety and parenting, premarital counseling, and trauma. Each lesson has between 12 to 25 individual sessions with videos that explain various important topics.
Therapy Buddy App
Thriveworks has an app called “Therapy Buddy” that you can download from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. However, there is nowhere during the sign-up process that explains exactly how the app works or what the password is to access the app. The only way I gained access to the app was by calling customer service and asking for the password.
Within the app, you have a couple of journal spaces to write down things you found helpful in your sessions and things you want to talk about during a session. There is also a place to complete homework and set up session reminders. You will also have a section to record a live session, however, it was not clear how this actually worked in conjunction with the live Zoom appointments. Overall, the app doesn’t seem to be fully integrated into the platform and I ended up not using it. The app seems like a big missed opportunity, especially compared to therapy platforms like BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Cerebral which have really awesome extra features in their apps.
Who Is Thriveworks Right For?
Thriveworks would be great for people who want one place to receive therapy and psychiatry services, would value an in-person option, and for those seeking a wide range of therapy types.
People Seeking Convenient Online Therapy & Psychiatry
Thriveworks could be a great choice for people seeking therapy and psychiatry on one platform or in one location. Therapists and psychiatric providers can communicate with one another about your treatment goals and plans. This makes for great continuity of care and is helpful for those who need this type of dedicated support.
Those Wanting an In-Person Option
A unique feature of Thriveworks is the option to attend therapy and psychiatry appointments in person. Some providers have availability online and in-person, which means that you can see your provider through both methods. This would be great for people who may need the flexibility to attend sessions in person some weeks.
Clients Needing a Range of Therapy Types
Thriveworks accepts a wide range of clients and patients including kids and teens, couples, and families. Much like with individual therapy and psychiatry services, kids and teens, couples, and families will be able to see a provider online or in person with convenient evening and weekend appointments available. This earned Thriveworks 5 stars in the “Range of Therapist Specialties & Treatment Approaches” category on our scoring criteria.
Who Might Want an Alternative to Thriveworks?
While Thriveworks would be a great fit for some, there are others that it would not work for. People who are located in states or cities not covered, those who may prefer a more complete subscription-based therapy option, and people experiencing mental health crises should seek out an alternative.
City or State Isn’t Covered
Despite the fact that Thriveworks is available in 40 states, according to the directory there aren’t always providers available in that state or in your city. For people seeking a great online therapy and psychiatry platform that accepts insurance and offers bundled options, Brightside Health would be a great choice. Brightside offers stand-alone medication and therapy subscription plans, as well as a bundled therapy and medication plan.
For more information about subscriptions and prices, please read our comprehensive review of Brightside Health.
Preference for Subscription Option
While Thriveworks charges a monthly membership fee, this does not include any live therapy sessions. Rather the monthly membership fee offers only eight mental health learning courses and an app that does not allow you to schedule online therapy sessions or message your provider. People seeking a great subscription therapy option that includes a robust app experience, in addition, to live sessions may enjoy Calmerry or BetterHelp. While neither platform accepts insurance at this time, their out-of-pocket costs are fairly affordable.
To explore the costs and features of these two platforms, you can read our detailed review of Calmerry or our BetterHelp review.
Frequent Crisis Episodes
When you sign up for psychiatric care with Thriveworks, you will sign patient forms that attest you are not in an active mental health crisis and that you do not wish to harm yourself or others. For those who have frequent bouts of crisis episodes due to their anxiety or depression, Thriveworks will not be a good fit. To find consistent, in-person psychiatric care, you should consult an online therapist directory and filter for psychiatrists.
What Are Users Saying About Thriveworks?
I examined client reviews of the in-person locations nearest to me and found them to be generally very positive. Most clients really loved going to the in-person locations and had great things to say about their particular therapist. Owners of each location responded to reviews thanking them and encouraging them to contact them for further help if needed. None of the reviews of the in-person locations mentioned attending sessions or appointments online.
User reviews of Thriveworks as a platform are largely based on in-person locations and can be found on Google Maps. While Thriveworks does have an app called “Therapy Buddy,” it is not how you attend therapy sessions or psychiatry appointments, so reviews of the app do not give a good picture of the company as a whole.
One Reddit thread I found while searching for user reviews did reveal a lot of very unhappy users over billing issues. Many mentioned very large sums of money being charged to their credit cards after they called and canceled their accounts. While there is no way to verify these user experiences, I will say billing is very confusing with Thriveworks. There are two patient portals you must use, both require you to add a credit card, and you have to call to add your information for one of the portals. It stands to reason that some people may call to cancel but fail to remove payment methods from both portals.
How Much Does Thriveworks Cost?
Thriveworks costs $99 – $199 for a 60-minute therapy session. The exact costs with Thriveworks will ultimately depend on your insurance plan, your location, and the therapist you choose. Unfortunately, due to how unclear the ultimate costs will be, Thriveworks earned 3 stars in the “Online Therapy Cost” category on our scoring criteria.
Thriveworks psychiatry services cost $99 – $349, with exact costs depending on the provider and your location. Initial psychiatry sessions are 60 minutes and follow-up appointments are 30-minutes long. Psychiatric care is generally available online but only available at select, in-person locations.
Please be aware that Thriveworks will charge you the full amount of your scheduled session or appointment if you miss it or cancel later than 23.5 hours in advance.
Does Thriveworks Accept Insurance?
Yes, Thriveworks accepts insurance for therapy from companies like Blue Cross, Anthem, Optum, United, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana, with very select locations accepting Medicaid. Plans accepted largely depend on the location and the provider you choose to see. This earned Thriveworks 4 out of 5 stars in the “Insurance & Out-of-Network Benefits” category on our scoring criteria.
As we mentioned in our Best Online Therapy Options That Take Insurance review, it is unclear if Thriveworks will create superbills for you or if they will submit them on your behalf.
How Do You Get Started with Thriveworks Work?
Getting started with Thriveworks seems like an easy process at first, but requires extra steps that other online therapy platforms do not. However, if signing up for care on your own becomes too overwhelming, you can easily call customer service and have them set everything up for you.
Getting started with Thriveworks requires:
- Go to the Thriveworks website and click “Log In” in the top right corner.
- Input your email address and the website will send you a login link to follow.
- Follow the link from your email and log in to the patient portal.
- Add your credit card, billing, and other personal information.
- Select “Book Session” to view the directory of providers available to you.
- Choose a provider, then select a date and time you would like to meet.
- Confirm your payment and wait for Thriveworks to email you patient forms.
- Create an account with the second patient portal and fill out all of the patient forms.
- On the day of your appointment, simply click the Zoom link sent to your email when it is time for your appointment.
Thriveworks Counseling: Detailed Review
Thriveworks offers counseling and therapy services online and in person. Which services you choose will depend on if there are in-person locations close to you and your personal preferences for meeting with a provider. Therapy with Thriveworks costs start at $99 per 60-minute session and some insurance is accepted.
Online Therapy with Thriveworks
After you enter your credit card information, you will need to select “Book Session” to begin exploring the online directory. There are filters for what type of therapy you need, individual, kids & teens, couples, family, or psychiatry/medication management. You will also be able to select if you want in-person or virtual sessions. Many providers in the directory had availability as soon as the next day and some were booked for a week before they had availability. Several providers offered early morning and evening appointments, as well as weekend appointments.
All therapy sessions are 60 minutes long and the first session is a comprehensive intake session for your new provider to get to know you. They will ask you many basic medical questions like if you smoke, drink, or have a history of mental health issues, and much more. This intake process is much more intensive than with any other online therapy platform I have tried and I actually liked this aspect of the platform. It made me feel like my therapist was aiming to treat me as a whole, rather than just my mental health struggles.
Despite my therapy appointment running smoothly, there were a lot of hiccups on the way to attending this first session. Even though I found my therapist through the main Thriveworks website, all of my patient forms, main billing, and account creation happened on a secondary patient platform. This platform is run by a company called Advanced MD/AdvancedTelemedicine and I had to download Zoom to attend my sessions.
My main frustration with these two platforms was that despite inputting payment information on the main Thriveworks website, it did not transfer to the secondary platform. There was also nowhere to input payment information, so I had to call Thriveworks and have them add it to my account.
If you need to talk to your provider between appointments, you can contact customer service and they will send your provider an email stating you need to speak with them. There is no in-app or website-based text messaging service available at this time. Overall, my therapy session and the therapist I chose were awesome, but the process to get to my first session felt unnecessarily complicated. These unnecessary complications make me hesitant to recommend this platform, despite the awesome providers it hosts. Due to this poor user experience with the platform, Thriveworks earned 1 star in the “Client Interface & User Experience” category on our scoring criteria.
In-person Therapy with Thriveworks
Signing up for in-person therapy with Thriveworks works exactly the same way as online therapy. It is the same process, with the two patient portals but instead of downloading Zoom, you will attend your sessions in person. The therapist I chose said that she sees patients both online and in person, so if you have a therapist you feel a good bond with you can see them either way.
Despite Google showing a Thriveworks location in my city, there was no option to select the location. When I called to ask to see someone at that location, the customer service representative told me there was no location available. This was very odd to me because when you look at Google maps you can read reviews of the location. Ultimately, I decided to go with an online appointment and hope to review the in-person services in the future.
Therapist Vetting and Credentials
Therapists and counselors with Thriveworks hold LCSW, LICSW, LPC, LPCC, LMHC, LMFT, or are licensed psychologists. All providers must be fully licensed and accredited in the state they practice and must provide this documentation to Thriveworks during the hiring process. Additionally, clients can view their therapist or counselor’s credentials on their directory profile.
After you input your credit card information, you will be able to select “Book Session” and choose your own therapist. The Thriveworks directory allows you to filter by therapy type, specialty, in-person or virtual, and insurance.
Can You Choose a New Therapist?
Yes, you can absolutely choose a new therapist at any time. You are not locked into a contract with any provider you choose and can simply select someone new the next time you book an appointment. If you choose a different provider, you will be required to complete new patient forms for your new provider.
Thriveworks Psychiatry: Detailed Review
Psychiatry with Thriveworks follows the same process as signing up for therapy. Initial psychiatry appointments are 60 minutes long with follow-up appointments being 30 minutes. Psychiatry costs range from $99 – $349 per appointment, with exact costs depending on the provider and your location.
While not all in-person locations will have psychiatric services available, it does seem to be easily accessible through an online appointment. Some providers will even see kids 13 years and older with parent/guardian consent. It is very easy to see what age group and specialties the psychiatric providers offer through their directory profiles. You will simply choose the provider that best matches your current situation.
Psychiatric providers with Thriveworks are psychiatrists and PMHNPs and you will be able to choose who you want to see. During your initial appointment, you and your provider will go over your medical and mental health history together. This will help your provider decide if you need to be prescribed medication, how often you will need follow-up appointments, and if they feel talk therapy would be beneficial to your treatment goals.
Similarly to communicating with your therapist, if you need to talk to your provider between appointments, you will need to contact customer service. There is no in-app or website-based text messaging service available at this time. All online sessions are conducted through the secondary website, Advanced MD/AdvancedTelemedicine, and Zoom.
Who is Eligible for Medication?
Select providers will be able to prescribe medication to teens starting at age 13. Generally, medication management is available to those 18 years and older.
What Medications are Available?
The Thriveworks website said that in select cases, their psychiatric providers will be able to prescribe controlled medications. However, my provider clarified that these are very rare cases and only happen when a patient is being weaned off of these medications. Generally, Thriveworks will only prescribe non-controlled medication for anxiety and medication for depression.
Where is Medication Management Available?
Online medication management is available in each state that offers psychiatric services. Not all in-person locations offer this feature and online providers are not as numerous as therapists. You can easily check if medication management is available in your state through the online directory.
How to Get Your Medication
If your provider feels medication would be beneficial to you, they will send a prescription to your local pharmacy. From there you will pick up and pay for your prescriptions like you would any other prescription.
Thriveworks vs Competitors
Thriveworks has some great perks to be aware of, but other companies like BetterHelp or Lifestance may be an even better option for those seeking affordable online or in-person mental health services.
Thriveworks vs BetterHelp
Thriveworks and BetterHelp have very little in common and who each platform is better suited for is different. Thriveworks is a great option for those who want the ability to select a therapist from a directory with filters for therapy type and specialty. It is also great for those that have a location nearby to attend in-person therapy or psychiatry appointments. Thriveworks is a per-session cost and they do accept insurance which could lower your out-of-pocket costs.
BetterHelp is a subscription-based online therapy platform available nationwide. While you are automatically matched with a therapist initially, you can choose your own therapist after this initial match. At this time, BetterHelp does not accept insurance but does allow you to use your FSA or HSA funds to pay for therapy. However, with BetterHelp you will have access to a variety of in-app features like a journal space and group webinars. Subscription costs range from $240 – $360 monthly depending on your location and therapist availability.
To learn more about how their subscriptions work, please read our comprehensive BetterHelp review.
Thriveworks vs Lifestance
Thriveworks and Lifestance are very similar platforms that offer both in-person and online therapy and psychiatry services. Lifestance also accepts kids & teens, individuals, couples, and families, and select states offer group therapy. All costs with Lifestance depend on the provider you choose and these are not listed in their directory or made available after you’ve made an appointment. This is in stark contrast to Thriveworks, where you will be told exactly what your out-of-pocket costs are when you schedule an appointment.
Lifestance accepts many major insurance plans and they are available in the following 32 states: AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, ME, MD, MASS, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, & WI.
How Thriveworks Has Evolved
Thriveworks was founded by AJ Centore Ph.D. in 2008 and is headquartered in Lynchburg, VA. There is not much written about them in the news, but it was recently shared that select Thriveworks locations will now feature play therapy. 1 This sister brand is called TherapyLand and is geared toward children 12-years and younger. Play therapy is used for a wide variety of reasons and can be helpful in addressing treatment needs for special needs children.
Due to the age of Thriveworks as a company, how little scandal there seems to be around the brand, and how widely available they are, they earned 5 stars in the “Reliability & Longevity” category on our scoring criteria.
In January of 2023, Thriveworks discontinued its membership fees with the hopes of making its services more widely available and more affordable. 2
Frequently Asked Questions About Thriveworks
Can I use my HSA or FSA?
Yes, you can use your FSA or HSA funds to pay for therapy with Thriveworks.
How Do I Cancel My Thriveworks Membership?
To cancel your Thriveworks membership, you must call customer service at 855-641-1379. You can also ask the customer service representative to close out your entire account and this will remove any payment information from your account in general.
Does Thriveworks Offer Refunds?
Yes, Thriveworks will provide a refund of the membership fee if you ask for one within the first seven days. Thriveworks recommends you reach out to their customer service department at 855-641-1379 if questions or concerns.
Is Online Therapy with Thriveworks HIPAA Compliant?
Yes, Thriveworks uses a HIPAA-compliant patient portal called Advanced MD/AdvancedTelemedicine.
Final Verdict on Thriveworks
Thriveworks offers both online and in-person therapy and psychiatry services across 40 US states and is worthy of its 4-star rating. However, the process to get to my first appointment felt unnecessarily complicated and I found the membership fee not ideal. As of January 2023, Thriveworks will no longer require a membership fee which I think is awesome and makes the platform more appealing overall. Having two patient portals and an app that doesn’t connect with either gave the platform an unpolished feel in general. That being said, both my therapist and psychiatric provider were kind, well spoken, and immediately made me feel like I was talking to someone I knew for many months. The Zoom meetings worked very well and I experienced no audio or video issues whatsoever. If Thriveworks were able to streamline its sign-up process, integrate its app better, and utilize one patient portal it could be a really great mental health platform.
Summary of What Thriveworks Offers
|Cost of Online Therapy||$99 - $199 |
|Age Limitations for Therapy||13+ |
|Is Insurance Accepted?||Yes |
|Frequency of Appointments||As needed based on your needs and providers recommendations |
|Messaging Therapist Between Appointments||Email with Customer Service|
|Can You Change Therapists?||Yes|
|Speed to First Appointment||1-2 days |
|Geographic Coverage||AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IN, IL, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MASS, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, D.C., WY|
|Online Psychiatry Offered||Yes |
|Online Psychiatry Cost||$99 - $349 |
60 minute initial assessment
|Age Limitations for Psychiatry||13+|