Mental health issues affect the LGBTQ community at a greater rate than the rest of the population. Fear of discrimination related to their identity can be an additional barrier to LGBTQ clients seeking help.
Launched in 2017 as a new branch of the long-established online therapy platform BetterHelp, Pride Counseling brings accessible online counseling to the LGBTQ community. In addition to providing the flexibility of online counseling, all of the therapists at Pride Counseling specialize in the LGBTQ community.
Is Pride Counseling a safe and valuable service for LGBTQ clients? Are its counselors well qualified? We thoroughly tested its therapy services and will share everything we learned about cost, quality, privacy and more, so that you can decide if it’s right for you.
- Access counseling from anywhere via browser or app (iPhone and Android).
- Specifically aimed at the LGBTQIA community, so all counselors have experience and interest in this area as well as being highly qualified.
- The written messages between you and your counselor are available for you to re-read and reflect on at any time.
- If you’re not satisfied with your counselor, you can switch at any time.
- More affordable than other similar online services.
- Pride Counseling provides impressive privacy, anonymity and security.
- Not suitable for emergencies or situations where you are at risk of harm, either from yourself or others.
- Not suitable for counseling ordered by the court or other authorities.
- Not suitable for minors (we recommend teencounseling.com for those age 13-19 seeking high-quality online therapy)
- Your counselor will not be able to provide a diagnosis or prescribe medication, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) recommendations.
Pride Counseling provides a safe space for the LGBTQIA community in the world of online therapy. We recommend the company highly. As with all online therapy, there are benefits in terms of flexible scheduling and convenience of not having to visit the therapist’s office. Pride Counseling is also very competitive in price compared to standard counseling. The downsides are that an online therapist will not be able to provide diagnoses or prescriptions.
Pride Counseling offers convenient, affordable and high-quality online counseling for the LGBTQ+ community.
After being matched with a Pride Counseling therapist, you’ll get unlimited messaging and weekly live counseling sessions. You get to choose each time whether you want the live session to be chat, phone or video. Enjoy convenient scheduling and therapy access from the comfort of your own home or wherever you choose!
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This review, like all medical-related content on this website, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up use of the product or service, and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.
All counselors who work through Pride Counseling specialize in LGBTQ issues and:
- Hold licenses to practice in their respective states
- Have earned either a master’s degree or a doctorate degree
- Have at least three years of experience
Pride Counseling focuses on serving the LGBTQ community and connecting members of the community with therapists who specialize in LGBTQ issues. It is important to note, though, that anyone can use Pride Counseling. The company provides therapy services aimed at helping clients with a vast array of concerns, including (among many others):
- Sleep problems
- Family conflict
The sign-up process for Pride Counseling is easy, and you can register on the website or on the app.
Step 1: Questionnaire
You will answer a questionnaire where you characterize your current health and mental state, along with issues that you recognize and aim to address. Compared to other online therapy sites, there are additional questions here related to your pronouns and how you identify. For those who are questioning and currently not sure, you can provide that answer at any step.
Step 2: Create an account
Pride Counseling respects your privacy and potential desire for full anonymity. To keep this safe, you’re prompted to make a nickname for use here in your account and when using the services. Giving them a functioning email is important, though.
Step 3: Providing information about preferences in a counselor
You have the opportunity to express any preferences in the counselor you are assigned, including whether you would prefer a counselor who identifies as LGBTQ.
Pride Counseling’s platform uses all of this information to connect you to an appropriate counselor, psychologist, therapist or social worker. It usually takes less than 24 hours to be matched to a counselor.
Step 4: Select payment and plan.
After you input your payment information and have gotten matched to a counselor, you’re ready to begin.
Pride Counseling works on a monthly subscription set-up, rather than paying per session. The service costs between $40 and $70 a month, depending on how long you initially choose to subscribe. The initial payment is taken for one month, which starts when you are matched to a counselor. You are given the option for billing to be discreet so that it does not show up as payment for counseling on your bill.
Before entering your payment information in the sign-up process, Pride Counseling offers financial aid discounts on a sliding scale for people with lower incomes. You can cancel your subscription at any time: you will continue to have access to counseling until the end of the period you have already paid for.
Through the Pride Counseling platform, either on a browser or on the app, you can send messages to your counselor at any time. The platform also supports live sessions through chat, phone or video calls. There are no additional charges for live sessions and no limits to how many messages or sessions you have. It is up to you and your counselor to decide which routes work best and how frequent contact should be. As all the counselors are in the US, live sessions may be harder to schedule for clients based internationally.
Messages sent between you and your counselor remain in your counseling “room” so that you can re-read your conversations at any time. Many clients feel that this is a big advantage over traditional in-person therapy, as they are able to use the area to journal or note things that they want to revisit and discuss with their counselor, which they might otherwise forget. We find this feature to be very valuable. At the same time, as an added privacy feature, you can also “shred” a message if you ever want to remove it completely from your account.
Some clients are unhappy with the use of the term “unlimited”, feeling that it implies that a counselor will respond to their messages 24/7, or that they will be able to have as many live sessions as they want. In practice, a specific counselor is assigned to each client, which has benefits for continuity and privacy. This means that the frequency of interaction depends on your counselor’s availability and how you both work out a beneficial routine together. Even so, it is likely that you will get more contact with your counselor through this kind of online platform than in conventional face-to-face therapy.
If at any time you feel your counselor is not a good fit for you, you can choose to switch to a different counselor.
Pride Counseling takes your privacy seriously. You choose a nickname for use in your sessions and are under no obligation to reveal any personally identifying information to your counselor. You do enter emergency contact information during the sign-up process, which is only accessed if your counselor believes you or someone else may be in danger.
For live phone sessions, you will have to provide your landline or mobile number. The Pride Counseling system is set up so that you enter this number into the system, which then connects you to your counselor: your counselor doesn’t have direct access to your phone number.
Pride Counseling uses SSL browsing encryption to prevent data breaches. Data that is stored on their databases is encrypted and scrambled. You can also “shred” messages you have sent to permanently delete them from your record.
Pride Counseling does not work with any insurance or employers, so there is never any need to share your information with a third party.
Typically, online counseling is not covered by insurance companies. In some cases it may be possible for you to be reimbursed, usually if you have a mental health diagnosis, in which case it is worth checking with your insurance company. Pride Counseling states that their pricing is often comparable with the co-pay of most insurance companies.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For Pride Counseling and other health services and products, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?