Mental health issues affect the LGBTQ+ community at a greater rate than the rest of the population. Discrimination related to LGBTQ+ identities is an additional barrier to 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 serving the LGBTQ+ community.
Is Pride Counseling a safe and valuable service for LGBTQ+ clients? Are their counselors well qualified? We thoroughly tested their therapy services and will share everything we learned about cost, quality, privacy, and more so that you can decide if they’re right for you.
- Access counseling from anywhere via browser or app (iPhone and Android)
- All highly qualified counselors have experience and interest in LGBTQ+ issues
- You can re-read messages between you and your counselor at any time
- If you’re not satisfied with your counselor, you can easily switch
- More affordable than other similar online services
- Pride Counseling provides impressive privacy, anonymity, and security
- Financial aid available
- Not for court-ordered counseling
- Best for those 18+ (we recommend teencounseling.com for those aged 13-19)
- Your counselor will not provide a diagnosis or medication, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Not suitable for emergencies or at-risk situations (see the Crisis Resources section below)
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!
- Why you should trust us
- How we evaluated Pride Counseling
- What kinds of counseling services does Pride Counseling offer?
- Crisis resources
- Getting started with Pride Counseling
- How much does Pride Counseling cost?
- The counseling process
- Privacy considerations
- HSA, FSA, and health insurance
- Other companies offering LGBTQ+ counseling
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
Like all health-related content on this website, this review is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Review Board for accuracy. All told, our team has spent nearly 200 hours testing and researching all of the major players in online therapy, including Pride Counseling. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up to using the service and then offer unbiased analysis and recommendations free of marketing jargon.
Ultimately we ask a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Quality of therapy
The therapy that you receive from Pride Counseling is of high quality. Each of the counselors is vetted by BetterHelp to make sure they are fully qualified to address the specific needs of members of the LGBTQ+ community. Counselors are fully licensed, hold either a Master’s degree or Doctorate, and have at least 3 years of counseling experience. Most importantly, each counselor is trained in the issues facing LGBTQ+ people and is prepared to tackle any issue related to gender and sexuality.
Pride Counseling takes customer privacy seriously. Because discrimination based on gender and sexuality still exists, the company makes sure to maintain the highest standards of confidentiality. While you must disclose some personal information (like email address, payment info, and emergency contact), you can create a nickname for your account so not even your counselor knows your real name. On your counseling dashboard, you can also permanently delete chat transcripts with your counselor. Pride Counseling won’t share any information with a third party unless you request it.
If you apply for financial aid to help cover services, you do have to disclose a fair amount of personal financial information.
Compared to the cost of traditional, in-person counseling, services offered by Pride Counseling are much more budget-friendly. They offer a subscription service that is billed monthly. The cost of the subscription varies based on location. Remember that the subscription includes unlimited chat, phone, and video sessions with your counselor.
Other online therapy companies that center the LGBTQ+ community charge per session, while some include comparable services with a similar pay structure. Pride Counseling also offers financial aid for those who can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for services.
Insider Tip: The Pride Counseling website uses geolocation to determine subscription price range. Check out their FAQ page and scroll to the “How much does it cost?” question to see the cost in your area.
Online therapy, in general, is much more flexible than in-person therapy. Pride Counseling is no different. They pair you with a provider, and the two of you decide on a meeting schedule. Outside of that, you can message your counselor at any time in your online therapy room and await their feedback. If you find that your assigned counselor doesn’t work for you, you can switch to another one.
Keep in mind that “unlimited” access to your counselor does not mean they are available 24/7. It means that you and your counselor can work out a schedule that meets your needs and your counselor’s availability.
Ease of use
Pride Counseling makes accessing online therapy incredibly easy. Start by taking the questionnaire asking personal questions about your life and areas where you need assistance. Then, wait to be paired with a counselor. You can access your account on the website or the Pride Counseling app. You even have a therapy dashboard that stores all of your communication between you and your counselor.
Sometimes, you may have to wait up to a week to be matched with a counselor, depending on your location and the availability of counselors licensed in your area. This can also prolong the amount of time it takes to switch counselors.
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
- Have at least three years of experience
Pride Counseling focuses on serving the LGBTQ+ community and connecting community members with therapists who specialize in LGBTQ+ issues. Even though Pride Counseling focuses on a specific community, it is important to note that anyone can use Pride Counseling’s services.
The company provides therapy services aimed at helping clients with a vast array of concerns, including (among many others):
- Sleep problems
- Family conflict
Keep in mind that online therapy is not the solution for crisis situations. But, there are many resources specific to the LGBTQ+ community that can help you in an emergency. Below you’ll find some crisis resources that include phone hotlines, and many of these options also have a chat feature on their website.
The sign-up process for Pride Counseling is easy, and you can register on the website or the app.
Step 1: Complete questionnaire
Answer a questionnaire to characterize your current health and mental state, along with issues that you aim to address. Compared to other online therapy sites, there are additional questions about your pronouns and how you identify. For those 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 complete anonymity. To keep this safe, you’re prompted to create a nickname to use in your account and when using services. You must also provide a valid functional email address.
Step 3: Match with a provider
Express your provider preferences, including whether you prefer a counselor who identifies as LGBTQ+. Pride Counseling’s platform connects you to an appropriate counselor, psychologist, therapist, or social worker. It usually takes less than 24 hours to be matched to a provider, but in some areas, this process can take much longer.
Step 4: Select payment and plan
After you input your payment information and match with a counselor, you’re ready to begin.
Pride Counseling works on a monthly subscription rather than paying per session. The average cost per week is $60-$90. The subscription is billed each month, and the amount depends largely on your location.
Your initial payment will be for one month, starting when you are matched to a counselor. Pride Counseling gives you the option for billing to be discreet so that it doesn’t show up as payment for counseling on your account.
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 your paid subscription period.
Here are some important things to know about the counseling process:
- The platform 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.
- You can send messages to your counselor at any time on the web or the app.
- It’s up to you and your counselor to decide which routes work best and how frequent contact should be.
- A specific counselor is assigned to each client. If you feel your counselor is not a good fit for you, you can switch to a different counselor.
Keep in mind: All counselors are in the US, so live sessions may be harder to schedule for clients based internationally.
In customer reviews, some clients have taken issue with the term “unlimited,” feeling that it implies that a counselor will respond to messages 24/7 or that live sessions can happen at any time. The frequency of interaction depends on your counselor’s availability and how you work out a beneficial routine together. You will likely get more contact with your counselor through this kind of online platform than in conventional face-to-face therapy.
Your private room
Messages remain in your private “room” – an online dashboard only viewable by you and your provider. You can re-read your conversations at any time, and your counselor may provide questions or feedback about anything you write in this space.
You can use the area to journal or note things that you want to revisit and discuss with your counselor, which you might otherwise forget. As an added privacy feature, you can also “shred” a message if you ever want to delete it from your account.
This feature makes Pride Counseling stand out from competitors, and our testers found it extremely valuable. Many clients feel that this is a significant advantage over traditional in-person therapy.
Pride Counseling takes your privacy seriously. You choose a nickname to use in your sessions and are under no obligation to reveal any identifiable 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.
You will have to provide your landline or mobile number for live phone sessions. Your counselor doesn’t have direct access to your phone number. The Pride Counseling system is set up so that you enter your number into the system, and it connects you to your counselor.
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 delete them from your record permanently.
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. 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.
In addition to Pride Counseling, there are a few other online resources for LGBTQ+-specific counseling. Read below to see how they compare.
Gay Therapy Center
At the Gay Therapy Center, all counselors are members of the LGBTQ+ community. The center offers online counseling sessions with in-person appointments available in select cities. In addition to individual counseling, the GTC also provides couples therapy. Currently, the cost is $185 per 50-minute session, which is a higher cost compared to comparable services at Pride Counseling. However, the tradeoff is that you’re able to order one session at a time.
A direct competitor of BetterHelp, Talkspace offers LGBTQ+-focused counseling through their network of affirming therapists. These providers recognize the issues faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community and provide care rooted in acceptance.
Talkspace does not yet have a branch dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community as BetterHelp does with Pride Counseling. Like Pride Counseling, Talkspace provides a subscription service that is billed monthly. Costs vary depending on location. Unlike Pride Counseling, Talkspace also provides psychiatric care separately from its talk therapy.
Amwell is a telemedicine company that offers various health-related services, including online therapy. They staff therapists who specialize in gender and sexuality diversity. Similar to Pride Counseling, Amwell can help with multiple concerns like anxiety, dysphoria, and depression, among others. Sessions cost $109-$129 for a 45-minute session.