Perceived stigma, therapy costs, and distance concerns are all known barriers that prevent individuals from seeking mental healthcare when they need it. For organizations and private practitioners, overcoming these obstacles can mean higher client retention, improved health outcomes, and more satisfied patients.

With the increasing use of technology, however, people can now find round-the-clock counseling support worldwide – it’s exactly why both free and paid counseling apps are growing in popularity. If you’ve considered using a smartphone application as part of your in-person or online treatment plans, this article is a great place to start learning more.

Here, we’ll explore some of the best free and paid apps for various types of counseling, so that you can find a solution that will help you grow your practice and deliver better quality online therapy.

4 Best Counseling Apps

Highlighted here are services that connect people to licensed e-counselors and therapists. All of these are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

These first three are not dedicated counseling apps, per se, but are technology-driven approaches that do not require in-person contact.

Counseling App

Details

TalkSpaceTalkspace connects licensed therapists with clients in a confidential, HIPAA-compliant online environment.

As a therapist, you’re matched with patients in your state after they undergo an initial assessment, then counsel clients via secure messaging and live video sessions.

Subscription-based with no contracts, TalkSpace offers three pricing tiers:

  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus: Text, video & audio messaging. Counselors respond to messages daily, five days/week.
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium: Text, video & audio messaging + 1 Live Session/month. Counselors respond to messages daily, five days/week
  • LiveTalk Therapy Ultimate: Text, video & audio messaging + 4 Live Sessions/month. Counselors respond to messages daily, five days/week.

Couples’ therapy and additional video sessions are also offered for a fee, and Talkspace is available outside the US.

NameTalkspace
PriceFree+ monthly
Good ForIndividual Counseling, Couples Therapy, Live Talk Therapy, SMS, Video, Audio Messaging
Websitehttps://talkspace.com/

Counseling App

Details

BetterHelpUsing BetterHelp, licensed therapists can deliver online counseling for depression, anxiety, relationships, anger, self-esteem, and more.

Clients only need to:

  • Answer a few questions about themselves and their challenges
  • Create a private username and password, and enter payment information. Plans start at a set fee per week, with financial aid options.
  • Be matched with a qualified, licensed professional counselor on a needs-basis. Unsatisfied clients can switch at any time.

Counseling clients as a practitioner involves delivering treatment via text, phone, or video. Requirements to join include:

  • A State Board Counseling License (e.g. LCSW, LMFT, LPC, PsyD, etc.)
  • US resident status
  • Experience counseling teens, adults, and/or couples
  • Reliable internet connectivity
NameBetterHelp
PriceFree+ monthly
Good ForIndividual Counseling, Couples Therapy, Live Talk Therapy, SMS, Video, Audio Messaging
Websitehttps://www.betterhelp.com/

Counseling App

Details

MDLiveClient prices begin at $99 monthly for MDLive, which welcomes State-licensed mental health practitioners such as Clinical Social Workers, Psychiatrists, Family/Relationship/Marriage Therapists, and Psychologists.

Unlike TalkSpace and BetterHelp, MDLive allows clients to communicate with medical, mental health, and dermatology providers.

Counseling services are only available in the United States.

NameMDLive
Price$99+ monthly for clients
Good ForIndividual Counseling, Couples Therapy, Live Talk Therapy, SMS, Video, Audio Messaging
Websitehttps://www.mdlive.com/

Counseling App

Details

MoodKitWhile clients on the previous three counseling apps are connected to providers, MoodKit does not offer this functionality. As a licensed therapist or counselor, it doesn’t support text, video, or chat interactions with your patients.

Rather, it can be used by patients as part of your treatment plans, as a self-service approach to mental healthcare.

MoodKit is available in the App Store, but not Google Play. It utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to help patients cope with negative thinking patterns.

This app has a journal, thought checker, activities to try, and a mood tracker. It is reasonably affordable for clients.

NameMoodKit
Price$4.99+ monthly for clients
Good ForIndividual Counseling, Couples Therapy, Live Talk Therapy, SMS, Video, Audio Messaging
Websitehttps://www.thriveport.com/products/moodkit/

Best Apps For Career Counseling

Many of the best counseling apps for career or business coaches offer psychometric or aptitude tests to reduce the amount of session time that’s spent on admin.

When clients can do their research outside appointments, they come to sessions more engaged and informed about possibilities.

Counseling App

Details

EdggiWhen a business coaching client is looking for a way to advance their professional progress, mentoring is a great way to do it.

This makes Edggi an ideal way for career counselors to grow their client base, deliver more sessions remotely, and expand their existing treatment plans.

Edggi is a free career and mentoring app that connects career counseling clients with experienced professionals or business coaches in a variety of fields and industries. Participants can chat, voice or video call each other.

NameEdggi
PriceFree
Good ForAudio, Video, Text Chat, Peer-based Career Counseling, Career Mentoring
Websitehttps://www.edggi.com/

Counseling App

Details

CareerGuideCareerGuide can be a useful complement to your existing plans, or as a way to connect with anyone searching for career counseling.

Designed for students, parents, and all kinds of professionals, certified career counselors can register with this app to answer client questions via live chat, video sessions, or audio calls.

Users simply log in and schedule a live video session with career counselors, and they can also use CareerGuide for psychometric assessments.

To sign up, counselor applicants must complete CareerGuide’s Certification Course for Guiding Students.

NameCareerGuide
PriceFree
Good ForClient Assessment, Audio, Text, Video Chat
Websitehttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.careerguide&hl=en_US&gl=US

Counseling App

Details

CoachAccountableClients seeking career counseling can also connect with a life coach or executive coach.

Some coaches use tools like Coach Accountable to assist clients in achieving their goals.

To use this application, coaches, career counselors must add the client by invitation. Once inside, users can access journals, complete assignments and actions, and track goals using a visually-appealing metrics tool.

They also can schedule appointments with their coach.

NameCoachAccountable
Price$20+ monthly for coaches
Good ForPractice Management, Client Engagement, Data Tracking, Group Coaching, Treatment Plans
Websitehttps://www.coachaccountable.com/

Top Apps for Relationship and Marriage Counselors

Couples therapists and life coaches also have a range of apps to choose from.

The Shine Self-Care app and Regain work in different ways, but both can serve as valuable accompaniments to a treatment plan for partners and families.

Counseling App

Details

ShineImproving any relationship involves working on oneself first.

The Shine Self-Care App, designed by Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey in collaboration with psychologist Anna Rowley, helps users do this. Key areas addressed by the app are learning how to manage stress better, and calm oneself.

Shine offers free and premium tiers; both include motivational messages and research-backed strategies for stress-reduction, increasing confidence, and becoming more productive. Shine Talks are meditations to help users learn to speak more compassionately to themselves.

The free version has a few of these each week, but the premium version has 500+, plus challenges designed to help people in specific areas like confidence and burnout. There are also gratitude tracking, journaling, and emotion check-in features, though availability depends on the client’s version.

NameShine Self-Care App
PriceFree+ monthly for clients
Good ForAnxiety/stress Management, Mental Health Coaching, Mental Health Treatment Plans, Relationship Coaching, Life Coaching
Websitehttps://join.shinetext.com/

Counseling App

Details

Gottman Card DecksGottman Card Decks, developed by The Gottman Institute, helps couples connect through a series of cards divided into categories within the app.[1] Each contains questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationships.

Clients can explore:

  • Love Maps
  • Open-ended Questions
  • Rituals of Connection
  • Expressing needs
  • Expressing empathy
  • Great listening, and more.

Based on “40 years of research with more than 3000 couples” who have participated in The Art and Science of Love weekend workshop, Gottman Card Decks is centered on the idea that that four conditions can increase marital satisfaction and decrease problems with friendships and destructive conflict:

  1. Friendship enhancement alone,
  2. Conflict management alone,
  3. Combined friendship enhancement + conflict management; or,
  4. Bibliotherapy.

This app can be a valuable addition to existing counseling plans, encouraging clients to continue making progress between sessions.

NameGottman Card Decks
PriceFree+ monthly for clients
Good ForRelationship Counseling, Couples Counseling, Life Coaching
Websitehttps://www.gottman.com/couples/apps/

Counseling App

Details

LastingThrough the use of brief, 5-minute sessions, couples use the Lasting app to strengthen their relationship. Three principles guide the creation of all the sessions. They are:

  • Emotional connection is the foundation of a healthy, lifelong marriage
  • Your ‘inner world’ is the foundation of healthy marriage communication
  • Selfless, “we-inspired” actions protect and enhance your marriage health

All of the content is based on marriage research conducted by Dr. John Gottman, Dr. Sue Johnson, Dr. Lesley Verhofstadt, Dr. Ted L. Huston, Dr. Renate M. Houts, Dr. Robert Levenson, Dr. Clifford Notarius, Dr. Howard Markman, Dr. Thomas Bradbury, Dr. Frank Fincham, and others (Lasting, n.d.). To begin using the app, complete a relationship quiz.

The Foundations sessions are free, but anything beyond that is for a fixed fee per month after a 7-day free trial.

NameLasting
Price$11.99+ for clients
Good ForRelationship Counseling, Couples Counseling, Life Coaching
Websitehttps://getlasting.com/

Counseling App

Details

ReGainRegain offers state-certified therapists an online platform to deliver professional counseling.

For clients, each partner shares the same account and communicates together or independently with their counselor. Accessible, convenient, and discreet, the app is designed to make relationship goal achievement easier.

All information is confidential, as users can use a nickname that is seen by the therapist and partner. Emergency contact information is requested and made available to the counselor if a need arises.

Counseling costs through Regain varies per week and are billed monthly.

NameRegain
Price$65+ weekly for clients
Good ForRelationship Counseling, Couples Counseling, Life Coaching
Websitehttps://www.regain.us/

Counseling App

Details

Happy CoupleHappy Couple is a fun game app created to improve communication between couples therapy clients. Partners earn points and achieve levels by correctly answering questions to daily quizzes.

Partners do not necessarily receive the same questions in their daily quizzes. This keeps things exciting and fresh.

Each partner answers five questions and guesses their partner’s response. You also receive daily tips and personalized challenges. The app is designed to spark conversation through gamification. Users can even comment on each other’s responses using GIFs.

NameHappy Couple
PriceFree+ for clients
Good ForRelationship Counseling, Couples Counseling, Life Coaching
Websitehttps://www.happycouple.co/en/

Counseling Apps for Kids and Teens

While all apps should help improve patient health engagement, some are designed to meet the needs of younger clientele.

Good for individual and family counseling applications alike, the apps below include gamified content and cater to a younger audience.

Counseling App

Details

MightierMightier by Neuromotion Labs includes a heart rate monitor, tablet loaded with interactive games, and monthly consultations.

Developed by leading researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical school, the games help children gain self-regulation skills.

As children engage with the games, the wristband monitors their heart rate. If their heart rate exceeds a predetermined level, the game stops, allowing the child or teen to practice specific calming techniques. Neuromotion Labs tested their system in “four trials, including two double-blind, randomized controlled trials.” [2] Their research has shown the following results:

  • 40% less oppositional behaviors
  • 19% lower parent stress
  • 62% reduced child outbursts

Parents can use Mightier to track and set goals for their child, and interact with a larger parent community. Each parent also receives clinical support through coaching.

The gaming library includes 25+ fun but educational games, such as racing, problem-solving, pattern recognition, and adventure games. Mightier is designed and tested for children aged 6-14, but can be used by the entire family. The games address emotional control challenges faced by individuals with:

  • ADHD
  • ODD
  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Tantrums & Meltdowns

Neuromotion Labs offers a 30-day, risk-free trial. Mightier is available internationally.

NameMightier
Price$40+ monthly for clients
Good ForSelf-Regulation, Socio-Emotional Skills Development, Online Coaching, Child Therapy, e-Counseling and e-Therapy
Websitehttps://www.mightier.com/

Counseling App

Details

NotOkThe NotOk app by sister-brother duo, Hannah and Charlie Lucas, connects overwhelmed users with trusted contacts.

It is a digital panic button to get the person immediate help when they need it most, but might otherwise not reach out. It is based on the premise that peer support, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA):[3]

  • Yields improvement in psychiatric symptoms and decreased hospitalization
  • Leads to more extensive social support networks
  • Enhance self-esteem and social functioning, and
  • Leads to decreased lengths of hospital stays, plus lower services costs overall.

To set things up, clients add up to five trusted contacts. These contacts choose to accept or decline. On accepting, all a user needs to do is tap the red notOK button. From there the following message is sent:

Hey, I’m notOK! Please call, text, or come find me.”

Features include a simple message that is immediately sent to the person’s trusted contacts, along with an accurate GPS location. Trusted contacts do not need to download the app to assist the person.

While intended for teens, it can be used by any client that needs added support.

NameNotOk
Price$1.99+ monthly for clients
Good ForMental Health Coaching, e-Counseling and e-Therapy, Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Telepsychiatry
Websitehttps://www.notokapp.com/

3 Best Free and Paid Counseling Apps

Some apps lend themselves nicely to mental health coaching applications, but focus primarily on psychoeducation and making self-help tools available for your clients.

These apps are particularly useful because they allow clients to engage with research-based techniques and approaches on the go between sessions.

Counseling App

Details

What's UpWhat’s Up helps clients combat negative thinking patterns through the use of CBT and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods. These approaches are utilized to manage depression, anxiety, anger, and stress.

The app includes a diary, habit tracker, catastrophe scale, a grounding game, and three easy-to-learn breathing techniques.

It can be used as a therapeutic complement to help patients learn simple tools. These are useful in managing twelve of the most common negative thinking patterns.

NameWhat’s Up
PriceFree for clients
Good ForMental Health Coaching, Experience Sampling Data Collection, e-Counseling and e-Therapy, Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders
Websitehttps://www.thewhatsupapp.co.uk/

Counseling App

Details

MindShiftMindshift CBT by Anxiety Canada, is a scientifically-based anxiety tool that also uses CBT techniques to empower counseling clients.

Included are quick relief activities, a thought journal, coping cards, belief experiments, facing fears and expanding your comfort zone activities, a chill zone to listen to guided meditations, a check-in, tips for creating healthy habits, and goal-setting tools.

NameMindShift
PriceFree for clients
Good ForMental Health Coaching, e-Counseling and e-Therapy, Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders
Websitehttps://www.anxietycanada.com/resources/mindshift-cbt/

Counseling App

Details

 MoodToolsMoodTools is a free app, contains no advertisements, and was created by a non-profit.

Clients can use it to track their thoughts, activities, develop a safety plan, take the PHQ-9 depression questionnaire, and discover useful YouTube videos.

All of the suggested activities are based on Behavioral Activation Therapy, making MoodTools a good complement to Applied Behavior Analysis therapies.

Recommended: How ABA Software Can Improve Your Practice

NameMoodTools
PriceFree for clients
Good ForMental Health Coaching, Mental Health Treatment Plans, Applied Behavior Analysis, e-Counseling and e-Therapy, Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders
Websitehttps://www.moodtools.org/

Final Thoughts

While no counseling app can entirely replace face-to-face counseling, each of these still offers substantial practitioner benefits, including more frequent client communications, confidentiality, gamified treatments, useful counseling tools, and research-backed material.

If your clients are isolated at home, pressed for time, money, or prefer anonymity, a digital app can be a highly viable way to deliver great health outcomes anyway.

What apps would you recommend?

Related Articles

The Power of a Corporate Wellness Coach (& Where To Find One)
10 Great Mental Health Coaching App and Software Solutions