I Tried LifeStance Health Online Therapy—Here's My Review (2024)

Our Verdict

Lifestance Health, a mental health care company, offers in-person and online appointments with psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health nurse practitioners and licensed therapists. While Lifestance does offer high-quality appointments, the coordination of these appointments may be difficult for the user to effectively navigate.

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Key Features

  • Connects users with around 6,100 mental health providers in 33 states
  • Offers customized mental health plans and mental health services for adults, adolescents and children
  • Accepts most health insurance plans. Out-of-pocket costs vary by state.

Lifestance Health is a health care company that employs mental health providers in 33 states and has a website and hotline where users can set up appointments. Individuals can schedule adult psychiatry and therapy, child and adolescent therapy or psychiatry, medication management, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy (brain stimulation therapy that utilizes magnetic impulses to change brain activity) and medication management services either through Lifestance’s website or via phone. Couples, family and group therapy are also available, among many others.

Specific conditions Lifestance Health providers treat include attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and disordered eating.

PROS
CONS

• Lifestance offers easy-to-use virtual meeting rooms for online therapy.
• Accepts most commercial insurance plans in the states it operates in.
• Lifestance communicates appointment details and sends multiple appointment reminders via text and email.

• While the website offers appointments with many providers, not all advertised providers are taking new clients.
• The company has an unclear pricing structure and doesn’t state how much a session will cost beforehand.
• Patient portal can be difficult to navigate, especially when it comes to setting up an appointment.

Lifestance Health at a Glance

  • Accessibility: Lifestance Health is a health care provider that operates centers in 33 states and employs mental health providers at each center. The company’s goal is to offer accessible, tailored mental health services in-person and online.
  • Cost: Lifestance Health does not publically state their pricing structure, however estimated costs may range from $140 to $455 per session in some states. Your insurance may cover some or all of the costs, depending on your specific plan and provider.
  • Experience: Lifestance offers 48 services, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication management and group therapy. Users can book adult, adolescent or child therapy with their providers.

How It Works

As a mental health care provider, Lifestance Health offers a transparent scheduling option for first-time users. Users simply click on their state and city and are presented with a number of mental health providers nearby.

Users can filter search results by treatment areas, accepted insurance providers, communities served, service types, user’s age, languages spoken and provider gender. They can also determine if they want to search for online appointments, in-person ones or both. It also has the option to filter for telehealth appointments.

Once a user finds an aligned provider, they can book online or ask for a call back to schedule. At this stage, users must set up an account with Lifestance’s patient portal.

While appointments are available most days and times of the week, platform providers do tend to book up, so it may be best to book appointments in advance. In some cases, it may take anywhere from two weeks to a month to see a provider, according to Lifestance representatives.

After scheduling an appointment, users receive an email notification with details about how to join the session. The appointment also appears in the upcoming sessions section of their patient portal, but users can’t join the session from the portal. Instead, they must join from a link sent via email.

Users receive text and email reminders so they don’t miss their appointments. For Telehealth appointments, users enter a virtual waiting room. In this room, they can adjust their microphone, camera and volume.

Appointments can last up to one hour, however, the length of the appointment and type of treatment varies, depending on a user’s needs and the provider they chose to work with.

After the appointment, Lifestance Health sends a follow-up email asking for session feedback. Mental health providers can also upload session notes or send “homework” assignments in the patient portal.

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The Cost

Lifestance does not publicly state the costs for its services. If a user asks how much a session will cost beforehand, a company representative may claim the amount owed will be determined after the session.

If a user asks about prices, their financial department sends over a “good faith estimate” for how much services generally cost in your state. For example, in Ohio, treatments may range from $140 to $455.

The Fine Print

When it comes to payment, Lifestance accepts many commercial insurance plans. When determining what services are covered, the company recommends talking to your provider directly. If you’re paying out of pocket for some or all of your treatment, Lifestance accepts credit card payments. It requires all users to have a credit card on file before treatment.

While Lifestance offers a wide variety of treatment and insurance options, their services may not be the best option for those in immediate need of therapy, since getting an appointment can take up to a month.

Lifestance offers both in-person and online therapy options, with some providers at the company opting to do a mixture of both.

What Experts Say

“Looking for the right therapist and navigating different online platforms can seem overwhelming,” says Karina P. Diaz, a licensed art therapist based in New York City. “​​Check out at least three online platform options with your goal in mind, and ask questions. You can contact customer service if you don’t find the answers readily accessible,” says Diaz.

Research the mental health providers’ qualifications (such as looking into backgrounds and expertise and confirming they are licensed to practice in your state) and costs of multiple platforms, says Diaz.

Find a platform that lets you speak to multiple therapists before deciding who to work with, recommends Diaz, which is a feature Lifestance Health does not offer.

Diaz also points out in-person and virtual therapy are better fits in different scenarios. She recommends in-person therapy for those who want more treatment options. “More treatment modalities can be introduced in-person and [in] a therapy office [and in-person care may] allow a therapeutic environment for movement techniques,” says Diaz. Some treatment modalities, such as TMS, for example, cannot be completed virtually.

However, online therapy can often be more convenient, especially for individuals who live in rural areas with fewer local providers.

Virtual therapy can also be more approachable for many. “In today’s society, there is still some stigma around receiving services from a therapist. You do not need to have a diagnosed mental health disorder in order to receive support and online therapy provides a more accessible platform,” explains Diaz.

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The Experience

While scheduling an initial appointment on Lifestance’s website was easy, setting up an appointment with an available therapist proved to be more difficult. After scheduling an appointment with a therapist, a company representative called and stated that the therapist was not accepting new clients, even though appointment slots were available on the website. The company representative scheduled another appointment on the call, though it took over thirty minutes to set it up.

Before the appointment, I received a call from another representative in their financial department, asking to keep my credit card on file. This wasn’t how I paid for the service, but seems to be part of their initial process for all users. I asked how much the session would cost and the representative claimed that the cost isn’t determined until after the session.

When I asked about pricing on the patient portal, the company sent a good faith estimate, though the document stated the prices listed were “reasonable estimates” and actual costs may differ. This pricing structure is unusual and could cause financial worry, which isn’t ideal if you are looking for treatment for anxiety.

Joining the virtual appointment proved easy, and I entered from my browser without downloading any software. Lifestance sent the meeting link to my email and several appointment reminders via email and text.

After the appointment, Lifestance sent me a bill in the patient portal for $300 without stating what the bill was for or why it charged that amount. Two weeks (and multiple emails asking for a receipt) later, I did receive an invoice through the patient portal saying this was for one appointment.

After paying for the appointment, my bank sent me a claim stating that there was a high risk that the charge was fraud, and had me confirm I wanted to pay Lifestance $300.

While the therapy appointment was great, the experience before and after the appointment proved time-consuming and stressful. Because of the difficult scheduling process and unclear pricing structure, I would not use this service again.

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I Tried LifeStance Health Online Therapy—Here's My Review (2024)
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