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Affordable Online Therapy for Expats (No Insurance Required!)

This article is for anyone looking for online therapy for expats or advice about how to find online therapy resources for those with international backgrounds. This article is not limited to just expats. It’s my intention to highlight the best ways to find affordable online therapy for anyone whose location is independent or unable to meet someone in person. 

Affordable Therapy for Expats

As someone who moves countries every 3 or 4 years, it’s been tough to find a therapist who understands me, my unique struggles, and my background.

I am a 2nd generation Mexican-American from Los Angeles and I’ve lived in 4 different countries in the last decade.

My partner is from Germany, I’m a million miles from my tight-knit Latinx family, and this pandemic has whittled away at my sanity – WHILE I dealt with serious visa issues.

Where in the world was I going to find someone who understands my specific anxieties and concerns?

Then I discovered online therapy!

I started online therapy during the summer of 2020 after my aunt passed away due to covid.

I had just moved to Germany 2 weeks before the lockdowns started, my visa was delayed over and over again, and I could feel the loneliness in a new country eating away at me.

So I decided to do what any millennial does best: I turned to Google for a solution. I tried:

‘Munich, English Therapy for Expats’

‘Therapy for Expats in English’ 

‘Affordable Therapy Germany, English’

At the time, we lived outside of Munich city center so anything that my insurance would cover either had a 3-month waiting period OR it was in German, with a local German national, who potentially wouldn’t get my American hopes, dreams, and fears.

After loads of research, I managed to find my incredible therapist Cynthia! She is an OG American Expat living in Munich with her 3 kids and she’s been abroad for the last 30 years all over the world.

She pulled off her moves sans Google, without expensive lawyers, and has built her therapy business all on her own.

Wherever you are from in this world, I’m sure there are certain cultural expectations, fears, and nuances that other cultures just don’t get. So what are your options?

In this article, I’m going to review important details to keep in mind as you search for online therapy for Expats and I can definitely recommend BetterHelp as a solution for expats looking for affordable therapy services.

Try BetterHelp Now with a 10% Discount.

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

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Online Therapy Tips & Pitfalls

When diving into online therapy for expats (or anyone else) for that matter, there are certain questions you need to ask yourself. 

  • Is it important that this therapist has a similar cultural or national background to me?
  • Do I feel more comfortable speaking with a man or woman? Or is speaking to someone who is non-binary important to me?
  • What language do I want to conduct therapy in? My native language or do I feel comfortable speaking English/any other language?
  • Do I need someone who specializes in X, Y or Z conditions/ specific mental health issues? 
  • Am I comfortable with just online therapy? Or do I eventually want to meet with this person face to face. 
  • Can I continue this relationship with me when I leave?

These are all things you can typically confirm or verify easily on a private online therapy service provider.

It’s definitely harder to do if you’re limited to a specific network or if it’s provided by a government-sponsored healthcare service.

If these details are important to you and you need immediate assistance, you’re better off investing in therapy that you privately fund. 

BetterHelp Therapy for Expats

I discovered BetterHelp through Google. I knew that online therapy was right for me given the pandemic and the fact that I’m not sure how long we’ll be in Munich or Germany.

I completed a short 2-minute intake survey so BetterHelp could match me with a therapist who could potentially identify with my background, values, and circumstances. These include, but are not limited to:

  • My age, gender, and sexual orientation 
  • What my relationship and religious status is
  • Where or not I’ve done therapy before
  • My current physical and mental health status
  • And whether or not I’ve dealt with current or past symptoms of depression, anxiety, alcoholism, etc.

This quick intake form really made me feel like my specific concerns were being prioritized and I also got to choose whether or not I wanted a specific type of therapist. 

affordable online therapy for expats

So what happens next after you fill out all your details?

  1. A licensed counselor with relevant qualifications will be matched to you.
  2. Your counselor will review the information you shared and your specific concerns.
  3. You and your counselor start communicating online.

The BetterHelp business model gives you access to the messaging room at any time, but you can also schedule a weekly phone, video, or live chat session with your counselor. 

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What if I don’t like the counselor that was matched to me?

You can ask to be matched to a different counselor. BetterHelp has over 15,000 counselors with different qualifications and areas of expertise.

How Much Does Online Therapy Cost?

Here are a few price points that I’ve noticed over the years and countries. First of all, if you’re going through the national healthcare service, you might not have to pay anything at all!

Granted, these services are likely limited to residents (both temporary or permanent) so if you’re on a Tourist Visa, it’s unclear if you can access these services since you’re not part of the national healthcare program.

However, availability through the national healthcare system can be super scarce! I waited 3 months for an appointment in the United Kingdom. 

Private therapy for expats typically ranges from the following:

  • €70-€150 per hour (online)
  • €70-€250 per hour (in person)

However, this greatly depends on which country you’re trying to seek out resources for. The cost for therapy for expats in Argentina will likely be much lower than in Germany (as the cost of living is lower), but that’s not always the case.  

If you’re interested in affordable online therapy for expats that you can consistently rely on – wherever you are in the world – then BetterHelp would be a great place to start.

The cost of therapy through BetterHelp ranges from $60 to $90 per week (this is billed every 4 weeks) and it is based on your location, preferences, and therapist availability.

Don’t worry – you can cancel your membership at any time for whatever reason.

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You Are Not Alone <3

Whatever you decide to do, know that you’re not alone in this fight. As an expat/immigrant myself, I know how difficult and lonely a life abroad can be.

I am so lucky to have an incredible international network and a wonderful husband by my side – and still – I cherish my therapy sessions with Cynthia every other week. Make the investment and take care of yourself. 

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Lisa

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

BetterHelp is very questionable. Yes, they offer very affordable online therapy, which is a great thing for people who do not have access to care otherwise. However, there are a lot of issues with them outside of that, both from the client and the therapist's perspective. From the therapist's side, their therapists are not paid very well and they do things like limit the word count on texts that they will pay for, creating situations where therapists need to decide whether they'll respond to a client for free or ignore the texts. From the client's perspective, their privacy policy alone should be concerning enough. They state in their privacy policy that they may sell information to third parties. So, in order to sign up for their services, you have to give the okay for them to sell your information (and the fact that you are seeing a therapist) to other businesses so that they can, in turn, capitalize on the fact that you are currently experiencing mental health difficulties.