Cerebral Online Therapy Review: Tried And Tested (2023)


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Until recently, I hadn’t seen a therapist in more than a decade. I began mulling over the idea of going to therapy again because I’ve been dealing with sleep and stress issues, but I always seemed to talk myself out of it—too much trouble to find a therapist, drive in traffic and take so much time out of the day. But then I started seeing advertisements for new teletherapy offerings (the boon of online therapy is certainly a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic). The process looked so convenient and easy that I decided I had to try it. In the end, I picked Cerebral.


Usability: The platform is simple and intuitive to use, with only a minor technology glitch here and there.

Quality of care: Cerebral offers a diverse range of qualified therapists to meet most clients’ needs and preferences.

Cost: There are three pricing plans available, and the platform offers generous first-month promotions.

What I Liked:

  • Extremely quick and easy to sign up, get assessed and book your appointment.
  • Good selection of licensed therapists—mine was empathetic, astute and focused on my goals.
  • Less expensive than traditional therapy for an out-of-network provider.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • There isn’t a way to pause your plan or get credit for missed sessions during weeks you might travel out of your state.
  • You can only book one week at a time (as opposed to your entire month).
  • Every once in a while, the platform has glitchy audio.
  • My health insurance—a major plan in my state—didn’t consider Cerebral an in-network provider (Note: Since the publication of this review, Cerebral has stopped accepting insurance altogether as of July 2023).

About Cerebral

Cerebral is a teletherapy and medication management company focused on helping people dealing with insomnia, anxiety and depression specifically. In some states, Cerebral therapists also treat bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

After signing up and completing an assessment, I was informed that I had mild insomnia and mild anxiety. The platform steered me toward therapy-only treatment (which made me happy because I didn’t feel like my problems required medication).

What Is a Cerebral Therapist?

Cerebral offers services from licensed therapists trained in evidence-based practices, according to the company. All therapists have degrees from accredited institutions, and may additionally be psychologists or hold a Ph.D. Some therapists may also hold other therapy licenses, including Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, among others.

In Which States Is Cerebral Currently Available?

Cerebral is available in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The company notes, however, that the number of therapists licensed to practice in each state will vary. In order to be prescribed medication, your Cerebral therapist must be licensed in the state in which you reside.

Clarity of Options and Rules

Cerebral lays out its treatment options, subscription rules and cancellation and refund policies thoroughly. In fact, there’s an exhaustive FAQ section on its website. The company has it down as far as making the service easy to understand—and not at all intimidating. Within minutes I was signed up and completed a preliminary assessment.

How Much Does Cerebral Cost?

Cerebral offers three types of subscriptions:

Medication + Care Management Plan: $99 a month

  • Initial evaluation, diagnosis and prescription by a medical prescriber
  • Monthly medication delivery (if prescribed)
  • Regular check-ins with your prescriber via phone or video chat

Medication + Therapy Plan: $325 a month

  • Initial evaluation, diagnosis and prescription by a medical prescriber
  • Weekly video/phone sessions with a licensed therapist
  • Monthly medication delivery (if prescribed)
  • Regular progress tracking by your prescriber and therapist

Therapy-Only Plan: $259 a month

  • Weekly video/phone sessions with a licensed therapist
  • Regular progress tracking by your therapist

I signed up for the therapy-only plan. For the first month, I was offered an introductory price of $99 and then charged $259 a month thereafter. I’ve since noticed Cerebral has specials for newbies—sometimes you can get your first month for as little as $30.

You can also use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to cover the costs of Cerebral.

As of July 2023, Cerebral has stopped accepting insurance (although in the past, it worked with a number of insurance plans).

Have More Good Days

Cerebral offers expert online therapy and medication management to help you deal with stress, sadness, insomnia – and start feeling happier.

Communication Methods

You can communicate with a therapist via video or phone. You can also message your therapist via the Cerebral platform, which worked fine as well.

Medications on Cerebral

I didn’t use the medication feature, but Cerebral offers plans that include medication prescription and management for insomnia, depression and anxiety. Medications are mailed to people on these plans.

Cerebral Therapists

After signing up, I was able to select a licensed therapist and book a time for my first appointment. I had a diverse selection of therapists in terms of gender, race and level of expertise. After reviewing pictures and bios, I selected a female therapist who I simply thought looked like someone I could talk to comfortably. Lucky for me, she was great.

You can easily switch therapists if you need to, but I stuck with the same therapist over the course of about six weeks.

My Cerebral Online Therapy Experience

Each week I was able to go to the Cerebral website and book one appointment. I was always given a decent number of day and time options. Cerebral also recommended I send an email to my care coordinator (like a concierge) if I didn’t see a time and day combination that fit my schedule. (I appreciated the option, but didn’t end up needing it.)

I decided to use video chat for my appointment, which was hosted on the Cerebral platform. After that appointment, I was immediately prompted to book another appointment. You can’t book more than one appointment at a time. (I would have preferred the option to book a month’s worth of appointments at a certain day and time.)

During the sessions, there were occasional minor technical issues, but they went really well for the most part. Once or twice during my six weeks on the platform, we had an audio issue that required me to log out and back in again. And once or twice, either my connection or my therapist’s connection lagged. Again, it was nothing more than a minor glitch.

I felt as though my therapist was well trained and empathetic. She listened intently, took notes, remembered what I said from session to session and was definitely focused on my goals. I found myself making small changes as a result of what we discussed or, more accurately, the questions she asked. This seems like how good therapists work—they don’t tell you what to do, but rather encourage you to see connections and set goals.

One of my problems with sleep involved physical issues, as I had a very serious shoulder injury during the past year. My shoulder is on the mend, but there were actions I still hadn’t taken that could help with sleep. Just signing up for therapy and talking about it prompted me to bite the bullet and get the mattress and pillow that my chiropractor had recommended, which did help. I also decided to look into a standing desk (another recommendation from my healthcare provider).

Along with the shoulder injury, I was juggling two kids schooling at home all the time, as well as family and work obstacles. The therapist encouraged me to find more time to exercise (something I love but had not done enough with all the other demands on my time). I started prioritizing exercise, though, because I knew I’d have to report back. These small adjustments helped improve my sleep quality.

I also had the opportunity to discuss some family issues that have been weighing on me. I’m from the generation of women who have both young-ish kids and an aging parent with a lot of health problems. I worked with my therapist on boundaries when it comes to extended family, as well as some parenting concerns.

There was one hiccup during our time: The therapist had an emergency and had to reschedule my appointment. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the message right away, and it ended up that I couldn’t make the rescheduled time, so I missed therapy that week. The care coordinator credited my account for the missed week.

Welcome To Better

Get personalized treatment from the comfort of home. Cerebral helps busy people like you build a connection with an expert therapist around your schedule.

I also took a trip out of my state, and my therapist informed me she couldn’t treat me because she wasn’t licensed to practice in the state I was visiting. Unfortunately, Cerebral doesn’t credit weeks missed under these circumstances, which was disappointing. On the bright side, my therapist sent me links to some reading and a worksheet on boundaries she thought could be useful while I was gone. The Cerebral site also offers resources for members to access whenever, wherever. You can learn about cognitive behavioral therapy, insomnia, depression and more. There are exercises available, too, ranging from journaling to meditations.

Final Thoughts on Cerebral

Cerebral says its services are not a good fit for people with schizophrenia. For others, though, I have no hesitation recommending Cerebral. The platform was easy to use and any slight hiccups I experienced were balanced by the convenience of logging on from home and a selection of qualified therapists.

After six weeks of using Cerebral, I completed another assessment. The results showed I was a bit lower on both insomnia and anxiety scales. I think I can improve even more. Plus, I have a number of issues I haven’t even brought up with my therapist yet. I plan to stick with the weekly sessions for at least another month. If Cerebral were covered by my health insurance as an in-network provider, I’d likely stick with it for longer.

If you’re looking for a mental health provider, what type of treatment are you looking for?

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On Cerebral's Website

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Cerebral a legitimate company?

Yes. Cerebral has licensed therapists in every U.S. state and Washington, D.C. 

Does Cerebral take Medicaid?

No, Cerebral does not accept Medicaid or Medicare Part B.

Does Cerebral work?

Each person’s experience will vary, but Cerebral has a 4.0 rating on Trustpilot, based on 4,492 reviews. Overall, research finds online therapy to be just as effective as in-person therapy, with outcomes improving the more sessions a person attends.

What kind of medication does Cerebral prescribe?

Cerebral offers clients a range of medication options, including SSRIs and SNRIs. Cerebral does not prescribe stimulants (such as Adderall) or controlled substances, including Xanax and Klonopin.  Medication costs are not included in the subscription.

Is there a Cerebral mobile app?

Yes, it is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

Who shouldn't use Cerebral?

Cerebral is available for those over age 18 who live within its operating regions and are experiencing mental or emotional health needs, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, ADHD, trauma and many others.

Is Cerebral good for ADHD?

Cerebral does treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however only in some states. Other conditions treated by Cerebral include postpartum and menopausal depression, and in certain states, alcohol dependence, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.

Cerebral is not a good fit for you if you are suffering from suicidal thoughts, substance abuse other than alcohol dependence, are schizophrenic or are pregnant or nursing.

Does Cerebral take Medicare?

Cerebral doesn’t accept Medicare.



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