Therapy FAQ

Alma vs. Grow Therapy: What’s the Difference?

As stigmas surrounding mental health care have decreased, the percentage of adults accessing mental health care increased from 19.2% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2021. Telehealth platforms are one way people get the care they need. These platforms proved their value during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’ve continued to be a convenient and affordable way […]

Author Generic Image By Stacey Nash

Updated on May 21, 2024

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As stigmas surrounding mental health care have decreased, the percentage of adults accessing mental health care increased from 19.2% in 2019 to 21.6% in 2021. Telehealth platforms are one way people get the care they need. These platforms proved their value during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’ve continued to be a convenient and affordable way for thousands of people to access behavioral health services. 

Teletherapy platforms, like Grow Therapy, Alma, Sondermind, Betterhelp, and Talkspace, may include in-person or virtual appointment options and accept and process health insurance payments. In this article, we’ll compare Grow Therapy and Alma to help you understand their differences and decide which one is best for you. 

What Is Alma?

Alma is an online therapy platform that simplifies finding mental health care providers. It does so by offering access to a database of providers through which you can quickly sort through. 

Alma’s platform includes an easy-to-use interface where you can search for providers based on the following:

alma provider search

After answering those four questions, you’re given a curated list of providers suited to your needs. The list includes a bio where you can get to know clinicians by their specialties, lived experiences, and approaches to therapy. 

alma provider results

The initial questionnaire may result in a fairly extensive list, which you can further narrow using a solid set of filter features that include:

Alma also offers a built-in free consultation system so that you can talk to individual therapists before your first official appointment. The consultation lets you get a feel for how a therapist works and whether you think they’ll be a good fit for you. You can consult several mental health professionals, like a psychiatrist or a social worker, before making your first paid appointment. 

Alma provides access to licensed therapists with many specialties, from psychiatrists to nurse practitioners in mental health care. You can also find providers who speak a language other than English. However, the availability of the language options varies by location. 

Once you’ve signed up with Alma, all insurance payments and appointments go through the platform, with Alma taking care of the paperwork and claims. You can communicate with your provider through phone, messaging, or video on HIPAA-compliant channels. If you find your provider isn’t a good fit, you can change providers anytime. 

While Alma is available in all 50 states, some states have limited availability due to provider location and contracts with insurance companies. Sessions can cost anywhere from $80 to $300, depending on the provider, location, and specialty. 

What Is Grow Therapy?

Grow Therapy has similar goals to Alma, focusing on matching people with the right in-network therapist. Simply input your location, insurance, and needs into the filter and you’ll be given a list of providers available in your area. 

grow therapy provider search

The provider profiles include their bios, years of experience, background, specialties, and appointment availability, along with words like “solution-oriented,” “empowering,” or “authentic” to give you a better idea of the provider’s attitudes and beliefs. 

grow therapy provider results

You can further filter the list by:

Grow Therapy offers online and in-person therapy appointments, with communication options that include video calls, email, and messaging (on HIPAA-compliant channels) through the Grow Therapy portal. Grow Therapy handles insurance payments, claims, and billing. For clients, that means dealing with one dashboard for your appointments, payments, and general communication. 

On average, Grow Therapy users pay between $0 to $125 per session, depending on health plans and deductibles. The average copay falls around $30 or less. Grow Therapy has over 6,000+ providers, ranging in specialty from psychiatrists for medication management to those who focus on areas like couples therapy or teen counseling. 

Grow Therapy has providers in 46 states plus the District of Columbia, though some areas may have limited availability depending on the insurance provider. If you’re unhappy with your chosen therapist, you can change to someone else on the Grow Therapy platform at no additional charge. 

Alma Grow Therapy
Average Cost $80-$300 for those without insurance and approximately 70% less for those with insurance.  0-$125 per session, depending on the insurance coverage. The average cost is $30 or less when factoring in copay and coinsurance.
Practicing Therapists 9,000+ 6,000+
Modes of Communication Video, phone, messaging, in-person Video, email, messaging, in-person
Services Various methods of talk therapy, medication management Various methods of talk therapy, medication management
Accepts/Bills Insurance Yes Yes
Accepts Out-of-pocket Payment Yes Yes
In-person or Telehealth In-person and online In-person and online
Teen and Couples Therapy Yes Yes

Alma vs. Grow Therapy

In many ways, these two platforms match up head-to-head. You might see differences in the insurance companies with which they’re contracted, provider availability, and how the company works with the providers on the platform.

For a quick overview of the similarities, both platforms:

Additionally, both platforms have provider bios that show accepted insurance, years in practice, and personal quotes, further helping you choose a suitable therapist.

Providers

The providers’ experiences with Alma and Grow Therapy are one of the places where the two differ. After a provider has been credentialed and vetted, Alma charges a $125 monthly fee or a $1,140 yearly fee to use the platform. Alma helps with the credentialing process, with the average credentialing taking 45 days. This platform also encourages providers to provide referrals for other providers interested in using Alma. Additionally, Alma does not control how providers run their practice, allowing providers to run their private practice as they see fit. 

In contrast, Grow Therapy offers its platform free of charge for providers to use. While they thoroughly vet the providers before granting them access, their profit solely relies on insurance payments. On the other hand, Alma not only collects fees from providers on the platform but also relies on insurance payments. Further, Grow Therapy allows its providers to obtain health insurance through their platform, whereas Alma does not offer this option.

Grow Therapy helps with the credentialing process, too. On average, Grow Therapy platform providers can get credentialed in one to four months. It all depends on the insurance companies involved and whether the provider is credentialed with the company. 

Alma requires providers to offer free consultations where clients can review concerns and learn about the provider’s approach to therapy. Grow Therapy encourages clients to go over important information like the types of therapy used, what an average session will look like, and other basics during the first session. 

Both Alma and Grow Therapy give providers access to professional development information and a community where they can interact with other providers on the platform. Continuing education and a provider community help experienced and new therapists stay at the forefront of what’s happening in the behavioral health space. 

Alma Grow Therapy
Cost for Providers to Join $125 per month or $1,140 annually $0
Provider Health Insurance No Yes
Credentialing Help Typically takes 45 days Typically takes one to four months
Community and Professional Development Yes Yes
Free Consultation Yes Coming soon

Insurance and Billing

Alma and Grow Therapy both take care of billing, filing claims, and collecting payments, making the process easier for providers and clients. Clients benefit from using one dashboard for all communication and payment related to their mental health care services. Providers get assistance with credentialing, an easy-to-use dashboard for interacting with clients and managing their business, and help with insurance providers. 

However, the insurance companies with which they are contracted and the services they offer vary by location and provider. Insurance companies with which Grow Therapy works include:

Alma breaks down the insurance companies with which they work into different groups. These include:

Optum

Aetna

Cigna

Empire BlueCross BlueShield of New York

However, these lists are not exhaustive as both platforms regularly add new insurance companies.

The basic billing process is the same with Alma and Grow Therapy. Once you’ve decided on a provider and made an appointment, you enter your insurance information and credit card to take care of copays. You may also enter coinsurance or be notified of any out-of-pocket fees. You can use either platform if you don’t have insurance, but all costs will be out-of-pocket.  

Therapy Sessions and Scheduling

One of the perks of using a mental health platform like Alma or Grow Therapy is versatility. It used to be that all appointments with a therapist were in the office. That’s not the case anymore. There’s more flexibility in when and where you meet to better fit your schedule. These platforms make that process even easier. 

Grow Therapy lets you search for providers based on whether they offer online or in-person therapy, and some offer both. Once you’re ready to schedule an appointment, you’ll see the provider’s complete schedule, where you can pick a day or time that works for you. With most providers, you’re able to see them within as little as two days. You can change your appointment at any time using the platform and will not be charged as long as you make changes at least 24 hours before the appointment.

Alma’s platform works similarly, with the only major difference being that you have the option for a free consultation before your first appointment. Once you’re ready to make your first full appointment, you can do it through the platform with the ability to view available days and times. 

Final Thoughts

The success of telehealth platforms is a sign of the headway made in accessing mental health care. Alma and Grow Therapy both help you find the right therapist,  make appointments, and manage your care from a single dashboard. They also focus on using your in-network health benefits to get you affordable care. Keep in mind that pricing will depend on your insurance, chosen provider, and location. 

The provider experience between the two definitely leans in Grow Therapy’s favor, where providers aren’t charged for using the platform. Grow Therapy offers quick access to in-network therapists at an affordable cost. Book your first appointment to get started on a journey of better mental health and well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

About the author
Author Generic Image Stacey Nash

Stacey Nash is a Seattle-based freelance health writer.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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