Ayana Therapy may be one of the most important telehealth companies in the world. This forward-thinking group has created a place where patients from marginalized communities can find therapists that understand them.
No more wasting time talking to therapists that are too culturally different to know where you are coming from.
No more suffering through therapists who see your sexual identity or gender identification as an issue that can be fixed through their religion.
It sounds almost like a paradise.
However, a quick look at user reviews shows us that this paradise may be too good to be true.
That’s why we decided to sign up ourselves and really try out the features and benefits that Ayana therapy has to offer. If you are curious about how Ayana works, how much it costs, and why we think you should be careful when using this platform, check out our full Ayana Therapy review!
2022 Ayana Therapy Review Score – 3.1/5
|Ease of Use||2.0/5.0|
|Cost of Care||3.5/5.0|
Contents of our Ayana Therapy Review
- Pros and Cons of Ayana Therapy
- Fast Facts About Ayana Online Therapy
- The Sign-Up Process
- Services Offered by Ayana Therapy
- Is Ayana Therapy Right For Me?
- Reviewing Ayana Therapy Patient Privacy
- Ayana Therapy Cost and Insurance
- Ayana Therapy Controversies and Scandals
- Verdict – Is Ayana Therapy Worth It?
- Ayana Therapy FAQ
Pros and Cons of Ayana Therapy
- The new member questionnaire is culturally rounded, meaning users are matched with the best provider for them.
- Services are all provided with complete anonymity for the patient.
- The signup process is needlessly slow.
- There may not be providers available in all states.
- The description of services is a bit vague.
Fast Facts About Ayana Online Therapy
- Ayana was created in 2018 by Eric Coly.
- Ayana is based in Los Angeles, California.
- The platform was formed because Coly saw his friends struggle to find therapists that understood their cultural backgrounds.
- Ayana has been featured in major publications like PopSugar, New York Times, TechCrunch, and more.
- Ayana offers enterprise partnerships to help companies improve the mental health of their employees.
- Ayana does not currently have any mobile app options.
The Sign-Up Process
According to Ayana, the sign-up process begins by filling in a request form for services, after which the platform sends an email with a link to begin a new patient questionnaire. This questionnaire is culturally rounded, and patients’ answers will be used to match them with a therapist they can genuinely connect to.
However, we have found that the process isn’t as straightforward as you’d believe. When you first go to Ayana, the sign-up prompt asks for your name, email, and location. After you submit this, you are told that Ayana will be reaching out with your “next steps” email soon.
Well, we tried signing up for Ayana from 4 different email addresses over multiple weeks. We never received the “next steps” email.
We sat on this review for a while, trying to give Ayana time to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, that never happened. The customer support area seems abandoned, so we resorted to using the email address they list on their website.
We kindly asked for advice on completing our sign-up process, but that advice would never come because the email address no longer exists.
For the rest of this Ayana review, we will base our information on the first-hand accounts of users that have been able to access the site along with therapists who worked for the site.
Services Offered by Ayana Therapy
- Text Therapy
- Call Therapy
- Video Call Therapy
Patients on Ayana have full access to text therapy included in their monthly membership. This means they can reach out to their therapist in between sessions to cover changes in their lives, make notes of things they want to discuss, etc.
Ayana does not explicitly state how frequently, if ever, therapists reply to this text chat.
The lower cost membership on Ayana includes two 30-minute phone calls with a therapist. These calls are a convenient way to connect with a licensed therapist without having to deal with the stress of a face-to-face encounter.
Studies have found that this type of therapy has helped many people suffering from social anxiety be able to finally talk to a mental health professional.
Video Call Therapy
Premium Ayana users gain access to four 30-minute video therapy sessions each month. These types of sessions are some of the best when it comes to teletherapy because it is very similar to in-person appointments.
Users can connect with their phone, tablet, or computer, which means that therapy can happen from any location with an internet connection.
Is Ayana Therapy Right For Me?
Let’s be clear, in its current state, Ayana does not seem to be functioning properly. So, it is hard to say that the platform is right for anyone. However, we think the concept of Ayana is so amazing, that it is worth keeping an eye on.
If the company can work out kinks in the platform and get back to working properly, this site could be right for a lot of people, including:
- People of color
- Members of the Transgender Community
- LGBTQ patients
- Any patient with a cultural background that influences their daily life
- Patients in marginalized communities
If you struggle to find therapists that understand your personal history, Ayana could be right for you. We recommend following the platform’s social media to learn when they will be accepting new patients.
Reviewing Ayana Therapy Patient Privacy
One of the best things we can say about Ayana is that they focus heavily on the privacy and discretion of their users.
Patients are not required to give confirmed personal information when creating an account, which makes it easy to preserve anonymity. Additionally, the privacy statement on the platform shows that Ayana is HIPAA compliant and concerned with the safety of its users.
Conversations on Ayana are encrypted, meaning users can feel comfortable talking to their therapist and expressing their true emotions.
Ayana Therapy Cost and Insurance
Ayana does not accept insurance, so understanding the cost of services is important before moving forward with the platform. Unfortunately, Ayana isn’t terribly transparent about their pricing. According to some of the verified users of their platform, these are their current prices:
|Service||Term||Cost per Week||Billed As|
|Unlimited Text and 2 Call Sessions||1 Month||$35||$140|
|Unlimited Text and 4 Call Sessions||1 Month||$45||$180|
These costs are pretty similar to other teletherapy platforms. Though we don’t find the costs to be egregiously high, we do wish the cost included more amenities like mobile apps, self-help services, a functioning website, and attentive customer service representatives.
Key Details About the Pricing at Ayana Therapy
- The platform is not clear on which services are provided at each price point.
- Ayana does not accept insurance or payment through FSAs and HSAs.
- Users have to pay for services before they are matched with a therapist.
- The cost of Ayana does not include psychiatric services or access to medication.
Does Ayana Therapy Offer Financial Aid
Ayana does not currently offer any financial assistance programs or discounts for their services. The overall cost of their services is less expensive than traditional therapy for uninsured patients. However, insured patients can likely find less expensive teletherapy on other sites.
Does Ayana Therapy Take Insurance
Ayana does not accept insurance of any kind and they do not file claims for their patients. Patients can attempt to file for reimbursement on their own, but it is unlikely insurance companies would approve coverage of Ayana’s services.
Ayana Therapy Controversies and Scandals
We want to take a moment to fully describe the controversy with Ayana. We started the process of this review with so much excitement to look through a platform that can help some of the most vulnerable patients in the United States.
However, something seems to be wrong with Ayana. Their social platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) appear to be deserted. There haven’t been any posts in months. However, the COO is responding to therapists on Glassdoor who are accusing the platform of not paying them.
This leads us to assume that there has been some issues with the flow of payments on the platform and they are currently focusing on fixing their relationship with the therapists they contract.
With these types of reviews and the reviews of users that say they never received a match despite paying for services, we think all users should be very careful when signing up for Ayana.
Verdict – Is Ayana Therapy Worth It?
Ayana is a fantastic concept. There is a major divide between marginalized communities and the mental health care many people need.
If the platform worked as promised, Ayana would be completely worth it.
However, Ayana doesn’t seem to work in its current state. There are no apps to download and new members may or may not be allowed to join the service. There are multiple accounts from patients on the site saying they were never matched to a therapist and the platform doesn’t work. Yet, they weren’t refunded their money.
From an employee perspective, therapists that were contracted on the site seem to be leaving as they aren’t receiving payments for their services.
Ayana Therapy FAQ
Is Ayana Therapy Legit?
When Ayana first came on the scene, patients and therapists seemed to love it. However, since late in 2021, the platform has received a lot of negativity from both sides. Patients claim they can’t use the service but are still charged. Therapists claim they are not being paid for their time. So, as of August 2022, we cannot say that Ayana is a legit platform. We hope that over time, they can bring the site back to its full potential!
Is Ayana Therapy Expensive?
Ayana therapy is a bit pricey, but may be cheaper than traditional therapy for uninsured patients. According to previous users of the site, there are two service options;
- Unlimited text plus two 30-minute call-therapy sessions for $140 a month.
- Unlimited text plus 4 video-therapy sessions for $180 a month.
Will I Get a Refund If Ayana Can’t Match Me With a Therapist?
The Ayana FAQ page and their details page does not explicitly state whether users will be charged if they aren’t matched with a therapist. However, we did find reviews from users complaining about being charged for services, then told later they couldn’t be matched with a therapist.
Those reviewers claim to not have received a refund from Ayana.
Can I Contact My Therapist From a Mobile App?
No. Ayana does not currently have a mobile app. Users can text their therapist from their phones, but there are no details regarding how often therapists are required to respond to the patients.
Are the Therapists on Ayana Licensed?
Yes. Ayana only contracts licensed therapists with experience in working with marginalized people.
Where Can I Follow Ayana for New Platform Updates?
Ayana can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Does Ayana Have a Mobile App?
Currently, Ayana does not have a mobile app.
Do You Have to Be a Person of Color to Use Ayana?
No. Members of all marginalized communities are welcome on Ayana regardless of their skin color.