Cerebral vs. Brightside: A Comprehensive 2024 Review

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Looking for a therapist?

In a world where mental health care is increasingly vital, online therapy platforms have become convenient and accessible for individuals seeking support. With various choices available, finding the right platform that meets your unique needs and preferences is essential.

Two popular options, Cerebral and Brightside, offer a range of services aimed at helping individuals cope with anxiety and depression. In this review, we deep dive into these platforms, comparing their services, pricing, limitations, and user experiences in a “Brightside vs. Cerebral” analysis.

By the end, you’ll better understand which platform might be the best fit for your mental health journey.

Short Summary

  • Cerebral and Brightside are two popular online mental health platforms offering different services, pricing structures, provider selection processes, and treatment limitations.

  • Brightside offers tailored access to talk therapy sessions, medication management, and a self-care program, while Cerebral has specific restrictions on its services.

  • When selecting an online therapy platform, individuals should consider their particular needs, as both have pros and cons in terms of quality of care & privacy measures.

Overview: Cerebral vs. Brightside

Navigating the world of online therapy can be overwhelming, but finding a platform that aligns with your mental health needs is crucial. Cerebral and Brightside are two popular options that offer a range of services for individuals struggling with anxiety and depression. While both platforms provide therapy sessions, psychiatric support, and coaching services, their pricing structures, provider selection processes, and treatment limitations vary.

Cerebral focuses on providing online mental health care services such as talk therapy, psychiatry, and life coaching.

Brightside Health is a medical facility that treats individuals suffering from anxiety and depression. They also offer medication and treatment to help with mental health problems.

Both platforms accept insurance in certain states and offer discounts, but Cerebral does not manage medication, and Brightside does not treat high-risk conditions.

Services Offered: Cerebral

Cerebral offers a variety of services to cater to different mental health needs. They provide talk therapy, psychiatry, and until recently, coaching services. Their talk therapy and psychiatry services address various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Cerebral can prescribe medications like SSRIs and SNRIs but has stopped prescribing controlled substances like benzodiazepines and amphetamines.

Talk Therapy

With Cerebral, individuals can engage in virtual talk therapy sessions with licensed therapists specialized in various mental health concerns. Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy or counseling, involves discussing and exploring thoughts, emotions, and experiences with a trained professional.

With Cerebral’s online therapy platform, users can schedule and attend virtual talk therapy sessions from their homes. These sessions provide a confidential and supportive environment for individuals to address and work through various mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, stress, relationship problems, etc.

Cerebral licensed therapists utilize evidence-based therapeutic approaches and techniques to assist individuals in gaining insight, developing coping strategies, and making positive changes in their lives. The platform typically offers flexible scheduling options and convenient communication channels to ensure users can access the support they need on their terms.

It’s important to note that therapy experiences can vary based on individual needs and preferences, and it’s advisable to visit the official Cerebral website or contact their support team for more detailed and up-to-date information on the specific talk therapy services they offer.

While Cerebral talk therapy is similar to Brightside’s offerings, one key difference is that Cerebral therapist selection process eliminates the hassle of searching for a new therapist.


Cerebral psychiatry services offer additional support for individuals struggling with mental health conditions. Through psychiatric evaluation and medication management, Cerebral aims to help individuals find relief from their symptoms.

However, it’s essential to note that Cerebral has discontinued prescribing controlled substances, which might be a limitation for some individuals seeking medication management.

Coaching (Discontinued)

Cerebral once offered coaching services to help individuals address various mental health conditions. However, they discontinued this service due to insufficient demand and resources.

While coaching is no longer available, Cerebral still provides talk therapy and psychiatry services to support individuals in managing their mental health.

Enrollment process is very quick.Unethical prescription practices, including prescription of controlled substances and treatment of minors.
Therapist search tool allows you to fine-tune your search.Limited insurance coverage.
Website is easy to use.Limited choice of therapists.
Easy to switch platforms between phone, computer, or tablet.Switching therapists requires personalized assistance.
Messaging center makes it easy to communicate.Majority of available sessions are only after 5 p.m. or on weekends

Services Offered: Brightside

Brightside takes a slightly different approach to online therapy, offering talk therapy, psychiatry, and medication management services. Their platform focuses on treating anxiety and depression, providing personalized treatment plans tailored to each individual’s needs.

While Cerebral and Brightside offer therapy and psychiatric support, Brightside’s additional medication management services set them apart.

Therapy Sessions

Brightside’s therapy sessions are designed to help individuals cope with anxiety and depression through one-on-one sessions with a licensed therapist. Like Cerebral, Brightside offers individual talk therapy sessions, with the added benefit of medication management services for those who might require them.

Therapy sessions with Brightside take place via video calls, allowing individuals to engage in therapy from the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

Video calls provide a face-to-face interaction that closely resembles traditional in-person therapy, fostering a strong therapeutic alliance between the client and therapist. The platform ensures that these video sessions are conducted on a secure and confidential platform to maintain privacy.

Medication Management

For those looking for a more comprehensive approach to their mental health care, Brightside’s medication management services offer personalized medication plans under the guidance of a psychiatric provider.

Combined Plans

Individuals seeking therapy and medication management can opt for Brightside’s combined plans, which offer a holistic approach to mental health care. These plans provide access to talk therapy sessions, medication management, and a self-care program, allowing individuals to address their mental health from multiple angles.

The combined plans are designed to provide comprehensive care to help individuals achieve their mental health goals. The plans are tailored to each individual’s needs and can be adjusted to ensure the best possible outcomes.

In-depth intake questionnaire helps with accurate assessment.No way to pick your own therapist or browse bios.
Check-in quizzes help show your progress.No same day appointments.
High level of care from experienced therapists.Responses from customer service messaging can at times take over 24 hours.
Free self-care lessons offer excellent additional support.Minimalist portal can make it difficult to access certain features of the site.
Messaging feature allows you to contact your therapist outside of appointments.Specifically tailored to treat depression and anxiety.

Pricing Comparison: Cerebral vs. Brightside

When selecting an online therapy platform, pricing plays a significant role. Cerebral offers a range of plans with prices varying from $99 to $295 per month, with discounts available for the first month. On the other hand, Brightside’s therapy plan costs $299 per month, with a one-time discount of $50 for the first month.

Brightside’s medication plan costs $95 monthly and accepts insurance from Aetna and Cigna. While both platforms offer competitive pricing, individuals should consider their unique needs and preferences when selecting an online therapy provider.

Cerebral Pricing

Cerebral offers a variety of pricing options for its services, with plans ranging from $99 to $325 per month. Discounts are available for the first month, making it more affordable for individuals to try out their services.

It’s important to note that the medication cost is not included in the pricing plans and would be an additional expense.

Brightside Pricing

Brightside’s pricing is competitive, with their therapy plan costing $299 monthly and a one-time discount of $50 for the first month. Their medication plan costs $95 per month, and they accept insurance from Aetna and Cigna.

For individuals who require additional therapy sessions, they can be purchased for $59 each. These pricing options make Brightside an affordable choice for individuals seeking online therapy.

Provider Selection and Matching Process

The provider selection and matching process is crucial to any online therapy platform. Cerebral offers a comprehensive selection process, allowing users to choose a therapist based on their qualifications, experience, and specialties. However, their provider selection process can be considered final and binding once an appointment time is selected with the chosen therapist.

On the other hand, Brightside takes a more hands-off approach, relying on users to select a therapist based on their bios. This difference in provider selection processes might be essential for individuals when choosing between the two platforms.

Cerebral Providers

Cerebral providers are carefully selected, ensuring they possess the necessary qualifications and experience. Users can choose from various therapists based on their bios, including location, specialty, and ethnicity. Cerebral provider selection process eliminates the hassle of searching for a new therapist, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking online therapy.

Brightside Providers

Brightside’s providers are graduates of distinguished U.S. medical schools and are experienced in treating anxiety and depression. However, their platform does not allow users to view the providers before selecting an appointment time, relying instead on the provided bios to match users with a suitable therapist.

This difference in the provider selection process might be a crucial consideration for individuals when choosing between Cerebral and Brightside.

Platform User Experience

User experience is another vital aspect when selecting an online therapy platform. Cerebral and Brightside offer user-friendly platforms with intuitive designs, making it easy for individuals to navigate and access their services.

However, Cerebral has faced some concerns regarding sharing personal user data with third parties, raising questions about their commitment to privacy and security. On the other hand, Brightside is HIPAA-compliant and uses 256-bit SSL encryption to protect user privacy.

Cerebral User Experience

Cerebral platform is designed to be straightforward and intuitive, with a simple interface that makes it easy to navigate and access its various features. Users can communicate with their therapists through a secure messaging system and schedule video calls.

While the platform offers a high-quality user experience, the data-sharing incident of 2024 has raised concerns about the security of patient data and the reliability of online therapy services.

Brightside User Experience

Brightside’s platform offers a warm and approachable design, making it easy for users to access their services. Users can communicate with their therapists through messaging and video calls, and the platform provides various self-care resources to support individuals in their mental health journey.

Brightside’s commitment to privacy and security, along with its HIPAA compliance and use of encryption technology, make it a reliable option for online therapy.

Quality of Care and Client Satisfaction

Cerebral is rated 4.0 on Trustpilot, while Brightside is rated 1.5.

Regarding online therapy, quality of care and client satisfaction are paramount. Cerebral has received mixed reviews regarding user satisfaction, provider availability, and ethical prescription practices. On the other hand, Brightside has fared better in user satisfaction, with many users praising their efficient platform, welcoming atmosphere, and accessible treatment options for anxiety and depression.

However, it’s essential to note that Brightside may not be the best option for individuals with high-risk conditions or those who prefer in-person care.

Cerebral Quality of Care

Although Cerebral provides various services to address different mental health conditions, their quality of care has been compared unfavorably to competitors like Brightside, Betterhelp, Teladoc, and Talkiatry.

Users have reported concerns about the atmosphere of Cerebral therapy sessions and the platform’s ethical prescription practices. These factors may contribute to the mixed user satisfaction ratings for Cerebral.

Brightside Quality of Care

Brightside, on the other hand, has received more positive feedback regarding its quality of care. Users have found the platform efficient, welcoming, and accessible for anxiety and depression treatment.

However, Brightside is not suitable for individuals with high-risk conditions or those who prefer in-person care. Overall, Brightside’s quality of care has been viewed more favorably than Cerebral’s.

Privacy and Security Measures

Privacy and security are crucial factors when selecting an online therapy platform. Cerebral has faced concerns regarding sharing personal user data with third parties raising questions about their commitment to privacy and security.

In contrast, Brightside follows industry-leading practices and complies with applicable laws and regulations. The platform collects only the necessary information required for its services, and user data is securely stored and processed.

Cerebral Privacy

Cerebral privacy policy ensures that user information will remain secure and will not be shared outside of its platform.

However, in 2024, Cerebral disclosed that they had shared the confidential health information of more than 3.1 million patients with advertisers and significant social media companies such as Facebook, Google, and TikTok. This incident has prompted inquiries concerning the protection of patient data and the reliability of online therapy services.

Brightside Privacy

Brightside takes a more stringent approach to privacy and security, ensuring user data is protected and not shared with third parties. They comply with HIPAA regulations and employ 256-bit SSL encryption to protect user privacy.

This commitment to privacy and security makes Brightside a more reliable option for individuals seeking online therapy.

Limitations and Exclusions

Cerebral and Brightside offer online therapy services for individuals struggling with anxiety and depression. However, each platform has its own set of limitations and exclusions.

Cerebral does not provide medication management or controlled substances, while Brightside does not treat high-risk conditions. When choosing between these two platforms, it’s essential to consider your unique mental health needs and preferences.

Cerebral Limitations

Cerebral has specific restrictions on its services due to the platform’s technology and design limitations. These restrictions include the inability to provide therapies such as psychiatry and medication management and the lack of coaching services. These limitations may affect the suitability of Cerebral services for specific individuals.

Brightside Limitations

Brightside also has its own set of limitations, primarily in treating high-risk conditions.

Brightside’s website states it is not recommended for individuals with ADHD, active suicidal ideation, self-harm, psychosis, bipolar disorder, substance use problems, borderline personality disorder, or an eating disorder. Such mental health issues require specialized care and should be addressed by a healthcare professional.

As a result, Brightside may not be the best option for individuals with these specific mental health concerns.


As we’ve explored the world of online therapy through the lens of Cerebral and Brightside, it’s clear that each platform offers unique services and features designed to cater to different mental health needs.

Regardless of your chosen platform, remember that taking the first step toward improving your mental health is a brave and commendable decision.

By considering each platform’s offerings, limitations, and user experiences, you can make an informed choice and embark on a journey toward better mental health with confidence.


Which is better, Brightside or Cerebral?

Considering their different offerings, Cerebral is better for treating various mental health issues. At the same time, Brightside Health is an ideal option for those needing support specifically related to anxiety and depression.

Is Bright Side legit?

Based on the user reviews for Brightside Health, they are a legitimate company providing quality care and treatment to their patients. Therefore, Brightside Health is undoubtedly a reliable and trustworthy provider.

Can Brightside help with ADHD?

Unfortunately, Brightside Health does not provide services related to ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). You should consult with a medical professional in your local area for the best course of action.

Additionally, you can read our reviews of telehealth platforms that offer services related to ADHD.

Additional Resources

Prioritizing our mental well-being is paramount in today’s fast-paced world. The digital age has redefined therapy and psychiatric care, making support more accessible than ever. To guide you towards a healthier state of mind, we’ve partnered with pioneering names in mental health.
Note: We collaborate with top-tier mental health companies and we earn a commission if you purchase services through our ads.

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About the author

Ruth Holla, MPH
Ruth Holla is a dedicated Malawian Public Health Specialist with extensive experience in nursing, research, and public health. Her career revolves around improving well-being, particularly through mental health advocacy.

As a Nursing Officer, Ruth provides compassionate patient care, implementing evidence-based practices and emphasizing a holistic approach.

As a Research Registered Nurse, she conducts groundbreaking studies on mental health and social determinants, addressing community stigma. As a Public Health Specialist, she coordinates HIV and mental health programs, targeting vulnerable populations and forging partnerships to reduce disparities.

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