About 7 Cups of Tea

7 Cups of Tea is an online platform where you can go during those times when getting a little support from a friendly listener means a big difference.

Using a secure, anonymous bridging technology, the platform connects those in need of emotional support with a network of Active Listeners. The website also invites visitors to find support in online groups or begin defining a path to feeling better with a questionnaire that digs into the details of what’s wrong.

How Does 7 Cups of Tea Work?

Landing on the 7 Cups of Tea homepage presents visitors with two choices: talk to someone or begin with some simple exercises.

To choose either, you must first confirm that you are over 18 years old, or between the ages of 13 - 17 with parental consent. Additionally, you must confirm that you are not in crisis, homicidal, suicidal, or abusing anyone.

If You Choose To Talk To Someone On 7 Cups

If you want to connect with someone for emotional support, you can either choose from the following options:

  • Connect Now to be put in touch with the first available Active Listener.
  • Browse Listeners to read through the profiles of those available and select someone who best suits your needs.
  • Group Support Chat where you can find a forum of supportive individuals.
  • Chat With An Online Therapist gives you the option to speak with a licensed mental health professional.
  • Find a Therapist Near You will help you locate someone nearby for an in-person visit.

You’re probably already familiar with the general idea behind group support and speaking with a therapist. But, what’s an Active Listener, and how can they help?

About 7 Cups of Tea Active Listeners

7 Cups of Tea describes their Active Listeners as individuals from all walks of life who want to provide compassionate care. And, there are a lot of them! 7 Cups of Tea claims to offer hundreds of thousands of trained Active Listeners from 189 countries, providing support in 140 languages.

To experience chatting with an Active Listener first hand, I selected Connect Now and was sent to a chat page. Once there, an automated bot asked me to make a few selections that best described the trouble I was having. You can pick from a wide range of emotional ailments, from ADHD to drug abuse, anxiety, and depression.

The wait took almost 20 minutes, and during that time I was prompted to complete a questionnaire. (More on that in a bit.) However, eventually an Active Listener with the handle MechEng popped on and allowed me to ask him/ her some questions.

I learned that Active Listeners aren’t paid for their time. Basically, they’re just regular folks like you and me who feel the drive to lend a supportive ear to those in need.

Active Listers aren’t supposed to give advice, judge you, or criticize you. They are given training on how to provide an empathetic ear and guidance on what to do if things get too serious. (Divert the chat to a counselor.)

How To Connect With An Active Listener On 7 Cups

7 Cups members connect with their Active Listener via the website, but you don’t meet in person—or even over the phone.

Instead, all communication is done through chat-based messaging. It’s a similar format to other chat platforms, like Facebook Messenger or Gchat. Members can also connect on their smartphones, using 7 Cups’ iPhone and Android apps.

7 Cups of Tea Groups and Feeds

Beyond opening up to an individual Active Listener, 7 Cups offers additional avenues for finding a sense of community through their activity feed and support forums.

The feed activity appears to be pretty similar to that on Facebook, in that people give shoutouts, share appreciation for one another, post victories or milestones they’ve accomplished, and share their favorite images.

Following 7 Cups of Tea’s Simple Exercises

While waiting for an Active Listener to appear, I was prompted to complete a short questionnaire so that the service could better be tailored to my needs. As we mentioned above, first you’re prompted to select the most accurate category of what’s bothering you from a list of approximately 30 issues.

I selected ‘anxiety’ and, after being asked my gender and age, was prompted to answer “How often or how severely do you feel like the following effect you daily?” and asked a list of questions. For example:

  • How often do you feel that you are rather touchy?
  • How often do you find it hard to wind down?
  • How often do you find yourself getting agitated?
  • How often do you experience trembling (e.g., in the hands)?
  • How often do you feel that life is meaningless?

There are about 30 questions in total. At the end, you’re given a score that rates your general sense of well-being.

7 Cups Wellness Test7 Cups of Tea Wellness Test Screenshot

What’s A Growth Path?

After completing your questionnaire, you’ll be given one or more suggestions for a growth path. (As you can see from the image above, my suggested growth paths included Anxiety: Overcoming Worry, and Calm & Strong.)

Designed to carry you forward as you grow stronger, growth paths are made up of simple steps. Some are designed to increase your gratitude and calm, such as listening to music. There are also fun steps, like watching adorable animal videos, or reading a heartwarming story.

7 Cups claims that all of their paths are easy to follow and that, with each step, you’ll find yourself becoming more confident.

It’s not just growth paths that encourage 7 Cups uses to keep you moving forward in pursuit of a sunnier outlook. Every action you do on the website gives you growth points. The website claims that these points track how you’re moving up through the levels, learning to solve problems, and developing new skills.

How Much Does 7 Cups of Tea Cost?

Speaking with an Active Listener service is free. However, throughout the chat, prompts to make a donation did appear.

According to the website, 7 Cups will “always be free for everyone.” But they do need support to make this sustainable, and ask that anyone using the service consider making a donation.

7 Cups of Tea Costs7 Cups of Tea Price Comparison Chart

However, “always free for everyone” isn’t exactly the case if you want to progress through additional levels of growth. 7 Cups of Tea offers different membership levels for those interested in receiving extra support.

  • Monthly at $12.95/ month: This plan is a recurring bill with the option to cancel your 7 Cups membership at any time.
  • Yearly at $7.99/ month: Total of $95.88 paid at one time. 30-day money back guarantee. Automatic rebilling at the end of one year.
  • Two years at $6.24/ month: Total of $149.76 paid at one time. 30-day money back guarantee. Automatic rebilling at the end of two years.
  • Forever at $419.95: Unlimited access to the 7 Cups Collection forever. 30-day money back guarantee.

The full list of what’s included with a 7 Cups of Tea upgrade can be found here. In short, paid users get access to additional levels of growth path learning, and the complete series of paths, including those addressing eating disorders, self-harm, social anxiety, and even one addressing the anxieties of college life.

Note that upgrading your membership does not give you free access to a trained mental health professional. Nor does remaining an unpaid member mean that your hours of chatting with an Active Listener are numbered. Instead, an upgrade simply allows you to unlock information on different growth paths and a variety of series.

Can 7 Cups of Tea Fill You With a More Optimistic Outlook?

At first glance, 7 Cups of Tea might sound like a modern twist on traditional talk therapy. After spending a few minutes chatting, I could see how the opportunity to share with a nonjudgmental person, even a stranger, could be cathartic.

However, there are some big differences between using the 7 Cups of Tea platform and booking an hour with a therapist. The most obvious of which is that using 7 Cups of Tea doesn’t provide those struggling with serious mental health issues with the opportunity to be assessed by, or learn different coping mechanisms, from an experienced mental health professional.

Additionally, 7 Cups focuses not just on individual members, but on building a community experience through activity feeds and support forums.

This community aspect left us wondering whether or not the focus of 7 Cups is solely to provide a valuable safe place for anyone going through a hard time to connect with a trained listener? Or, possibly, if they’re another tech team looking for an angle to copy Facebook and other social media platform’s success.

Can 7 Cups of Tea help you through a difficult time?

I remember my grandmother once told me of a time when she was feeling down, and how she’d got up the courage to enter the self-help section of her local bookstore. On a shelf, she saw a book titled “I’m Okay, You’re Ok,” then turned around and left. When asked why, she said that reading that phrase was all she needed.

There’s no way to quantify the difficulty of any individual’s emotional turbulence. But it’s safe to say that 7 Cups of Tea isn’t going to be enough for those going through a really difficult patch.

If, however, you’re like my grandmother and just need an extra nudge of encouragement, the support material, Active Listeners, and growth paths available at 7 Cups might be just the ticket you need for to develop a sunnier outlook.

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