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Jessica Turner

Dawn vs Shift vs Inkblot vs Greenspace: Which Canadian Therapy Service is Best?

Indisputably, therapy is an invaluable tool in the mental health industry. Although it was previously seen as necessary or helpful only in more pervasive cases of mental illness, the world is slowly opening up to the notion that there are no prerequisites to seeing a therapist or counsellor. Everyone – yes, everyone – can benefit from therapy. 


On the other hand, despite treatment being available,  nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Why is this? Well, several barriers exist to accessing treatment services, including stigma, affordability and lack of therapeutic ‘fit’ (meaning the strength and effectiveness of a patient-practitioner alliance). 


Even if people decide to take the plunge and try therapy, it can be frustrating sifting through the plethora of specializations, prices, and services that therapists offer. In order to break some of the most common barriers to seeking treatment, several new companies have popped up offering therapist matching services.  Canadian services such as Dawn, Shift, Inkblot, and Greenspace use objective data to match users with their most compatible therapist. 


Ironically, the user still has to pick which therapist matching service to take for a spin before they can focus on a potential therapist match. Which services offer in-person compared to online therapy? Do they offer direct billing for insurance? What happens if I don’t find my perfect match? Here, we’ll explore four different services and answer these questions in one place! 



First, let’s look at a few FAQs about therapy matching. 


1. What is a therapeutic match, or ‘fit’, and why is it important for positive outcomes? 


A great match factors in personal mental health concerns, budget, location, treatment preferences, virtual/in-person preferences, individual/couples/child structures, etc. to give the user the best experience possible in therapy.  Finding that perfect fit means agreeing on therapy goals and method, and feeling respected and heard as a client. 


A good therapeutic fit results in 5-7x better outcomes for patients. Conversely, a lack of positive alliance poses as a significant barrier to seeking or continuing treatment. So, making sure a match is as strong as possible is important for a long-lasting and fruitful relationship – just like on your go to dating apps! 



2. Why not just use online therapy apps, such as Betterhelp or Talkspace? 


Sure, online therapy is generally cheaper than the traditional face-to-face therapy structure. However, with the transformative events of Covid-19, more and more practitioners have jumped to offering virtual therapy at reduced rates. Ergo, using a matching service doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re limited to either in-person or online services. Rather, the opposite is true: you get to pick your poison. 


When investigating patient satisfaction and therapist effectiveness, studies show that online therapy is a practical mental health treatment option. 


So, your preferred matching service will help sleuth out the ideal therapist to carry-out your treatment vision (or lack thereof). 



3. Are matching services still effective during the Covid-19 Pandemic? 


With seemingly everything having been upturned during Covid-19, it can be a difficult time to seek out new treatments or services, such as therapy or counseling. On the other hand, matching services are arguably more effective during the pandemic, If anything. 


Finding an ideal therapeutic match includes distinguishing between Covid-sensitive questions, such as “in-person or online?” Maybe you’d prefer in-person therapy, but even your doctor’s office is closed to in-treatment during the pandemic making it difficult to get a referral. Not to worry! Matching services will help you find a therapist that’s ready to see you in office. 



Dawn vs Shift vs Inkblot vs Greenspace: Which is Best?



Top Canadian Therapy Match-Maker Comparison


Counsellor Credentials

Registered andProvisional Psychologists,Registered Social Worker,Canadian Certified Counsellor, andLicensed Counsellors

Masters, PHD, or Clinical Social Workers as well as ‘Coaches’ with BAs in Psychology. 

Licensed Master-level Counsellors, Social Workers, Therapists and Psychologists.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, Social Workers, MD Psychotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Registered Psychotherapists.



Edmonton, AB Calgary, AB 

Virtual only


Languages Offered





Price Range 

Free Matching, Sessions $75 – $225/hour

Free Matching, Sessions $120.00 -$300.00/hour

Free Matching, First Session Free, Sessions $37.50/30 min

Free Matching, Sessions $100 – 250 /hour 
Couples /Group therapy



Self-Matching Available



Online AvailableCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmarkCheckmark
Face-to Face AvailableCheckmarkCheckmarkCloseCheckmark



Review of Dawn for Online Therapy


Dawn’s Web App


This start-up company matches people to therapists located in Alberta and British Columbia. The user-friendly therapist matching process is a key selling point for Dawn, and it certainly makes them stand out. Users don’t have to wait for a matchmaker to go over their therapy preferences and return their perfect fit; they can do it themselves!



How does Dawn’s therapy match making work?


Users can pick between two streams to match with a therapist:


  1. Use the Dawn web app to filter price, specialization, availability, and location and review a list of compatible therapists; or
  1. Fill out and submit a detailed intake form that is reviewed by a Dawn matchmaker. Within 48 hours, they’ll return your most compatible prospective therapists. The matchmaker will also help book your first session and ensure a seamless transition into a lasting fit. 


What kind of credentials do Dawn Counsellors have? 


Dawn partners with Registered Psychologists, Provisional Psychologists, Registered Social Workers, Canadian Certified Counsellors, and Licensed Counsellors. 



What types of counseling does Dawn offer? 


Dawn’s partnered therapists specialize in various techniques including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), trauma counseling, interpersonal therapy, couples therapy, virtual therapy, and more. 



How much does online therapy from Dawn cost? 


The matching process is entirely free for the user. 


Therapy session fees are determined by the therapist and range $75 – $225 (depending on the type of therapist). Many insurance plans cover therapy services, but patients are responsible for determining their level of coverage. Dawn uses direct billing so that patients don’t need to pay out-of-pocket. 



Review of Shift‘s online therapy platform


Source: Shift



Shift is a Canadian therapy and matching service which utilizes its own therapy program with special counsellors to practice it. With store fronts located in Edmonton and Calgary, shift also offers online therapy services beyond their store walls. 


Users can book and pay directly through the platform’s website, or visit their brick and mortar stores in-person. 



How does the matching process work?


Shift’s online concierge will help place you with the best Shift therapist for your needs in your area. After filling out basic contact information, therapy preference, availability, etc., a Shift representative will contact you with your best therapeutic match. 



What kind of credentials do Shift Counsellors have? 


As with most of their business platform, Shift’s credentials are unique. While they do offer services from counsellors with their Masters, PHDs, or Clinical Social Worker certifications, they also offer services from ‘Coaches’ that are accredited solely with their BAs in Psychology.


Each accreditation is also accompanied with one of the following Shift certifications: 


  • Level I Shift Protocol – Full Registration by CAP (Masters or PHD Accreditation)
  • Level II Shift Protocol – Provisional Registration by CAP (Masters or PHD Accreditation)
  • Level III Shift Protocol – Not Registered with CAP (Masters or Clinical Social Work Accreditation)
  • Level IV Shift Protocol – Not Registered (Bachelors of Arts in Psychology Accreditation)


Source: Shift



What type of counseling does Shift offer? 


Shift gives the user a very ‘avant-garde’ impression. They describe themselves as a “boutique psychology provider” and aren’t shy when describing themselves as unique, if not eccentric. Implementing their own program – Revolutionary Psychology – Shift’s counsellors (or ‘shifters’) employ a mix of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Exposure Therapy. 


The program itself is implemented in several ways: individual, couples, coaching, and online therapy. Shift also works with children over the age of 5, thus providing services from virtually cradle to grave. 



How much does virtual therapy from Shift cost? 


Shift offers its matching service at no cost to the user. In terms of sessions, prices range from $120 for a level IV coach, to as much as $300 for a level I registered psychologist. 



Review of Inkblot for Online Therapy


Source: Inkblot



Inkblot is not only committed to taking away the typical barriers to treatment by matching you with your ideal therapist, but they also provide flexible hours, video sessions, and same-day booking Canada and US wide for online therapy. 


Users can book, pay, and access online therapy directly through their website. 


Inkblot also works with businesses to build company mental health strategies and provide resources for employees. 



How does Inkblot’s matching process work?

Users complete a short intake, or matching questionnaire, before booking their first session. Using their unique algorithm, Inkblot combines your personal details and preferences with the details and strengths of each Inkblot professional to generate a list of potential practitioners for you to choose from.


To ensure that you’ve found your perfect fit, the first half hour session is free! Additionally, users can repeat this free initial session with another practitioner in the event that the original alliance isn’t compatible.



What kind of credentials do Inkblot Counsellors have? 


Inkblot works with Licensed Master-level Counsellors, Social Workers, Therapists and Psychologists who are in good standing with their state board.



What type of counseling does Inkblot offer? 


Although Inkblot operates virtually, the platform offers couples therapy, life-coaching, family therapy, and therapy for children over the age of 6. 



How much does Inkblot cost? 


After your free initial session, subsequent sessions on Inkblot cost $35CA per half hour, and can last for 30, 60, or 90 minutes.



Review of Greenspace for Online Therapy


Source: Greenspace



Located in Ontario, Greenspace will help objectively match you to a therapist within their network and measure your progress in therapy – for free. Their therapy tracking program stands out against competitors and helps give clients a sense of accomplishment and direction. 



How does Greenspace’s therapist match making work?


Greenspace advertises a 4-step matching process: 


Step 1: Users complete an 8-10 minute intake questionnaire to assess their symptoms and challenges to ensure you are matched with the most appropriate therapist.

Step 2: Dedicated Case Managers help guide users through the process through an intake call or via email. 

Step 3: Your case manager will identify the right therapist match for you and book your 1st appointment in as early as 48 hours.

Step 4: With guidance from your therapist, you can digitally track your progress through therapy. 


Source: Greenspace



What kind of credentials do Greenspace Counsellors have? 


Greenspace counsellors are licensed to provide psychotherapy services and include, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, MD psychotherapists, occupational therapists and registered psychotherapists.



What type of counseling does Greenspace offer? 


Greenspace uses specific assessment tools for mental health concerns and provides a detailed guide to treatment options so that you don’t have to. Therapists specialize in options ranging from cognitive behavioural therapy to mindfulness therapy, but only therapists offering treatment most relevant to you will appear on your list of matches.  


It is up to you as to whether you prefer to meet with a therapist in person or online, and you will be matched accordingly.



How much does therapy from Greenspace cost? 


Session fees are determined by the therapist and range from $100 to $250 (depending on the type of therapist – e.g social worker vs psychotherapist). 


Many insurance plans cover Greenspace therapy services, but patients are responsible for determining their level of coverage.



Dawn vs Shift vs Inkblot vs Greenspace: Which therapy matching platform is right for you?


So, you’ve made it through the wilderness and you’re ready to settle on a matching service. We already know that the benefits of counseling can be enormous, as long as you have that ideal therapeutic match. Check out our pros/cons analysis below for your perfect platform: 


Dawn: Pros and Co


This platform is great if…


  • you want a straight to business service that will match you quickly and accurately;
  • you want to start seeing a therapist in your neighborhood within the week; or
  • you would prefer to ‘be your own matchmaker’ and evaluate your compatibility based on your filtered preferences.


This platform is not so great if…

  • you live outside of Alberta or British Columbia; or
  • your ideal form of treatment is online therapy at lower rates



Shift Pros and Cons


This platform is great if…


  • you’ve tried every type of therapy in the book and never felt personal growth; 
  • you’re interested in ‘revolutionary’, new wave therapy techniques that are a little avant-garde; or
  • you want to be completely immersed in the therapy experience.


This platform is not so great if…

  • you’re on a tight budget;
  • it’s your very first time in therapy; or
  • you live outside of the Calgary/Edmonton area. 



Inkblot Pros and Cons


This platform is great if…


  • it’s your first-time trying therapy;
  • you love or would love to try online therapy;
  • you’re on a budget, or like free things (*remember, your first session is free); or
  • you live anywhere in Canada or the U.S. 


This platform is not so great if…


  • you prefer a face-to-face experience; or
  • you’re looking for hands-on therapy techniques or a better connection with your therapist. 


Greenspace Pros and Cons


This platform is great if…


  • you are analytical and like tangible results and concrete progress reports;
  • you want a one-stop-shop for your therapy needs including mental health assessments, free therapy tracking, therapist matching, and a custom user profile. 


This platform is not so great if…

  • you are located outside of the Ontario region. 



The Verdict: Which Canadian virtual therapy sites


We recommend Inkblot as the obvious choice for first time therapy users. With (1) your first session free, (2) affordable rates per 30, 60, or 90 min sessions, and (3) a Canada wide platform, it’s low risk and high reward to seek treatment here. 


For in-person therapy, we recommend Greenspace for their all-inclusive business style, and Dawn for their seamless and intuitive matching process. Of course, we hope that they will expand across Canada and play matchmaker on a national scale sometime soon! 


Have you ever tried online therapy before? What are you looking for from these newer companies that will take therapy to the next level? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

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