About BetterHelp

Launched in the summer of 2013, BetterHelp is the world’s largest online counseling platform that promises to help anyone with an internet connection talk to licensed, professional therapists.

If you’re experiencing any life’s challenges (who hasn’t at some point?), BetterHelp’s network of 1,200+ licensed and board-accredited counselors can help you navigate them using your computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Simply log in wherever you are and communicate with your counselor at your own pace—whether it’s day or night, weekday or weekend, you’ll always have a private, safe, and secure environment to share anything you want.

Because of these benefits, BetterHelp claims to have helped more than 250,000 customers to date.

It’s no secret that most of us could use counseling at one point or another, but considering how inconvenient in-office sessions can be—not to mention the high prices—many of us don’t seek out the care we need. Has BetterHelp’s online-only model changed all of this? Are they comparable to an in-office counseling session? How affordable are they?

Let’s dive right in and find out how you can match up with one of BetterHelp’s counselors:

How Does BetterHelp Work?

To begin your journey, you’ll need to start by spending 15 minutes or so answering BetterHelp’s fairly in-depth questionnaire. This will help the company assess your needs and match you with an appropriate counselor.

First, you’ll begin by answering questions about your gender, age, and marital status, if you’ve ever been in therapy before, and your current physical health (good, fair, poor). Then, you’ll rate your current sleeping habits, as well as your financial status, followed by a series of “over the past 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?” questions:

  • Little interest or pleasure in doing things
  • Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Anxiety or panic attacks

Finally, you’ll rate your preferences for a counselor’s specific areas of expertise on a scale of least to most important. This includes addiction, LGBT-related issues, eating disorders, and many more.

Finally, you’ll create an account by entering your name, email address, password, and credit card number (more about this in the Cost section below).

Based on what you entered during this process, you’ll be matched with a counselor “who fits your objectives, preferences, and the type of issues you are dealing with,” generally within 24 hours.

What happens after you’re matched with a BetterHelp counselor?

The BetterHelp Therapy Process

According to the company, all BetterHelp counselors are “licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (MFT), clinical social workers (LCSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC).” Each will have a Master’s or Doctorate degree in their respective field, along with 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience.

Important note: BetterHelp is upfront when claiming, “Please note that your provider won't be able to make any official diagnosis, to fulfill any court order or prescribe medication.” Also, remember that these providers are not employees of BetterHelp, so the company doesn't oversee them professionally.

Once you’re matched with a counselor, you’ll have 24/7 access to a dedicated virtual “room” where you’ll be able to communicate privately and securely, simply by logging in to any internet-connected device. This is where you’ll write about what’s going on and ask questions about things that are troubling to you.

After posting a message, your counselor will log in to this same room and “respond with feedback, insights, and guidance.” How quickly your counselor responds can vary depending on may factors, although most reviews we read (more in a moment) claimed that they received responses within hours, or even minutes. As part of your subscription, you’ll be able to communicate with your counselor this way as much as you like.

If you feel that your counselor isn’t a good match, you can request another at no charge. If you feel comfortable though, you’ll begin learning how to move past your issues, make positive change in your life, and accomplish your goals.

How Much Does BetterHelp Therapy Cost?

We’ll be honest: We read about a lot of different pricing options during our BetterHelp research. For example, one part of their website claims you’ll only pay $45 per week, although the fine print on our ordering page indicated we’d pay $70 per week. Elsewhere, we found some customers claiming it costs as little as $35 per week.

Furthermore, BetterHelp’s website indicates that all subscriptions are billed on a monthly basis, although one recent reviewer claimed that you can choose between weekly, monthly, or quarterly options.

For clarification on both these issues, we emailed customer support at contact@betterhelp.com. Here’s the answer we received:

“We do offer several subscription plans with different subscription periods and pricing points. You can select your preferred plan by clicking on your name at the top-right corner, clicking "Account Settings" and then clicking "Change Plan". Please note that we're also offering financial aid for people who can't afford the service.”

Again though, you’ll first have to sign up for a trial and (presumably) pay the $280 before being given the option to change your subscription plan or payment schedule.

Pro tip: All new BetterHelp members are automatically enrolled in a 7-day trial, which can be canceled without obligation for any reason. However, it’s important to note that the company will charge your credit card for one month upfront. Then, if you cancel your subscription within 7 days, this money will be refunded.

After the initial 7 days, your account will automatically roll over to a recurring subscription, which can be canceled by logging into your account, visiting the Settings page, and clicking the Cancel Subscription link.

In addition to messaging in your “room,” BetterHelp’s counselors can be reached through 20-minute phone sessions. The first session in each billing cycle is covered by your membership fees, which increases to $29 per session thereafter.

Considering these prices and ease of access, are customers singing praises for BetterHelp?

Are There Any Customer Reviews for BetterHelp?

On Yelp, BetterHelp had an average rating of 4 stars at the time of our research, based on 14 reviews. The vast majority seemed pleased with the fact that you can post messages about your thoughts and feelings at any time, which is more convenient, since you won’t have to wait until a formal counseling session. Also, many felt that the anonymity allowed them to open up more.

BetterHelp, Based out of Sunnyvale, CA, also had an A- Better Business Bureau rating based on 27 closed complaints (as of 5/10/16). Overwhelmingly, the most common complaint referenced being charged immediately after signing up for a free trial (which we addressed in the previous section).

BetterHelp’s Android app had a 3.3-star rating on Google Play based on nearly 600 reviews, and a 4.5-star iTunes rating based on 28 reviews. Regarding the app only (not the counseling service), most seemed to find it simple and effective, although many didn’t like the fact that it doesn’t store login credentials.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Joshua Fruhlinger tried BetterHelp and a similar competitor named Talkspace. With both services, he experienced fast communication and felt like he got to the root of his issues faster than he would have through traditional once-weekly sessions. Joshua tried 2 therapists with each service and had similarly positive experiences each time.

Although The Atlantic didn’t actually test out BetterHelp’s services, one professional they interviewed had some hesitations about the format:

“Some important aspects of counseling are lost when the services are not provided face-to-face,” says Joyce Marter, the president of the Illinois Mental-Health Counselors Association.”

Finally, another mentioned that in any type of online environment (regardless of the security measures put in place), information is always susceptible to hackers:

“Clients and clinicians both need to be aware that good hackers can access anything online, regardless of industry security standards,” says Christy Leaver, a licensed clinical social worker with a counseling practice in Lexington, Kentucky.”

Is BetterHelp a Better Way to Get Therapy?

Just like any other service or product, “better” is a highly subjective term. For example, if you prefer to have face-to-face contact with a counselor, then BetterHelp might not be a “better” option for you. Or, if you prefer to write out your concerns as they arise in a largely anonymous format, then BetterHelp might be right up your alley.

From a price perspective, though, it’s easy to see that at $70 (or less) per week—with an unlimited amount of contact with your counselor—BetterHelp might provide a much better bargain than traditional in-office counseling sessions. Again though, whether or not this translates into a better value depends on your needs and preferences.

Either way, just remember that BetterHelp does not specialize in crisis intervention, so if you require immediate attention in order to avoid harming yourself or others, they shouldn’t be your first option. In fact, one of the more common complaints we encountered during our research was that customers were turned away after submitting their questionnaire. If this happens to you, just remember that there are better avenues for you to seek care.

Even if you don’t sign up for a BetterHelp subscription, their website is chock full of guides that can help you understand and work through common issues like anxiety, depression, grief, and more.

Finally, although BetterHelp might be the largest online counseling network, keep in mind that they’re not your only once, as you also have popular competitors like Talkspace, Breakthrough.com, BlahTherapy.com, 7Cups.com, and many others. Just remember that not all of these provide the same attention to detail and licensed counselors (some could be considered “lifestyle guidance” instead of formal counseling) as BetterHelp.

Did you sign up for a BetterHelp membership? Talk about your experience by writing a review below!

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32 Customer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Customer Rating: 3.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 20 4 star: 3 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  7
Bottom Line: 72% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 32
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  • Amazing, helpful service

    I sought a counselor in the mountain area I am living in after separation and needing some help adjusting to this time in my life. There are few counselors here that I could find at all. I went online and found BetterHelp. I wasn't sure how this would work and was a little unsure of this type of help. I figured I would give it a try as the cost was reasonable and it was so necessary for me.

    I was so pleasantly surprised how easy the whole process is. I find it very easy to connect with the counselor chosen based on my needs and profile. I am able to send her messages and emails and contact her if needed in between sessions and she responds so quickly. She is truly interested in my well-being and has my best interest at heart. I feel I am getting so much from the sessions via phone and look forward to them.

    The thing is too, right now, I am on a very tight budget, and this is affordable for me. BetterHelp makes it possible for almost anyone to get the counseling they need at an affordable cost with a qualified professional to help sort through issues and make things more manageable.

    I am so grateful to BetterHelp for this service and to my counselor. This has been a real blessing to me.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 25, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Lynn! Thanks so much for your kind words. We are so happy to hear that you found our process easy and affordable. We wish you all the best and continued wellness!

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  • Very happy

    I love the online aspect of this. My counselor Clea is very easy to talk to. I have a personal therapist as well, but this allows me to communicate with my therapist 24/7. I don't have to take off work to go to appointments, which is great. I've been able to talk about things I've kept inside for a very long time. I would highly recommend BetterHelp.com.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Employment

    I am a licensed mental health therapist with over 25 years experience in mental health and substance abuse counseling. I had applied to become a therapist with BetterHelp. I waiting over a month and contacted them again as I had not heard anything. Again, no response. I contacted them again.

    Eventually, I received an email saying they cannot accept me into their network of therapists. There was no explanation what so ever. I emailed them back asking to please give me a reason as I couldn't understand what they were basing their denial on. No response. I tried once more and finally have given up as no one has the professional capacity to provide me with information as to why I was denied when clearly I met all their qualifications to become a therapist with them. I have since joined a different online platform.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Be aware!

    • No need,
    • Sep 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have both paid and non-paid accounts.

    I've decided to get help from BetterHelp. On the paid account, I've just tried to switch counselors because I've been registered the paid account like a month ago and decided to give it a try. But it took hours, and still, I have no match with a counselor, this made me think, and I've opened another account to just give this feature a try.

    On my new non-paid account, they answered the questions same, I've matched with counselors in a max of 15 minutes, gave it a couple of spins, five times!

    Be aware that there's code written intentionally running behind to drain your SUBSCRIPTION. And you know that too BetterHelp! Don't write me that you're sorry. Feel sorry for your shame! SHAME ON YOU.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Anonymous, it sounds like you've got two accounts with us at the moment. If you have any further issues, please email our support team at contact@betterhelp.com.

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  • My review

    I just recently signed up with BetterHelp, and it has been a good experience. Melaney has been a great therapist. She jumped right in with my issues. I was surprised to receive messages on Sunday and Labor Day, just shows how dedicated she is to her clients.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks for letting us know Michele! It sounds like you indeed got matched with one of the dedicated counselors on the platform, who took time out of her holiday weekend to communicate with you and help get you acquainted on the platform! We're so excited for you to continue with Melaney, and wish you all the best!

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  • Life changing service!

    • Michigan,
    • Aug 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I LOVE this service. It has helped me SO much. I have been recommending it to all of my friends and family members. It is such a great tool, especially for technology savvy folks that might not have the time in their busy schedules to arrange a face-to-face appointment every week (as in traditional counseling).

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks for your honest review Erin! We're glad you're able to utilize the convenience factor of our platform, and that you're able to connect with your counselor at your leisure. Have a great rest of your week!

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  • So happy with the service

    I agreed to give BetterHelp a try, although I felt it was a long shot. I accepted a trial offer, and I didn't have high hopes or any expectations for the type of service, or the quality of service that I would receive. After my second live session and after numerous chat messages exchanged, I can gladly and confidently say that is the luckiest accident I've ever had, stumbling onto this website. I'm really happy with the service. My therapist is wonderful, the site is very professional, and it exceeded my expectations. Thank you.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Sep 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Michelle! Thanks for your kind words. We are so glad that your experience has exceeded your expectations by so much! We're so excited for you, and wish you the best as you continue your wellness journey.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    My experience with BetterHelp

    • San Antonio, Texas,
    • Aug 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've been using BetterHelp for a couple of weeks now. I got off to a bit of a rocky start trying to find a therapist that was a good fit for me, and that will happen, even when finding a therapist to work with face-to-face. However, after switching counselors a couple of times, I was matched with a therapist who has been immensely helpful to me! I like that there are different options like connecting with your counselor over chat, phone or video.

    Each counselor is a little different in terms of how fast they respond to messages or what their availability is for sessions. The first counselor I connected with only had weekday mornings available because she worked part-time as a therapist at a clinic as well, but the new therapist I have has sessions all day and even in the evening because she does this full-time. So I find that to be really helpful too. My first therapist would respond once every couple of days; my new therapist usually replies in a few hours. All are different, so just let your counselor know up front what kind of response time you're looking for and when you're looking to have sessions. If their availability doesn't match up, it's okay to request a new counselor. You can do it at the click of a button on the app. You don't even have to deal with the uncomfortableness of explaining it to your current counselor like you would have to do in traditional face-to-face therapy.

    I have not experienced the billing issues that others have stated here, but I am on the weekly billing plan. For financial reasons, I once had to cancel to take a week off, and I wasn't charged any further money. When I was ready to resume, I just reconnected my account and picked back up from there making my usual weekly payments. It clearly states that if you choose the monthly plan you will pay the month in full, so maybe the people on here just didn't read the billing information. They also offer financial aid to those who need it and are income-eligible, to lower your monthly bill. I only pay about $2 more per week for this unlimited counseling than my insurance copay is for one visit per week with an in-person therapist.

    I have dealt with customer service a few times over email for account issues, and they've always been quick and friendly in their replies. All in all, I am thankful to have found this service, and I have actually found it more helpful than most of the traditional in-person therapy sessions I've attended over the years.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 28, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Hannah E! Thanks for leaving your honest review for us. We are so happy that you were able to find the right counselor for you on your weekly subscription plan and appreciate your positivity! We hope you continue your journey to wellness!

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Introvert bliss

    • Brentwood, CA,
    • Aug 26, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I finally reached out to someone when I was feeling so depressed I couldn't leave my bed. They matched me up with a good counselor who was easy for me to talk with. I have been talking with my counselor for a week now, and I am feeling better and being encouraged to go out and do something that I wouldn't have thought of. I know that I can talk with them about my issues and concerns and they will give good feedback and suggestions to make things better for me.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 28, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Becky,

      WOW, we could not be more happy for you! We hope things continue to go well for you, and we are so glad your matched counselor has been a big help. Have a great day!

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  • BetterHelp was a pleasant surprise.

    • New Jersey,
    • Aug 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was a little unsure at first. I have visited therapists face to face but never in a format such as this. By communicating via the internet, it was a surprisingly good experience for me. Convenient and available 24/7. There is also the benefit of revisiting conversations; a record of your conversations with your therapist is always available for you to read anytime. This was another bonus for me. My counselor Ted was excellent to work with. Compassionate, intelligent, and a great communicator.

    I found the whole experience very worthwhile. I am feeling much better as a result.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 25, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Glen! Thanks so much for your honest review! We are so happy to hear that you had a great experience with Ted and that you found him compassionate, intelligent, and a great communicator through our platform!

    • Aug 28, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Glen! Thanks for your honest feedback and review. We are so excited that you have found our services convenient and reliable 24/7. We hope you continue to work well with Ted. Have a wonderful day!

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  • 4 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    • North Carolina,
    • Jul 24, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I saw this ad on Facebook and thought it'd be nice to talk with someone in the comfort of my own home. Next day, I was contacted by a counselor, at which time I responded that I did not want the service. I can talk to friends/family for free, and to cancel my subscription.

    After several months, and a VERY long phone call with the number on my credit card bill, repeating that I've never used the service and that I want it canceled, and a full refund, I'm STILL being billed $180 a month. I'm trying to obtain an itemized bill, and obtaining legal counsel to get all this money refunded. Total scam. Apparently, if you tell anyone you don't want this, or try to stop it, they can't relay that info to the "billing" department.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Aug 1, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Gina

      Please get in touch with us at contact@betterhelp.com. We can assist you with any charges made on your account with our Support Team.

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