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.

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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312 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 237 4 star: 14 3 star: 2 2 star: 5 1 star:  54
Bottom Line: 81% would recommend it to a friend
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through. Learn More Here
  • Always there to help

    • Québec, Canada,
    • Nov 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company seems to always be trying to better themselves. I've had some minor issues, but whenever I contact them about it, they reply and they are always helpful. I've even made recommendations to them and they always take them into account. I've been using this service for almost 2 years and I've not been let down by them. My counselor is absolutely amazing, too! So available...I think you have to find the one that suits you. I tried one before, a very kind person but we didn't really click.

    This time it was much better! Just like in face to face you have to "shop" your therapist, same deal...

    They also offer financial aid, and I think that's amazing.

    Overall, a good company that listens to their customers and hires great counselors.

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

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  • Wouldn't have gotten therapy otherwise

    • Illinois,
    • Nov 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    If I hadn't heard about online counseling and therapy services that offer a texting/instant messaging option, I would probably never have gotten professional help. My anxiety has always been set off by telephone calls, going to places I've never been before, and meeting new people - so just the thought of making an appointment at a clinic and beginning the therapy process with a stranger face-to-face was so daunting and nauseating that I spent 7 years never overcoming it. Thanks to BetterHelp, I can talk to a licensed professional to get the help I've needed for so long but have never been able to get until now (and the price is affordable, especially with the financial assistance if you qualify). I'm so relieved and grateful for this service!

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

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  • Excellent service

    • Dublin, Ireland,
    • Nov 8, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I find this service really helpful, to be honest. I have tried face-to-face counseling before but never found the right counselor for me. I was lucky enough to find the perfect counselor for me the first time around, but it’s great to have the option to switch if needs be.

    The service is fairly priced, and it’s great to have a messaging service, phone calls, video chats and seminars at my fingertips.

    The only issue I had to start with was that it’s all based in the US and I was matched with a counselor 8 hours behind, but she’s incredibly accommodating, so it all worked out in the end.

    I have recommended this service and will again for sure!

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

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  • Amazing counseling option

    • Utah,
    • Nov 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp has provided me with some of the greatest counseling services and progress that I have seen as I have gone to several counselors. The largest pro is that a counselor is available at all times, especially at night or other times when you are actually in the depths of your pain and problems; you can actually tell them how you feel. Going to other counselors, which I used to meet with weekly or bi-weekly, I felt I couldn't explain exactly how I felt and we made much slower, if any, progress on my problems.

    If you have really serious problems where big life interventions may be necessary, it may be good to see someone locally. But for 95% of us where we struggle with depression and anxiety but are still at least going through the motions of life, BetterHelp is amazing.

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

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  • This will literally save your life.

    • Sydney, Australia,
    • Nov 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp is so unbelievably user-friendly and custom tailored to each person that it is impossible for me to consider a personal scenario where they don’t have a counselor who can help.

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

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  • I was stuck and alone, and I needed a solution

    • Barcelona, Spain,
    • Nov 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I started using BetterHelp after I started medical school. I have been feeling hopeless for a very long time, and I couldn't seem to understand myself. I was desperate for friendships and relationships, but I kept isolating myself, being passive and cold to the people that wanted the same thing. It was getting harder to concentrate and study and work at the pace I was used to doing it, but the number of obligations and the volume of work and responsibilities was getting bigger. It was hard to keep caring about everything, and my family wasn't understanding of what I was going through, so those relationships suffered as well.

    My counselor is a very good listener and super empathetic. It was easy to find something I could work on to feel better, even though I went into therapy thinking I couldn't be helped because something was deeply wrong with me. She is very knowledgeable and works very well with me to understand the things that are important to me. I think that I was originally looking for a way to be more open to people so I wouldn't have to be lonely, but I have learned a lot more about myself thanks to my counselor's amazing expertise. I have learned how some things from my past were controlling me, and how sometimes being self-aware of what is controlling you can ease the power that it has over you. I am still working on it, but I am a much more confident person today, and I am finally letting myself care about other people as much as I wanted to.

    BetterHelp has a few cool features that I've really benefited from. Talking to someone online was much easier than walking to a counselor's office in real-life and explaining them your problems. I was really ashamed of having these feelings, so I wouldn't even have been able to look this person in the eye. I think it really helped that I got to have a bit of anonymity before my first video session - I typed my thoughts and feelings into a message and got a reassuring timely reply that there was a possible explanation for what I was feeling, which really encouraged me to go on in this process and open up about my concerns. The video call quality can be a bit weird sometimes, but if that didn't work, we did a phone call. International phone calls are included in the cost of the service. The chat is comfortable, and you can access it from your phone with a pin code.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Help is here

    • Subang Jaya, Malaysia,
    • Nov 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp has provided me with a counselor that has given me the support that I need to better handle everyday problems. He understands my struggles and concerns, thus providing me with encouragement and suggestions that have helped me through the difficult times.

    I am happy to be part of BetterHelp and the support my counselor has been able to provide me through the years I have been with the service.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    A great solution for me

    • Menifee, CA,
    • Oct 31, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I started out looking for grief counseling after the death of my husband three years ago. I had gone to a facilitated grief group, and it started me on the road to recovery, but I needed more. I was looking for something more focused and intense and cost-effective. And I found BetterHelp.

    Since then, the counseling has migrated to other issues in my life although the issue of ongoing grief is still there.

    I have found BetterHelp.com to be a great solution for me. Instead of just a one-hour session a week, I have access to my counselor as often as I want to communicate with her.

    I like being able to write out how I am feeling and what I am dealing with. It helps me to put it in perspective, and I feel like I can say more than I would in an in-person session.

    My counselor has been extremely responsive, and I believe she understands my needs and situation completely. I like that when I haven't responded in a few days, she will follow-up to check on me and I get an email message letting me know she has sent me a message. That is something I truly appreciate.

    The counselor also offers other methods of communication as well. The only one I have availed myself of is the button marked "Urgent" and she responded quickly.

    I would recommend BetterHelp to someone who is looking for counseling.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    BetterHelp matched me to the best therapist for me!

    • New York,
    • Oct 25, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've been in therapy for five years. In the first four years, I really struggled with my progress and didn't really flow with my therapist. BetterHelp asked me questions about my concerns and preferences, and I got matched to the most supportive and productive therapist I've had. She shares articles, seminars, worksheets, and videos that pertain to me and my situation. They even have group webinars you can participate in for various issues and traumas.

    I have been using BetterHelp for 10 months now and I feel like I'm making so much progress, it's nuts! It is convenient, engaging, and most importantly effective! When I started, I paid about $32 a week for a full week of messaging and video chat sessions vs. a $25 copay for an hour of face-to-face therapy. Eventually, I had been a subscriber so long that I was offered a plan for $20. Customer service is super nice, by the way.

    Obviously, I love BetterHelp. I'm so thankful for them and my therapist. 10 out of 10 I would recommend!

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

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  • I have a Fairy Godfather

    • Brisbane, Queensland, Australia,
    • Oct 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had one session and I'm writing a review. It probably is safe to say that so far so good. You go through a series of questions about yourself before they can match you up with a therapist. If you want someone with the same orientation, beliefs, gender, whoever you're comfortable with, they have it. Although, I did my research before signing up, so I was fully prepared for their customer journey strategy, touch points when applying. The questions basically pop up automatically, and after going through the profile survey and pouring out your problems on an AI bot, you are then taken to close the deal seriously. Basically, payment up front for a full month or whatever how many sessions you choose. Although, I think it is cheaper than seeing a local therapist, petrol and apart from the time difference, it still efficient and open to different channels of communication, live chat, phone, video call. Mine made me laugh; I was shocked.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Amazing, 10/10 would recommend.

    • Lexington, KY,
    • Oct 23, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp has changed my life in so many ways, I can’t even begin to describe. My therapist and I mesh so well, and she truly helps me in any way she can (Regina Spencer). I had something extremely urgent happen to me, and she was one of the next people I told after my parents. She truly cares and was ready to help immediately. I can’t thank these people enough for being the extra support I need in hard times. Thank you again.

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

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