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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183 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 134 4 star: 9 3 star: 1 2 star: 3 1 star:  36
Bottom Line: 78% 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.
  • So much better than I could have imagined

    For me, online therapy is so much more enjoyable and easy than traditional. BetterHelp has been an eye opener in that sense. Being able to connect with my therapist whenever something is on my mind is an amazing feature! The response from my therapist is usually within a few hours, and we talk almost daily. There is a record of everything we've both said in a text to go back and review if I need to.

    I can choose to have a phone or video session when I feel the need, but because of the history of my texts, I have been preferring that route.

    I can share what's on my mind when it happens. I can go into better detail without being interrupted by questions or comments and then leave it there for her to review and respond to.

    BetterHelp has been a joy to use!

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

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  • Great outlet

    • Lockport, IL,
    • May 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I started this app, I needed something different then what I had gotten before. Every time I have done therapy or have gone to the doctor, their initial response is to put me on medication. It has helped me, but I needed someone to at least listen and hopefully tell me I'm not completely crazy. My doctor doesn't judge and is very insightful and attentive to what I say. She helped me think more positive and get a different mindset. Sometimes you just need someone to give you a different perspective on things, and this app has given me that. Thank you.

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

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  • Give it a try

    I started using BetterHelp about three months ago. I love that I can do therapy at times that are convenient for me like weekends and evenings, something hard to do in traditional counseling. I have options for how to do therapy-messaging, live chat, video chat. I did switch counselors once because I felt I wasn't getting what I needed from my first counselor but it was easy to change and I am extremely pleased with my current counselor, Barnaby. He clarifies what I have told him, asks me questions, and then provides doable tasks to work on during the week to address my issues. Plus, I can message him during the week between sessions and he messages me back, usually the same day. I also like the cost of BetterHelp. It is so affordable.

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

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  • Life changing app

    BetterHelp has created a service that's nothing short of amazing. I'd been wanting to seek the guidance of a counselor for some time. I had the hardest time finding one that not only fit into my schedule, but also my budget. With BetterHelp I'm able to choose payments options and frequency, my counselor tries to accommodate my schedule best as possible, both leading me to appreciate deeply that this is even an option. I recommend this service to all that have mentioned that they are seeking counseling. 11/10, would highly recommend. Thank you, BetterHelp.

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

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  • The convenient and affordable way to better mental health!

    • Miami, FL,
    • May 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp is a very convenient, private and affordable way to get the guidance and counseling you need to help you cope with issues you may have related to your mental health. The platform is very easy to use, and the therapist are kind and nurturing. I highly recommend this site.

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

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Fraudulent - buyer beware

    • Colorado,
    • May 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company continued to bill me for service for a YEAR after canceling the subscription. The amount was $1,800. When I contacted them to reverse the charges, no one responded. Now I am having to use legal recourse to attempt to get our money back. Do NOT get involved!

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Dani,

      Thanks for your review. We do see that you have been assisted by our team member, and that we responded to you within 6 hours of your written inquiry. We get back to all emails within one business day. Please note, that all members are also notified that the subscription will auto-renew when they first subscribe to the service. We apologize for any confusion.

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  • Very helpful and highly recommended

    • Bosnia and Herzegovina,
    • May 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    It's a really helpful site. At first, I was a bit hesitant because I simply had too many problems and I thought it'd be just a nuisance, but my therapist was very kind and understanding and helped me get through them.

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Rijad,

      Thanks so much for your positive review! We're very glad that you were able to connect with a counselor that helped you, and understood what you were going through. Have a great day!

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  • BetterHelp gave me the BEST help

    • Georgia,
    • May 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Dr. Love is amazing! She has the ability to make an online platform feel as though I’m in her presence on her couch! She has challenged me in so many ways, and walked me through some very hard issues. She doesn’t beat around the bush, she meets you where you are and helps you process through whatever you are facing at that moment. While being absolutely professional she expresses herself in a way that I can easily understand. She never talks above my head and is far from stiff and aloof. Her counseling style is comforting, nurturing, but still straightforward and raw. She is a breeze to talk to and is far from judgmental, she is understanding and takes the time to really to gain a firm grasp on not just your issue at hand, but who you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go.

    I’m so thankful for Dr. Love’s help, she is an embodiment of her name and given me so much hope and a deeper appreciation for this field.

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      WOW! Thanks Ty! It sounds like your match with Dr. Love was amazing! We're so happy for you, and it sounds like you've been able to really gain some insight from Dr. Love's raw, but kind, and professional help! You've made my day just by reading this, and we hope you continue on your mental health journey!

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Horrible customer support

    • California,
    • May 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The worst customer service ever from some girl (or should I say bot?) named Allison. I emailed with a very simple concern regarding my account, and she sends the most boilerplate response back that had absolutely nothing to do with anything I emailed about. When I responded informing her that I didn't feel my question was appropriately answered, she sent back the SAME response with parts of it bolded now as if I was too dumb to read it the first time. She couldn't take just 30 seconds to type out a genuine response back?

    I ended up just asking for a refund because I didn't want to deal with this, and her next email to me starts with "Thanks for contacting us. We'd be happy to help!" As if this is the first email she's sending to me. You couldn't take two seconds to at least remove that first line from your boilerplate response?

    After a few more email exchanges, she continues to use these boilerplate responses, completely ignoring my request for a refund. It took me calling their hotline number and threatening to sue them to get my refund.

    Advice to everyone else: Don't even bother emailing them trying to get support as they obviously do not care about their customers at all. I actually was excited to use BetterHelp and had no plans of canceling, but this experience completely turned me off to them.

    My counseling experience, although short-lived, was just so-so, hence why I was reaching out to them. But who knows, other counselors on the platform may be better than the one I was assigned.

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

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  • Excellent source of help

    I stumbled upon BetterHelp at a time when I just didn't know where to find help. I felt I was in crisis, and just couldn't wait to go through the process of finding a local counselor, making an appointment, and then seeing him/her weekly. My counselor reached out to me the very next day and was able to help me through a very difficult time. I had no idea there really was such a thing as online counseling, but BetterHelp is legit. My counselor was excellent, skilled, and local, in case I wanted to see her face-to-face.

    I highly recommend this service.

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

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    • May 14, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Annette,

      Thanks for letting us know about your experience on BetterHelp! I'm so happy to hear that you were able to get connected to your counselor quickly on the platform. We're new-ish (we've been around for almost 5 years!), but we're so happy when we hear the news from members that they're really been able to get help in a time of need! That makes us so happy! We hope you have a great day!

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  • Great therapist and great value

    I have been to therapy in the past, but at this stage in my life, scheduling a time to drive to an appointment is not realistic. BetterHelp has been great, and I was matched with a wonderful counselor. It also seems super easy to switch counselors if you are not happy. A 30-minute session with her only takes 30 minutes, and there is no commute, so it is easier to fit into a busy week. We also message at least once during the week. The value is very good, I would pay three times the price to have contact two times a week with a local therapist in office. It is definitely worth it to try, the company really seems like they care and would be easy to work with to help find the right therapist.

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

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