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BetterHelp

Overall Rating

4.7

2396 Customer Reviews

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Summary

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that will pair you with a professionally licensed counselor. Access to counseling can be scheduled at any time, anywhere, and through any smart device. The efficacy of BetterHelp is linked to provider skill and intervention protocols but there are some drawbacks if you fall into certain categories of needs.

Pros

  • Flexibility of schedule that is convenient for your schedule
  • Access to a licensed professional counselor

Cons

  • Results and efficacy are dependent on your paired provider
  • Scheduled counseling sessions will require and will depend on available internet connection and speeds
  • Not covered through insurance

Our Full Review

By Rocklend Davis, Ph. D.

Updated on: Aug 11, 2020

Our mental health is vital throughout our lifetime, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

According to the CDC, our emotional, psychological, and social well-being make up our mental health and help us handle how we deal with stress, relating to others, and making healthy choices.

In 2015, mental illness affected approximately 43 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States.

What is BetterHelp?

There has been an increasing demand for the availability of adequate mental healthcare. BetterHelp can also be thought of as telemental health, which involves the ability to offer mental healthcare across a distance using communication technologies.

Further, the likes of videoconferencing, text messaging, and mobile applications are increasing as well.

A review has indicated the rise of telemental activities in low- and middle-income countries while showing the need to expand these services further to reach more people who need mental health services.

According to their website, BetterHelp may not be the right solution if any of the following are true:

  • You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  • You are a minor or you are under the care of a legal guardian.
  • You are in an urgent crisis or an emergency.
  • You have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness or have been advised to be in psychological supervision or psychiatric care.
  • You were required to undergo therapy or counseling either by a court order or by any other authority.
  • You do not have a device that can connect you to the internet or have a reliable internet connection.

The purpose of this article is to share with you the available research that supports the delivery of online counseling through the BetterHelp platform and to help you determine if this platform is appropriate.

How To Get Started

To get started with BetterHelp, there is a link at the top right of the page that will ask you what type of counseling you are looking for. The options include individual counseling, couples counseling, and teenage counseling.

You will have to answer a series of questions before you get paired with a counselor that may take up to a few hours or a few days.

Once you have set up your account through BetterHelp, you can get counseling based on your needs, availability, and convenience in four ways:

  • Exchanging messages with your counselor
  • Chatting live with your counselor
  • Speaking over the phone with your counselor
  • Video conferencing with your counselor

After being matched with your counselor, there are numerous ways to communicate with first being messaging. You and your counselor will gain 24/7 access to a private and secure dedicated “room” where you can share things that are going on in your life.

Live chat, video, and phone sessions will need to be scheduled with your counselor by clicking a time on their available schedule.

According to BetterHelp, they recommend using their BetterHelp app that can be downloaded from the app store for an iPhone or iPad device.

Android users will need Google Chrome or Firefox on a computer or laptop for video sessions.

Further, video sessions are not currently supported in Internet Explorer or Safari.

Proposed Benefits: Science Determining The Efficacy of Online Counseling

Counseling series may be required when you are experiencing stress, anxiety, relationship troubles, parenting, depression, self-esteem, and anything that is causing interference with your happiness or preventing you from achieving your goals.

Psychoeducational interventions such as face-to-face counseling is classified as a front-line intervention due to its delivery of accurate information to individuals, families, and caregivers about mental health or a specific diagnosis (which may include possible causes and symptoms), management (including associated risks/side-effects) and prognosis, and how affected individuals can stay well.

Also, under the umbrella of mental health is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The effectiveness of CBT has on alleviating depressive symptoms, and lowering the risk of relapse has been studied extensively.

Because BetterHelp can provide you with a licensed counseling professional, it is reasonable to assume that counselors utilizing BetterHelp as a platform may use tailored CBT protocols to target psychiatric disorders beyond depression.

That may include anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders.

Online Counseling

Availability and access to technology are growing, contributing to more innovative ways linking you to services that may have been only accessible in-person.

Increasing in popularity are synchronous (text messaging) written conversations as web-based mental health interventions.

One study was done to review the available literature regarding the evidence of the feasibility and effectiveness of online one-on-one mental health interventions utilizing text-based synchronous chat.

Through the wide range of mental health targets such as anxiety, distress, depression, eating disorders, and addiction, mental health interventions that were transitioned to online showed significant and sustained improvements in mental health outcomes.

The improvements were equivalent but not superior to treatment as usual.

However, the researchers urge that further research is required to determine whether time requirements for online interventions were feasible in clinical practice.

For instance, authors of a review have determined that it is still too early to recommend e-health interventions based on low-quality evidence, especially for children who are under the age of 10.

Safety

A feature of BetterHelp and their synchronous formatting of text messaging is that messages are saved.

However, there are risks to this as the information on your device may not be safe for others who can access your messaging and conversations.

Each counseling session has the options button to “shred” a previous message and will no longer show in your account.

If you wish to have your information or records be released to a third party (Primary Care Physicians, Lawyers, and Insurance companies), you will need to notify your counselor and fill out and sign an authorization form before.

How Much Does BetterHelp Cost?

Membership through BetterHelp ranges from $40 to 70$ per week and you will be billed to your credit card or PayPal account monthly.

You also have the availability to cancel your membership at any time for any reason.

To get further details regarding pricing for membership, you will have to complete a questionnaire.

From there, you will be directed to a page that offers a comparison of BetterHelp versus Traditional In-Office setting, at which they will ask for your payment information.

For an individual membership, you will get unlimited access to text, video, audio messaging, and a weekly live session for $65. As you are being billed every four weeks, the total cost will be $260 monthly.

A la carte services are not listed on their website.

Your subscription and billing cycle will start once you have been paired with a counselor.

Alternatives to BetterHelp

Performing a general search through google will provide you with results to an alternative platform of BetterHelp.

Talkspace is another alternative online platform that provides users with access to licensed therapists to help with mental health.

Starting with Talkspace will require you to perform an online assessment. You will select your therapist from a list of available matches.

Talkspace also has a search bar feature that can allow you to look up in-network partners and providers to work with your employers, health plans, and employee assistance programs to make this service more affordable.

Talkspace offers an array of pricing for its therapy service, and it is not cheap. There are three unlimited therapy messaging subscription services for individuals at Plus, Premium, and Ultimate.

The price range per month for each of the services start at $260 to $396/month with all packages giving you unlimited messaging with your therapist. However, the increase in cost is associated with the live video call.

With the Premium package, you will receive one live 30-minute session, and the Ultimate contains four live 30-minute sessions.

Monthly couples therapy and teenage therapy are also available at $396 and $260, respectively.

Live video calls are available a la carte for a cost of $65 per session.

The Bottom Line

Robust research exists in providing CBT and psychoeducational through counseling sessions.

Still, a lack of consistent research regarding web-based therapy indicates that it may be too early to recommend this service long-term.

While the services that you are getting through BetterHelp may be comparable to face-to-face counseling sessions, reimbursement from insurance may not be covered.

Online counseling should not serve as a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It is important to note that your BetterHelp provider will not make any official diagnosis to fulfill a court order or prescribe any medication.

Meaning your services may be limited by the severity of your condition or urgency of your request.

Certainly, BetterHelp will provide ease and convenience of receiving counseling sessions without leaving the comfort of your own home.

However, you are still required to put in the same effort as if you were in a face-to-face counseling session.

Compared to the alternative, Talkspace, BetterHelp may be a more affordable and reasonable option for online counseling help.

While most insurance providers do not cover mental health, Talkspace may have the ability to lower the cost, but this is dependent on their available partnerships.

It is imperative that you seek approval from your physician before receiving counseling sessions, even if it is from a licensed provider.

Customer Reviews

4.7 Stars out of 2396 Reviews
5 Star:86% 4 Star:6% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:4%
94% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Sep 29, 2022

Unstinting complications

By Noof H. , Doha, Qatar

I can say that there are many things that I haven’t understood about myself, also things that I never thought about, and when I was asked to think about these things' meaning, the more I write and the more I speak I understand myself more and more, and I can see myself getting closer to the core problem.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Fast

On time

Excellent quality

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Sep 28, 2022

Impactful and convenient way to do therapy sessions

By Jennifer M., Atlanta, GA, Verified Reviewer

This program is amazing as it brings clients and clinicians together in an effective manner with a huge piece of the puzzle being convenience!

I always dreaded dashing out of work, fighting city traffic to get to my therapist's office (oh, and the expensive parking lot), arriving frazzled and unnecessarily anxious, perhaps even angry! It was too much. This is far better and I'm in the comfort of my own home!

Also, the fact that these therapists will engage in texts, calls, and video visits in ONE week is just icing on the already amazing cake! I got matched with the ideal therapist for me on the first go. I'm sure that varies for others. But, keep looking because BetterHelp has plenty of fabulous professionals at the ready and I feel we humans deserve better mental, emotional, and social support. Life is a journey, don't go it alone!

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Pros and Cons

Convenience

Quality therapists

Prices

Vagueness on pricing per service/subscription

Initial logging in to the portal wasn't well described

Few weekend and evening session times available

Posted on Sep 25, 2022

Great experience!

By Andrea S., Round Rock, TX, Verified Reviewer

I’m glad I have BetterHelp! It’s such a great and convenient way for me to talk to someone I can trust. And my therapist Stacey is amazing! I know I can always count on her!

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Reasonably priced

Convenient

Game changer

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Sep 25, 2022

Perfect therapy for busy lives

By Lori P., Springfield, MO, Verified Reviewer

I have attempted therapy over the last 40 years. Busy lives, working full time, kids, and cost have always prevented me from getting through my issues. This flexible scheduling, journaling, and ability to contact with a therapist via messaging has given me so much support. It is the perfect platform for my busy life. I am so much more hopeful after starting BetterHelp.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Online platform, video visit

Journaling that therapist can read and respond

Ability to message therapist through week

Cost (but is totally worth it)

In person would be ideal for nonverbal issues but video does great for busy life and better access

Posted on Sep 25, 2022

Professional, convenient, and effective!

By Debra S., Tulsa, OK, Verified Reviewer

I have experienced working with a therapist through BetterHelp and I have found the experience so convenient. Via the phone for me works best and it is a delight to work with the therapist that I’ve been working with. And I feel like I’m getting some help and support in the areas that I need it. I highly recommend this service.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Convenient

Professional and knowledgeable

Providing tools to support me

Scheduling is a little tight

Posted on Sep 25, 2022

Best experience with therapy ever!

By Carrie Z., Santa Clarita, CA, Verified Reviewer

I have had more therapists than I can count over the years. None of which compare to the therapist I found using this service. Plus, it’s nice to be able to have therapy in the comfort of my home. Use of this service is reasonably priced and if the therapist selected for you is not a good fit, you can request another one until you find one that meets your needs and you vibe well with.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Friendly, experienced, professional therapists

They will work with you on price so it’s affordable

You don’t need to leave your home for a session

Access to a large variety of licensed therapists

Flexible scheduling for sessions

Helpful and efficient customer service

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Sep 25, 2022

BetterHelp worked for me...unexpectedly

By Ileana B., New Jersey, Verified Reviewer

I like digital health and trying new apps. I signed up on a whim to check how the app works, what it offers, and maybe find a therapist.

I did not sign up for the sliding scale because I didn't know what the rules were. The initial price was high and I waited to be matched with a therapist to see if it was worth it. The first therapist I was matched with was meh and canceled before we even got the chance to meet.

BetterHelp offered me a better price and I took it to test out the system, thinking that no good therapist would accept this.

I was very honest in my description of what I was looking for. I am reading a lot and I wanted someone who would know who's Brene Brown or Gretchen Rubin.

Finally, I was matched with an excellent therapist. I'm very happy, and the whole process took less than 2 weeks, at a competitive price. I would have been lucky to get here without this app, by just calling and trying out local therapists.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Affordability

Ability to share profiles for easier matching

High quality resources

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Sep 23, 2022

Everyone should try therapy, and BetterHelp is the place to try it

By Tom P., Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Verified Reviewer

Having gone through a tough period in my life, it became clear that I needed to sort some issues out with therapy. BetterHelp made the process to get started a breeze and matched me with a therapist perfectly suited to my needs. Meeting my therapist over video call made it easy to fit sessions into my busy schedule, and being able to message my therapist whenever a thought occurred to me was super helpful. I'm now at the stage where I no longer need therapy, and I'm living a happier and healthier life, and BetterHelp played a big role in getting me there.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Quality of therapy

Convenience

Affordability

Video call only available through Google Chrome

Posted on Sep 23, 2022

The best thing I have ever done for myself

By Charlotte S., Milton, FL, Verified Reviewer

When I was seeking therapy I knew I needed a therapist who was LGTBQ+ friendly. That was not available in the area I live, so I chose to use BetterHelp. The BetterHelp platform has so much to offer. I loved their groupinars and my therapist was amazing. My life has been transformed thanks to the help I have received from BetterHelp.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

My therapist

The Groupinars

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Sep 23, 2022

Don’t be afraid to look for help

By Alessandro B., Italy, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp really helps you connect with someone that can help you. After a short assessment, I was able to connect with the right expert I needed and he’s been fantastic!

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Efficient

Messages

Live sessions

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Sep 23, 2022

Worth it

By Kelly J., Scotland, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has allowed me to meet a great therapist who helps me to deal with my problems while being very much supported. BetterHelp has great facilities that can be used on their app. The webinars that are hosted by experienced therapists are so good. Great information and eye-opening. Very glad I joined this wonderful team.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Easiness of connecting with therapist

Webinars

No “cons” were specified in this review

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