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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.


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


  • 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.


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 2659 Reviews
5 Star:87% 4 Star:6% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:4%
94% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Feb 5, 2023

Great service.

By C John L., Arlington, VA, Verified Reviewer

So far, this counselor has been very helpful and empathetic. Candace is professional and correct and very punctual. I look forward to working with her.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons


Ease of use

Ability to have sessions on the go

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Feb 5, 2023

Just do it

By Lisa D., Saint Eustache, Manitoba, Canada, Verified Reviewer

Therapy can be beneficial to anyone. BetterHelp makes it affordable, and out of the comfort of your own home. I highly recommend the platform.

Length of Use: 2+ years

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

Pros and Cons

Do it from home

At my pace

Great customer service

Can be a bit overwhelming getting the right match at first

Posted on Feb 5, 2023


By Anonymous .., United Kingdom, Verified Reviewer

Being able to choose my therapist and bring the Lord into our sessions has been so wonderful and truly feel a change and big impact.

I live and praise Jesus for giving me this gift in all its ways.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Bringing in religion into our conversations

Short but perfect session

Really feel like my problems are being sorted

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Feb 5, 2023

Great service!

By Samantha A., Smithfield, NC, Verified Reviewer

I really like the BetterHelp platform for therapy. It's easy to use and at a reasonable price. My therapist is probably one of the best I have had in years. She really listens and gives great feedback. She has helped be navigate resources, job loss, divorce, and so much more. I really feel like I have grown with her in comparison to other therapists I have used in the past.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Being able to message my therapist

Quality of care I'm receiving

Telehealth videos

Not being able to contact my therapist with out payment

Not being able to answer questions conveniently about the services

Posted on Feb 5, 2023

A world of difference

By Linda S., Middleburg, PA, Verified Reviewer

I have suffered from major depressive disorder for 18 years, due in large part to severe chronic migraines. BetterHelp matched me with a therapist who was knowledgeable about migraines in addition to depression. I could schedule my sessions as often as I needed. My therapist was also available through messaging and journaling. She gave me tasks to complete at our first visit. Simple, and doable in my condition, they made a world of difference. I have continued to make steady progress, despite setbacks in my physical health.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Not being charged by the session

Multiple ways to interact with therapist

The thought put in to matching me with therapist

My insurance doesn’t participate with you

Posted on Feb 4, 2023

Therapist assistance

By Elisabeth C. , San Francisco, CA

Linda has been very positive and helpful for me so far. We have not had a session as of yet. But hopefully, we will very soon. I am really looking forward to that. Very truly and from the bottom of my heart.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons




The time it took to find a therapist


Confidence building

Posted on Feb 4, 2023

Therapist doesn't turn up

By Catherine P. , London, England

Pretty disappointed, this is meant to be a service for people who could be vulnerable. Sure, I'm not in a crisis right now but what if I need advice or assistance and the therapist isn't available?

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Ease of access


Posted on Feb 4, 2023


By Gus T. , Chicago, IL

My experience with BetterHelp and Thomas has been great thus far. I love the platform and the additional resources available.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons




No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Feb 4, 2023

Reap the rewards

By Celeste C., Indiana, Verified Reviewer

I had an amazing experience with BetterHelp. The preliminary questions really helped me find the perfect connection, which is important. I really like the convenience of it being online. It’s easier to express yourself from the comfort of your own home. I can’t say enough positive things about them.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Being in the comfort of my own home

Quick response, not waiting a month for an appointment

How well they found the right person for me

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Feb 4, 2023

Might be a get the job done kind of app

By May K., Cincinnati, OH, Verified Reviewer

I don’t think this is like real therapy. I feel like it’s more like you got a friend you can talk to once a week and that’s pretty much it. I don’t know. I just feel like for over $200 it was not worth it to me. I thought this app would be more convenient but it’s just like a having someone to talk to for 30 minutes and then that’s it. The two therapists I talked to it just seemed like they were playing their role, but that was pretty much it. I didn’t get much out of it.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Posted on Feb 4, 2023

When I need it

By Rachel T., Nampa, ID, Verified Reviewer

I love BetterHelp because I am able to attend at home, which is convenient with my current schedule as I also work from home. I also love how I can message my therapist any time throughout the week if I am struggling with something between our sessions. I can't get that from an agency.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

The ability to reach out to my therapist between sessions


Easy to navigate the platform

Sometimes the connection is bad and the contact gets dropped

Showing 1-11 of 2659

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