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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100 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 71 4 star: 8 3 star: 1 2 star: 2 1 star:  18
Bottom Line: 79% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 100
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  • Good option for busy schedules

    • Sanford, FL,
    • Jan 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp's online counseling is convenient for people with hectic schedules that don't have room for regular 9-5 office visits. Counseling can be via email, group session, or one-on-one video chat; just make sure the counselor assigned to you communicates in a way that works for you. It's also easy to request a new counselor if needed.

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

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  • Highly recommend

    • Thousand Oaks, CA,
    • Jan 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I would highly recommend BetterHelp to anyone that hasn't been able to get the help they need because of the cost. BetterHelp is highly affordable. I signed up and they matched me with a therapist right away, and the therapist contacted me right away. My therapist has been extremely helpful in helping me.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    BetterHelp works for me

    I've been told most of my life that I need to see a therapist to deal with my underlying family issues. As my physical and mental health grew worse and worse, I started to think about therapy seriously. But I have always been closed off to people, especially strangers but even to close friends, so I didn't think therapy would work for me.

    Then I found BetterHelp. Since the therapist is communicating with you over chat messaging, I didn't feel like I was being forced to bare my soul to a stranger. I'm not being forced at all, in fact. I can message my therapist any time I feel like it from my phone and say as much or as little as I want and she gets back to me quickly throughout the day. It's like sending a text message to someone to vent about your day or the problem you're dealing with, and knowing that someone is listening to you and doesn't judge you for saying that or doing that.

    Because most of the communication is done over chat, it can feel impersonal to some people, but I find it relieving. Since I'm not looking a person in the face, and they aren't staring at me watching for my body language, I can be a bit more honest with them and myself. It's impersonal, so there are no consequences to what you say or do.

    Every week I have a "live session" with my therapist where we can either talk on the phone or video chat. Since I like not having to talk to someone face-to-face, I opt for the phone call. It's very discreet, the therapist calls you through BetterHelp, so they never see your actual phone number. During the live session, my therapist asks questions about messages I've sent her over the week and digs a little deeper into why I act the way I do in various situations. It is still a little uncomfortable for me to talk to someone about my issues, even over the phone, but it is helpful to get immediate feedback on my thoughts and nice to receive validation. I'm beginning to open up to my therapist more and rely on these live sessions.

    The first therapist I was matched with was very obviously not going to help me, so I opted to switch therapists before canceling my subscription. Yes, you have to pay for the service up front and there's no trial period, but that makes sense because when do you get to try out a therapist for free anyways? It was very easy to switch therapists. They gave me a list of potential matches and I chose the one that I felt would be able to handle my situation best. I'm very glad I did choose her because she has been very supportive, understanding, and creative in her suggestions on how I can deal with things.

    I think BetterHelp is very effective for me and is starting to get me comfortable with the idea of seeing a therapist in-person. My friend who likes the personal nature of therapy doesn't think she'd like it, but for those people, there's always video chat live sessions. I think having easy access to tell your therapist how you feel at any given moment throughout the day is extremely helpful and I appreciate it a lot. I think BetterHelp works for me at this stage in my life and can work for most people if they give it a chance.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Best money ever spent

    Let me begin by being informative about pricing. A regular Therapist will charge around $200-$300 for an initial appointment and between $100-$200 PER SESSION. BetterHelp charges up to $180 a month.

    I have been seeing my therapist, Pamela, since I began the program. She is consistently available through their email system, and we have weekly sessions. My first week, we had three live sessions. I was working through some really tough stuff, and Pamela made time for me THE VERY FIRST NIGHT ON HERE, for a solid half hour.

    She has been an amazing supporter and just, overall, a really great person to have in my corner.

    I saw a few reviews about some people not being happy with their therapist. BetterHelp DOES give you the option to work with a new therapist, should you not be satisfied with your current one.

    They do charge monthly, but the monthly bill here is less than one session at an office.

    All in all, BetterHelp is truly amazing, and I would recommend my therapist 100% of the time!

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

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  • Grateful for BetterHelp!

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Jan 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    After toying around with the idea of trying online counseling for months, I finally worked up enough nerve to take the plunge, and am so happy I did!

    When I contacted BetterHelp and took the brief questionnaire, I was quickly assigned to the perfect match for me, Dr. Daryl Tempkin. My apprehension was alleviated when I read Dr. D's bio page; very impressive credentials and experience! From our very first telephone session, I was optimistic that I came to the right place for help.

    Over the years, I've consulted with several therapists in an office setting, but I much prefer communicating from the comfort of home. And the wonderful support staff has been very responsive to my questions and messages. The fees are more than reasonable. With Dr. Daryl Temkin's help, there's been so much improvement in my relationship issues and anxiety problems. BetterHelp Online counseling has opened the door for a much-enhanced life for me. I am very grateful!

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful
    Updated review

    Good conselor

    The counselor was good, but it is management who gave me a bad experience.

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

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    • Jan 10, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Darling,

      Thanks for your review. We do see that all of your emails, we have been responded to within our one business day policy (including the holidays) and that you were able to receive and read them. Please don't hesitate to contact us at contact@betterhelp.com if you have any other questions.

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    • Previous review
    • Jan 8, 2018

    Stay away from this company

    Every serious company should be able to at least answer a customer's email. I forgot to cancel the free trial and just like a minute later after they charged my credit card, I emailed them to reimburse the money, explaining also that I forgot to cancel the free trial. Guess what? They simply don't care, and they have not even answered my emails. Apparently, all they care is about the money.

    Stay away from them or your mental health could become worse.

    (read moreread less...)

  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    BetterHelp did not make me feel better

    • Singapore,
    • Jan 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Proceed with caution. I wished I had come to an external site for a review of BetterHelp before signing up with them.

    I just finished one-month counseling with a counselor on BetterHelp. I came out angry and frustrated at the counselor and my issue not resolved.

    I found my counselor to be superficial and inauthentic. Yes, he sent me lots of messages (every day or every other day), which sounded nice at first instance, but every time it is the same pre-written copy-and-paste message.

    I went into counseling for my procrastination issue, but I received general messages like "I understand your anxiety and stress issue" multiple times with no mention about how to deal with procrastination. From a scale of 1-10, I think I read the words anxiety, stress, and depression 9 times as opposed to procrastination. If I stayed on longer I think I might start to believe I have anxiety and depression issues!

    I was given worksheets to work with, and I did them diligently, yet the counselor came back with all flowery, kindness messages (which is fine), but no reference back to what I have written and no real advice. It is as though he never read through the given worksheets which details my issues and it was just summed up as "I understand you have a lot of suffering."

    Am I being brainwashed here that I have a lot of suffering?

    As with some other reviews I have read, the counselors are just out to get good ratings, and they don't really care.

    And I agree, better save for proper one-on-one counseling.

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

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    • Jan 12, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Mel, thanks for your feedback. We're sorry to hear about your experience. While you're a member of BetterHelp, you can change counselors at any time in case your current counselor is not a good fit. Counselor styles vary, and it sounds like this may have been a case here. Again we apologize and thank you for using our services.

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    No pills, real help and healing

    • Ontario, Canada,
    • Jan 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So far and I'm going to continue, but I have been blessed by mom to be able to pay for this until I can get back on my feet. I've been sitting doing nothing for 8 months, didn't want to eat, got my calories from beer and got stoned all day long. After talking to my counselor for the last 2 to 3 weeks, I've cut my drinking down, I got a job, and I'm starting to contribute to the society I thought I was a burden and a waste of time for. I hope this helps someone else like me. No one is alone.

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

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    • Jan 12, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi James! First off, CONGRATULATIONS on your new job! You said it perfectly in that "no one is alone." We're so happy to hear that you have made strides towards being your best self, and hope you continue! We are cheering you on!

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  • Great way to get help

    • New Liberty, IA,
    • Jan 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This has been a great tool for therapy for a single mom that drives 2-3 hours a day and works a full-time job. It gives me the ability to work the much-needed help into my schedule and have a constant connection when needed.

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

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    • Jan 12, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks, Liz! We're so glad you're able to get in touch with your counselor despite your hectic schedule! We hope things continue to go well, and please drive safe!

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Review of BetterHelp.com

    This website says that you can cancel your subscription yourself at any time by logging into your account. This is not true; you cannot cancel your subscription without asking your counselor about it. This is not disclosed prior to registration. Also, there is no information about refunds or a minimum number of months prior to registering, which is sketchy to me.

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

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    • Jan 12, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Elisabeth,

      Thanks for your feedback. The counselors on BetterHelp are licensed professionals and put in considerable time and effort to review your case and begin communication with you. The cancelation process allows for you to leave valuable feedback about your experience that helps the counselor reflect and possibly even work to make improvements in their practice. Additionally, clients quitting without any notice to the counselor may cause counselors alarm or worry.

      There is no minimum number of months you need to subscribe to BetterHelp, and can let your counselor know you'd like to quit counseling at any time!

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Not real help

    • Jan 4, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I came upon BetterHelp.

    BetterHelp is about business. Clean and simple.

    The client is not a priority. You are just pushed around and the counselors want to finish fast and do the minimum to get a good rating, while you want to be heard and your issues sorted.

    Do NOT bother. Get a proper therapist who is well recommended by someone you know outside of BetterHelp.

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

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    • Jan 12, 2018

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Hsien-

      We're sorry to hear about your experience. All counselors are licensed on the platform, and all have different styles. We apologize that the service is not what you were looking for.

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