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BetterHelp

Overall Rating

4.7

1789 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 1789 Reviews
5 Star:86% 4 Star:6% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:5%
93% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Oct 22, 2021

Extremely simple and effective

By Trevor S., Denver, CO, Verified Reviewer

As a tech-centric person, a video-based mechanism for mental health seems like a much better option to me than driving to an office once a week. I found video calls to be highly effective and the sign-up and user experience were extremely simple. My therapist really helped me work through some significant stressors in my life and I was able to really progress towards some goals of mine that had been lurking on the back burner. My therapist was responsive and listened well to what I had to say, even though I was mostly non-directional.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Ease of enrollment

Effectiveness of the therapist

Simple interface

No option for less than weekly sessions

For folks like me who just want mental health maintenance, it might be nice to have a "program" to follow

Posted on Oct 22, 2021

Paying for no help

By G D. , Phoenix, AZ

Paid for two months to have the therapist cancel the day of the appointment. I have received no help or attention. This company will take your money and leave you feeling even more depressed than ever.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Posted on Oct 22, 2021

Help is here

By Deborah B. , Perth Amboy, NJ

The kind of therapist that I asked for I got, and she is wonderful. After the first session, I felt comfortable talking about everything that was troubling me.

One of the greatest things is they aren't judgemental when you are afraid to open up. I would recommend this service to anyone who needs and wants a therapist.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Professional

Caring

Not judgement

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Oct 21, 2021

Excellent

By Elly-Louise B., Sacramento, CA, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has provided me with an incredible therapist that was matched to what I needed within the time period they provided. As I was in a crisis when I looked for therapy, I was pretty resistant at first as I didn’t know what to expect. After my first session, I kicked myself for not starting sooner. I’m in my early 20’s and have just started therapy. It’s never too late and it’s never too early either!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Quick response time

Personal care

Feel very listened to and cared for

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Oct 21, 2021

BetterHelp saved my life

By Megan T., Florida, Verified Reviewer

If it weren't for BetterHelp, I wouldn't have met my therapist. This service and my therapist saved my life. Currently, as of 10/11/2021, a TikTok series of videos has been bashing this service. Forger TikTok - Neisha saved my life!

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

The therapist

Communication

Convenience

Cost

Call quit

Posted on Oct 21, 2021

Got stress? Choose BetterHelp.

By Sheila M., Florence, SC, Verified Reviewer

I’ve had counseling before but it seemed therapeutic. BetterHelp provides better help. The understand what you’re feeling not only by the book but self experiences. You won’t feel like you’re alone with your struggles.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Time spent

Understanding counselor

Answers that helped

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Oct 21, 2021

Working for me

By Carol K., Portland, OR, Verified Reviewer

I chose BetterHelp because I couldn’t find an available therapist through my searches on my insurance website or through referrals. BetterHelp was advertised in a podcast that I listen to and I decided to try it. I filled out the form on their site and was assigned a therapist within 24 hours of filling out the form. I like my therapist and find my work with them very helpful. The fact that I can change therapists at any time is a nice added benefit but I’m happy with who I have. I also like the worksheets and journals, which I have used to better understand myself.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Found a therapist right away

Can change therapists at any time

Useful worksheets and journals to help better understand myself

Chat any time with your therapist

Payment is up front before you know who you’re working with

Posted on Oct 20, 2021

Great platform for those who may not have access to a physical office or are not comfortable going to one

By Brandon D., Bronx, NY, Verified Reviewer

This was a great platform that I was referred to by someone as well as saw ads about on IG. The questionnaire that I filled out in the beginning to get connected with my therapist was to the point. I was able to list why I was seeking therapy and who I would most likely want to be my therapist.

I'm a black millennial from an urban city in America so this was extremely important and I got lucky and was connected in about a day or two to a black woman who specialized in the reasons I was seeking therapy. I was able to see an "about me" section that listed all the credentials and experience of the therapist, which made me feel very receptive and trusting about this journey of vulnerability I was ready to embark on with this person.

I had amazing sessions that featured techniques to help me utilize my memory to go back and deal with alot of my past, as well as coping skills to help me deal with the effects of my past for present and future experiences. It was a safe space for me to express anything I wanted and I was not pressured to give any information that I wasn't ready to provide or deal with.

I would definitely recommend this service to anyone and everyone. The only real con to this is that they don't accept insurance so it's all out of pocket, which I hope will be changing soon because accessibility is key. There are alot of people who could benefit from this that may not have the out-of-pocket money to pay for these expenses. Other than that, I had a GREAT experience.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Effective therapy with coping skills, techniques, and a safe non-judgemental space for expression

Specific support group therapy sessions are a great touch to show that a lot of us go through the same things so we are not alone

Unlimited messaging was a great feature for anything that I may have a question or comment about

Can be expensive, please find a way to take insurance, lower income experience a lot of mental health issues as well

Please accommodate people more based on gender, culture, and ethnicity - it will help clients feel more receptive and relate more

Glitches in chatroom therapy sessions, sometimes we can get randomly kicked out of the rooms

Posted on Oct 20, 2021

Excellent therapy at affordable prices

By Julie T., Phoenix, AZ, Verified Reviewer

Although it took me a while to open up, my therapist didn’t judge. She checked in with me when I wanted to avoid it but didn’t pressure. When I realized I felt safe with this person I started sharing more. She is appreciative of my efforts to get healthier and happier in the most supportive way. Her thoughts provide the feedback I had been missing in my isolation. She rocks!

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Availability

Support

Price

My insurance doesn’t cover it

Posted on Oct 20, 2021

Finding myself

By Joanna L., Kissimmee, FL, Verified Reviewer

From the first session, I learned so much about myself. Every session there is so much to talk about and laugh about myself.

Thank you.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Found out who I want to be

Learning to put myself first and not to be so hard on myself

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Oct 20, 2021

I recommend it to everyone

By Maria L., Rochester, NY, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has changed my life. As a professional who has always had a difficult schedule, BetterHelp has allowed me to continue my therapy from the comfort of my own home. The ease of access and easy and anonymous platform to help search for a new therapist has been a game-changer and has really helped me grow as a person by finding a therapist I can really work with.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Pros and Cons

Accessibility

Anonymity

Ease of finding a counselor

Cost - but it's equivalent to outside therapist

Sometimes the connection fails

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