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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 2840 Reviews
5 Star:86% 4 Star:7% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:4%
94% Recommend This Service
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Posted on May 18, 2023

Better help for me

By Sarah A. , Saudi Arabia

BetterHelp helped me go to therapy in the comfort of my home and it’s very affordable and I really appreciate the fast response from the customer service, they are flexible and understanding. Also have a very professional and experienced therapist.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons


Flexible hours

Easy communication

It gives you a limited time like a month to finish your sessions

Sometimes the low quality of the video but this is very rare

Posted on May 18, 2023

Thankful for BetterHelp

By A B., Indiana, Verified Reviewer

There are no available mental health providers where I live. BetterHelp has been affordable. My therapist has been helpful, especially when I needed someone to talk to.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Easy to use

Somewhat affordable

Convenient to my schedule

That my insurance doesn't pay for it

Posted on May 18, 2023

Amazing, convenient, on-demand, professional help!

By Melanie B., Kalamazoo, MI, Verified Reviewer

I love the platform — super user-friendly! And the therapists I’ve worked with are fantastic. I have been with my current therapist for almost a year, and I look forward to each session with her. BetterHelp is such a convenient way to connect with my therapist virtually, with flexible scheduling options and a variety of communication methods (though I prefer video sessions). Can’t say enough about BetterHelp!

Length of Use: 2+ years

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

Pros and Cons


Quality of services


Video platform used to be difficult to use (no longer!)

Posted on May 18, 2023

The BEST help!

By Lynnette C., Ontario, CA, Verified Reviewer

I have a great therapist and listener. She has created a welcoming environment via video sessions that is personal and friendly. During my sessions with my therapist, I feel heard about the issues I am dealing with in my life (fear, anger, and grief). It is easy to talk with my therapist. She has provided me with helpful strategies that challenge my negative or unrealistic thoughts. This has improved my ability to focus my thoughts in a positive and realistic way.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

The video sessions are convenient

Personal and friendly connection with therapist

Very cost effective with my budget

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on May 18, 2023

Just what I needed!

By Shanna C., Collinsville, IL, Verified Reviewer

I learned about BetterHelp from a podcast I regularly listen to. I knew I was sliding down a slippery slope with my depression and anxiety, but I had never gone to therapy before, and I was unsure how to find a reliable counselor/therapist in my area and was nervous to try it for the first time. I cannot express how thankful I am to have tried BetterHelp! It was easy to find a therapist who fit my needs and preferences. I have a very busy life outside of work, so the convenience of video calls was a lifesaver. I was so glad not to have to drive to an appointment! I know that virtually meeting with a therapist will not be the right fit for everyone, but it was exactly what I needed to work through my tangle of mental health issues and experience healing in this season.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Convenience of video/phone sessions

I wasn’t limited to therapists who live in my immediate geographical area

Financial aid opportunities

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on May 18, 2023

Service and quality

By Cara W., Scotland, Verified Reviewer

The service BetterHelp provides is wonderful. They help people from all over the globe and not only offer sessions with a professional tailored to your specific needs, but they also offer group classes that talk about subjects like trauma, grief, anger management, and they have LGBT classes.

It's all online-based and is great as they have various styles of therapy sessions to suit everyone.

The therapist lets you set the goals and pace of the session as well as when the next session will be. It may seem daunting at first, but your therapist will make you feel comfortable straight away.

I got matched with Dr. Pott-Pepperman, who helped me talk about my trauma and the emotional/physical abuse my previous partner had put me through before I started my therapy sessions I couldn't open up about this, but after my sessions, I feel okay to open up about it as I was a victim who lived through an awful thing, but that doesn't make me an awful person, in fact, I have come out of each therapy session feeling stronger and empowered as the more we discuss the trauma the more I realize my trauma does not define me.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

The therapist is tailored to my needs

The therapists are friendly and understanding of your situations

It's easy to book or reschedule an appointment to fit around your lifestyle

The time zone difference

Posted on May 18, 2023

Easy way to seek help

By Richard H., Colonial Heights, VA, Verified Reviewer

Great way to get help without feeling so pressured or letting anxiety send you running. You can start by messaging a therapist before even scheduling a session, and it's basically text messaging, so you don't have to respond immediately and dive straight in. Once you're comfortable, you can set a live session. This can be text, audio, or full video. Did my first session as text only, so I still didn't feel pressured as I eased into getting used to talking to my therapist...who is a great listener!

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

No pressure

Stay home

Freedom to change anything, anytime

While certainly less expensive than most, still struggling with cost

Sometimes the video session/application doesn't like my phone

Posted on May 17, 2023

It's great, but is very costly

By Nicole D., Sharon, PA, Verified Reviewer

I love the BetterHelp platform. First of all, they matched me with a therapist who really meets my needs. Secondly, I love that I can write journals that are able to be shared with my therapist. Third, I love that I have the means to reach out to my therapist whenever necessary, so to speak, through chat. While chat is limited, I can write to my therapist and get a response, usually within a day. Sometimes not too long after I've sent my message.

The only real issue I have with it is the price. You need to consider first that they do not bill insurance, it is all an out-of-pocket expense. $260 for 4 weeks with weekly private sessions, or $160 for 4 weeks with only ONE private session, additional sessions costing $60 each. For me, $160 is pretty steep to ask for only one session. While the other features are available, I don't think they are quite as valuable. Unfortunately, the only other option is to completely cancel therapy through BetterHelp. That is not possible for me to do either, because I have a long way to go before I am able to be without a therapist, and I wouldn't want to start over with someone new elsewhere.

With that, I will conclude that if you can afford it, then absolutely I will highly recommend it. But if you are lower income, I would recommend looking into something else.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

How well they matched me to what I needed

The journal

The chat

High cost

Cost per additional private sessions

Don't bill insurance/pay 100% out of pocket

Posted on May 17, 2023

Best therapy

By Rachel P., Atlanta, GA, Verified Reviewer

My experience with BetterHelp has been nothing but amazing. They paired me with a great therapist that has been able to help me. The customer service is great as well. They are quick (within 24 hours) to respond to questions and I love the groupinars that they offer. Additionally, discounts are available for those that may be unemployed. I would highly recommend BetterHelp.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Great therapist

Customer service

Multiple options for therapy

Great groupinars

Costs could be more affordable

Posted on May 17, 2023

Quality and convenience

By Kristin H., Corsicana, TX, Verified Reviewer

My therapist is a great listener and her skills really fit my reason for seeking therapy. I was matched with her right away and we are a good fit. You can’t beat the convenience of talking to a professional anytime right from your phone.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons


Level of expertise


No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on May 17, 2023


By Veronica M., Birmingham, AL, Verified Reviewer

I would recommend BetterHelp to anyone considering therapy. My introverted nature makes this the perfect safe space. I have the option of talking about anything and everything on my couch in the privacy of my own home!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

The therapist I was matched with

The simplicity of the setup

The price

The app crashes a little too much

Showing 1-11 of 2840

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