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.

Pro tip: All new BetterHelp members are automatically enrolled in a 7-day trial, which can be canceled without obligation for any reason. However, it’s important to note that the company will charge your credit card for one month upfront. Then, if you cancel your subscription within 7 days, this money will be refunded.

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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64 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.3
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 47 4 star: 7 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  9
Bottom Line: 83% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 64
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  • BetterHelp is the perfect way to go through therapy

    • Klondike, TX,
    • Nov 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am in treatment for severe anxiety and do take medications. My doctor recommended that I go through therapy to help in my recovery. She referred a therapist to me. The one thing I didn't want to do is take time to drive to therapy once a week. Well, then the answer came. I came across an ad for BetterHelp on Facebook, and I thought that maybe it was the perfect answer. Online therapy at the tip of your fingers, at home. So I went to the site and joined.

    I've got to say, I love it! This is better than once a week therapy because I speak to my licensed therapist Monday through Friday just by sending messages back and forth. Should something come up, I can contact her immediately.

    This is the second week I have been talking to my therapist and already I am making progress. She gives me really helpful advice and sends me worksheets with various exercises. I have come to realize how what I'm thinking leads to anxiety and we are working to recognize those thoughts and turn them around to the positive. I am learning how to relax.

    One big step I have taken, and this is only in two weeks is that before I started therapy, I would only do one errand a day, no matter what. It would make me extremely anxious to stop at another location after doing one errand. I just wanted to do that and go home. Well, yesterday and the day before yesterday, I went on two errands at a time. People may think so what? But from someone dealing with severe anxiety, this is a VERY BIG DEAL!

    I am so glad I came across BetterHelp, and I recommend that anyone needing therapy for anything use their services. They have licensed therapists that you can talk to from the comfort of your own home. Oh, and the price, it is so affordable. And, if you are like me, you will make wonderful progress, maybe even in a short time.

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

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  • BetterHelp have been a great help to me

    • Gauteng, South Africa,
    • Nov 15, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp is a great way to get guidance and help with professional and greatly equipped counselors .

    I have been working with one of BetterHelp's counselors for a week, and it has helped me to have clarity over my situation and to know exactly which steps to take to overcome my obstacles in life dealing with depression and anxiety.

    It's a great way to get professional help with complete privacy. I would definitely highly recommend BetterHelp to others.

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

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  • BetterHelp is great. Highly recommended.

    • Bay Area, CA,
    • Nov 14, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    It's been three weeks since I signed up with BetterHelp. There is the BetterHelp website and model, and then there's the actual counselor you get assigned.

    The website itself is fine, no major complaints, though there are some UI improvements they could make. First of all, the discussion is one long thread. Maybe allow some time for organization? Also, hiding the left side panel would be a good preference to add. I like the internal email system model of therapy versus face to face. Why? It's cheaper, I don't have to drive there, and I get as much time as I want to think about the questions he asks and my answers.

    Of course, it's the counselor that makes the $265 monthly fee worth it or not. I lucked out and got assigned Jeremy Rhodes, who has been great. Very insightful, understanding and he asks me questions that really look at myself and the issues I'm facing.

    The monthly fee is really inexpensive when you compare to face to face therapy and having to drive to the facility. Even if you have coverage, this is a great deal. If you pay out of pocket, it's an even better deal!

    I strongly recommend both the BetterHelp website and Jeremy.

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

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  • Friendship combined with expertise

    • Oklahoma,
    • Nov 9, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was very unsure of what my experience with BetterHelp would be like, but it has been nothing but helpful! My counselor's advice is always spot on and helpful, but sometimes, it's even just nice to know that you have someone there to listen after a bad day.

    I would HIGHLY recommend BetterHelp to others, especially those who are not near any therapists or have a difficult time fitting physical appointments into their schedule.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks Alana! We're so happy to hear that your counselor's advice is always spot on and helpful! That's AWESOME and we couldn't be more happy for you!

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  • Rubbish

    • Somerset, United Kingdom,
    • Nov 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I registered for an account, and they told me to wait 24 hours for a therapist. Three days later I get an email telling me that BetterHelp is not suitable for me. My anxiety has now been so bad. I've even had to stay off school.

    Don't bother with this crappy service.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks for letting us know, Jess. We understand that online counseling is not the best resource for everyone at this moment, and we apologize. You can utilize any of the free resources that we provided you in our email to seek any additional help that you may need.

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Excellent help in online format

    • Silver Springs, FL,
    • Nov 8, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had tried BetterHelp before and was not happy with the counselor I was assigned, and although it was very easy to change counselors, I decided to stop using them at that point. A couple of years later, I decided to try them again and got the most excellent counselor I could have imagined. She has made a HUGE difference in my life.

    The platform is very good, easy to use, and you get frequent interactions. Not for ACUTE issues but superb for those longer life issues that need frequent smaller doses of attention and assistance. I would really recommend this program to anyone who wants counseling but cannot find it locally because of time constraints or costs. Try BetterHelp.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Wow, second time's a charm Nora! Thanks for giving us another chance. We're glad to hear that your second time with BetterHelp has been helpful and made a huge difference in your life!

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  • Absolutely the best app for your head

    Great application for therapy on the go, in the home, or where ever you need it. It's amazing to be able to put your thoughts into the interface as they happen and not have to wait and keep everything bottled up waiting for your next therapy appt. Counsellors are prompt with an email response to any issues you raise and supplemented with some phone or Skype therapy, and you have the best alternative to standing therapy appointments in an office.

    If you are not using BetterHelp, you should definitely try it, and you will be hooked. Online counseling is so easy and so helpful.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks, Sean! We're glad you're able to use BetterHelp anywhere! It sounds like your experience has been stupendous with your counselor. We wish you all the best as you continue your time with us, and beyond! Thanks again!

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  • BetterHelp is an amazing service!

    I am a military veteran and a survivor of crime and trauma. BetterHelp is an amazing tool for people needing help at any time. The chat room like feel allows me to write my thoughts and also have a record of my doctor's thoughts I can go back to. My counselor has helped me in so many areas of my life and work. I am not sure where I would be at this time without his ideas and time!

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks, James. First off, on this day especially and all days of the year, we appreciate your sacrifice and service. Thank you. We are so happy to hear about your experience. We hope your counselor, and having our platform is going to continue to be a resource of help on your wellness journey. Thank you!

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  • Helping ease the hurt, sadness and confusion can start right now, really

    I live in a small, rural community, miles away from the nearest counselor. Although I have started seeing a professional counselor, it is rare to get an appointment in an emergency. I had a crisis situation occur and, in desperation, decided to check the internet to see if there was such a thing as urgent care for a mental crisis. To my great relief, there is.

    BetterHelp just sounded like a good place to start. The process of getting to communicate with a counselor was relatively quick. I was able to start communicating with a good counselor within a couple of hours, at the most. My counselor is smart, intuitive, experienced, directional, helpful and compassionate. A very good fit for me.

    BetterHelp is highly professional and reliable. This was an answer to prayer. I'm getting better!

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Jeanne! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. We're so happy that you found us in your time of need, and that you were able to get through a tough time with the limited resources in your area. We hope you're able to continue to get better, and thank you for letting us know!

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  • Great therapist there, good service

    The best thing about BetterHelp is that I could find there a great therapist - Terry Carreiro. She is an incredibly experienced and professional therapist, who could help me understand a lot of issues, was very supportive, energizing and motivating and gave me practical methods to change my behavior the way I wanted it.

    The BetterHelp service is pretty well; easy communication, flexible payment schemes, and decent contact quality.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks for letting us know about your experience with Terry, Mikhail! We're very happy for you and your counselor! We hope things continue to go well, and wish you all the best.

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  • Love this format

    I love using this format to communicate with my therapist. I don’t have to drive and get dressed to have a session. Makes life a lot easier and less expensive! I like the fact that they have hundreds if not more qualified therapist at your disposal. The questionnaire helps determine the best therapist that matches your criteria. I would definitely and have other family member use this site.

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

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    • Nov 10, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Counseling in your pajamas or sweats! We love that idea too, and there would be no hassle with trying to find parking. We're so happy for you Carmen, and thanks for letting us know about your experience so far! Thank you!

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Showing 1-11 of 64

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