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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213 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 157 4 star: 10 3 star: 1 2 star: 3 1 star:  42
Bottom Line: 78% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 213
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through. Learn More Here
  • 100% yes

    • Illinois,
    • Jul 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp is an amazing option for anyone who is looking to receive counseling without paying an insane amount. I really enjoyed working with my counselor who was super helpful and always made herself readily available. I loved the thought that went into BetterHelp such as being able to choose a therapist based on them being male or female, or that work with nonbinary individuals. I was happy that I could choose what I wanted to discuss and that I could message my counselor whenever I needed to talk. I believe everyone should be able to receive therapy. I would highly recommend BetterHelp.

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

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  • Amazing

    • Hollywood, FL,
    • Jul 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    The BetterHelp app was one of the best apps I could have downloaded. I was paired with Dr. Kutner, which is someone I would likely recommend to anyone that is seeking therapy. She creates a safe space for you to talk to her. I’m so happy I was paired with an amazing person and I’m sure you would too!

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Not very professional...

    • New Jersey,
    • Jul 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up for BetterHelp hoping to get in contact with a counselor. They give you a questionnaire with a few basic questions such as age, gender (with nonbinary option included), what type of counseling you're looking for (LGBT+ issues, family issues, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, etc.), and if you have a preference for male or female counselors. After you answer those, you are sent to an open chat with an automated message requesting you type out a more detailed description of what's wrong and based on that description they will match you with "one of their 2,000 professional counselors."

    I wrote about six paragraphs detailing my situation, and about an hour later another automated message came up requesting I write more. I added another paragraph, and again, an hour later I got another automated message requesting more info, so I wrote again.

    I didn't expect to get a quick response that day because it was the Fourth of July when I applied. But the next day much later I get an automated email stating this:

    "Hello Kristin,

    Unfortunately, based upon the answers that you provided when signing up, we have determined that online counseling may not be the best resource for you. This decision reflects the ethical recommendations of the major counseling associations.

    Online counseling is still a fairly new approach and is not considered the most effective form of care for everyone. In order to ensure that you receive the most appropriate and effective care possible, you may consider scheduling an intake with a licensed counselor who can provide you with in-person counseling in your area. You can find many available counselors by clicking here."

    Honestly, this was very upsetting as especially because how unclear it was as to why I wasn't accepted. You approach a company and ask for help, which is their job to help you, and they turn you away without even explaining why. Simply "Our higher-ups decided this isn't for you.

    If you have any questions or if you need assistance please contact us at contact@BetterHelp.com."

    Personally, I would've wanted an explanation as to why these higher-ups decided to refund me because I REALLY need help. Since they seemed open to questions I did email that contact email asking what brought them to this decision. I received an automated email stating they would get back to me within one business day.

    Three business days later I still haven't heard from them. I'm very stressed out and disappointed in this company. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with actual problems.

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

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  • BetterHelp helps!

    • British Columbia, Canada,
    • Jul 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am so grateful for BetterHelp. It has been very helpful for my mental health because I have support 24 hours a day. I finally feel like my emotions are validated, which has allowed me to fully process everything that I feel and have been going through. My life is very up and down, so having the option to type everything out to someone who cares about what I'm going through relieves so much of my anxiety.

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

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  • This is the best counseling website

    • Canada,
    • Jul 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp helped me to improve lots of things in my life, and it saved my life. My counselor is so professional and caring. She has a lot of experience and knowledge in different fields, and she follows up with me every day. BetterHelp is one of the best decisions of my life.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Can't trust them

    • London, OH,
    • Jul 12, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Customer service is extremely unhelpful and rude. I got a fee on my credit card after ending my trial, and they did nothing to help. They try to milk you when clearly they aren't helping.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Best experience

    • British Columbia, Canada,
    • Jul 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I decided to try BetterHelp because they had a 7-day free trial. I wasn't expecting this to be what it was. When I first joined, I was skeptical about using it, since reading people have been billed right away even with the free trial. I didn't get billed, so I was grateful for that. When I joined my one counselor wasn't responding back to me, so I switched to a different one. I'm glad about the counselor I chose, she was so welcoming and caring. After testing the live session, which was weird to me, I realized that this site is worth using. Sadly I couldn't afford $260 (USD) every month. But when I get the chance, I will be paying to use it.

    It is worth it, and cheaper than face to face therapy.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great place for help

    • Minnesota,
    • Jul 10, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I've had great progress with BetterHelp. They aren't miracle workers or mind readers, but my counselor has helped me get in touch with parts of me I wasn't fully in touch with before.

    I'm sure in-person counseling is the best, but having the convenience of sending a quick message when you are thinking or reflecting on something is a huge plus, and totally beats going to an appointment while drawing a blank!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    BetterHelp

    • Denver, CO,
    • Jul 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had chosen BetterHelp as I needed to start working through a number of personal issues. My counselor, Donald, has been great in allowing me to talk through and begin to find a resolution to a number of personal issues that were holding me back.

    Definitely would recommend BetterHelp to anyone dealing with whatever’s going on in their lives.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Like talking to a trusted friend.

    • New York,
    • Jul 7, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My favorite part of BetterHelp and what really drew me to it was the fact that at any time, whenever I needed to, I could send a message about exactly what was going on at that moment. If I was having a bad day, a bad moment, a rough week, I could just drop a line at my convenience and express what I was feeling at that exact moment. My counselor would get back to me in a very timely manner, and we could have a running dialogue. I've been to an actual counselor in the past, who I loved and had a great rapport with, but not being able to just talk to her at the moment I needed to was always a struggle for me. I could be having a rough time, but my appointment wasn't for another two weeks, or when I did have an appointment, I had a hard time expressing what I was feeling at that moment in time.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    You can do it

    • Lagos, Nigeria,
    • Jul 6, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My journey with BetterHelp has been an exciting, insightful, and a good one. They have helped me move from my negative and depressed state into a more optimistic, focused, and positive one. I've always felt weak, timid and not good enough but through BetterHelp have realized and seen of a fact, that I can do anything that I set my mind to do by being focused and with the right and positive attitude. It always seems impossible, but they made it easy for me through my assigned counselor.

    They have well-trained and professional counselors and the process is easy. I highly recommend BetterHelp. Do not waste another day in that sad and broken state. They are here to give you all the help you need to live your best life.

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

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