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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268 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 199 4 star: 14 3 star: 2 2 star: 4 1 star:  49
Bottom Line: 80% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 268
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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
  • This has been amazing

    • Washington,
    • Sep 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I love the format and flexibility of it. I find it easy to connect and make time for myself to work on healing and growth with the online platform. As a single mom, I do not have a lot of time to get into appointments, and this allows me to write what I feel when I feel it, to write more often if I need to, and to get answers faster then a once a week in person visit does.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    BetterHelp

    • Pittsburgh, PA,
    • Sep 19, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I first heard about BetterHelp through YouTubers promoting it, and I decided to try it because I’ve looked for a therapist for the longest time. Every therapist near me would either not accept my insurance or were way out of my budget. When I signed up for BetterHelp, I was surprised at how quick and easy it was and how well they matched me to my therapist. The website is very inclusive, and I find that I’ve been getting the help I really needed.

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

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  • Excellent

    • Louisiana,
    • Sep 18, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp has been a lifesaver for me! My counselor is awesome, compassionate, caring and understanding. I was in a deep pit of depression when I first started counseling. The online and phone sessions worked great with my schedule. I am much better than when I started counseling. I appreciate BetterHelp! They are quick to respond and help in any way!

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

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  • I absolutely love it

    • Savannah, GA,
    • Sep 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Going through tough and stressful times, it was really difficult to face alone, especially with the financial struggle that I was going through. I didn't think I would be able to afford a therapist on a week to week basis because of how expensive the prices were going to be. However, BetterHelp is such a great organization! They're cheaper prices and they offer quick and easy financial aid just in case because they know that a lot of their clients can't fully afford therapy. Not to mention the system itself allows for Instant Messaging, Phone Calls and Video Calls for whatever your preference is and you can message your therapist on any day of the week. It's a much more frequent therapy program for a cheaper price, and I don't think I would've been able to get the therapy I needed if it wasn't for BetterHelp!

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

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  • BetterHelp worked for me!

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Sep 17, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was in my post-grad work and in a "real job." The stress of my work and family lives were pretty heavy. I was looking for a person I could talk to by letter. I am busy during the day and the rough times are usually late at night. Jesse is perfect for me and what I need. You can talk to people and see if you click. The first lady I contacted wasn't right for me. I liked her, but in the questions we had back and forth I could tell we weren't a good fit. No harm, no foul and no worries. I liked that. Keep going! Get the help you need.

    The cost is less than seeing someone in the community and truly wouldn't have fit my lifestyle. I have been on here for four months and want to stick with it a few more as it is helping me with my issues.

    Look at the extensive list and go with your gut feeling. All the best to you on your journey!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Declined because they believe online counseling won't work for me

    • Sep 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have never had the experience of a company turning away a payment made because they feel that I do not fit into their preferred customer. I had done the free trial with them and a few months before and things were great. I couldn't afford the price of full-time counseling, so I waited a few months to save some money and pay for a month to see if it helped. After all that, they sent the money back saying I am not going to benefit from online counseling. How do they know what I need? They haven't even let me share my story with a counselor just looked at my form and turned me away. Unbelievable. Don't waste your time with them.

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

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  • Convenient

    • British Columbia, Canada,
    • Sep 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    So far this app has surpassed my expectations, you can hand select who you’d like to share your experiences with, and the texting in between sessions is super helpful to add those "in between" thoughts and reactions, and if their schedules don’t jive with yours, you can choose another of many that have the experience you need. I recommend this app highly.

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

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  • BetterHelp has helped me be better

    • Seattle, WA,
    • Sep 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    If you are feeling that you need to talk to someone about what you are currently experiencing and can't talk to your friends or business buddies or family or anyone, you have got to use this wonderful access point to a person that cares and will listen to your "stuff."

    I encourage you to give it a try as it was a huge gift to me once I found someone to share my "stuff" with.

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

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  • Great resource

    • Georgia,
    • Sep 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp was there when I needed a professional opinion on serious things going on in my life. It has been such a blessing to be able to share with a counselor who truly understands how to make advice practical. I would recommend BetterHelp to anyone.

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

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  • Bad counselors

    • Dale, IN,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have had about 6 or 7 counselors. The first one canceled an appointment 15 minutes before the start. I had canceled another appointment to keep this counseling appt. The second one LEFT during a live chat without telling me why. The other ones were just bad. The last one started out really good, but became unresponsive to my messages. The last message she sent me was mean. She said, "I'm not a mind reader, Nancy."

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

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  • A BetterHelp newbie

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have only been using it for about two weeks, but I feel very comforted when my counselor messages me and is waiting to listen to my problems. I really like how I can just send a message rather than meeting face-to-face or talking on the phone as those hype up my anxiety, but through the app, I feel at ease. I look forward to using BetterHelp more and further learning how to cope.

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

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