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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

BetterHelp Review - How Effective Is It?

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

4.6 Stars out of 1284 Reviews
5 Star:85% 4 Star:6% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:6%
92% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Jan 21, 2021

Pleasantly surprised

By Lauren C., Pennsylvania, Verified Reviewer

I haven't had the best experiences connecting with therapists in the past. I went through some recent losses/grief and found BetterHelp and decided to give it a shot. I was matched with a therapist who has expertise in helping me cope with my specific feelings and we instantly connected. She had me come up with therapy "goals" which gave me tangible items to work through during our sessions but my therapist also makes sure to incorporate "vent" time as well. My sessions are constructive, cathartic, and I am really glad I decided to take the plunge. I am working towards becoming my better self. And BetterHelp is a great tool to help me do that.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Ease of scheduling

Weekly therapy visits via video but also options to chat with therapist during the week

Worth the money

I think it might be a bit expensive for some people so definitely not accessible for everyone

Posted on Jan 21, 2021

Highly tailored support at my fingertips

By Elena F., United Kingdom, Verified Reviewer

I had been in therapy previously and, although the contexts are completely different, it is great to experience therapy sessions that do not feel "clinical" for a change. I joined BetterHelp to get some much-needed support through my grieving process, but after the first couple of sessions with my therapist, I decided to do this long term to explore other avenues beyond my current concern. My therapist's approach to therapy feels tailored to the needs I voice as well as to latent ones they pick up on. My therapist is extremely supportive and somehow always perfectly calibrates the balance between empathetic active listening and calls to action to every issue we explore. I am deeply grateful for the support I am receiving every week! Additionally, the groupinars are extremely helpful and the variety of topics seems to cover all relevant issues most of us deal with.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Great match with my therapist

Highly tailored support

Great groupinars

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jan 21, 2021

Great service

By Kerissa V., Miami, FL, Verified Reviewer

I turned to BetterHelp during an extremely stressful time in my life and it was the best decision I could have made.

I have personally had two counselors. The first one I really liked, but didn't seem like the right fit. After a few weeks, I decided to switch and was matched with my current counselor whom I have been meeting with for 8 months or so. It was very easy to switch.

I like that there are many options for communicating with my counselor and don't feel like the online-based service is less helpful than in-person meetings. I choose to do video calls and I think it makes a big difference for creating a more human connection in my sessions.

BetterHelp's pricing is fair and makes this valuable service accessible to me. If you are investing in your mental health, you need to give it time which is the reason I choose to pay in advance - it saves a lot of money over the course of the year. I have recommended this service to many of my friends and family members and will continue to do so.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons



Highly qualified counselors

First counselor didn't reach out between sessions or check-in

Posted on Jan 20, 2021

I can be honest

By Diane H., Las Vegas, NV, Verified Reviewer

I loved that I am able to express my concerns honestly in messages and they are addressed later on either in messages or live sessions. My counselor was very kind and helped me through some tough times. She went above and beyond for me and offered her advice and guidance with respect and attention. I liked that I was able to talk to her live once a week and I felt much better after a few calls with her expressing the things that were bothering me which were causing stress and anxiety. She provided such good direct advice that has helped me and I will take with me forever.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons


Easy access


Connection issues with video sessions

Posted on Jan 20, 2021

Great counseling service

By Femi O., New York, Verified Reviewer

You are matched with a counselor based on your needs. The service can be a bit expensive. And the sessions are only half an hour. However, my counselor dives right in. Also, you are matched with a counselor based on your religious beliefs. Which is definitely a plus because you lead and end in prayer.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

The interaction method

The ease of use of the app

The appointment flexibility

The price is a bit expensive

The sessions could be longer, 30 minutes is too short

Posted on Jan 20, 2021

BetterHelp truly is better

By Ashley L., Westford, MA, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has changed the way I view therapy. When you see someone once a week or once every couple of weeks, sometimes you forget all of the little things that have happened in the meantime that you had wanted to mention. Knowing that as I’m feeling extra anxious I can write out all of my concerns and that my counselor will get back to me within the next day to address them, is such a freeing feeling. It makes me feel heard and validated.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Freedom of time

Availability of schedule

Ease of use


Posted on Jan 19, 2021

BetterHelp, therapy at your own pace and comfort

By Cara C., Philadelphia, PA, Verified Reviewer

I prefer using this app for therapy for multiple reasons. There is no stress or pressure with in-person therapy sessions. I have access to my therapist at any time of the day. From the comfort of my home, I can journal, view professional mental health talks, and have online sessions either voice/video/or text.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Multi-media capabilities


Access to mental health talks/papers/panels

Not enough people of color available

I asked for a black woman and received a white woman

Journaling interface

Posted on Jan 19, 2021

BetterHelp can help you!

By Stephen B., Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I have been really impressed with BetterHelp and have used the platform for 6 months. The combination of journalling, video-counseling, and self-help talks is a useful mix to address any mental wellness issues.

The platform is well designed and the IT support has been very good. My counselor has been excellent and the ability to switch to another counselor is appealing if needed.

I have not felt the online platform has detracted from my counseling experience. If anything, I think the convenience of an online meeting and the other tools on the platform make this better than F2F counseling!

Give it a go. Your mental wellness is so important and BetterHelp is a great platform to use to look after that aspect of yourself.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

My great counselor

The online journal

The convenience of online therapy

Website design is a bit outdated

Posted on Jan 19, 2021

BetterHelp is better

By David S., Milwaukee, WI, Verified Reviewer

It’s convenient and does not sacrifice quality for it. My consoler is nice and practical, I think they put a lot of effort into getting people with the right consoler.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Ease of engagement

Friendly prices

Works on my schedule

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jan 18, 2021

Highly recommend

By Monica H., Austin, TX, Verified Reviewer

If you are thinking about counseling but not sure about whether you have time, BetterHelp is the best platform. It’s your schedule, completely flexible, and really is only a phone call away. I highly encourage those who have been thinking about it to try it out.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons




No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jan 18, 2021

Great for first timers

By Danielle I., Indianapolis, IN, Verified Reviewer

I have been wanting to meet with a counselor/therapist for several years, but never found the time (with traveling and costs) to make it a priority. BetterHelp came along, and honestly, using this service is the best decision I've made in a while. All of the barriers are gone - I no longer have to travel to a location or pay a large sum of money to get quality counseling. My counselor is personable, engaging, and really seems to care about what we talk about...I'm not just a client she has to meet with. I wholeheartedly recommend BetterHelp and I tell all of my friends about it all the time!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons


Doesn't take up a lot of time

Several different ways to communicate with your counselor

No “cons” were specified in this review

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