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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 1854 Reviews
5 Star:86% 4 Star:6% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:5%
93% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Dec 6, 2021

Accessible therapy

By Maggie M., Arlington Heights, IL, Verified Reviewer

I have really benefited from BetterHelp! It has made therapy more accessible, more affordable, and has helped keep me accountable in my healing process.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Pros and Cons

Easy to use



Can’t change the initial bio/write-up I made about myself, which seems really out of date now

Posted on Dec 5, 2021

Helped me in many ways

By Albert R., Saudi Arabia, Verified Reviewer

It's a great experience. I enjoyed the therapist I got, and it helped me get away from many dark places. This site helped a lot. Anyone that wants some help I would recommend it 100%.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons


Supportive to their people

So nice and gentle

Site sometimes has problems

Sometimes notifications don't make any sound

Calls also sometimes lag out or not work

Posted on Dec 5, 2021

Great experience!

By Mo S., Pennsylvania, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has been convenient and has allowed me to maintain therapy sessions. I was able to find a therapist that is the right match for me. I don’t think I’ll ever return to traditional therapy sessions in an office. I love my therapeutic experience!

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Convenience of having sessions while home

Ability to schedule own sessions based on availability

Ability to find a therapist that matches needs

Inability to schedule more than one session

Posted on Dec 5, 2021

This works!

By Mark J., Maine, Verified Reviewer

I am 57 years old and have never done any type of therapy previously. Due to some life events, I recognized the need for some help in getting some things straightened out in my head. I needed to do online therapy, and an internet search led me to BetterHelp. Their algorithm or method truly matched me with the best therapist for me. After eight weeks, I am back on track and perhaps even better than ever.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

The therapist

The algorithm or matching method

Reasonable pricing

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Dec 5, 2021

A great place to seek help

By Lou Ann A., Texas, Verified Reviewer

I have used 2 therapists in BetterHelp and both have been excellent. You can reach out to them at any time. And they respond quickly.

They have helped me through a rough time in my life.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Pros and Cons

Accessible at all times

Quick response

Sessions when and where I need them


Posted on Dec 5, 2021

BetterHelp really has helped

By Stephen M., London, United Kindom, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has been a very helpful and easy-to-use service during these difficult times. It’s fitted well to the limitations we’ve been put under in the last year or so. The service is good, there’s more than just a counselor, there are tools and webinars so it’s a well-rounded service.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

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

Pros and Cons

Flexibility and therapy from home

The supporting tools like webinars

I’m lucky to have a good counselor

The payment window to therapy window not lining up (charge period starts before therapy period, so tricky to line up)

In theory you have a session per week, so can’t miss a session one week then have two the next week

Posted on Dec 4, 2021

BetterHelp helps

By Debbi F., Adliya, Bahrain, Verified Reviewer

The therapist I was assigned to with BetterHelp has helped me a lot. I signed up to BetterHelp during a dark time in my life and it's been helping me get back up on my feet, slowly but surely.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Convenient – online

Assigned a great therapist

Easy scheduling

Difference in time zones made it hard to schedule a good time

Posted on Dec 4, 2021


By Jeanette R., Buffalo, NY, Verified Reviewer

I've had a hard time keeping therapy appointments in the past, but with the convenience of BetterHelp, I look forward to speaking with my therapist every week.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons


My therapist

Text, call, or video chats

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Dec 4, 2021

Great for my needs

By Tommy V., Eugene, OR, Verified Reviewer

As a full-time college student, and a full-time worker, I find it hard to not only make time for therapy but make time for myself. BetterHelp is affordable and flexible around my busy life schedule while still being effective! For me personally, I plan to use BetterHelp for a long time, especially while I’m figuring who I am.

I recommend it for those in a similar position as me and even for those who haven’t ever been to therapy before. I hadn’t ever been to therapy before these either so this was totally new to me. BetterHelp was guiding me through the entire process and everything has been working smoothly so far.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

I can easily schedule and make time for my appointments

I enjoy it from the comfort of my own home or from wherever life takes me

It’s affordable

The website and app can be a little slow

Some of the webinars feel a little too “for the effect,” if you know what I mean

Posted on Dec 4, 2021

Off to a good start

By Sandra W., Beavercreek, OH, Verified Reviewer

Three sessions in, and a shift has already begun. I feel my therapist is a good fit. I feel challenged, understood, and heard. My therapist and I are collaborating for the best outcomes on my healing journey.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Ease to obtain services

Journal prompts

My therapist

Video sessions

Posted on Dec 4, 2021

Positive impact

By Maria P., Palm Harbor, FL, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp connected me with my amazing therapist and I can't be thankful enough. Aside from offering the opportunity to speak with an educated professional, BetterHelp offers the flexibility I need to get the help I need in the time that fits me best. The app is friendly to the user and it offers additional resources to get all the help we need. It is peace of mind to know I have the necessary tools to help myself become a better me. Thank you BetterHelp.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons



User-friendly app

It's a bit costly

Showing 1-11 of 1854

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