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BetterHelp

Overall Rating

4.7

2239 Customer Reviews

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Summary

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.

Pros

  • Flexibility of schedule that is convenient for your schedule
  • Access to a licensed professional counselor

Cons

  • 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.

Safety

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 2239 Reviews
5 Star:87% 4 Star:6% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:4%
94% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Jul 3, 2022

Great for expats

By Harry Y., Seattle, WA, Verified Reviewer

I was saved by this service because of the limited options in mental health in Japan. I nearly gave up finding help, but decided to try out BetterHelp. I found messaging to be much easier in expressing my emotions and thoughts, and I'm happy I have the option to communicate with my therapist like this. BetterHelp provides global mental health services to anyone who needs it, anywhere in the world, in any way they desire. Absolutely revolutionary.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Flexibility in options for therapy

Global availability

Lower cost

Lack of medicinal approaches

Wonky app and site design

Posted on Jul 3, 2022

BH has been good for me

By Paula A., Salt Lake City, UT, Verified Reviewer

I really like BetterHelp now that I found a good therapist. The system itself is really easy to use, but you need to shop around to make sure you pick a therapist that you feel connected to.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Easy to use

Lots of therapists to choose from

Cheap

Some of the therapists are cold/impersonal

I wish it was even cheaper

Posted on Jul 3, 2022

BetterHelp

By Lisa B., Long Beach, CA, Verified Reviewer

I wasn't sure if I needed therapy or not, and if BetterHelp wasn't available I probably would have never sought therapy.

Signing up is easy, and it felt really manageable. I matched quickly with a therapist, and it's already been such a positive experience, I'm surprised by what has come to light in my own life so far.

The survey is very good, and comprehensive. It even has options for religious things, if you are seeking a therapist who can help with that as well.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Signing up felt very manageable

It's online, I would have never even tried therapy if I didn't have an online option

Everything feel very risk free

There's no 'dark mode' the website is very nice, but it's bright

Most of the groupinars are very early for anyone who doesn't live on the east coast

Posted on Jul 3, 2022

Really great accessible service

By Charis W., Marbella, Spain, Verified Reviewer

Having looked unsuccessfully for a therapist to match my needs locally. I turned online and found BetterHelp.com. The entry assessment in the form of questions was very comprehensive and allowed me to break down why I was there in the first place. BetterHelp then matched me with a therapist, who was exactly what I needed, all the while assuring me I could change if I wanted or wasn't happy. Their therapists are available through messaging at all times and they schedule FaceTime to suit you. Their billing is very reasonable and even makes allowances for your income, and their technical support when needed was prompt, helpful, and considerate. I have recommended them to literally everyone I know.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Online, so very accessible, as well as 24-hour text chat service

Matching to therapist with options to change

Initial online assessment form

FaceTime audio drop out

Posted on Jul 3, 2022

Life changing

By Peter C. , Oak Island, NC

I couldn’t be happier. My day-to-day life is literally better, easier. My doctor is real. Her methods are fantastic. She’s been a savior for me, my wife, and my life. I can’t quantify in words what therapy has done for me. I’ve had a couple of counselors before. But never have I felt this level of care and professionalism. I tell everyone who will listen how important this has been for me and my growth. I hope people read this and give it a shot. I processed trauma that I had long forgotten about.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

My counselor, Renee Wilson

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jul 3, 2022

My therapist was AMAZING

By Kay S., East Greenwich, RI, Verified Reviewer

I worked with Tara from BetterHelp for a few months regarding some personal overwhelm, family stresses, and business burnout and she was phenomenal in helping me navigate it all and encouraging me to prioritize personal time. I'd recommend her to anyone, especially another businesswoman struggling with self-care and emotional balance like myself. THANK YOU Tara, for everything.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Personal attention

Knowledge

Motivation

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jul 2, 2022

A very useful platform

By Leonor C., United Kingdom, Verified Reviewer

I decided to use BetterHelp to manage some issues I was having, and I got a therapist very quickly who helped me work through them. They do a good job asking the right questions to pair you with the right therapist, and allow you to change if you need to at no extra cost.

The platform seems well organized and well protected, which is important to maintain confidentiality. All in all, I'm happy with the service provided and would recommend it to someone who would benefit from therapy but can't/doesn't want to meet someone in person.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

It's easy access

Affordable

No travel necessary

The app doesn't always work 100% in video mode

They could let us pay per session instead of monthly

I'd like a sound notification when the therapist is online and contacting us to initiate the therapy session

Posted on Jul 2, 2022

Confused

By Andrew S. , Kings Beach, CA

Honestly, pretty bad. The first therapist I was assigned to made me feel like I wasn’t a priority. Like he had better things to do; with all the background noise and distractions, it was hard to focus. Then I read the bio of a person I felt confident in, but “better help” wouldn’t allow us to meet because of the states we live in. Overall, just very confused and unsatisfied with the “better help” I’ve been getting. Seems like a huge waste of money at this point.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

No “pros” were specified in this review

The first therapist I got

The fact that you let me chose a therapist I couldn’t work with

Waste of time and money and not a help what so ever

Posted on Jul 2, 2022

This is an excellent source for my mental health

By H B., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Verified Reviewer

I have made the very best decision to improve my mental health by joining BetterHelp. I have had many years of therapy, however, not in this format.

BetterHelp is really excellent! I have a therapist who is wise, well educated, trustworthy, and with the kindness to be compassionately guiding me through some very difficult times. I completely trust and look forward to my sessions. I have never had this much support for my mental health before!

BetterHelp provides me with the opportunities to learn about my specific mental health issues by joining a host of webinars that have been offered. They are conducted by some outstanding doctors who specialize in various fields and they are extremely valuable. The option to just sign in and discover new tools for coping mechanisms, listening, and learning how others feel about the very same subject matter in the chats is so informative and valuable. I love this part of the experience!

I am able to write in a journal every day while having the option to share directly with my therapist upon completion or just to save it for myself to review several weeks later. It’s very helpful for me to remember the challenges I have faced and what I have learned from them by keeping this private journal. I chose the option to send it to my therapist after completing because I believe it is an incredibly safe, useful tool to communicate daily. I have never thought I needed this, however, now that I am here, it’s wonderful.

There are just so many positive tools, excellent customer service when I required it, and by far the very best decision I have made for myself in quite some time. I typically resist change but when I read what BetterHelp offered, I joined.

I’m honestly looking forward to helping myself feel better, have a better quality of life, and I have a lot of hope for my future while working with my therapist.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Therapist is the best person I have ever had in 30 years

The journal may be shared with my therapist

The groupinars

The option to interact with others or not in the chat room

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Jul 2, 2022

The best ever for my mental health!

By Michael C., Los Angeles, CA, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has been everything I needed and more. The vast database of expert therapists, the user-friendly website and app, the ease of scheduling, and the access to therapists away from sessions are beyond amazing. I would highly recommend BetterHelp to anyone!

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Posted on Jul 2, 2022

Highly recommend!

By Roberta L., Hesperia, CA, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp is very convenient. I love having therapy accessible any time of the day whether it be texting with my therapist or reading articles and joining webinars.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Texting my therapist

Webinars

Articles

No “cons” were specified in this review

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