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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 2864 Reviews
5 Star:86% 4 Star:7% 3 Star:0% 2 Star:0% 1 Star:4%
94% Recommend This Service
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Posted on Jun 3, 2023

Help at your fingertips

By Crystal S., Charlotte, NC, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp has such an awesome platform. Very user-friendly. The app provides journals, messaging, support group sessions in addition to individual sessions. Multiple methods of communicating with therapists (phone, video, and text).

My therapist, Kenya, is amazing. She gets me and has helped me tremendously in regard to setting healthy boundaries and accepting when to move on from situations that cause me anguish.

Overall I love this service. My only complete is the usual complaint went it comes to mental care services. It's pricey and they do not accept insurance. Sometimes I find myself wanting to stop simply because of costs. However, I need the help.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

My therapist

The journal and option to share with my therapy

Everything is accessible via app

Too costly

Sometimes there are system glitches

Posted on Jun 3, 2023

Read it. Lots of words...don't let that detour you.

By Matthew H., Jacksonville, FL, Verified Reviewer

This review is from a guy who quite possibly had the most ignorant view of therapy prior to this year. If you are like me and think there's not a soul on Earth who can say a darn thing to help you, this review is for you.

Shut up...and try it. You don't click with your therapist, get a new one quick: no hassle, no bad feelings. Keep in mind, you're the one who's not dealing with life well or enjoying it to your full extent...you can also be your own worse enemy in fixing your issues. This is a great catalyst to help you change your own point of reference on anything. But you can't help someone who doesn't really want to help themselves.

You're reading this, so it looks like that's not the issue. Just leave your hardened opinions at the door and take the opportunity to fix what's messing with you. Or don't...your Choice. Your life, right.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons




Too many surveys...lol

Posted on Jun 3, 2023

I am grateful

By Marina T., Warwickshire, England, Verified Reviewer

Thanks a lot, BetterHelp team, for making useful and helpful platform. It's easy to work on it. And it works without issues.

You can choose therapist you like. You can make video or audio calls, text messages, or contact your therapist.

There is a journal you can fill in to proceed your success in therapy. You can note your thoughts and feelings during the week; that's very helpful for planning the next session.

It helps you to struggle with your depression, grief, find positive moments and strength to continue living.

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 Jun 3, 2023

BetterHelp is therapy for people who do not have time for therapy.

By Gopal P. , Cary, NC

BetterHelp has become an essential platform for anybody who wants to utilize talk therapy as part of their personal development toolkit. With the phone app, it is a cinch to join a virtual therapy session anytime, anywhere. Additionally, there is text chat, short 3-minute audio recordings and journaling all built-in. The text chat can be helpful at times for reviewing past realizations, since it cannot be deleted.

Length of Use: 2+ years

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

Pros and Cons

Flexibility for scheduling


Technological support

It’s not easy to switch between therapists and have access to the previous records

Posted on Jun 2, 2023

Easy accessible support

By Lucy J., United Kingdom, Verified Reviewer

I have thoroughly enjoyed using this app and it has made me far more likely to engage with therapy, support and journalling. Very happy with the therapist I was assigned to.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

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

Pros and Cons

Accessibility of therapists

Therapist matching service

Supporting services such as webinars

Inflexibility of number of sessions

Posted on Jun 2, 2023


By Lea K., Croatia, Verified Reviewer

I am very thankful for BetterHelp because it brings me easy access to journaling, therapy, and group therapy. You can pick your therapist based on your preferences and you get linked with them pretty quickly. My therapist is great, compassionate, I learn a lot from her and it is a way of working on myself. I feel like I can work with her on many things I didn't know how to work on before.

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 Jun 2, 2023

I met my match!

By Eunice L., Utah, Verified Reviewer

BetterHelp allowed me to meet the best therapist anyone can ask for, Giovanna Agostinelli. I love their stuff platform, and how easy they make it to communicate with her.

Length of Use: 3–6 months

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

Pros and Cons

Multiple ways of communication

You can switch therapist without questions asked

You read a detailed summary of your therapist

I wish I can get more sessions without paying more

I feel like therapy should be free, something out government can take care of

I don’t feel like there’s much to dislike

Posted on Jun 2, 2023

Best choice I've made

By Natalie D., Lake Mary, FL, Verified Reviewer

I absolutely love this service and would recommend it to anyone who needs therapy. The ability to talk to my therapist while laying in bed is great. The price for a month is less than one session with a typical therapist, and I don't have to take any time out of my somewhat chaotic schedule for it. My therapist, Eric Moser, is a kind and patient man and I deeply appreciate how he talks to me about not only big issues but also small ones. My emotional state and stability have increased greatly while using this service. Would legitimately hug my therapist if I saw him in person.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Great therapy

Easily accessible


Can occasionally take some time to respond

Posted on Jun 2, 2023

Best option for me but not great

By Sadie J., Pennsylvania, Verified Reviewer

I put on my intake form that I did not want Christian-based counseling at all. A therapist took me on her caseload. I researched her out of BetterHelp and found that she was a Christian therapist for 20+ years. I decided to give her a chance to counsel and leave her beliefs out of it. I was with her for 2 months and after telling her about how my best friend of 10 years and I quit talking, she decided it was the perfect time to say, “I don’t feel like I can be your therapist effectively because you practice witchcraft and I’ve only ever seen witchcraft lead to a path of destruction.” I asked if it was because she was Christian and she said yes.

She should have never taken me on her case of seeing that I did not want any Christian counseling due to religious trauma. She just added to that trauma. She put my info out into her chat of therapists and asked if anyone would work with me because I practiced witchcraft. Two said they would and the therapist gave me their names and info to research and pick one. I picked the one I currently have and she is fantastic. But she told me I had to request a new therapist as she didn’t have the option to terminate me on her caseload. So I did, and that set me into a weeklong waiting period of waiting for BetterHelp support to see my email.

After talking to my current therapist, I was informed they absolutely have to option to terminate a client on their end. That previous therapist basically just wanted to make it look like I requested a new therapist. And that was proven true with all the language I got from BetterHelp, i.e I’m sorry you didn’t connect and wanted a new therapist and language of the like.

I feel like this was the therapist's fault and then also BetterHelp’s fault in not stressing that part about religious trauma on my intake form. And also, I was irritated with how long it took support to see my email and get me transferred. I ended up being given another therapist and telling her and she had it fixed within 12 hours.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons


The chat service

That they have an app I can download

Length of customer support response

Not stressing the intake form

Still charging me for the week I was without a therapist/no access to anything on their platform

Posted on Jun 1, 2023

Excellent therapy service

By Rebecca E., Wales, United Kingdom, Verified Reviewer

My experience with BetterHelp has been extremely positive. The system is extremely easy to use, they respond very quickly and efficiently to questions, queries, and any changes or issues. The therapists, in my experience, are highly qualified and professional. It has been very easy to join, use the service for a number of months, and then cancel my subscription without any lengthy or unnecessary phone calls.

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons

Fast email replies

Adapting subscription to fit my financial situation

Excellent therapist

Easy cancellation

Occasionally the platform didn't function properly and I was unable to contact my therapist

Posted on Jun 1, 2023

My therapist is a God-send

By K H., Sweden, Verified Reviewer

I'm extremely happy with my experience on BetterHelp. Most of my life I haven't been able to afford paying for therapy and BetterHelp made it accessible for me to pursue it. It was important to me to have a therapist that could also incorporate my Christian faith into our sessions and I was so happily surprised at how they help you find the right therapist for your desired wants, along with whatever your needs are. Being someone that lives abroad, I also appreciate that I could do this service virtually so I could speak to someone in my mother tongue!

Length of Use: 6–12 months

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

Pros and Cons


Option for faith-based therapist

Virtual possibilities

They offer financial aid for those that still find the pricing hard to manage

I can use it from another country

Wish there was more subscription options (ex. to pay only for one session at a time instead of once a week)

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