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.

Pro tip: All new BetterHelp members are automatically enrolled in a 7-day trial, which can be canceled without obligation for any reason. However, it’s important to note that the company will charge your credit card for one month upfront. Then, if you cancel your subscription within 7 days, this money will be refunded.

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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41 Consumer Reviews for BetterHelp

Average Consumer Rating: 4.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 28 4 star: 5 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  7
Bottom Line: 78% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 41
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  • Thank you BetterHelp!

    • Rota, Northern Mariana Islands,
    • Oct 18, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have never done counseling online or done counseling at all in my life. When my father passed away, I sought out help online due to the lack of counselors where I am from. BetterHelp has been great! I love my counselor, she’s awesome and has helped me slowly move forward and gain some normalcy back in my life. I felt so lost and couldn’t understand how I was feeling, and she helped me sort my feelings out and gave me the advice to help me move forward at my own pace.

    Aside from being billed the $180 for the first three months, my experience has been great. Thank you BetterHelp!

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

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  • BetterHelp is the modern solution to therapy

    • California,
    • Oct 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    BetterHelp has been so helpful! I wouldn't recommend anything else to anyone else. It has so many things going for it:

    1) Affordable. BetterHelp is only around $55 a week at the highest. If you are experiencing financial difficulty, they will cut that rate in HALF. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more affordable than therapy through BetterHelp.

    2) Personal. You can view your therapist's profile, choose one that you think will work with you, or let them assign you. If it doesn't work out, you can switch, quite easily.

    3) Time. There is nothing easier than being able to have a phone or video conference with your therapist once a week. If you're having an especially hard time, 2 times a week is even possible. No finding babysitting, or scheduling time away from your job. BetterHelp is convenient and easy for you.

    4) Constant contact. BetterHelp maintains constant contact with your therapist. You can email every day, with at least one reply a day. This is so useful for when situations come up, but your therapist appointment isn't for another 5 days!

    Conclusion: I love BetterHelp! I recommend them to everyone and think it's amazing! Give it a shot.

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Make sure you read the billing rules

    • Memphis, TN,
    • Oct 12, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Dr. Hamm is great! There is an Allison that will send you emails trying to get you to write a good review, but if there is a problem, she will not contact you back. Be careful, they say $45 a week but hit you with a $180 bill for a month. I know I saw others having billing problems. I should have listened and hope you do too.

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

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    • Oct 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Ron, thanks for leaving your review for us here. It looks like our team members have gotten back to you within one business day and assisted you with your account. Please check your email!

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Life's journey

    • Canada,
    • Oct 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Life's journey has many directions. Sometimes that path takes a direction which can cause pain. Having someone to help navigate the rough patches is very helpful to get "unstuck" help me to "file it" then move on.

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

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    • Oct 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks, Susan! We all need a little extra help sometimes, and we're glad you are unable to get "unstuck" with your counselor. We hope you continue your wellness journey! Have a great day!

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  • I wish that I had done this sooner

    • Illinois,
    • Oct 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Being able to write and discuss issues, have someone listen without judgment and aiding with encouragement has been wonderful. My busy schedule only allows me sporadic time to try and discuss things. This has been wonderful. I feel like even is just two weeks of using BetterHelp, I have gone farther along than usual.

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

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    • Oct 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Frank, Thank you so much for your honest review of our services! We hope things continue to go well with your counselor, and we wish you all the best!

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  • 1 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Betterhelp is amazing!

    BetterHelp has the most unique concept for therapy. I always feel that my information is handled with utmost confidentiality. They have helped me financially be able to afford therapy on a long-term basis. My therapist is wonderful! I can't say enough about how much they have helped me.

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

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    • Oct 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thanks for your kind words, Judy. We do our best to assist all members, and are so glad to hear that your therapist is also wonderful! That makes us so happy!

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  • Amazing support

    BetterHelp has been a lifesaver. I was going through a difficult period, and I needed immediate help. I was connected with a counselor within 24 hours. Chris has listened and offered guidance that has provided support during this time. The ability to communicate daily through message or calling has been a necessary aid.

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

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    • Oct 12, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Danielle, thanks for letting us know. We're so happy that you and Chris got connected so quickly, and that you've been able to stay connected! We wish you all the best!

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  • My experiences with BetterHelp trying to overcome problematic behaviors

    • Eindhoven, Netherlands,
    • Sep 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I was seeking help from BetterHelp, I was repeatedly engaging in a problematic behavior that could have got me into serious trouble. Lisa Smith provided a thorough investigation of the possible roots of this problematic behavior and gave me excellent assistance with better conforming to my own stated value system. I strongly recommend using the BetterHelp service for anyone having difficulties coping with life.

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

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    • Oct 2, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Rupert,

      WOW! Thank you for your honest review of BetterHelp! We are so happy to hear that Lisa has aided you in your journey to wellness, and we hope things continue to go well!

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  • BetterHelp helps a lot!

    • Arizona,
    • Sep 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am happy with online counseling through BetterHelp because my counselor is terrific, and the support staff respond quickly and are responsive and helpful. I like having the chance to write out my thoughts and feelings and getting timely feedback in addition to having phone appointments.

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

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    • Oct 2, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thank you, A.!

      I'm so happy to hear that our support team has been super responsive and helpful! We hope this is only the beginning of your wellness journey, and wish you all the best! Thanks again for your kind words, and have a great rest of your day!

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  • A modern way to receive the help you need

    After struggling alone through a rough patch, I decided to try BetterHelp.com. What a wonderful concept! I was matched with a counselor that I clicked with right away and received the support I desperately needed at the time. One of the many great features I enjoyed is that the level of communication between my counselor and was as needed. You pay a monthly membership fee, and can "talk" to your counselor as frequently as you need on your own time.

    At first, I would have long frequent chats and emails, and now I send shorter updates with successes and have a weekly phone call. I found this to be a luxury since I work full time and have young children. There is no way I could have afforded to see a counselor in person the same way I was able to with better help.com. I also briefly tried their sister site ReGain.us for couples counseling.

    I have recommended it to friends and family and would encourage anyone to try it. You can always change therapists or cancel your membership with no questions asked. And with or without insurance, you cannot beat their membership price. My only regret is that I didn't sign up sooner.

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

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    • Oct 2, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Hi Carolina! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such an in-depth review for our website. We understand that people with busy schedules are able to utilize our services just like you mentioned above! We wish you continued health and happiness, and thanks again! Have a wonderful day.

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  • Dr. Brewer is phenomenal and has helped me more than I thought possible

    Dr. Brewer has helped me exponentially with intimacy issues in my marriage without making me feel uncomfortable in any way. I can be fully open with her, and she handles each question with grace and understanding. I am incredibly grateful for the strides she has helped me make in my marriage. I would highly recommend her!

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

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    • Oct 2, 2017

      Allison Dea, BetterHelp

      Thank you for your review Esther! We are so happy to hear that Dr. Brewer has helped you in your marriage. We hope there is continued growth and learning in the future, as well as with your partner. Thanks again!

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Showing 1-11 of 41

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