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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow BetterHelp Review: Is This Online Therapy Platform Any Good?

BetterHelp Review: Is This Online Therapy Platform Any Good?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: January 3, 2024
15 min read 1241 Views 0 Reviews
clock 15 eye 1241 comments 0

Wondering if the BetterHelp online therapy app is a good option to support your mental health? Read my detailed review to find out.

betterhelp review

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

As a medical professional, I know how important it is to maintain your mental health. If it’s not up to par, you won’t be able to perform the tasks of daily life properly.

One of the best ways to maintain your mental health is to consult a licensed therapist. However, not everyone has the time to cover a specific distance every week to attend a counseling session. Additionally, many people also feel uncomfortable while attending in-person therapy sessions in an unfamiliar environment.

Online therapy platforms like BetterHelp can mitigate these issues, as they allow you to receive professional counseling from the convenience and privacy of your home.

As BetterHelp is probably the most popular online therapy platform out there, I decided to test it out thoroughly. So, in this review, I’ll share everything you need to know about BetterHelp, including its features, benefits, and drawbacks.

What Is BetterHelp?

BetterHelp logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Wide range of therapy services
  • The platform is easy to navigate
  • Convenient to use from home
  • Lower cost than in-person therapy sessions
Visit BetterHelp
Pros
  • checkmark
    Convenient access to online therapy
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    Unlimited messaging with your therapist
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    A range of modes to access care, including text, live chat, audio, and video calls
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    Highly qualified, vetted therapists
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    Users can remain anonymous if preferred
  • checkmark
    Easy to switch therapists
  • checkmark
    User-friendly app and website
  • checkmark
    Offers financial aid
  • checkmark
    Free trial available
  • checkmark
    Cancel anytime
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    Available in the US and the UK
Cons
  • checkmark
    Does not accept health insurance
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    BetterHelp therapists cannot diagnose mental health conditions
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    Therapists cannot prescribe medications
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    Cannot fulfill court orders for therapy
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    No family therapy

BetterHelp is widely known as one of the largest and most popular mental health apps. It allows you to connect with licensed and experienced therapists and receive counseling through chat, video, and/or audio sessions. It offers a wide range of mental health services, for both individuals and couples.

When you register on this platform, you are matched with a qualified therapist who you can message from anywhere at any time. Regardless of your mental health concerns, you can find the tools to approach them effectively and start tackling them.

According to the official BetterHelp website, its mission is to make professional therapy sessions accessible and affordable to everyone. It also offers a more convenient service than traditional in-office therapy for those who prefer to access support from home or on the go.

⭐ Rating

4.2
stars

🍎 Free trial available?

Yes

🔔Therapy options

Text, live chat, audio, and video calls

💰 Price

$60–90 per real-time session

🔔 How to get started

betterhelp.com

How I Started Out With BetterHelp

To start using BetterHelp, I went to the platform’s official website, where I was asked to select the desired type of therapy. The available options include “individual,” “couples,” and “teen.”

Once I selected the appropriate option, the platform started a quiz that asked me about my personal information like gender, age, relationship status, religious affiliation, physical/mental health level, and eating habits.

The quiz also asks you a bunch of other questions about your mental health, and you need to select reasons why you decided to seek therapy and your expectations from BetterHelp as well.

While all these questions are important and you need to answer them very carefully, one of the things that I liked the most about this quiz is that it asks you about your preferred communication channel (messages, audio, video).

Additionally, it also provides you with the option to select the type of therapist for your counseling sessions. These last two options are very important because they ensure that you’re comfortable and engaged throughout the therapeutic process.

After completing the quiz, you’re asked to complete the sign-up process by writing down your name and email address. Next, you only need to enter your payment information or apply for financial aid to start the online therapy program.

What My First Session on BetterHelp Looked Like

I signed up for BetterHelp early in the morning before heading to work. By the evening, I had already received a text message from my therapist, eagerly awaiting my response. We made introductions and talked about my counseling requirements.

I was genuinely impressed by the fact that my therapist knew all the information I provided during the quiz. She asked me about the day and time for the video session and provided me with a therapy goals worksheet that I needed to complete. It was meant to make sure that the therapy session stays focused and on track.

Being accustomed to in-person therapy sessions, I approached BetterHelp with a hint of skepticism. Especially because I’ve seen some complaints online about the therapists on BetterHelp being distracted or unprofessional.

The session lasted for about 50 minutes, during which we mainly talked about my goals and needs. Their communication style was casual and friendly, which allowed me to connect with them quickly. They were aware of my emotions all the time and seemed to be listening carefully.

Just before the session ended, she shared resources and guides via chat directly related to the concerns I talked about and advised me to go through them before the next session. Overall, I have to say that my experience was definitely positive.

How Does BetterHelp Work?

BetterHelp follows a user-centric approach that prioritizes your comfort and convenience throughout the therapy process. It pairs you with the right therapist who understands your needs, and you can interact with them through messages, chats, calls, or video sessions.

It allows you to express yourself in a way that suits your personality and style the best. Additionally, I also liked the fact that BetterHelp doesn’t bind you to fixed appointments. You can contact your therapist via chat whenever you want and set live sessions that fit your daily schedule.

In simple words, BetterHelp provides personalized matching, adaptable communication, and accessible support. These features are designed to cater to your preferences and make therapy an effective and seamless part of your life.

Who Is BetterHelp Best for?

BetterHelp can be a great option for people who want to try an alternative approach to traditional therapy, as it eliminates the need to attend a therapist’s office. So, if you would rather use your phone or laptop to seek support than meet up in person, you could try this platform.

Generally, you can use this platform if you’re experiencing any of the following problems:

However, it’s important to note that the platform might not be a suitable option for people who are suffering from a serious mental illness.

It’s important to note that BetterHelp counselors cannot prescribe medication or offer a diagnosis. Additionally, it’s also constantly compared to other mental health apps, such as Talkspace, Brightside, and Regain. So, if you are not sure about this app, you can consider reviewing other options as well.

Features of BetterHelp

It’s important to understand all the features that a mental health platform (or any product) offers before starting to use it. Following this approach will help you determine if you’ll find what you’re looking for in the therapy service provider.

Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of all the main features that BetterHelp brings to the table.

#1 Online journaling

I am a journaling person, and I’ve used many journaling apps in the last couple of years. I believe that it’s one of the best ways to introspect, reduce mental stress, organize thoughts, track personal growth, and reflect on your life’s journey.

If you’re like me, you’ll love to hear that BetterHelp allows for online journaling, and everything that you share there remains confidential to you only. You can treat it like you would a diary to document your thoughts, experiences, and goals.

#2 Live chat sessions

As I’ve mentioned already, BetterHelp allows you to have live chat therapy sessions, which involve text messaging with real-time responses from your therapist. It is a perfect choice if you want to avoid audio or face-to-face contact entirely.

The live chat aims to mimic the idea of messaging with a friend. During a session, you can message back and forth, discussing whatever is on your mind. Some might find it difficult to confine their thoughts to a few sentences, while others may excel at this form of communication.

#3 Live call sessions

It’s also possible to book a live phone session with your therapist using BetterHelp. It takes place either as a direct call or as an audio conversation through your app or desktop browser.

Studies show that telephone therapy can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy, although sessions may be shorter.

#4 Video sessions

If you like to communicate directly with your therapist, you can try BetterHelp’s face-to-face sessions. They take place via video, where you and your therapist can see each other on the screen.

They provide you with a more personal experience, and some people find this an easier way to establish a connection.

#5 Group therapy

You can access over 20 weekly interactive live group sessions run by BetterHelp counselors when registered. These sessions educate users on various aspects of mental wellness, covering topics such as coping with stress and anxiety and implementing self-care regimens.

#6 Motivational interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a counseling approach that aims to motivate people to elicit change. BetterHelp offers this service which can help you bring positive changes in your lives.

It can be beneficial for you if you lack self-confidence or don’t know where to begin with your mental wellness journey.

#7 Mindfulness therapy

Mindfulness is a technique that brings your mind to focus on the present. Practicing mindfulness with tools such as meditation and yoga can strengthen your overall therapy experience. Your BetterHelp therapist can work with you to help you process your emotions using specific techniques.

A Word From Our MD

Expert image border HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Rosmy Barrios, MD
Medical advisor for Health Reporter

Finding a therapy solution that works for you is critical to getting the best results. If you are someone who prefers to discuss your feelings via phone call, text message, or a face-to-face video session, then an online therapy service could help.

Talk therapy can be a fantastic tool if you’re battling inner turmoil and struggling to deal with your emotions. Talk therapy helps you find solutions by discussing your problems and transforming your behavior to manage your mental well-being better.

However, there are many other strategies, alongside therapy, that you can (in fact, should) implement to improve your mental state. Everyday things like going for morning walks, meeting a friend, yoga, stretching, and eating nutritious foods can give you a daily boost and motivation to conquer your goals.

Lastly, make sure that you talk to your doctor before considering alternative approaches to therapy if you have any mental health conditions. While apps and website-based therapy services can work, they’re not always the best option.

Only a medical professional, especially one who knows your medical history, can guide you toward the best treatment options for your health.

What I Liked

Let me explain what I liked the most about BetterHelp.

#1 Convenient accessibility

BetterHelp allows you to access therapy from the comfort of your own home. You can connect with a licensed therapist through messages, live chat, phone calls, or video sessions, giving you flexibility in how you communicate.

I think it’s especially beneficial for people who need professional counseling but can’t spare time to visit a therapist and have in-person sessions.

#2 Personalized matching

As I’ve mentioned above, the most important aspect of counseling is to make sure that your therapist understands your concerns and aligns with your needs. To ensure that, BetterHelp asks each user to complete a detailed quiz before the registration process.

It allows the platform to collect and analyze all the information it needs to connect you with the right therapist who can address your specific mental health concerns effectively.

#3 Flexible communication options

Whether you prefer texting, chatting, talking on the phone, or having face-to-face video sessions, BetterHelp caters to your preferred mode of communication. It adds to the flexibility of the program and helps you express yourself using the communication channel that suits your preferences.

Additionally, the platform doesn’t bind you to any fixed appointment, which means you can reach out to your therapist whenever you need.

#4 No location constraints

Unlike traditional in-person therapy, which requires you to find a therapist in your local area, BetterHelp allows you to connect with licensed therapists regardless of your physical location.

People who live in remote areas where it’s not easy to find a licensed and experienced therapist will find this benefit most useful.

#5 Privacy and confidentiality

Just like traditional therapy sessions, your communication with your therapist while using BetterHelp remains confidential. The platform also doesn’t share this information with any third party to keep your data private.

It creates a safe and secure environment where you can openly share your thoughts, emotions, and concerns without any privacy concerns.

#6 Reduced stigma

If you’re concerned about the stigma or social anxiety associated with in-person therapy but want counseling service, then I think BetterHelp will be an ideal choice for you. It’s a platform for discreet counseling that doesn’t require face-to-face interactions.

It empowers you to prioritize your mental well-being without the fear of judgment, creating a more accessible and accepting space for your therapeutic journey.

#7 Qualified therapists

One of the best benefits of using BetterHelp therapy services is that it provides you with experienced and licensed professionals. According to the official website, the platform only accepts therapists to join the network if they have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of real-world experience.

#8 Possibility to change therapists

Another excellent benefit of using BetterHelp is that it allows you to change your counselor or therapist whenever you want. You don’t even need to provide the platform with any reason whatsoever.

If you believe that your current therapist isn’t suitable for your needs, you can request the platform to assign a new one for you.

What I Didn’t Like

While BetterHelp is an excellent platform, it also has some downsides that you must understand.

#1 Absence of health insurance acceptance

One recurring concern I noticed in many online reviews of BetterHelp is that it currently doesn’t accommodate health insurance plans. While the platform’s accessibility and ease of use are remarkable, the absence of insurance coverage can act as a financial challenge for some users.

#2 Limitations in diagnosis

BetterHelp’s therapists and counselors aren’t authorized to provide formal diagnoses. Although this approach is logical and respects the platform’s unique nature, people who are accustomed to conventional mental health care might find it inconvenient.

#3 Lack of prescription solutions

As all the counselors and therapists at BetterHelp aren’t allowed to diagnose mental health conditions, they can’t offer medication management services as well. So, it won’t be the best option for you if you’re looking for a therapist solely for prescription-related matters.

What Do Online Reviews Say About BetterHelp?

It’s important to read online reviews of a product/service that you’re planning to invest in. It allows you to determine what other people have to say about it based on their experience and helps you make an informed decision.

That’s why I always read online reviews, and here’s what I found about BetterHelp.

Wen-xi Wu
Screenshot from Trustpilot.com
Wen-xi Wu
Screenshot from Trustpilot.com

I totally agree with this user, as allowing you to engage in therapy sessions from the comfort of your home is one of the biggest benefits of BetterHelp.

Robert
Screenshot from Trustpilot.com
Robert
Screenshot from Trustpilot.com

I am glad that Robert finds BetterHelp to be helpful. I agree with his reviews about the therapist, as what I’ve learned about the platform is that it chooses each professional for its network very carefully. Each one of them must be licensed and have proven real-world experience.

LaidbackMarco laidbackmarco
Screenshot from Trustpilot.com
LaidbackMarco laidbackmarco
Screenshot from Trustpilot.com

This is another satisfied user, but they seem a bit concerned about the cost. But I have to mention that BetterHelp is way cheaper than what you need to pay for traditional therapy sessions.

Additionally, I agree with their last point. If the platform had an insurance acceptance policy, it would have been nicer.

How Much Does BetterHelp Cost?

According to the official website, BetterHelp online counseling will cost you around $60–90 per real-time session (which takes place every week). So, you can expect to pay $240–360 every month. While it might seem a lot, it’s cheaper than traditional in-person therapy services.

Important note: If you want to have more than one real-time session per week, you’ll need to pay $20 extra. Additionally, the final cost of BetterHelp services can vary from person to person based on specific needs.

BetterHelp vs. Alternatives

As I’ve mentioned above, BetterHelp is not the only player in town that offers online therapy services. There are several other platforms that you can choose for the same purpose.

If you’re concerned about BetterHelp (for any reason), you can go through the following options that I’ve selected for you.

Comparison Winner: BetterHelp
4.2
stars
4.2
stars
4.5
stars
4.1
stars
4.0
stars
4.0
stars
3.7
stars
Brand
BetterHelp
Talkspace
Sensa
Lasting
Happify
Noom Mood
Brightside
Pros

Experienced therapists on hand 24/7

A range of mental health professionals to choose from

Low cost

Accepts insurance for some services

Couples and teens can access mental health services as well as adults

Guaranteed response time

Caters to a range of mental health conditions

Encourages you to form new healthy habits

Offers 3 subscription plans

You can add custom exercises to suit your unique needs

Work can be completed at your own pace

Can add your partner to your account

Encourages open and honest conversations between couples

Explains the science behind activities

Budget-friendly

Free version

Friend referral rewards

Advice from your personal coach

Easy to switch from the Noom weight loss program

Accepts insurance

Quickly schedule appointments

Caters to all budgets with different programs

Cons

No medication management services

Insurance is not accepted

Short therapy sessions

Counselors often send generic messages to all patients

No one-to-one sessions

Paid app

No live or one-to-one counseling sessions

Lack of personalization

Poorly structured

No one-to-one counseling

Frequent glitches

No monthly subscription service

No free trial

Doesn’t offer face-to-face therapy

Medication is expensive

Not suitable for treating severe mental illnesses

FAQs

Is BetterHelp legit?

Yes, BetterHelp is a legitimate US-based company founded back in 2013 by Alon Matas and Danny Bragonier. It provides online mental health services with access to licensed therapists through the web, phone, and text.

Is BetterHelp covered by insurance?

BetterHelp does not accept insurance nor partner with any health insurance providers. However, it offers financial aid to those who qualify for the service. To use this service, you need to contact their customer service team through the official website.

Are BetterHelp therapists licensed?

Yes, each BetterHelp therapist within the extensive network is a licensed professional with at least three years of hands-on experience. The platform offers access to psychologists, psychotherapists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors.

How to cancel your BetterHelp subscription?

If you wish to cancel your BetterHelp membership, you can do so through your BetterHelp account. All you need is to go to “Account Settings,” click on “Payment Settings,” and select “Cancel Membership.” You can also request to have your personal information erased by clicking “Request Erasure.”

Can BetterHelp therapists prescribe medication?

No, BetterHelp therapists can’t prescribe medications, and they’re also not authorized to diagnose mental health conditions. That’s because they can’t perform a physical examination, which is mandatory in most parts of the world to prescribe medicine.

How I Tested the Product

I use a systematic approach while testing and evaluating a platform or product to reach a verdict. This approach includes considering the product’s quality, effectiveness, price, and brand reputation.

Here’s how I rate BetterHelp in terms of these factors.

Quality 10/10

When it comes to the quality of services and features of BetterHelp, I didn’t find any downsides. The platform is home to tens of thousands of licensed therapists, which means you’re likely to find a good match that fits your needs. Plus, they are all fully trained, vetted, and well-experienced.

Effectiveness 8/10

I found BetterHelp services to be very effective based on their features, online reviews, and my personal experience. It’s an excellent platform for managing mental health issues.

The only downside in terms of effectiveness is that it’s hard to read non-verbal cues like facial expressions and gestures during remote sessions, which can be important for therapy.

Price 7/10

Therapy, on the whole, is an expensive journey. Compared with the costs of seeing a therapist in person, BetterHelp online counseling offers a cheaper option. Still, that doesn’t make BetterHelp inexpensive, and not everyone can afford it.

Brand reputation 9/10

BetterHelp boasts a strong brand reputation within the mental health and online therapy space. It is widely acknowledged for its user-friendly platform, convenient accessibility, and commitment to offering professional counseling services.

BetterHelp: The Final Verdict

The approach to therapy that BetterHelp offers has multiple benefits for anybody who prefers to talk virtually. It can also be a great option for you if you have a busy daily schedule and can’t spare time to visit therapists for in-person sessions.

It’s an effective platform that can help you improve your mental health from the comfort of your home. Lastly, don’t forget to consult with your doctor, especially if you have any serious mental health issues, before starting any online therapy.

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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: January 3, 2024
15 min read 1241 Views 0 Reviews
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