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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow Cerebral vs. BetterHelp: Which Is the Best Online Therapy Service?

Cerebral vs. BetterHelp: Which Is the Best Online Therapy Service?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 2, 2023
8 min read 1166 Views 0 Reviews
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As therapy can be costly, we bring you our review of Cerebral and BetterHelp – two of the most popular online therapy platforms today.

Cerebral vs betterhelp

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find support for your mental health. You no longer have to attend physical sessions with a licensed therapist – you can begin therapy at home. While having so many choices is great, you might feel uncertain about which services to try.

BetterHelp and Cerebral are online therapy services catering to various mental health issues. Both offer convenient means of finding support from mental health professionals to handle your problems. The only trouble is knowing which one to commit your time and money to.

This article compares BetterHelp and Cerebral to help you reach your verdict on the two offerings.

Cerebral vs. BetterHelp: Which Is Better?

Both of these apps are great, but after a thorough evaluation, our team selected Betterhelp.

BetterHelp is a great app for US-based users, as well as those located internationally, while Cerebral provides users the benefit of insurance-covered services and licensed therapists who can diagnose mental health illnesses and prescribe medication.

 

Comparison Winner: BetterHelp
4.2
stars
3.8
stars
Brand
BetterHelp
Cerebral
Pros

Communicate with your therapist at any time

Offers financial assistance

Easy to swap therapists

Couples therapy

Less expensive than traditional therapy

Accessible mental health care

Same-day availability for appointments

Weekly, fortnightly, and monthly therapy

Licensed therapists can diagnose mental health illnesses and prescribe medication

Available without insurance

Less expensive than traditional therapy

Cons

BetterHelp therapists cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medication

No teen therapy

Does not accept insurance

Services are not available in all states

Not suitable for severe mental illness

No teen therapy

Cerebral

cerebral logotype
Our rating:
3.8
stars
  • Offers multiple plans to help people improve their mental wellness
  • Provides access to licensed therapists and licensed professional counselors
  • Offers convenient online therapy for busy schedules
Learn More

Cerebral is a mental health platform available via a subscription service. Members can opt for weekly, fortnightly, or monthly therapy sessions with medical practitioners, professional counselors, and therapists. It offers a range of mental health services for various conditions.

Users can also benefit from medication control to treat symptoms of certain disorders, including sleep disorders, anxiety, and depression. The idea behind Cerebral is to provide accessible and convenient online treatment to people needing mental health assistance.

Cerebral has also been compared with other online therapy services, such as Brightside. To find out more, read our Cerebral vs. Brightside review.

Pros
  • checkmark
    Accessible mental health care
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    Same-day availability for appointments
  • checkmark
    Weekly, fortnightly, and monthly therapy is available
  • checkmark
    Licensed therapists can diagnose mental health illnesses and prescribe medication
  • checkmark
    Available to those without health insurance
  • checkmark
    Less expensive than traditional therapy
Cons
  • checkmark
    Services are not available in all states
  • checkmark
    Not suitable for severe mental illness
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    No teen therapy

BetterHelp

BetterHelp logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Offers multiple communication methods to access care
  • Offers 24/7 access to licensed therapists
  • Provides a convenient alternative to in-person therapy
Learn More

BetterHelp is reportedly the largest online therapy platform. It is a subscription-based mental health platform that offers various online therapy services with accredited therapists. You can communicate with your therapist at any time via live chat, phone, and live video sessions.

BetterHelp’s services offer an alternative to traditional, in-person therapy because you can access everything from your phone. It supports individuals with various mental health issues, from dealing with a midlife crisis to managing symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.

Pros
  • checkmark
    Communicate with your therapist at any time
  • checkmark
    Offers financial assistance to those who qualify
  • checkmark
    Easy to swap therapists if you’re not happy
  • checkmark
    Offers couples therapy
  • checkmark
    Less expensive than traditional therapy
Cons
  • checkmark
    BetterHelp therapists cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medication
  • checkmark
    No teen therapy
  • checkmark
    Does not accept insurance

Types of Services

Both BetterHelp and Cerebral offer a range of mental health services. The service types available are likely the most important factor when reviewing BetterHelp vs. Cerebral. You need to select the platform that offers the right services for your mental health needs.

Cerebral services

Cerebral offers two main services: online therapy and medication management for a range of mental health conditions. You can opt for medication and care management or medication management and therapy. Those that don’t require medication can select the therapy plan.

Cerebral also offers medication-assisted treatment plans for opioid use.

BetterHelp services

BetterHelp’s services center around online therapy. The platform matches you with a licensed therapist, with whom you can communicate through messaging services, including text, audio, and video calls. You can also schedule a live therapy session via phone, video, or live chat.

Cerebral vs. BetterHelp: Pros

When choosing between any two products or services, assessing the advantages it brings is of critical importance. You can then compare the key benefits and determine which advantages will help you the most. So, let’s take a look at 3 main pros of both BetterHelp and Cerebral.

Cerebral pros

#1 Accessible

Cerebral is a teletherapy company, meaning you can access therapy digitally. You can get started with your chosen plan after completing a free emotional assessment to assess your symptoms. It offers several plans based on customer needs, so you’re sure to find an appropriate option.

#2 Can be covered by insurance

Cerebral accepts insurance for select commercial health plans on most of their plans. If you have insurance that is not within Cerebral’s network, reach out to the team. They will send you an invoice for your insurance provider for possible reimbursement of your payment plan.

#3 Affordable

With insurance coverage, Cerebral can be very affordable. Without insurance, the subscriptions are reasonably priced and relatively cheaper than original therapy methods. Depending on your chosen subscription, some include the cost of your medication delivery.

BetterHelp pros

#1 Easy to change therapists

You won’t always click immediately with your therapist. It can take time to get comfortable opening up about yourself with a person you’ve never met before. However, if time passes and you’re not completely content with your therapist, you can easily opt to switch to another one.

#2 Unlimited messaging

Unlimited messaging services mean you can always reach out to your therapist, and they will reply when they can. Unlike traditional therapy, where you might have no contact between weekly sessions, you can send quick messages directly to your therapist at any time of the day.

#3 Group therapy

When signed up with BetterHelp, you can access various group live sessions each week with the counseling team and other members. Group therapy can be highly effective for improving your mental well-being and promoting better social interactions and healthier relationships.

Cerebral vs. BetterHelp: Cons

Any online mental health services will always have their drawbacks. Again, assessing and comparing the main disadvantages of the two platforms can help you make an informed decision. Often, these drawbacks can be the defining factor in the decision-making process.

Here are 2 cons of Cerebral and BetterHelp.

Cerebral cons

#1 You can’t pause your plan

While you can cancel your plan at any time, you cannot pause your plan. Some users find this problematic, particularly if they have to miss counseling sessions due to other commitments, such as work and holidays. If you want time out, you must cancel and then restart the program.

#2 Not a lot of therapists

In comparison to BetterHelp, there are not a lot of therapists among the staff at Cerebral. The therapy available depends on which state you’re in and the capacity of therapists available. Still, all Cerebral therapists have a doctoral or master’s degree from an accredited institution.

BetterHelp cons

#1 No psychiatrists on staff

The BetterHelp team does not include psychiatrists. While fully trained, BetterHelp therapists are limited in what they can offer. If you’re looking for a full assessment of your mental health from a psychiatric doctor, then BetterHelp is not the best option for your needs.

#2 Staff will not diagnose conditions

The therapists can provide talk therapy to help you overcome mental health issues, but they cannot diagnose conditions or offer medication treatment. So, if you are looking for answers about your mental health or a possible diagnosis, you will not find this with BetterHelp.

Special Features

Both BetterHelp and Cerebral offer some unique features set to improve your mental health. Here are some of them:

Cerebral features

  • Audio calls
  • Live video chat
  • Text messaging
  • Medication prescription and management

BetterHelp features

  • Secure live chat room
  • Audio calls
  • Live video calls
  • Couples therapy
  • Online journaling
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Mindfulness techniques

BetterHelp vs. Cerebral: Pricing

Below, you can find the pricing details of Cerebral and BetterHelp.

How much is Cerebral?

The cost of Cerebral depends on the membership plan. According to the official website, pricing may vary depending on the location and other variables. Currently, it offers the following plans:

  • Medication + Care Management plan: From $99 per month
  • Medication + Therapy plan: From $365 per month
  • Therapy plan: From $295 per month

How much is BetterHelp?

The exact cost of therapy through BetterHelp depends on variables such as your location, preferred therapy plan, and the availability of your therapist. Prices range from $240 to $360 per month or $60 to $90 per week. The subscription payment is billed every four weeks.

BetterHelp vs. Cerebral vs. Alternatives

Comparison Winner: BetterHelp
4.2
stars
3.8
stars
Brand
BetterHelp
Cerebral
Pros

Communicate with your therapist at any time

Offers financial assistance

Easy to swap therapists

Couples therapy

Less expensive than traditional therapy

Accessible mental health care

Same-day availability for appointments

Weekly, fortnightly, and monthly therapy

Licensed therapists can diagnose mental health illnesses and prescribe medication

Available without insurance

Less expensive than traditional therapy

Cons

BetterHelp therapists cannot diagnose conditions or prescribe medication

No teen therapy

Does not accept insurance

Services are not available in all states

Not suitable for severe mental illness

No teen therapy

How We Tested

Therapy is complex, and everybody has unique needs. However, here are some key factors that we took into account when examining these two apps, and perhaps they can too help you when making a decision.

Quality

The therapy you receive should always be of high quality. The best online therapy platforms comprise accredited and licensed therapists with legitimate experience in their fields. BetterHelp has a fully-trained team of staff, and Cerebral has a capable team who can diagnose and prescribe medicines.

Effectiveness

These services make health care accessible and hassle-free. Unless you’re someone who prefers in-person treatment, you will find both BetterHelp and Cerebral beneficial. There are plenty of communication methods to explore, giving you the opportunity to find what works for you.

Price

The good thing about most online therapy services is that they tend to be more cost-friendly than traditional therapy. While these services won’t match every budget, they do offer a more affordable alternative to those seeking support from the comfort of their own home.

Brand reputation

Cerebral and BetterHelp are well-known brands with similar missions. They appear to care about their clients and provide quality mental health care and access to high-quality resources. When researching, we came across generally positive reports from users of both apps.

Where can I get BetterHelp?

You can access the BetterHelp platform from any computer, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection. You can also access BetterHelp services through their mobile app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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.

What medications does Cerebral prescribe?

Licensed professionals on the app can prescribe users selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. These can treat insomnia, anxiety, or depression symptoms.

Can BetterHelp prescribe medication?

At the time of writing, BetterHelp therapists are not able to prescribe any medications.

A Word From a Psychologist

Online therapy means accessing therapy from home or on the go rather than attending a clinical practice. While online therapy does pose some challenges, it is considered an effective form of therapy. You can dedicate some time to treatment at home and skip the travel costs.

You can partake in online therapy to help with various mental health problems, such as anxiety, stress, childhood trauma, and eating disorders. Modern features like online journaling and mindfulness techniques can help you manage your symptoms in between sessions.

If you are worried about your mental health, talk to your healthcare provider. They can discuss the best professional counseling options for your needs. You can also discuss any concerns you have about opting for online treatment to address your feelings and behaviors.

BetterHelp vs. Cerebral: Which Gets Our Vote?

When it comes to mental health apps, both BetterHelp and Cerebral have their own unique advantages. However, after examining the features and services available, we think BetterHelp is the better option.

BetterHelp is great if you are looking for a more comprehensive experience that caters to both US and international users. On the other hand, Cerebral is the perfect choice if you want to benefit from insurance-covered services. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your needs and budget, so make sure to do your research, check out the BetterHelp alternatives, and pick the app that suits you best.

If neither of the two apps appeals to you, you can also read our comprehensive review of some of the best mental health apps on the market today.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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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: August 2, 2023
8 min read 1166 Views 0 Reviews
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