BetterHelp Review (2024): Tried And Tested


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Alena Hall Editor
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The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout have taken a toll on the mental health of many Americans, according to a March 2021 Pew Research Center report[1]. Around one-fifth of U.S. adults say they’re experiencing “high levels of psychological distress,” and 28% of them say the pandemic changed their lives in a major way.

Another report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found the pandemic also created new barriers to help for people who already faced substance abuse or other mental health issues[2]. At the same time, resources for face-to-face mental health services weren’t readily available due to public health concerns. As a result, many people experiencing mental health issues turned to online therapy platforms like BetterHelp.

BetterHelp at a Glance


  • Usability: It’s relatively easy to sign up for BetterHelp and pair with a therapist experienced in the issues for which you are seeking help.
  • Quality of care: All BetterHelp therapists have advanced degrees and at least three years and 1,000 hours of experience.
  • Billing and customer service: BetterHelp offers weekly, monthly or quarterly billing, and customer service is accessible and prompt.

What I Liked About BetterHelp

  • BetterHelp counselors are available via text messaging and live chat, as well as video and phone sessions.
  • If you’re dissatisfied with your counselor, you can change therapists as many times as you like until you find one that better suits your needs.
  • Helpful and responsive customer service

What I Didn’t Like About BetterHelp

  • BetterHelp automatically matches you with the counselor it determines is a good match. You can choose your own therapist, but this option isn’t obvious without extensive exploration of the BetterHelp website.

What Is BetterHelp?

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Mountain View, California, BetterHelp markets itself as the largest online counseling platform in the world. It offers counseling through online messaging, live chat, and video and phone sessions. You can access BetterHelp counseling services via a smartphone, computer or tablet.

BetterHelp offers professional counseling from accredited psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists and board-licensed professional counselors. All BetterHelp counselors have a master’s degree or doctorate in their field and at least three years and 1,000 hours of experience.

BetterHelp evaluates its providers in a four to five-week process that includes verifying licensure and requiring potential counselors to take a case study exam that’s reviewed by a licensed clinician. Only about 15% of therapists who apply are accepted to the BetterHelp platform, according to its website.

How Does BetterHelp Work?

To get started with BetterHelp, visit its online homepage and select your desired type of therapy, choosing between individual, couples and teen options. You may also begin registration by clicking the “Get Started” button in the top right corner of the site.

After answering a short questionnaire, you’ll be connected with a therapist (on average, you’ll be matched within 24 hours, according to the company). Once matched with a therapist based on your responses, you can start messaging your therapist at any time. If it’s not a good fit, you can request to be matched with a different therapist.

To connect with your therapist for a live chat, phone or video session, you will need to schedule a time with your therapist and log in to your account at your determined session time.

Make Time For Yourself, In Therapy

No more waiting days, weeks or even months to find a therapist. Sign up with BetterHelp and you can get matched to a therapist within 48 hours.

Who Is BetterHelp Right For?

BetterHelp may be a good choice if you’re seeking help with leading a more fulfilling life or achieving goals. However, many BetterHelp counselors also specialize in specific issues, including:

Who Should Not Use BetterHelp?

BetterHelp is not the right choice if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, are a minor or under the care of a legal guardian or are experiencing an urgent crisis or emergency. BetterHelp is also not appropriate if you’ve been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, are seeking therapy under a court order or don’t have a reliable internet connection.

Clarity of Options and Rules

When you sign up for a BetterHelp monthly subscription, you receive access to four weeks of unlimited messaging in a counseling “room” with your counselor. You can also schedule one 30-minute live phone, chat or video session a week, although longer sessions can be approved by each counselor. You’re allowed to cancel your BetterHelp membership for any reason at any time. If you cancel, you will receive a prorated refund for any unused services for which you’ve already paid.

BetterHelp’s sign-up process is clear, fast and straightforward. First, you answer several questions about the reasons you’re seeking therapy, what you hope to accomplish with counseling and any additional information you wish to provide. The BetterHelp platform keeps you informed of the process with emails, typically assigning a therapist to you within anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

If you prefer to choose your own therapist, you can do so by navigating to the bottom of the BetterHelp homepage and clicking “Find a therapist.” However, this choice isn’t explained in BetterHelp’s FAQs page.

If you’re looking for a mental health provider, what type of treatment are you looking for?

How Much Does BetterHelp Cost?

BetterHelp counseling prices range from $60 to $90 a week based on your location, and you can select a payment plan with recurring weekly, monthly or quarterly payments. If you’re unable to afford it, you can apply for financial aid through the BetterHelp website.

Does BetterHelp Take Insurance or Medicare?

BetterHelp counseling services aren’t generally covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. However, check with your health insurance provider to see whether BetterHelp services could be reimbursed under your policy’s mental health coverage.

Can You Change or Cancel Your BetterHelp Subscription?

You can cancel your BetterHelp subscription at any time. To cancel your BetterHelp plan, access your account settings and select “Quit therapy” from your payment settings. After completing these steps, select “Personal Information” from your account settings and click “Request Erasure.” After canceling your subscription, BetterHelp will send you an email confirming cancellation.

Communication Methods

Once you’ve paid for your first month, week or quarter, BetterHelp assigns you an online “room” where you can exchange private messages with your counselor. You can also schedule video, phone or live chat sessions and access counseling services using four methods:

  • Messaging. Send your counselor a private message at any time using the messaging function in your therapy room. This message isn’t a live chat, so your therapist may not respond immediately. You and your therapist are notified by email when you receive a message.
  • Phone sessions. Schedule a phone session using the calendar function in your therapy room, which displays your therapist’s availability.
  • Video sessions. As with phone and live chat sessions, you must schedule a video session using the calendar function in your therapy room.
  • Live chat. You can also schedule a live chat session with your counselor via the calendar function.

Can BetterHelp Counselors Prescribe Medication?

BetterHelp counselors do not make official diagnoses or prescribe medications.

Can BetterHelp Diagnose Mental Health Conditions?

Because BetterHelp is a strictly online platform and does not have the ability to connect you with a therapist for in-person or face-to-face evaluations, official diagnoses or confirmation of diagnoses cannot be given, according to the company.

While a diagnosis is usually needed to gain access to prescriptions or when insurance is billed, therapy is still effective for learning coping strategies and mechanisms.

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Therapist Options at BetterHelp

During the sign-up process, I noted I was seeking help with some anxiety and family conflict issues. BetterHelp matched me with a therapist with more than 25 years of counseling experience who specialized in depression, anxiety and family conflict, as well as other areas of mental health and wellness. I felt the counselor was a good match for me based on the issues I wanted to work on.

BetterHelp vs. Other Popular Online Therapy Options

Compared to other popular online therapy sites and the typical cost of traditional, in-person therapy, BetterHelp falls on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to price, which is important for those looking to find a more affordable form of therapy.

While other online therapy platforms may have more options for insurance coverage or allow you to pick your own therapist, BetterHelp allows users to message their therapist at any time through communication modes such as chat, phone, video and text message. Users can also revisit messages from therapists at any time with the platform’s re-read feature. It also offers couples and teen therapy, with free live weekly group seminars available.

Ultimately, how BetterHelp measures up against its competitors will depend on your personal needs, preferences and what you hope to get out of your therapy experience.

Our BetterHelp Experience

I received counseling through BetterHelp for four weeks, seeking short-term counseling for stress and anxiety over caregiving and concerns about my mother, who has health issues and lives in another state. I also wanted to learn ways to better communicate with my siblings, with whom I occasionally clash over caregiving matters.

Overall, I would rate my experience with BetterHelp as excellent. My therapist was skilled, empathetic and competent. She listened to my issues without judgment or criticism. BetterHelp allows customers to change therapists at any time and as many times as they find necessary. However, I stuck with the same therapist, and over the course of four video sessions, she offered suggestions on ways to alleviate or prevent anxiety and resolve recurring communication issues with one of my siblings.

I found my online video sessions with my therapist to be as helpful as my previous experiences with in-person therapy. My counselor made suggestions without pushing me to follow them and offered ways I could cope with anxiety, such as breathing exercises and journaling techniques for perceiving fears or worries in a more realistic and logical way.

I also found BetterHelp customer service to be responsive and helpful. When I forgot to cancel my subscription after four weeks and was billed for the next month, the agent answered promptly and immediately processed a refund for the full amount. On a separate occasion, when I submitted a question via the platform’s support messaging, I received a satisfactory reply to my question within a few hours.

The BetterHelp platform was easy to navigate, and I enjoyed my therapy experience. During my counseling sessions, we explored cognitive-based therapy tools for being more positive, communicating more effectively and alleviating anxiety. I didn’t use messaging, live chat or phone sessions for counseling, but my therapist advised me during each session that those options were available and encouraged me to use them. I felt my therapist was an excellent counselor and a good match for the issues that brought me to therapy.

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Final Thoughts

Although I was initially reluctant to embrace online therapy as opposed to an in-person experience, I soon became comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings in video counseling sessions.

BetterHelp is an excellent option for people seeking online counseling for certain mental health issues. However, if you’re experiencing deep depression, suicidal thoughts or symptoms of a serious mental illness, it’s important to seek in-person therapy with a qualified mental health professional. If you’re in crisis or experiencing an emergency, call 911 for assistance.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is BetterHelp legitimate?

BetterHelp requires all prospective therapists to submit official documentation of credentials and identity as well as completing a case study and video interview, the company states. Therapists are licensed, trained and experienced in their respective fields, all having either a master’s or doctorate degree. Each therapist is also qualified and certified by their state’s professional board. Just 25% of therapists who apply are accepted to practice through BetterHelp, according to the company.

Is BetterHelp worth the cost?

The type and price range of your chosen therapy format is all about what works best for you. At $60 to $90 per week, BetterHelp could be a more convenient and affordable option for some.

Is BetterHelp better than in-person therapy?

If you are looking for a more convenient form of therapy that you can access from the comfort of your own home, BetterHelp may be a better option for you. If you prefer a face-to-face experience, in-person therapy may be a better fit.

Does BetterHelp offer discounts?

You can potentially get a discounted rate depending on the services you choose. BetterHelp also offers a 25% discount off your first month of therapy on its COVID-19 support page.

Can BetterHelp prescribe Xanax?

BetterHelp providers cannot prescribe any medications.

How long are BetterHelp sessions?

BetterHelp live video sessions typically last 30 to 45 minutes. However, some providers may offer sessions for up to an hour, according to the company.

Is BetterHelp cheaper than other online therapy options?

Depending on where you live and the subscription plan you opt for, BetterHelp costs between $60 to $90 per week (billed every four weeks), or $240 to $360 per month. This may be more affordable than other online therapy platforms depending on the subscription plan you choose, therapist availability and your location.



Next Up In Mind

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