Mental health is a significant concern in today's world. The statistics reveal a troubling reality, with mental health disorders emerging as a leading cause of disability and death, particularly among young individuals.
Furthermore, mental health issues continue to be heavily stigmatized, causing individuals to feel judged by their surroundings and making it challenging to afford the high costs of therapy.
This is where BetterHelp steps in. Established in 2013, this company is dedicated to breaking down the stigmas surrounding mental health and offering affordable online therapy services to improve the quality of life of those dealing with mental struggles.
How did we review BetterHelp: our guidelines
We reviewed various aspects of the company, including therapist proficiency, pricing structures, and BetterHelp therapy reviews.
Billing and fees have long been a concern in traditional therapy, where the average session in the USA typically falls within the range of $100 to $200. Therefore, we considered BetterHelp pricing and compared the total expenses incurred to those of traditional therapy.
The expertise of professionals in any counseling platform is crucial, as personalized assistance is one of the most important elements for successful therapy. Consequently, we evaluated the background and career experience of BetterHelp's therapists.
Lastly, we placed significant emphasis on reviews and customer service. Given BetterHelp's online platform nature, it is important to assess the overall quality of the therapy services. Our evaluation included the functionality of the app, as well as feedback from users regarding their experiences.
What is BetterHelp?
Founded by Alon Matas and headquartered in California, BetterHelp emerged in 2013 as a counseling platform committed to providing accessible therapy online. The app aims to connect users with diverse professionals and therapy options, enabling sessions via messaging and audio or video calls.
The platform counts on board-certified counselors, including psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists. All counselors hold at least a master's degree or doctorate in their respective fields and have accumulated a minimum of 1,000 hours of practical experience.
About the company behind BetterHelp
BetterHelp was acquired by the Teladoc Health Group in 2015. The platform experienced an increase in popularity during the pandemic, which was further amplified by collaborations with content creators. These partnerships, especially on platforms like YouTube, played a significant role in elevating BetterHelp therapy reviews, visibility, and user base.
About BetterHelp's therapy program
BetterHelp incorporates a variety of features within its app to enhance the convenience and accessibility of therapy. The app is designed for individuals above 18 who seek continuous and affordable therapy without the constraints of in-person sessions.
BetterHelp facilitates seamless communication with therapists through multiple channels, including live chat, messaging, video chat, and calls.
Users have the flexibility to schedule appointments with their assigned therapist using their preferred mode of communication. Furthermore, individuals can message their counselor on the platform whenever they need mental health assistance.
In instances where certain services, such as video calls, may not be available with a particular counselor, BetterHelp provides the option for users to match with a new therapist who can deliver services in their preferred method.
Additionally, the app features therapy worksheets for users to track progress, along with feedback boxes that enable individuals to provide comments to their counselor based on the session.
Affordable subscription plan
BetterHelp's pricing ranges from $60 to $90 per week, depending on location and therapist availability in the respective area. The plan is billed every month, resulting in an overall cost ranging from $240 to $360.
BetterHelp allows payment through PayPal or credit card every month. Users also have the option to cancel their subscription at any time, discontinuing the receipt of services if they no longer need therapy or are unsatisfied with the services. Additionally, BetterHelp extends financial aid to individuals facing challenges in their financial situation.
Additional features — journaling and groupbinars
BetterHelp also provides additional features in their platform to complement therapy and enhance the well-being of users.
The brand offers a feature called “groupbinars”, seminars conducted by expert therapists that individuals can attend live or watch after the sessions conclude. These seminars provide a unique opportunity for users to actively engage with therapists, ask questions, and gain insights to broaden their understanding of mental health issues. With approximately 20 live interactive group seminars available each week, users have diverse options to choose from.
Another noteworthy feature within the app is journaling. Users can compose entries and select various prompts to articulate their feelings and state of mind. The journal can be kept private for personal reflection or shared with their counselor, fostering a deeper understanding of their thoughts and emotions.
Diving deeper: the BetterHelp experience
We've meticulously examined the BetterHelp journey, scrutinizing everything from the initial process of matching with a therapist to what to expect after some months of engaging with the app. Let's delve into the details:
Matching with a therapist
Upon registering on the app, individuals will need to take a questionnaire about their mental state, covering a spectrum of topics from emotions to economic status. This information helps the algorithm identify the perfect match. Once the questionnaire and payment processes are completed, the individual is matched with a professional within the next 48 hours. Following the assignment, a private room is opened for both parties to engage in confidential communication.
Alternatively, users have the option to choose their preferred therapist. Before signing up, they can select the "Find a Therapist" option, find a list with all the possible options in their area, and select the most suitable one for their needs.
Whether the therapist is assigned or chosen, users have the flexibility to switch to a different professional. However, this change is limited to 6 different options.
Appointment times and therapist availability
BetterHelp offers a great deal of flexibility for both users and therapists, providing various ways to schedule appointments and emphasizing the importance of consistent communication to maintain a steady therapy schedule.
The most effective method for booking appointments with a therapist involves communication through the messaging channel. Both parties can discuss their availability, and once a suitable time is agreed upon, the counselor will reserve the slot on their calendar. Alternatively, if discussing availability is not preferred, users can independently book an available slot from their therapist's calendar.
Types of therapy offered
BetterHelp offers a variety of therapy options tailored to diverse individuals struggling with mental health concerns such as stress, family issues, LGBTQIA+ matters, or grief, among others.
On their website, users can specify the type of therapy they are looking for, whether for themselves, couples, or teens. However, for the latter two categories, individuals will be redirected to sister platforms, "Regain" and "Teen Counseling."
According to BetterHelp, the most common therapy techniques on the site encompass cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and interpersonal therapy (IPT).
Quality of licensed therapists
BetterHelp ensures that all therapists on their platform are highly qualified and experienced in diverse mental health fields, encompassing family and couples' issues, as well as social work.
The platform claims that its pool of over 30,000 licensed therapists possesses a relevant academic background with at least 3 years of experience, qualifying through their respective education, exams, and training. Therapists are also required to complete a case study before working with users on the app.
It's essential to note that, while BetterHelp therapists offer support for various mental health conditions, they cannot provide official diagnoses, fulfill court orders, or prescribe medication.
How to start BetterHelp's therapy program?
For those looking to initiate their online therapy journey with BetterHelp, they can commence the process by selecting "Get Started" on the website or by downloading the mobile app. After clicking "Get Started," individuals will be directed to a questionnaire that delves into various aspects related to mental health. Once the questionnaire is completed, users will be directed to download the app, where they can log in and set up a username and password.
The final step involves the subscription fee, payable through either PayPal or a credit card, with billing taking place every month. Following the payment, individuals are matched with a counselor within 48 hours based on the information provided in the questionnaire.
How much does BetterHelp cost?
BetterHelp cost vary from $60 to $90 per week, depending on factors such as personalized preferences (e.g., multiple weekly sessions), location, or therapist availability.
The platform provides multiple payment options, including PayPal and credit cards. Furthermore, there is financial aid available for individuals facing vulnerable situations, such as students, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those experiencing financial difficulties. This aid has the potential to decrease the overall fee from $340 per month to $260 per month; however, the extent of the reduction depends on the specific circumstances of each individual.
Many wonder “How much does BetterHelp cost?” or “"What subscription options does the platform offer?" due to the abundance of online sources providing varying information.
Currently, BetterHelp offers a standard plan that offers communication with a personalized therapist through messaging, live chat, calls, or video chat. Additionally, users benefit from access to worksheets, goal tracking resources, support groups, and extra features like webinars and journaling.
The monthly fee falls within the range of $240 to $360; however, it may vary depending on factors such as demand or geographical location.
Does insurance cover BetterHelp therapy?
Many online medical services are typically supported by private insurance groups, leading to the question, "Does BetterHelp accept insurance?" Unfortunately, neither BetterHelp nor the therapists on the platform submit claims to insurance companies.
This is attributed to BetterHelp's weekly flat rate structure, whereas insurance bills are usually based on the type of service rendered per session and involve a mental diagnosis—something BetterHelp does not provide.
How easy is it to cancel the subscription?
BetterHelp facilitates the cancellation process for individuals looking to end their subscriptions. By selecting "Quit Therapy" in their payment settings and logging in to complete the request, users can easily cancel their service. After logging in, clicking "Request Erasure" finalizes the cancellation, and an email confirmation is sent to announce the end of service.
Depending on the reason for the cancellation, BetterHelp offers refunds to some customers. To initiate a refund request, individuals need to contact the platform's customer service, attaching relevant documentation such as screenshots, bank statements, and any other necessary information to support their request.
Reasons why should you try BetterHelp
Many wonder "Is BetterHelp worth it?" and may doubt about the services provided. However, this therapy app offers an affordable solution for individuals seeking to prioritize their mental health. Here are several reasons to consider this online platform:
- Multiple features. The platform includes a unique monthly subscription fee, encompassing various services for users. These include weekly therapy sessions, support groups, worksheets, goal tracking, group seminars (groupbinars), and journaling.
- Multiple communication channels. BetterHelp offers a variety of communication methods to connect individuals with therapists, including chat, messaging, calls, and video chats.
- Flexible availability. Traditional therapy usually comes with transportation and time scarcities. BetterHelp allows users to book therapy sessions around their personal preferences and schedule.
- Affordability without insurance. For individuals without medical insurance, BetterHelp provides an opportunity to maintain consistency in therapy sessions without incurring excessive costs per session.
- Specialized therapy options. Finding the right therapist for specific mental health concerns can be time-consuming. With over 30,000 professionals specializing in various areas, BetterHelp can match individuals with a suitable professional in 48 hours.
- Counseling for couples or teens. BetterHelp extends its services to those seeking relationship or teen counseling. Dedicated services for couples and teens can be accessed on their sister platforms, "Regain" and "Teen Counseling."
Consider this before trying BetterHelp
BetterHelp may be unsuitable for some individuals. Here is what should be evaluated before trying out the platform:
- Minors without guardians. BetterHelp is a platform targeted for individuals over 18 who are fully accountable for their actions and information-sharing practices on the app.
- Mental health crisis. BetterHelp is designed for those seeking casual therapy and does not cater to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. Therapists on this platform cannot prescribe medication if needed.
- Diagnosis and treatment. BetterHelp therapists cannot diagnose or treat users. While they provide support for those experiencing mental health issues, they cannot diagnose specific mental conditions.
- Insurance coverage. BetterHelp is not covered by insurance programs and cannot reimburse any expenses. However, the platform does offer financial aid for individuals facing vulnerable economic situations.
What do users say about BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is one of the largest online counseling platforms, with over 2.5 million users and a network of over 30,000 professionals dedicated to assisting those with mental health concerns.
While the majority of users on third-party platforms like TrustPilot express satisfaction with the pricing, therapy quality, and overall app experience, platforms such as Reddit or YouTube may have more controversial opinions.
Various points of contention have emerged, particularly regarding the quality of therapy. Social media users have raised concerns about perceived negligence and unprofessionalism exhibited by some therapists during sessions. Additionally, criticism has surfaced in areas related to billing and cancellation, with reported challenges smoothly canceling services or obtaining refunds.
Despite mixed opinions, the majority of users report positive experiences on the platform, continuing to benefit from the services offered, including sessions with therapists, worksheets, journaling, and group seminars.
Furthermore, since 2020, BetterHelp Inc. has achieved certification by HITRUST. This certification safeguards customers' information and data, as the company experienced a breach that exposed customers' sensitive information between August 1, 2017, and December 31, 2020.
Comparing BetterHelp with the competition
BetterHelp is the largest counseling platform online, but it faces competition from other apps offering similar therapy services. We have undertaken the task of comparing these competitors and exploring the unique advantages they offer compared to BetterHelp.
BetterHelp vs. Talkspace
Talkspace mirrors BetterHelp in offering features such as communication via messaging, calls, or video chats, an intuitive sign-up process, and even an online symptom tracker, similar to BetterHelp's journal feature.
Talkspace's fees vary based on the features individuals choose. The subscription options include $69 per week for unlimited text, video, and audio messaging, $99 per week for unlimited messaging along with four 30-minute live sessions per month, and $129 per week for a combination of the above features and four 45-minute live sessions per month. Unlike BetterHelp, Talkspace accepts certain insurance plans, potentially reducing the overall cost of service.
Additionally, this app includes licensed psychiatric professionals and doctors who can diagnose and prescribe medication if needed. However, it's crucial to note that these appointments are not covered in the subscription plan, and individuals will be required to pay the professional fees separately.
BetterHelp vs. Brain
Brain is an online platform that provides counseling services, as well as psychiatric and medication assistance.
The two platforms significantly differ in their billing options. While BetterHelp offers a monthly subscription fee ranging from $240 to $360, Brain's therapy plan begins at $259 per month. This plan includes weekly video or phone sessions with a licensed therapist, on-demand messaging, and various additional self-care tools. If individuals require medication prescriptions, the fee increases to $325 per month.
Brain and BetterHelp also diverge in their approach to therapist selection. While BetterHelp utilizes matching algorithms based on a questionnaire, Brain lacks such algorithms, requiring customers to manually select their preferred professional.
Similar to BetterHelp, Brain's subscription plan includes additional features like journaling, cognitive-behavioral worksheets, and information about various mental health issues. However, Brain offers unique features not found on BetterHelp, including various relaxation exercises, meditation, and crisis management services.
BetterHelp vs. LiveHealth Online
LiveHealth Online is a medical online platform that offers various medical services for users, including psychology and psychiatry. This app differs from BetterHelp as it is not only focused on mental health but includes other disciplines such as allergology or family medicine.
While BetterHelp operates on a standard monthly subscription fee, LiveHealth's subscription is free, and users pay for each medical visit after consultation. Therefore, the overall cost depends on the specific service and the professional expertise required. The platform indicates that a therapy visit may be around $80 to $95 and typically lasts 45 minutes.
Therapists on LiveHealth, much like BetterHelp professionals, provide services for stress, anxiety, grief, or depression. However, LiveHealth is more centered on individual therapy and does not offer couple or family therapy among its services.
Our verdict — is BetterHelp worth it?
Individuals may stumble upon multiple barriers to accessing effective psychotherapy, including economic constraints, geographical limitations, or societal stigma.
BetterHelp's commitment to accessible and affordable therapy aims to dismantle mental health barriers, empowering individuals to prioritize their health and enhance their overall quality of life.
However, it is important to note that this platform can't diagnose or treat mental conditions. Therefore, individuals contending with serious mental health disorders should seek assistance from a psychiatrist rather than relying solely on the platform.
How much does BetterHelp cost?
BetterHelp subscriptions range from $60 to $90 per week or between $240 and $360 per month. Prices may vary depending on location and professional services, and the platform offers discounts for individuals facing economic vulnerability.
Is online counseling worth it?
Yes. Online counseling has demonstrated similar efficacy in assisting individuals with mental health problems compared to traditional therapy. Additionally, it offers the convenience of accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection.
Does BetterHelp take insurance?
No. BetterHelp does not take insurance but individuals can benefit from discounts if they are students, veterans, or facing financial instability.