BetterHelp Counseling Review 2023: Pricing, Financial Aid, Pros & Cons
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Read this to understand more about what is BetterHelp online therapy
As mental health is becoming as important as physical health, people are looking for new channels to get their treatments more efficiently and quicker. Online counseling is one of those new platforms that make getting help easier since you have the opportunity to reach out to licensed professional counselors in a matter of minutes by using such platforms.
So, what is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp therapy is one of the top-rated online therapy providers as of today. It offers counseling from over 4,000 licensed therapists by online communication channels such as live video calls, phone calls, and messaging. It also provides counseling in specialized areas of treatment such as anxiety, depression, and many others.
We tested BetterHelp Counseling. Read here our full BetterHelp review, according to our own experience.
How Betterhelp Works?
How to Sign Up for BetterHelp
The sign-up process for BetterHelp is relatively quick and can be done in a matter of minutes. To start, you need to complete a questionnaire that asks you some questions about your preferences and other counseling-related questions. This questionnaire helps the system pick a therapist that may be good for you.
You have to provide an email address and a nickname (if you don’t want to use your real name) for the registration process. After registration you will receive a confirmation mail on your given email address. Then you have to fill out some emergency contact information; this is kept safe in the website’s system and is only used in case your counselor believes that you or someone else can be in danger.
After completing the questionnaire, you are directed to the payment options in which you choose what payment plan suits you best. When you’re done, you are matched with a counselor that the system believes is a good fit for you. Keep in mind that this process can take about 48 hours, depending on your preferences.
Pros and Cons of BetterHelp
Researching BetterHelp has shown many positive and a few negative sides to it that may make it or break it for you when deciding to choose BetterHelp counseling.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
- Offers the possibility of online therapy sessions via multiple communication methods;
- Enables access to professional and experienced board-licensed therapists, including counselors, psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists;
- Transparent on pricing, and offers convenient monthly subscriptions;
- In case of dissatisfaction with a counselor, patients can switch therapists at any time and as many times as needed, until a perfect match is found;
- BetterHelp financial aid is provided for those who qualify;
- Users have given high ranking scores due to satisfactory experiences;
- 24/7 availability of therapists for an in-person therapy;
- BetterHelp website is modern, informative, and very user-friendly;
- Private information is protected due to the platform’s supreme security protocols;
- Information on therapists is available on the website through their bios;
- Responsive and helpful customer service.
- No free trial period or consultations is available;
- BetterHelp online therapy sessions are not covered by any insurance plans, yet they offer financial aid;
- BetterHelp counseling is available only to adults. Therapy for children and teens is available through BetterHelp’s sister websites;
- Prescribing medication and diagnosing mental health conditions are not in the therapists’ scope of work;
- There are no psychiatrists on the staff, hence no psychiatric care is available;
- No possibility to pick one’s own therapist in the beginning;
- Only one subscription plan is available with the prices varying, depending on the therapist and your location.
BetterHelp Screening Process
Each therapist registered on BetterHelp’s site is required to be licensed and accredited by their respective states’ licensing boards. BetterHelp offers a platform with over 4,000 counselors, including psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, or licensed professional counselors. All of the counselors have a Doctorate or Master’s Degree in their field and have at least 2,000 hours and three years of experience as professionals.
To apply for offering counseling at BetterHelp, the potential therapy provider must have a case study evaluation, followed by a video interview. This process can take between four to five weeks.
BetterHelp also provides a review page where you can look up any therapist on their platform, check their credentials, and look at what other people have said about them and their services.
Types of Treatment Offered by BetterHelp
BetterHelp provides many options for counseling: individual counseling (for yourself), teen counseling, family counseling, and couples counseling. Therapists, licensed professional counselors, and clinical social workers, are trained to offer service on specialized issues you may have.
The counseling itself can vary from therapist to therapist, but some of the areas of treatment that BetterHelp offers to the users are listed below:
- Intimacy Issues
- Anger Issues
- Substance Abuse
- Family therapists
- Self Esteem
- Panic attacks
- Teen counseling
- sleeping disorders
BetterHelp covers virtually every area in the mental health department, but not all therapists are trained for every area, so you have to look for the best fit for you.
Who are the BetterHelp Therapists?
When deciding to take on in-person therapy, the most important thing to decide on is the therapist. This is the professional that will work alongside you and provide you with the needed treatment and rehabilitation.
We can surely assert that BetterHelp has a wide range of therapists to meet your needs.
The platform has recruited hundreds of trained, licensed and accredited therapists that have successfully completed their academic duties and have longstanding experience in tending to various types of cases.
BetterHelp therapists have all undergone a thorough and rigorous 5-week application process. During this process, they are vetted for assurance that they fulfill all professional and health standards of Betterhelp’s team. The entire vetting process includes reviewing and verifying therapists’ credentials, background, references, and experience in the line of business.
To attest to their credibility, each candidate is given a case study exam evaluated by a licensed clinician, alongside a platform skills test. As stated on the Betterhelp website, only 15% of the candidates are approved and accepted to the BetterHelp professional therapist platform.
Therapists are monitored and evaluated even after being admitted and on an ongoing basis. They undergo continuous quality improvement and peer reviews, with client feedback also playing a central role. A mentor is also assigned to selected therapists so as to guide them through the whole process.
Finding the Best Therapist
All BetterHelp therapists hold Master’s and Doctoral degrees in their field of expertise. They are required to have a minimum of 1,000 hours and at least 3 years of hands-on experience.
All cases are handled by a team of marriage and family therapists, psychologists, licensed professional counselors, and clinical social workers. One drawback to BetterHelp counseling is that it doesn’t offer access to medical doctors and psychiatrists, thus excluding medication management services.
Getting Matched to a Therapist
If you have decided to seek help from the BetterHelp counseling team, you need to find the utmost therapist to help you manage any mental health conditions. The selection process starts with you filling out a questionnaire concerning your emotional and physical health and needs.
Answering the questions honestly will help the therapist understand what you need to get out of in-person therapy. Remember, no matter the therapist you choose, they will remain professional and non-judgmental.
Once you have completed the entrance questionnaire, BetterHelp runs it through an algorithm that uses your answers to find the perfect therapist among the 24,000 professionals offered.
BetterHelp’s algorithm has proven to be rather sophisticated and efficient in matching patients with therapists. Once you are matched to a therapist, you can browse through their profile to assure they are the perfect pick for you, service-wise.
Although you are not selecting your own therapist at the beginning, you will be given the option to switch therapists if you feel that Betterhelp’s match was not a suitable choice for you.
Choosing Your Therapist
If you don’t trust algorithms and wish to have control over choosing the therapist, you can resort to the Betterhelp app and site. BetterHelp’s mobile app and website offer a link to “Find your therapist”. Scroll down to the bottom of the app/site to find it. Clicking the link will ask that you provide your location. This will give you all therapists available in your area, who can provide you with quality live chat sessions. It’s good to know that, while the platform allows you to choose a therapist from any location, the therapists can offer their services only to those patients who reside in the state where the therapists are licensed.
Go through the list of therapists and read their profiles to get an idea of who they are and what their interests include. Once you click the “Get started” button, you will be notified if that particular therapist is available to work with you at the time that is the most convenient for you.
There is no limit as to how many times you can switch therapists before you find the right one for your needs. Never hesitate or compromise on sticking with a therapist just because you were assigned to them. If you think that another therapist will be more beneficial in helping you with your issue, feel free to do some browsing for better options and switch therapists.
Session Types Offered by BetterHelp Therapy
BetterHelp counseling offers several approaches to therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), the eclectic approach, and the evidence-based technique. Every patient will be offered several types of sessions to choose from.
One-on-one live sessions are not the go-to online therapy sessions of other platforms, due to the high cost. But, BetterHelp offers one live session per week as part of your therapy plan. All live sessions usually last 30 minutes, but you can adjust this timeframe with your therapist, based on both of your schedules.
There are three different types of live chat sessions to choose from – phone, live chat, and video calls.
Depending on personal preferences, some people go for the good old phone call session. Phone sessions are perfect for those who are camera-shy or find live chat sessions to be impersonal. Phone sessions are also great for those who want to keep in touch with their therapist when on the go.
You can have a live chat session with your therapist in real-time via your computer or mobile device. During a live chat session, the therapist will be interacting with you in a way that allows you to open up more freely than you would in a face-to-face session. If you like to go back to your previous sessions, know that live chats are recorded, so you can reexamine your earlier appointments.
Many may find themselves disliking video sessions due to being camera-shy, but these sessions are as close to in-person therapy as possible. Interacting with your therapist through a video call will help you build a deeper relationship with them, or might have you change your mind and opt to switch therapists. If you decide on this type of session, make sure that you have a stable internet connection to avoid any interruptions.
The BetterHelp counseling plan also includes the option of unlimited messaging with your therapist. Here, you and the therapist gain access to a virtual venue, where you can leave messages, set reminders for the next session, and ask questions. The therapist has to answer these messages within a reasonable time or provide you with suitable material you can work on.
The frequency of messaging has to be pre-agreed with the therapist. Every therapist has their personal style and, while some respond frequently, some choose to provide one answer to several messages.
Group therapy also referred to as groupinars, are one-hour-long live presentations intended for those who like group sessions. There are various groupinars taking place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, addressing cases related to trauma, anxiety, relationships, wellness, etc.
Just register for the topic you are interested in, or even sign up for several topics, and partake in the group therapy. If you cannot attend a therapy session at the scheduled time, you’ll be given 7-day access to watch it at your convenience.
Journaling is another of Betterhelp’s online therapy sessions, where patients keep a journal and choose what they’ll share with the therapist. Practicing daily journaling is known to promote mindfulness and reflection, as well as offer clarity.
Does BetterHelp Accept Insurance
Therapy is costly and most insurance companies avoid including mental health conditions in their policies. Like many related providers, BetterHelp insurance coverage is simply not included in the service offer.
What BetterHelp can offer, however, is a subscription model that will cost you from $60 to $90 a week, payable every month through PayPal or a credit card. This subscription enables access to weekly live chat sessions with your counselor, and unlimited text and audio messaging whenever you need to connect with your therapist.
If paying $240 and $320 per month is a challenge for you, you can always take the BetterHelp survey to check if you are eligible for the BetterHelp financial aid. But, before you do that, check if your health insurance might cover part of the mental health services.
All you need to do is contact your insurance provider to give you details on your insurance coverage. Or, you can check your online account and go through the provided services. You can also ask your therapist if they’ve had experience with your insurance provider before. If insurance does pay for any mental health conditions deemed necessary, this might require a diagnosis or a doctor’s referral.
If you choose to apply for BetterHelp financial aid, you will be approved for a lower weekly rate than the original one. You will receive a 40% discount from the normal weekly rate and only pay $48. The financial aid lasts 90 days and you can reapply only after three months of therapy.
BetterHelp does make a point that online therapy sessions are often more convenient and less expensive than in-person therapy. No need for spending time and money running around to get to your appointment – with Betterhelp, you can do it all from the comfort of your home.
How to Schedule a Session for online therapy with BetterHelp
Scheduling a live session is an arrangement made by you and your therapist. There is a calendar attached inside the chat room where you can schedule live video chat/video sessions BetterHelp, live sessions, or phone call/phone sessions. In case your therapist can’t make the date that you put on the calendar, they have to notify you so you can choose another date together.
If you decide to have a phone call/phone session with your counselor, the entire call process is operated by the BetterHelp platform. Your counselor doesn’t have any knowledge of your phone number.
BetterHelp Pricing Plans and Financial Aid
BetterHelp counseling and online therapy sessions are not covered by insurance but make an affordable option for anyone in need. On average, in-person therapy costs between $75 and $150 per session.
Betterhelp offers you affordable virtual therapy through live chat sessions that you can adjust to your schedule and attend from the comfort of your home, or on the go. Betterhelp offers only one subscription plan that is all-inclusive and non-customizable. The plan entitles you to 30-45 minute weekly sessions, scheduled based on your needs. There’s also a possibility for unlimited messaging with your therapist.
The standard price for the online therapy sessions ranges between $60 and $90, billed monthly. The therapy is billed per session and not per hour, which makes it more affordable.
It’s important to remember that the price is affected by various factors and may differ based on your location, preferences, and therapy availability. Why the price is affected by location is unclear, although it may be due to a lack of therapists in your area.
Among other perks, BetterHelp also offers a special reduced discount for people who are struggling financially to afford therapy but need it. Whether you get this discount or not will depend on the way you fill out your questionnaire.
To qualify for this reduced discount, you need to pay attention to three sections within the questionnaire and prove that you have a poor financial status. For BetterHelp to consider you for this discount, you have to qualify as an unemployed, disabled, veteran, or a student. You can still qualify if you are employed but only if your income is below the earning threshold of $50,000 a year.
If you do tick all the boxes for the reduced discount then you will save $15 per week. Still, keep in mind that if you accept the opportunity to use the reduced discount, you will not be eligible for financial aid.
Betterhelp Financial Aid
If for some reason, you are not able to afford therapy, you’ll be offered the possibility of applying for BetterHelp Financial Aid. This will allow you to get the therapy you need with some assistance from BetterHelp.
How does this work?
When you reach the payment section of the questionnaire, make sure to click the button at the end that says “I can’t afford therapy.” You will be asked to check your eligibility for financial aid by providing information on your household income, employment status, race, and the number of dependents you have. You will also need to provide information about whether you live in a rural or an urban area.
Regardless of your financial status, stated earlier in the questionnaire, you may still be eligible for a 40% discount on the standard weekly rate. This means that your rate can be as low as $48 per week, but the exact amount will depend on the information provided in a separate questionnaire.
An important note regarding Betterhelp’s financial aid is that it expires in 90 days, and you can only reapply after undergoing 3 months of therapy.
Dealing with sensitive information related to one’s health always requires the utmost security and confidentiality on behalf of the provider. To meet these requirements, BetterHelp takes privacy and security very seriously and has established strict protocols when it comes to its client’s safety in using the platform and its services.
Namely, BetterHelp uses banking-grade 256-bit encryption and SSL encryption for secure messaging with your therapist. Distributed through several Tier 4-AWS data centers, BetterHelp servers also provide protection and security by following the most up-to-date practices.
In case the data is stolen and there is an attempt for inappropriate use, the databases will become useless and showcase scrambled information since they have been encrypted.
There is an option to shred a message by simply pressing the Shred button, thus removing the message from the account. But, the message might still linger across some of the servers used.
Both the platform and Betterhelp therapists follow all provided HIPAA guidelines. All information you provide to the therapist and the company is protected under these HIPAA requirements.
An advantage to using the BetterHelp platform is that there is no need for giving out real names at any time.
The advantage of BetterHelp not working with an insurance provider is that there is no need to provide them with any personal or payment information. And, anything you tell your therapist will be protected and cannot be shared with a third party – unless you authorize it.
If you have signed up for grouping sessions, the only thing that will be shared with ClickMeeting is your email address, whereas your initials will be used as your display name. However, keep in mind that groupings may be recorded, so do not share any personal information during those sessions.
The Betterhelp site does, however, require you to leave emergency contact information.
This emergency contact will be reached out to only in case the therapist feels that you present a threat to yourself or others. In more extreme cases, the therapist is required by law to contact the local emergency services.
- Login activity of the user
- Personal information during account registration
- Clicked links
- Transactional activity
- Page visits to the BetterHelp website and other specific websites.
Also, the Betterhelp website cookies will register your mental health conditions searches.
This information will be shared with advertisers, so don’t be surprised if the next time you open your Facebook account, you are swamped with ads on mental health and personal therapy. This is a general practice among many companies, so don’t be alarmed when it happens.
BetterHelp vs In-Person Therapy
Many might say that there is no great difference between online therapy sessions and in-person therapy, but that is not entirely so. To make sure that you understand the meaning behind online vs in-person therapy, there is key information to know that will facilitate your final decision.
Let’s begin with the therapists. Whether you choose BetterHelp counseling or in-person therapy, you can be sure that you will have access to therapists that have been carefully chosen and vetted for their experience and credentials.
BetterHelp has a very strict recruitment process that demands all therapists have a minimum of three years of experience and 1,000 hours of practical experience. They also need to hold a Master’s or Doctoral degree and have the right accreditation for their position, especially when it comes to treating mental health conditions.
When talking about treatment approaches, rest assured that, with Betterhelp, you will get access to a range of treatment modalities.
Now, let’s talk about differences. You’d be surprised with the number of things you will need to consider when doing research on which therapy option to go for.
Here are some of the criteria you need to consider during your choosing.
The first thing to always consider as a factor is the service cost. While traditional in-person therapy may cost as high as $150 per session, BetterHelp’s online therapy comes at prices as high as $90 per session and also has a good refund policy. What needs to be taken into account here is that online therapy sessions are done in the comfort of your home and at a time that is adjusted to your schedule, without any additional expenses.
In-person therapy sessions, on the other hand, have to be scheduled within working hours of the institution which may not fit your busy schedule. You will also need to consider the cost of gas and parking, as well as the time you will spend commuting.
Before you decide on the better option of the two, you also need to consider your therapy needs and preferences. If a one-monthly session is all you need, traditional therapy may prove to be more economical and equally effective. Also, keep in mind that the BetterHelp price range depends on many factors, like location and choice of therapist.
As mentioned, whether you decide on BetterHelp counseling or in-person therapy, you will be provided with the best experts in their field. The difference is that finding the right therapist is easier with BetterHelp.
Having a massive variety of therapists in one place beats the need to run around the area looking for the right professional. Online therapists are a better fit if you both live in a major city or a more remote area since everything is done via a screen.
When comparing in-person vs Betterhelp online therapy, there is no right answer to which option is better. What might work for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other, and it all depends on the person’s needs, schedule, budget, and daily habits.
Some people prefer in-person therapy because they feel the interaction they have with their therapist is beneficial to their recovery. Body language is something that therapists heavily rely on to assess the emotions of their clients. This is not possible with online therapy sessions because the therapists only see a fraction of your body expressions.
With the reality of video communication replacing real in-person meetings, many have found that this option works best for their cases. Some of this is due to shyness and the inability to portray emotions and feelings when put on the spot. The best option for these people might be live chat sessions where they can message their therapist.
BetterHelp is not an option for persons suffering from serious cases of depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. It does not provide full psychiatric services and medication management services. In such cases, in-person therapy is the best choice to get the much-needed help.
BetterHelp is not suitable for emergency or dangerous cases, and its therapists cannot make diagnoses or fulfill court-ordered therapy.
BetterHelp Customer Support
BetterHelp provides customer service support in three main formats:
- Contact Forms
- Direct Emails
- FAQ Section
These are used for questions regarding the customer service, registration process, and general questions about the site. If you have a question about the service, you can check out the FAQ section first to see if they already have an immediate answer to that question.
Is BetterHelp Right for Me?
BetterHelp is ranked among the most comprehensive online counseling providers. It offers thousands of experienced and qualified therapists, provides security and anonymity, is easy to use, and is rather affordable as well.
If you are someone who is seeking therapy for anxiety, depression, stress, or relationship issues, BetterHelp can meet you halfway. BetterHelp counseling is intended primarily for adults, but if there is a need for counseling teens and children, they offer assistance from sister platforms to accommodate your needs.
The benefit of online therapy sessions is that it is suitable for people with limited mobility, those who have difficulty leaving the house and traveling, or those unable to get to a session during working hours. It is also an excellent option for caregivers, those with no insurance coverage, and those who are not very tech-savvy or simply wish to remain anonymous.
BetterHelp online therapy sessions are designed to last between 30 and 45 minutes, but the official duration can be agreed with the therapist. You choose the type of live chat sessions you feel most comfortable with and start communicating with your therapist. You do need to have a stable internet connection to enjoy smooth online therapy sessions with your therapist.
BetterHelp is also intended for those with no insurance coverage. So, if you are having trouble covering your therapy costs, you can apply for BetterHelp financial aid.
BetterHelp counseling is not intended for severe mental health conditions and it is not an emergency service. There are no medical doctors and psychiatrists in the pool of experts, so no medication management services can be offered.
People struggling with severe depression, suicidal thoughts, complex PTSD, or have a history of psychosis, won’t find BetterHelp to be a good fit. These patients require urgent care and response, something that BetterHelp can’t offer.
Betterhelp Customer Reviews and Ratings
Rated among the top teletherapy platforms on the online therapy market, BetterHelp counseling is getting high reviews and ratings. Customers, in general, are rating their overall satisfaction with Betterhelp’s customer services, the therapist efficiency, the relationship established with their therapist, the therapist matching process, and the easy switch therapists option.
The 4.09 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is based on the trustworthiness and reputation of the company. The complaints are mainly concerning subscription prices and payments.
Betterhelp reviews on Trustpilot also rank high with 4.08 out of 5 stars. The reviews alone portray superb customer satisfaction with the Betterhelp service offering.
Here’s some of the feedback on the Betterhelp platform, as per Trustpilot.
“Easy to sign up, love that they match a counselor to you based on your needs, they offer free “groupinars” which is an informative lesson from a licensed counselor on a particular subject that you can sign up for. The app lets you journal every day and there’s an option to share all or certain entries with your counselor. I love my therapist, she’s super sweet and really cares, I never feel judged, and she sends me helpful worksheets I can access anytime. You are also able to schedule your appointment yourself and are provided with options, you can also cancel and reschedule on your own without having to talk to anyone which I love.” — Katelyn B., Better Business Bureau
“Matched with a great therapist! Wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I was matched with a therapist that really works for me. It’s easy to do from home over video chat. It’s really helping me through a tough time and I would recommend giving it a try for anyone who needs the help.” – Everlife, Trustpilot
“Best Therapy Tool I’ve Used! I have been struggling with anxiety, depression as well as sleep issues, and substance abuse for the past few years. As a young LGBTQ+ addict with mental health struggles that may be slightly more than just anxiety and depression, BetterHelp has been a tremendous help in my healing and recovery. I’ve been able to have one session a week in the format I choose (text, voice, or video call) and I am able to switch therapists for free whenever in order to find a perfect match!” – Mathieu Babineau, Trustpilot
Our Final Say
BetterHelp can be a reliable and effective alternative to traditional counseling platforms. You can get their service almost anywhere; only you need a device and a stable internet connection.
Online counseling works for people who struggle with having in-office therapy, or just don’t feel comfortable with going to a therapist’s office yet. While it doesn’t replace traditional treatments, it can help some people who need that kind of service on the go.
BetterHelp is the largest online counseling platform worldwide. We make professional counseling available anytime, anywhere, via computer, tablet, or smartphone. BetterHelp changes the way all of us get help with facing life’s challenges by providing convenient, private and affordable access to a licensed therapist.
We found that we are able to successfully match you with a therapist most of the time; however, if you start the process and you feel your counselor isn’t the best fit for you, you can choose to be matched to a different counselor. After signing up, you will be matched with an available counselor who fits your preferences, and the type of issues you are dealing with. Counselors differ in approaches and areas of focus, so it’s important to find the right person who will be a good fit and can achieve the best results for you.
BetterHelp therapists are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (Ph.D. /PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC). All of them have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their field. They have been qualified and certified by their state’s professional board and all completed at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
BetterHelp would make a great fit for you if you’re looking to improve your quality of life. We have counselors who specialize in specific issues, from depression, anxiety and relationships, to eating, parenting, addictions, trauma, LGBT matters, religion, and much more.
BetterHelp might not the right solution for you if any of the following is true:
- You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
- You are a minor or you are under the care of a legal guardian.
- You are in an urgent crisis or an emergency situation.
- You have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, or if you have been advised to be in psychological supervision or psychiatric care.
- You were required to undergo therapy or counseling either by a court order or by any other authority.
- You do not have a device that can connect to the Internet or you do not have a reliable Internet connection.
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