BetterHelp, the largest online therapy platform with a network of over 30,000 licensed therapists in the United States, has gained prominence as the go-to choice for those looking for the best customer experience in online therapy services for the year 2023. In this comprehensive review, we aim to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about whether it is the right solution for your mental health needs.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the psychological well-being of countless Americans, with 20% experiencing mental health problems in any given year, the need for accessible and affordable therapy services has never been more urgent. BetterHelp has risen to meet this demand, providing a lifeline to individuals struggling with high levels of psychological distress or facing barriers to in-person mental health care.
In this research, we’ll take a closer look at what makes Better Help different, its cost-effectiveness and user-friendly features, all of which contribute to its 4 out of 5 star rating compared to other online therapy platforms. Join us as we explore how BetterHelp is addressing the growing need for accessible mental health support at a time when taking care of one’s mental health is of paramount importance.
What is BetterHelp?
Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Mountain View, California, BetterHelp has emerged as the largest online counselling platform in the world. This innovative platform offers professional counselling services through various communication channels, including online messaging, live chat, as well as video and phone sessions, giving users the flexibility to access support from anywhere using their smartphone, computer or tablet.
However, what really sets this platform apart is not only its convenience, but also the high qualifications of its therapists. Each counsellor at BetterHelp holds a Master’s or Doctorate degree in their field, accompanied by a minimum of three years and 1,000 hours of practical experience.
Interestingly, only a small fraction of applicants, around 15%, successfully pass BetterHelp’s rigorous selection process.This process includes a thorough licence check and the requirement for potential counsellors to pass a case study exam, which is meticulously reviewed by a licensed clinician. Let’s take a closer look at this pioneering online counselling platform.
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BetterHelp Reviews and Customer Feedback
BetterHelp earns high marks as a leading teletherapy platform catering to various mental health concerns. Users consistently express positive sentiments regarding the quality of therapists, services, and the overall effectiveness of therapy sessions.
As of the time of this BetterHelp Review, it maintains an average rating of 4.04 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), based on over 500 customer reviews. Furthermore, the platform holds an A- rating on the BBB, reflecting the organization’s assessment of the company’s reputation and trustworthiness.
On Trustpilot, Better Help review boasts a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from a substantial pool of over 6,600 customer reviews. Feedback on Trustpilot mirrors the positive sentiments expressed on the BBB, further reinforcing the platform’s credibility and user satisfaction.
Many users highlight their satisfaction with the therapist matching process and the seamless transition to another therapist if needed. They also commend the efficiency of their therapists, the noticeable improvements in their mental health, and the ongoing support and check-ins from BetterHelp regarding their progress and therapist relationship.
We also looked for BetterHelp Reviews on forums and social media and found the following examples
I started using BetterHelp when I was going through a difficult time in my life. The convenience of being able to chat with my therapist at any time was a game changer. The messaging feature allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings without hesitation. Also, the video sessions made me feel like I was in the same room as my therapist. The support I received from my therapist and the Better Help team was exceptional. I can't recommend BetterHelp enough to anyone looking for professional help from the comfort of their own home.
Our BetterHelp experience
Our team embarked on a journey with BetterHelp, collectively seeking support for different reasons. We were eager to evaluate the platform and its services, and each of us had unique motivations. Here’s a summary of our team’s experience:
- Stress and anxiety relief: One member of our team used BetterHelp to manage stress and anxiety related to caregiving responsibilities and concerns about a family member’s health. This person was in a different state to their loved one, which added an extra layer of anxiety.
- Improved communication: Another team member sought BetterHelp’s help to improve communication with her siblings. There were often conflicts within the family about caring responsibilities. This individual was determined to find effective ways to work together harmoniously.
Overall, we would describe our experience with BetterHelp as exceptional. The therapists we worked with were highly skilled, compassionate and competent. They addressed our concerns without any form of judgement or criticism. Better Help’s flexibility in allowing clients to change therapists as needed was a valuable feature, although we all chose to stay with our original therapists.
Over the course of several video sessions, our therapists provided valuable insights and strategies for managing anxiety and resolving communication issues. They never imposed their suggestions, but rather offered practical coping mechanisms, such as breathing exercises and journaling techniques. These tools helped us to see our fears and concerns in a more realistic and logical way.
We also appreciated the responsiveness and support we received from BetterHelp’s customer service team. When one of our team members forgot to cancel her subscription after four weeks and was billed for the next month, the agent quickly processed a full refund. In addition, when we submitted questions via the platform’s support messaging, we received prompt and satisfactory responses within hours.
The ease of use of the Better Help platform made our therapy experience even more enjoyable. Our counselling sessions included the exploration of cognitive-based therapy tools that enabled us to maintain a more positive outlook, communicate effectively and reduce anxiety. Although we didn’t personally use the messaging, live chat or phone sessions for counselling, our therapists informed us about these options and encouraged their use when appropriate.
In conclusion, our team found BetterHelp to be a valuable resource for addressing our individual concerns. The therapists were not only excellent counsellors, but also well suited to the specific issues that led us to seek therapy.
BetterHelp was conceived by entrepreneur and investor Alan Matas in response to his own difficulties in accessing affordable professional therapy. Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that 46% of people who lack access to mental health services forgo treatment due to financial constraints.
In May 2013, Matas launched the first version of BetterHelp, a website dedicated to providing convenient, discreet and cost-effective online mental health services to a broad audience.
Since then, BetterHelp has expanded its offerings to include specialised platforms that cater to specific demographics.In particular, ReGain provides counselling for couples, while Teen Counselling extends its services to teenagers aged 13-19.
How BetterHelp works
BetterHelp, an online counselling platform, provides an accessible and convenient way to connect with licensed therapists for online counselling. Here’s how BetterHelp works:
To begin your journey, you can visit their website and select your preferred type of therapy, whether it’s individual, couples or teen therapy. How BetterHelp works is a straightforward process, from registering to connecting with a therapist. You can start by clicking on the ‘Get Started’ button in the top right hand corner of the website.
After completing a short questionnaire, the platform aims to match you with a therapist quickly, usually within 24 hours. Once you’ve been matched with a therapist based on your answers, you can start sending messages to your therapist at your convenience. If you find that the match isn’t right for you, BetterHelp allows you to request a different therapist.
For those who prefer live chat, phone or video sessions with their therapist, you’ll need to arrange and schedule a suitable session time with your therapist and log into your account when it’s time for your session. This flexibility and adaptability in the way BetterHelp works makes it a user-friendly and accommodating platform for those seeking online counselling.
In addition, BetterHelp offers the option to access its platform through both its website and mobile app, providing you with the tools to manage your account, schedule appointments with your online therapist, and contact customer service when needed. This versatility ensures that users can tailor their counselling experience to their individual preferences, needs and schedules.
Methods of communication
BetterHelp offers a wide range of features to suit different communication preferences and mental health needs. One of the outstanding benefits is the flexibility it offers in how you connect with your therapist.
- Message your therapist anytime: Messaging on BetterHelp works like email, available 24/7, although response times may vary. You’ll receive an email notification when your therapist sends a message, making it a convenient way to address quick questions or maintain an ongoing conversation. You and your therapist can set response frequencies to suit your needs.
- Chat room: Once you have been matched with a counsellor, you will be given access to a discreet 256-bit encrypted chat room. Although not real-time, this messaging system allows you to communicate with your therapist at any time, provided you have a stable internet connection. When your therapist responds, you will receive an email notification so you can check in at your convenience.
- Group Therapy: BetterHelp users can attend therapist-led group support sessions on various mental health topics. These sessions last 90 minutes and can accommodate 5 to 18 participants. While group sessions provide valuable peer support, they can present some challenges compared to individual therapy, particularly in terms of immediate interactions in a virtual setting.
- Group support: In addition to individual therapy, BetterHelp organises over 20 interactive group seminars every week. These sessions cover a wide range of topics including sleep, self-care, anxiety and depression. If you can’t make a live Group Therapy, you can access a recording by email.
- Live chats: For those new to therapy or looking for a more text-based approach, live chat sessions are an excellent option. You can schedule a time with your therapist for this text conversation.
- Live chat sessions: These sessions mirror text messages and take place within the online therapy room. The chat history in Betterhelp remains accessible for reference until you decide to cancel your subscription.
- Live video sessions: Live video sessions offer a more personal and interactive experience, with the ability to schedule sessions in advance through the platform.
- Live phone sessions: Scheduling a live phone session in BetterHelp is easy and provides a convenient option for those who prefer voice communication. The system initiates the call and connects you to your therapist at your preferred time. Conversations are stored in the chat room, giving you the opportunity to reflect and revisit them. You can even unsend messages if you wish, giving you extra control over your interactions.
- Live phone sessions: If verbal communication is your preference, you can schedule a phone call with your counsellor. BetterHelp maintains your privacy by facilitating these calls through the app, so your personal phone number remains discreet.
- Live video sessions: For a face-to-face experience, Better Help offers video sessions that allow you to connect with your therapist via live video at your scheduled appointment time.
The therapy session format on BetterHelp is subscription-based, which includes messaging at any time and one live chat, phone or video session per week. The length of a live session is usually between 30 and 45 minutes, although the exact length will be determined in consultation with your therapist.
BetterHelp’s range of communication methods ensures that users can choose the format that best suits their preferences and needs, making it a versatile platform for online therapy.
BetterHelp’s range of counselling services
BetterHelp offers a wide range of counselling services with a focus on tailoring the approach to individual needs. Their team of therapists are well versed in a variety of counselling modalities, including
- Family therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness therapy
- Client-centred therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
- Motivational Interviewing
- Family therapyCognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness therapy
- Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
BetterHelp’s professional network includes therapists who specialise in a wide range of areas, including
- Eating issues
- Relationship issues
- LGBTQ+ issues
- Stress management
- Career challenges
- Coping with life changes
- Family conflict
- Sleeping difficulties
- Intimacy concerns
- Anger Management
Mental health diagnosis: beyond the scope
BetterHelp therapists are also not involved in diagnosing mental health conditions. Although they are licensed professionals capable of making diagnoses, Better Help does not endorse the diagnostic process through its platform. For services that involve prescribing medication, alternatives such as Talkspace and Brightside should be considered.
Prescription medication: Not a service offered
It’s important to note that BetterHelp therapists cannot prescribe medication. While their team includes qualified mental health professionals with Master’s and Doctoral degrees, only licensed psychiatrists with medical degrees have the authority to prescribe medication.
BetterHelp Price and subscription changes
It offers an affordable and flexible pricing structure that makes it a competitive option in the online therapy landscape. BetterHelp Costs vary depending on the frequency of live sessions you choose, with rates ranging from $65 to $90 per week. Billing is on a monthly basis. It’s worth nothing that Better Help does not accept insurance, which may lead you to explore alternative, cost-effective solutions.
You have the freedom to cancel your BetterHelp subscription at any time if you find that the platform does not meet your needs.
In Times Of Urgency
In urgent situations it is not safe to wait for an online therapy appointment. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately, especially if you are considering harming yourself or others. For those struggling with suicidal thoughts, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can be reached by simply dialing 988 and offers support 24 hours a day.
Support is also available through the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). The SAMHSA Helpline is a free and confidential service, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, that provides treatment referrals and information for people struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues.
Financial Aid and Insurance Considerations
Financial assistance with BetterHelp
BetterHelp provides financial assistance to eligible individuals, including those who are unemployed or experiencing financial hardship. To apply for financial assistance, you must complete a questionnaire during the registration process. This questionnaire assesses your eligibility and asks about your employment status and current monthly income. Verification may include recent tax returns or other official documentation confirming your financial status. Financial assistance, if approved, may cover the full cost or a reduced rate based on your income.
It’s important to note that BetterHelp does not accept insurance and services are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Because therapists do not diagnose or prescribe, most insurance companies will not cover treatment. However, Better Help can provide itemised bills for possible submission to insurance companies for reimbursement. Reimbursement depends on your insurance plan and its coverage guidelines. However, BetterHelp does not submit information directly to insurance companies on your behalf.
Acceptance of Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cards
BetterHelp accepts HSA and FSA cards as an acceptable form of payment. Most HSA/FSA providers consider the service an eligible expense, allowing you to offset some or all of the cost if you have one of these accounts.
Analysis of BetterHelp: Exploring the pros and cons
In today’s fast-paced world, the need for accessible mental health services has never been greater. BetterHelp, an online therapy platform, aims to meet this demand by offering a range of services to individuals seeking support. In this review, we look at the pros and cons of BetterHelp, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses.
- No time commitment: Unlike traditional therapy models, BetterHelp offers flexibility in terms of commitment. Users can decide how long they want to use the platform and can cancel their subscription at any time.
- Qualified and experienced therapists: BetterHelp boasts a roster of therapists who are board certified and have a minimum of 3 years and 1,000 hours of practical experience. Before joining the BetterHelp network, therapists undergo a rigorous screening process to ensure that clients receive quality care.
- Affordability and financial support: BetterHelp recognises the importance of affordability in mental health care. They offer financial assistance to individuals who qualify, making their services more accessible to a wider range of users.
- Diverse access options: BetterHelp understands that individuals have different preferences when it comes to therapy. Here you have the flexibility to access therapy via text, live chat, phone calls or video calls to suit your preferred communication style.
- Therapist Transition Ease: Sometimes the therapeutic relationship may not be an ideal fit. BetterHelp recognises this and allows users to easily request a change of therapist, ensuring that you receive the most effective care.
- Round-the-clock availability: The platform offers 24/7 access to therapists, recognising that mental health issues can arise at any time. This ensures that you can get support when you need it.
- Limited scope: While BetterHelp therapists can provide valuable talk therapy, they are not authorised to diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe medication or fulfil court orders. For these services, users must seek out licensed therapists, which limits the scope of the platform.
- For adults only: BetterHelp is exclusively for adults seeking therapy. For those seeking mental health support for children or teenagers, the platform redirects users to its sister site, Teen Counselling, which may be seen as a drawback for families seeking comprehensive mental health care.
- Lack of insurance coverage: A notable disadvantage of BetterHelp is that it is not covered by insurance. This includes both private insurers such as Medicare and Medicaid, which limits its accessibility to those who rely on insurance for healthcare expenses.
In conclusion, BetterHelp is a convenient and accessible option for individuals seeking mental health support. Its multiple communication methods, 24/7 availability and experienced therapists are significant advantages. However, the lack of insurance coverage, the limited scope and the platform’s exclusion of services for minors are aspects that potential users should consider when assessing its suitability for their needs.
BetterHelp Customer Support
For inquiries or assistance, BetterHelp offers several ways to communicate:
Web Form: Use the form on their website to submit your questions or concerns.
Phone: Reach their customer service line at 888-688-9296.
Email: Contact us at [email protected].
Refund Process and Membership Cancellation
If you are dissatisfied with your BetterHelp experience, you may be entitled to a refund. To initiate the refund process, send an email to [email protected] detailing your situation, including the reasons for your dissatisfaction and the amount of compensation you are requesting. If approved, Better Help will direct you to contact a representative at 888-688-9296. Refunds are handled on a case-by-case basis.
To cancel your BetterHelp membership, please follow these steps
- Log into your BetterHelp account.
- Navigate to the top menu and select “My Account”.
- Click on “Payment Settings”.
- Select “Cancel Therapy”.
Make sure you cancel your membership before the next billing cycle to avoid additional charges. If you have prepaid for unused sessions, contact BetterHelp customer service to inquire about your eligibility for a refund.
User satisfaction with customer service
Based on our survey of BetterHelp users, 74 percent reported that their customer service issues were resolved within one business day.
Temporary Membership Suspension
If you need to temporarily pause your BetterHelp membership, contact the Member Success Team with the specific dates for the pause. Alternatively, you can temporarily cancel your membership and resume when you’re ready.
Are there any discounts for using BetterHelp?
Yes, there are discounts on selected services and BetterHelp offers a generous 25% discount on the first month of therapy via the COVID-19 support page.
How long do therapy sessions take at BetterHelp?
Typically, live video sessions on BetterHelp last 30-45 minutes, although some providers offer hour-long sessions.
Is BetterHelp less expensive than other online therapy options?
The cost of BetterHelp varies depending on your location, the subscription plan you choose and the availability of therapists. In many cases, it can be considered a cost-effective option compared to other online therapy platforms.
How are BetterHelp therapists selected?
Therapists on BetterHelp are required to submit official documentation of their qualifications and identity, undergo a comprehensive case study and participate in a video interview. Only therapists with licences, solid training and experience are accepted.
How much does it cost to use BetterHelp?
The weekly cost for Better Help therapy sessions ranges from $60 to $90. This can be a convenient and cost-effective option depending on individual needs and budget.
Is BetterHelp an alternative to traditional face-to-face therapy?
Yes, BetterHelp offers a convenient and flexible alternative to traditional face-to-face therapy, providing access to therapy from anywhere.
Is BetterHelp Legitimate?
BetterHelp’s legitimacy is supported by its rigorous therapist selection process, which includes credential verification, identity checks, case studies, and video interviews. Therapists on the platform hold master’s or doctorate degrees, possess relevant licensure, training, and experience, and are certified by their respective state professional boards. Notably, only 25% of therapist applicants gain approval for practice through BetterHelp.
In conclusion, BetterHelp offers a versatile and convenient approach to therapy with numerous advantages. It serves as an excellent entry point for those new to therapy or online counseling, providing a highly customizable and personalized experience. The platform’s affordability and accessibility, which includes options for phone and video calls, make it a compelling choice for a wide range of individuals.
However, it’s crucial to emphasize that BetterHelp should not be relied upon in cases of immediate danger or critical mental health emergencies, where immediate assistance from services like 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is essential.
BetterHelp stands out for its extensive network of therapists, flexible contract options, and exemplary customer service. Users appreciate the convenience of live audio and video sessions, messaging at any time, and a user-friendly interface. The platform’s quick sign-up process and counselor matching within 24 hours enhance its appeal. While therapist matches may not always align perfectly with specific preferences, the platform makes it easy to switch therapists before committing to paid sessions.
Furthermore, BetterHelp has garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews online, reinforcing its reputation for quality service. It’s worth noting that, while online therapy platforms like Better Help are suitable for addressing various mental health concerns, they may not be the ideal choice for individuals grappling with severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or serious mental illness.
In such cases, in-person therapy with a qualified mental health professional is strongly recommended. For those seeking the convenience of online therapy, BetterHelp remains a commendable choice, providing access to licensed mental health providers who can offer support and guidance tailored to individual needs and preferences.
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Jayson Peterson is an experienced pharmacist, naturopathic physician, medical examiner, and minister. After earning his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, Jayson Peterson completed clinical rotations at several prestigious healthcare institutions and has been affiliated with several pharmacy chains throughout his career. His main passion and zeal is focused on providing world-class patient care by giving precise details and thorough instructions to those who need it most.