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BetterHelp Review: Online Therapy and Counseling Cost, Pros, and Cons
Sacramento Bee - 11/13/2022
Online therapy has recently become mainstream as an effective and convenient way to access mental health services. However, is it as beneficial as in-person therapy?
This article reviews one of the most popular online therapy platforms, BetterHelp. We will examine how it can benefit you and whether it's worth your money in this BetterHelp review.
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What We Like About BetterHelp
BetterHelp is a highly-inclusive platform offering services to folks with varying sexual identities, preferences, religions, gender, financial background, and age.
Its elaborate services cover every psychological aspect in detail at affordable rates. Additionally, you can reach out to your therapist whenever you want. You can also easily discontinue BetterHelp services without extra charges.
Things To Keep In Mind About BetterHelp
BetterHelp does not offer medication management and doesn't accept insurance. Additionally, the price structure may be complicated for some individuals.
BetterHelp is also unsuitable for folks with serious mental illness or under 13 years of age. You also cannot choose your therapist. However, you can always change therapists if they aren't compatible with your needs.
What Is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is one of the largest online therapy platforms offering counseling in multiple ways, such as online messaging, live chat, phone calls, and video sessions. It was founded in 2013 by the entrepreneur Alon Matas and Danny Bragonier to make therapy more accessible and effective for struggling individuals.
A near decade in the industry allowed BetterHelp to gather a team of highly qualified, licensed professional counselors and clinical social workers. BetterHelp has become one of the biggest e-counseling services for individuals seeking therapy.
It is a good alternative to in-person therapy sessions with one weekly session. Unlike traditional therapy, you can easily communicate with your counselor whenever you want throughout the week.
The headquarters of BetterHelp is in Mountain View, California, United States. The reputable multinational telemedicine and healthcare company Teladoc Health owns BetterHelp, among other successful ventures.
Types of Therapy Offered
BetterHelp therapy covers individuals, couples, teenagers, and family therapies. It also provides counseling and assistance to members of the LGBTQIA+ community and faith-based communities.
BetterHelp caters to every user's requirements in depth and has sister websites to accommodate them. They have specialized and licensed mental health counselors to better deal with your mental health concerns. Their websites include:
Additionally, BetterHelp therapists utilize practical and science-based approaches such as:
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Who Should Try BetterHelp?
BetterHelp can be ideal for folks dealing with stress or anxiety. You can also turn to this online therapy platform for depression, eating disorders, poor social skills, grief counseling, and self-esteem issues. Individuals, teenagers, and adults with a stressful routine, difficulty in communication, and declining mental health can all try BetterHelp.
Families and couples trying to navigate through relationships can also avail BetterHelp therapy. Its marriage and family therapists utilize Systemic and Supportive Family Therapy providing a safe space for open communication and honest discussions.
Additionally, BetterHelp can provide an inclusive platform to queer folks and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It can help deal with societal or familial pressure and support unrestrained sexual orientation expression.
Moreover, BetterHelp welcomes the faith-based community on its Faithful Counseling website with a biblical approach and various licensed professional therapists.
Lastly, BetterHelp is a great option for folks without health insurance seeking therapy at an affordable price. Furthermore, you can save traveling costs with their online therapy sessions. Other benefits, such as financial assistance, make BetterHelp a suitable choice.
Who Shouldn't Try BetterHelp?
BetterHelp may not be the right option for individuals looking for prescription drugs, as BetterHelp's therapists do not prescribe medications. You should find another service that offers medication management or traditional therapy that can prescribe medications.
Additionally, you shouldn't opt for traditional therapy sessions if you have a severe mental illness or struggle with suicidal thoughts. An online therapist's availability isn't guaranteed in such emergencies, so in-person sessions are safer, providing immediate help.
People with insurance may find other ventures more affordable than paying for BetterHelp therapy sessions out of their pocket. Moreover, preteens and children under 13 cannot use BetterHelp online therapy.
BetterHelp offers numerous services to provide its customers with the best care and attention. You can choose multiple ways for therapy sessions, depending on your preference.
Its team of accredited psychologists and licensed clinical social workers offers one session a week and are available for follow-up questions during the week. However, they may take up to 24 hours to respond. Here are some BetterHelp services you can choose from:
A Chat Room or a 'Session' room is where all your messaging communication takes place. It is entirely safe and protects your personal information or shared private details.
An automated message here will inform you when you connect with your licensed therapist. You can also get information on their background, educational qualifications, and frequency of messaging. If you are unsatisfied with your designated therapist, you can always change them.
Before you can start chatting, you must fill out a consent form. It requires your real name, phone number, and address. You can also change the phone number later if you want to receive calls on any other number. Once you have successfully filled out the information, you can send unlimited messages to your new therapist.
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Live Chat ensures your BetterHelp counselors can reply to you in real time. At a designated hour, both parties are active and can talk about your mental health conditions. Live chat is similar to texting; you can use the app or website.
It provides an excellent alternative for shy individuals that prefer texting as their ideal form of communication. Many people find it easier to open up on chat rather than speaking live or in face-to-face interactions.
However, it may be restrictive to some people as it does not convey facial expressions or vocal tones. They can be beneficial for a licensed mental health counselor to read your emotions and figure out underlying issues.
Regardless, live chat is convenient and can be used anywhere, even if surrounded by people. It's a great and modern choice for on-the-go online therapy. With reliable internet access, online therapy offers quick and reliable access to mental health treatment.
Live Phone Session
Live phone sessions offer more personal interaction, allowing you to voice your mental health problems. You can speak via your cell phone or any landline.
For starters, you need to schedule an appointment with your BetterHelp account. Next, you add your phone number, and the system will connect you to your therapist at the scheduled time.
Typically a session lasts anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes. However, you can schedule additional time beforehand for longer phone calls.
Live phone sessions provide more anonymity than video sessions or in-person therapy. You can take calls on a walk or during free time between official hours. The best part about phone calls is you don't need active internet.
Live Video Session
Live video sessions are the closest to in-person therapy. They are similar to Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or Google Meet calls. You'll require a good-quality working camera and microphone.
Ensure a reliable Internet connection to avoid lagging or connectivity issues. A mobile device and a computer with a webcam can both work. The sessions occur in the BetterHelp counseling room on the website or app.
When it comes to online counseling, you should start live video sessions. They can help you become comfortable with your new therapist and establish a solid relationship. Once you become accustomed to them, you can switch to phone calls or chat.
Additionally, nonverbal cues are more noticeable during a video session so that you can build a better rapport and understanding. The calls are secure and encrypted, so you don't have to worry about your information leaking.
Unlimited Messaging With Your Therapist
BetterHelp allows unlimited messaging with your assigned BetterHelp therapist. You can access it from the website's main counseling window or the mobile application.
You can leave messages if you want to share something, have questions, or add missed details that you forgot to mention during the live sessions.
Similarly, your BetterHelp counselors can respond to your queries, ask follow-up questions and leave reminders. They can also suggest worksheets to improve your issues and coping skills.
Messaging frequency and timely response depend on your therapist. Some prefer addressing each message individually, while others like to address the issues collectively with a detailed response.
A mobile notification or email can alert you in case of a new message. However, you'll have to log in to view and reply to it. You can also attach images, audio, and videos with the messages for more details. Unfortunately, the chat gets deleted if you change therapists unless you save them.
BetterHelp's online therapy services also include group therapy. BetterHelp calls them Groupinars, and they cover the following mental health aspects:
Each topic offers a group name and description of what the session will cover. You also get a time and date for the sessions led by licensed therapists. A PowerPoint presentation details all the critical points during the session. You can register by clicking on "More Information," leading to the Register option.
Afterward, you get a confirmation email securing your slot and a reminder email just before the session. In case you aren't available to join it, BetterHelp sends a 7-day-only link for you to view the webinar. These live sessions provide insight into mental health issues affecting most individuals. Additionally, you get a better sense of solidarity than in individual therapy.
BetterHelp offers several Groupinars weekly from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time. Anyone can join the live webinars, and your identity will not be disclosed. Regardless, you can communicate live with other viewers via a group chat box in the lower right corner. This also allows you to ask questions while retaining anonymity.
Another exciting feature of BetterHelp is the Journal, an online document viewable only by you. You can share individual entries or all journaling with your therapist. The journal states a weekly calendar on top and opens on today's date. You can access previous entries by opening the calendar.
Journaling has no rules, and you can write whatever you want. BetterHelp provides prompts from hundreds of suggestions if you're struggling with topics. You can view them in Journal Suggestions in the upper right corner or click Shuffle for random suggestions.
Additionally, you can download your journals for a personal copy that you can access offline.Reminders can also help you journal on a specific day or time.
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Who Are BetterHelp Therapists?
This BetterHelp review revealed that the company boasts a team of over 25,000 accredited therapists. The company has a strict policy to hire only the best, so it only approves 15% of all applicants. The application process includes a thorough background review, credentials verification, a skill test, and a study exam evaluation by a licensed clinician.
BetterHelp takes immense pride in maintaining a high standard to be the best online therapy platform. There are certain specific requirements for individuals who want to join BetterHelp, and they should fulfill the following criteria:
Additionally, they are subjected to regular monitoring utilizing client feedback for quality improvement at BetterHelp.
BetterHelp ensures you get expert psychology services. However, it does not take responsibility for counselor-client interaction. It simply provides a venue for high-rated professional counselors for exemplary services. You can always switch therapists if you're unsatisfied with your chosen counselor.
BetterHelp has a diverse cost program, which makes it accessible to everyone. While BetterHelp does not accept insurance, this BetterHelp review revealed that it's still more affordable than other online or in-person therapy services.
The standard rates at BetterHelp range from $60 to $90 per week. The overall monthly sum can reach up to $240-$360. Your resident state and therapist's availability will primarily influence this cost. You'll get a monthly bill for online counseling, which is automatically charged.
BetterHelp's other websites have the same price structure and charges as the BetterHelp subscription.
Reduced Fee Discount
BetterHelp offers financial assistance for those who cannot avail of its services. When you subscribe to BetterHelp, you must fill out a form with eligibility criteria for discounts. The questionnaire checks for your employment and financial status.
You can get a $65 weekly cost, saving 15% if your financial status is poor or fair. You can qualify for the discount if you are:
Moreover, several websites offer BetterHelp coupons and discount codes that you can avail of for a lower weekly rate.
BetterHelp review reveals that it also offers financial aid if you don't qualify for the discount criteria. You will get an option of 'I can't afford therapy' at the end of the questionnaire. Remember that this option won't be visible if you qualify for a discount.
You can apply for financial aid and get weekly rates as low as $48. This is a 40% discountfrom standard BetterHelp costs. BetterHelp will check your eligibility for financial assistance by asking about your household income, income dependant members, race, and your area, rural or non-rural.
Moreover, BetterHelp aid expires in 90 days, so you will have to reapply after three months of live sessions.
You can check with your health insurance provider to see if they include BetterHelp services. However, BetterHelp is generally not covered by most insurance companies.
Fortunately, its discount criteria cover most aspects included in insurance provider requirements. BetterHelp has set competitive prices factoring in monthly income, employment status, and other issues. This makes BetterHelp a relatively affordable option, even without insurance.
>> Get started with BetterHelp
If unsatisfied with BetterHelp services, you can always cancel your subscription. You will need to log in to your account and choose Payment Settings. It has the option to change or cancel your subscription. You will have to answer some questions as to why you are withdrawing.
Additionally, BetterHelp asks if you would like the same therapist if you choose to continue live sessions in the future. Once you finish the cancellation, you will get an email confirming your status. Moreover, if you're canceling in the middle of a month, unused time can be refunded by reaching out directly to BetterHelpcustomer service.
How To Get Started With BetterHelp
Starting with BetterHelp is relatively straightforward, and this BetterHelp review will show you how. The sign-up process can be done from your phone or computer. You will have to answer some questions about yourself, and BetterHelp will constantly guide you as you fill out the form. The entire process takes about 30 minutes.
Here's a step-by-step instruction on how to get started with BetterHelp:
1. Fill Out the Questionnaire
The form will ask what type of therapy you're looking for and for whom. You choose from individuals, couples, or teens. Next, pick your gender identification from multiple options. You can also choose not to identify your gender.
Next, BetterHelp asks about your age, sexual preference, relationship status, religion, and if you consider yourself religious or spiritual. Once done, you will need to answer a few questions about mental health.
2. Account Creation
You can use your Google or Facebook accounts to create a BetterHelp account automatically. You can also use any email address and set up a password for a simple sign-up process. Additionally, you change the password later from Account Settings. After signing up, you will receive a code at your given email to sign in to your account.
3. Select Your Preferences in the Therapist
While BetterHelp does not allow you to choose your counselor, you can mention your preferences, such as their gender, sexual orientation, religion, or age. This helps BetterHelp connect you with someone you can relate to and communicate with comfortably.
You can also choose their specialization; for instance, a professional therapist based on trauma can better guide you if you're dealing with a tragic accident or incident.
4. Confirm or Change the Therapist
BetterHelp uses its algorithm to match you with a therapist. The process might take one or two days. Once you get a match, you can confirm it or change it if it's not up to your requirements.
Remember that while the BetterHelp match process is easy, the algorithm might not provide your desired results. For instance, you may have asked for a female therapist, and BetterHelp might pair you up with a male therapist.
5. Payment Settings
Once you confirm your counselor, you will land at the BetterHelp homepage, which explains how therapy works and how BetterHelp fares compare to in-person therapy. Payment options include Google Pay or credit cards.
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BetterHelp Review: What Are Real Customers Saying?
Positive BetterHelp reviews rave about affordable therapy and highly-experienced therapists. Customers claim that BetterHelp helped them through some of the most challenging times. The negative BetterHelp reviews mainly concern poor customer service and a complicated account system. However, BetterHelp was quick to reply and resolve any issues.
BetterHelp Review: Alternatives
While BetterHelp is an excellent option with great BetterHelp reviews, there are other online therapy platforms you can opt for instead.
BetterHelp vs. Talkspace
Talkspace is a popular online therapy company based in New York. It was privately founded in 2012 and became a public company in 2021.
Talkspace provides convenient therapy options, including text, calls, and videos. Talkspace also offers free assessments for some conditions on its website. Additionally, Talkspace has more psychiatric services than BetterHelp.
However, its customer rating is lower than BetterHelp.Additionally, Talkspace can get relatively expensive without insurance.
BetterHelp vs. Cerebral
Cerebral is another teletherapy company that offers virtual therapeutic and psychiatric sessions.
Cerebral targets psychiatric aspects more than talk therapy. It offers prescription medicines for some disorders and provides convenient mental health care.
However, Cerebral is not available in all states. Additionally, it does not cater to individuals below 18, so teens cannot benefit from it. On the other hand, BetterHelp is available internationally and has a separate site specifically for teenagers. Cerebral can be a good choice if you're looking for a service that can prescribe medication. There are also more positive BetterHelp reviews.
Betterhelp vs. In-Person Therapy
In-person therapy offers face-to-face interaction. The therapists can take your body language into account for a more thorough analysis of your mental health.
However, in-person therapy tends to be more expensive than online therapy. It also limits accessibility and is more time-consuming since you must travel to and from the therapist's office. Additionally, the therapist will only be available during the appointment. Some studies show that online therapy can be more effective than in-person therapy .
BetterHelp saves time and effort while providing the same facilities. You can also contact your counselor anytime. However, in-person therapy is often the ideal choice for severe mental conditions.
BetterHelp Review: FAQs
We have answered a few of the most frequently asked questions to complete our BetterHelp review.
Is BetterHelp Legit?
Yes, BetterHelp is a legitimate, renowned company established in 2013.
Is BetterHelp International?
Yes, BetterHelp caters to patients around the globe. However, there may be a language barrier as English is the preferred language at BetterHelp.
Does BetterHelp Accept Insurance?
No, BetterHelp does not accept insurance, and you have to pay for its service on your own. However, it has affordable rates and offers financial aid to fit all budgets.
Is BetterHelp a Safe Therapy Platform?
Yes, BetterHelp is a safe therapy platform protecting your information and allowing you to convey your issues securely.
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How Much Does a BetterHelp Membership Cost Per Month?
BetterHelp membership costs around $240-$360 a month. However, certain discounts can reduce the price significantly.
BetterHelp Review: The Verdict
Teletherapy is an easy and accessible way to help treat mental health disorders, and BetterHelp is an excellent option for on-the-go therapy . Its large pool of highly qualified, accredited therapists and psychologists make it an excellent online therapy option.
Positive customer BetterHelp reviews confirm BetterHelp's status as a trusted platform, providing good therapy services. BetterHelp is the go-to choice for individuals, couples, teens, and LGBT.
Additionally, BetterHelp provides great discounts and financial aid so everyone can get therapy and improve their life quality.
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