Founded only in 2013, BetterHelp has taken off as one of the leaders on online therapy. BetterHelp offers over 2,000 US-based licensed professionals that are certified in virtually all help areas. But, it’s not just about the sheer size of their service that has pushed more than 1,000,000 people to use their platform. Their superiority in personalization and usability, in addition to total anonymity and privacy, is unprecedented.
Remember, BetterHelp started in 2013. Less than two years after experiencing rapid growth, they were bought by Teladoc, the largest telehealth provider in the country. With hundreds of employees and the Teladoc resources behind them, BetterHelp has been able to focus on making their platform the best in every area. Moreover, the one thing that truly stands out is that BetterHelp realizes that human to human contact should not be replaced. Rather, they are simply leveraging new technology to meet the expectations of today’s consumers.
If usability is your concern, then look no further. BetterHelp designed one of the most intuitive platforms I have tested. For starters, you will need to sign up for an account. There is no need to use your real name or any other real credentials. If you don’t feel comfortable, using an alias is completely fine. Once you have registered, you will be led to fill out a short questionnaire in a multiple choice format.
Once you have completed the questionnaire, you will be led to the secured payment page. After entering in payment details, BetterHelp then pairs you with the appropriate therapist based on your answers, while also using their back end algorithms. It is believed that most BetterHelp customers are satisfied with who the algorithm has paired them with. If you are not happy, you can always request a new therapist. Once paired with the therapist, you will be led to a secure and dedicated chat room that only you and your counselor can access. Additionally, this room is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. While chats are almost always not in ‘real time,’ BetterHelp counselors make extraordinary efforts to reply as quickly as possible. Moreover, should you want actual ‘live chat,’ you simply need to schedule it in advance with your counselor. The same goes for live phone and live video sessions. All plans come with unlimited chatting – via desktop/app, phone and video – tops in the industry (generally, other online therapy providers will charge an additional fee for phone/video sessions). Starting a phone session is easy as well. You simply need to schedule a date and time with your counselor prior to receiving phone counseling.
By now, licensed therapists across the country have heard about BetterHelp and their massive success. Thus, it is not surprising to see thousands of therapists flock to work with BetterHelp. Due to this, I was initially expecting to pay a premium for using their service. However, it turns out BetterHelp is one of the cheapest e-counseling services on the market. Plans start from $35/week and can go up to $55/week. No matter what you pay between those price points, you have access to truly unlimited chat.
Usability (Desktop & Mobile):
From a user experience standpoint, BetterHelp’s platform is very straightforward. Simply log in to your account and you are directed straight to your dedicated chat room. If you have ever used any chat service (like Google Chat or Skype), BetterHelp’s functionality is very similar to these. You send messages with the click of the button while you receive answers as soon as your counselor replies. Moreover, you don’t need to be connected to BetterHelp’s platform at all times. You will receive email notifications informing you of a reply from your therapist. Additionally, you can access the BetterHelp platform both on your desktop and your mobile device. BetterHelp offers a free app for both iOS and Android.
Counselor Support & Effectiveness:
There are those who have said that therapists cannot help people online as much as they do “in-office.” There are numerous factors involved in determining how helpful a therapist can be, many of which have to do with the individual session itself (and not the distance between you and your counselor). Knowing this, I kept an open mind when BetterHelp paired me with a therapist named Idiana Morales. Being that I currently reside in Florida, BetterHelp paired me with Mrs. Morales as she is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (MS, LMHC) in the state of Florida. As I had started feeling anxious and stressed out for close to a year, I instantly felt some level of comfort when I saw Mrs. Morales credentials. Her specialties are stress, anxiety, relationship, family and anger (with experience in several other fields as well) – essentially the areas I needed help with. It is difficult to accurately describe how helpful Idiana was in a simple review like this. But, for the sake of professionalism and reporting, I will try my best. I am a Type-B personality at heart. Nothing ever bothered me too much. That changed after 8 years of marriage, when I started feeling anxious and animosity toward certain family members. Idiana was able to defuse several situations and enabled me to tackle the underlying issues head on, and in a considerate, timely and professional manner. Overall, the level of support given by my counselor was phenomenal.
Confidentiality & Privacy:
I have seen a decent number of people suggest that e-counseling is not safe. These naysayers claim that in the digital age, nothing is safe. Perhaps that is true, but how safe are “in-office” appointments? Your individual sessions may not be saved but your files and summaries of your sessions are very likely saved on your therapist’s office computer. This is just as susceptible to attack as BetterHelp; however, a hacker would likely have an easier time gaining access to your therapist’s office computer rather than BetterHelp’s sophisticated firewalls. BetterHelp is serious about privacy and takes several steps to ensure anonymity and confidentiality. The BetterHelp browsing encryption system (SSL) is provided by Comodo, a world leader in data security, while messages between you and your counselor are further encrypted with bank grade 256-bit encryption. Moreover, since all BetterHelp counselors are state certified, they are subject to strict local and federal privacy laws, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Your medical and other health information is private, and is not shared with insurance companies since BetterHelp doesn’t cooperate with insurance companies. Overall, BetterHelp does an outstanding job protecting your information.
BetterHelp’s Counselor Qualifications:
All BetterHelp counselors are licensed, trained, and accredited at the state level, and each of them hold either a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their respective field. Moreover, they all have three years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience, at a minimum. The counselors are psychologists, family therapists, clinical social workers or licensed professional counselors with a broad range of expertise.
Specialties & Areas of Expertise:
One major benefit to using BetterHelp is that they cover virtually all areas that people would need help with. Though this may seem like a given, it isn’t. There are several e-counseling services that do not offer a full range of areas of expertise. Some of the main areas that BetterHelp covers are:
- All Addictions
- Chronic Impulsivity
- Educational Assessments
- Life Transitions
- Social Behavior
- Substance Abuse
- Trauma & Abuse
There are an abundant amount of reasons why BetterHelp is a top rated online therapy service. US-based licensed therapists? Check. One of the only online therapy services with a low, set cost? Check. Rigorous screening procedures of therapists? Check. Best-in-class anonymity and confidentiality? Check. More counselors than any other service? Check. Easy to use platform? Check. Fast reply times and counselors who make a concerted effort to help you live better? Double check. If you are looking for a one stop online therapy solution, BetterHelp is your choice.Visit BetterHelp
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Came back from service roughly 4 years ago and have been struggling with ptsd for quite some time. I have been in and out of therapy sessions for a while now. The therapy helped but the costs were too much. My sister in law told me about how she saw an ad for Betterhelp so I figured to give it a shot. It has been 2 and a half months now and I can’t recommend them enough. My therapist is an actual therapist, not just some random person on the other side of a computer. He helps me with different strategies to work through my ptsd. And because he is in the same state, I hope to meet him in person one day soon, just not in his office! He has been fantastic and thanks to the Betterhelp platform I am able to receive effective therapy at an affordable rate.
Just two weeks ago I was experiencing serious emotional pain. It was and still is a pretty low point in my life although it has gotten better since I started using better help. My father passed away and on the same day I was evicted from my rental apartment. So I did what any other person would do: I typed into Google that I needed to talk to someone ASAP. E-counseling.com showed up and that’s how I found better help. At first I wasn’t interested in paying for a service. I thought I just needed to talk to someone right then and that would be it. Better help offered me one week free even though they said they no longer do so. Their customer service is excellent. If you’re really going through a rough patch they may make an exception for you as they did with me, and will give you a free trial. Anyway, after speaking with Kate (my therapist at better help), she made me realize that what I was going through won’t be a one time therapy event. Healing takes time. Grieving takes time, of which I am still doing. But, she is giving me the proper tools to help me cope emotionally, all for $45 a week which is something I can swing even in my lowly state of financial affairs. It’s an all around great service and the counseling given by the therapists, or at least mine, has been a big difference maker in how I am overcoming the situation I am currently in.
You are supposed to be paired with a therapist pretty much instantaneously. It took them almost a day to pair me with someone. In the meantime I received a message from what seemed to be an automated bot. This isn’t good for someone like me who is mostly a negative person with dangerous thoughts. I didnt receive the help I needed which sucks because I was really looking forward to paying a few dollars a month rather than a few hundred per session. A word to the Better Help team: get your crap together. You could have been awesome but you totally messed up.
i cant comment on if betterhelp is better than in office therapy for everyone. Therapy works differently for everyone. for me betterhelp worked. i used sporadic exchanges with my therapist which was a good fit for me. also i was going through what was termed as ‘moderate depression and anxiety’. i dont know if online therapy would have worked if my diagnosis was worse. maybe i would have needed to see a therapist in an office setting? so i would assume this – betterhelp is great if your mental health problems are minor to moderate like mine (and also if you dont mind getting used to a new way of therapy). but if your problems are more severe i wouldnt be surprised if betterhelp didnt work.
For the first two days I HATED the BetterHelp program. The reason why is because I felt as if I was doing 95% of the talking and that my therapist was basically unresponsive. To make a long story short, they paired me with Nichole Sakmar and thank god they did. Nichole says she has provided online counseling to over 1,000 people so obviously she is a true professional. When I told her that I would be canceling my BetterHelp subscription after two days of using BetterHelp, she strongly advised me against it and told me to give her a shot. I had my doubts because I thought she was just trying to retain me as a client for her own financial gains. This was not the case. AT ALL. I asked her why I it seems I am the one always writing long drawn out messages and she replies with one or two line sentences. She told me something that seems so obvious but I guess when you’re in the heat of the moment you don’t think about it. The one or two line sentences she almost always wrote back were more questions. No exercises. The reason for this is because she needed more information about me since it helped her evaluate what I’m going through and what my needs are. At that point I realized I am selfish! She recommended that we set up a video call which I was REALLY happy about. It went so well that I was willing to write a review here – I never ever write reviews. In the end, I took her advice and stayed with BetterHelp. What a great choice this has been.
If anyone tells you that another online therapy service is better than Betterhelp, they are either lying or don’t know what they are talking about. Just some of the minor things about Betterhelp that they are better than others is their ease of use, their app, and how you schedule phone or video appointments with your counselor. Now here comes the crucial issue and this is a big deal for a lot of people. I have moved around a lot in my life mostly because of employment. When you start ANY online therapy service, the survey asks you where you live so they can pair you with a therapist from your state or someone who lives as close to you as possible. So what happens when you move and you like your therapist? Many services will encourage you to switch therapists because these therapists are only licensed in their state. I don’t know how Betterhelp does it but they somehow let you stay with your therapist even if you move out of the state you live in when you first sign up. I love Melissa P. (my therapist at Betterhelp) and definitely didn’t want to change. Betterhelp has been a godsend especially in that regard.
I was charged $220 at once instead of $55 per week. It is apparently in betterhelp's terms of service that they charge on a monthly basis rather than weekly. Who reads the terms of service? Why couldn't they just list this on the payment page? They need to change that because I don't know if this service will be great for me long term. I wanted to test it out for a week or so and see if the hype is legitimate or not. On the flip side it did work out for me in the end but it may not work for many other people. And paying $220 on a monthly basis to just try a service is a bit ridiculous. Betterhelp should make it clear how they bill their customers.
What’s not to like about being able to see my therapist from my bed? And for around $200/month for all you can do therapy? Heck, I was paying more than this for one lousy 45 minute session with my real life therapist! Granted IMO there is nothing like face to face counseling but still. Better Help is a great substitute and absolutely worth it. Also, I am not sure why so many people are surprised by the great results they see by using this service. These are, after all, licensed therapists. The only difference is that you are not sitting in an office with them. So what? Video therapy is just as good and I would argue that even text and phone sessions are close to being on the same level. You can get intimate on chat. Just ask Anthony Weiner.
The terms of the service are not as clear cut as you may think. For the record, my personal opinion is that Betterhelp is better than any other online therapy service and it’s not even close. The platform and therapists are amazing. HOWEVER, it’s not really “unlimited” therapy. It is for text therapy – text as much as you want and you will get a reply from your counselor. But, if you’d like to set up phone or video sessions, you can only schedule 2 of these per month (2 total – not 4). Chat therapy is great but I would assume that most people like myself would also like to explore phone and video sessions as well, and not just on a bi-monthly basis. If you want more of these types of sessions, you will have to pay $29 for each one. Yes, it’s still far cheaper than in office therapy but still. Betterhelp should be more upfront about these stipulations. Other than that, it's not the second coming of the Messiah but the service is still very good. I just wish they would be more up front about the added/hidden costs.
I am a writer based out of NYC and the past 2 years have been an extremely stressful time in my life. I turned to better help since as a writer I express myself far better in written form. It’s nice to have phone and video options available but to be honest I don’t use them. Waiting for a response from my therapist can be an annoyance but other than that this service is unbelievable. The price, the features and ease of use, the support – it’s something everyone should try.