BetterHelp Review: An In-depth Look

By — Updated January 10, 2021
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Average Price:
Mobile Apps:
iOS, Android
Session Types:
Video, Chat, Voice, Messaging
Pros & Cons
  • Unlimited sessions with a dedicated professional therapist
  • Convenient and easy-to-use mobile app
  • Sessions can begin within 24 hours of signup
  • Response time depends on the individual therapist
Visit BetterHelp

Founded only in 2013, BetterHelp has taken off as one of the leaders on online therapy. BetterHelp offers over 13,000 licensed professionals with experience helping people cope with nearly all areas of mental health. 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 ability to deliver an effective, user-friendly and cost-effective therapy solution is almost unparalleled.

Company Profile:

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.

Signing Up:

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.

BetterHelp Matching Process

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.

BetterHelp Dedicated Chat Room


Considering what I’ve known to be the average cost of in-person therapy, I was initially expecting this service to cost hundreds of dollars per month. However, it turns out that BetterHelp is one of the most affordable online counseling services on the market, and significantly less expensive than any in-office alternative I’ve seen. Their plan costs approximately $90 per week, but they do offer financial aid for those that qualify. You can also save 10% on your first month if you reach them through one of the media companies they sponsor. The plan includes unlimited counseling via messaging with a dedicated therapist, as well as weekly live sessions via video or voice conferencing.

BetterHelp Pricing

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. You can access their platform both on your desktop and your mobile devices. Their mobile app is free and available for both iOS and Android.

As far as communication with the therapists, BetterHelp offers a variety of options. In addition to the text-based messaging that comes standard with each plan, live sessions can be conducted via live chat and video on both desktop and mobile devices, as well as over the phone.

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 of protecting your information.

BetterHelp’s Counselor Qualifications:

All BetterHelp counselors are licensed, trained, and accredited at the state level, and each of them holds either a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree in their respective field. Moreover, they all have three years and 1,000 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.

BetterHelp Counselor Qualifications

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
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Career
  • Chronic Impulsivity
  • Conflict
  • Depression
  • Eating
  • Educational Assessments
  • Family
  • Grief
  • Health
  • Intimacy
  • Life Transitions
  • Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Religion
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sleeping
  • Social Behavior
  • Stress
  • Substance Abuse
  • Trauma & Abuse

Bottom Line:

There are numerous reasons why BetterHelp is a among the top-rated online therapy services. 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? Easy-to-use platform? Check. If the prospect of trying out online counseling intrigues you, BetterHelp is a great choice.

Logo for BetterHelp
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6 User Reviews
  1. Michaela said:

    I feel lucky that I’ve found BetterHelp at the right moment while going through a challenging life change. The professionals I was matched with were highly trained, the matching process quick and customized to my unique needs, the community and support management was responsive and helpful, the webinars included in the package tailored to fit various topics. I have invited some of my friends to join the website as well. The payment plan is affordable and the options for therapy and counselors varied. It was overall an experience I will definitely repeat once my budget will allow it again.

  2. Jon L said:

    Pros and Cons of BetterHelp

    Brief Summary: I’ve been to numerous counselors throughout my life for the past 20 years or so. Some of the issues I have faced were (starting from when I was younger up until now) my parents divorce, depression, anxiety, my own divorce, couples counseling, relationship issues, and now sexual & gender identity issues. I’m going to give you my honest opinion of BetterHelp and it won’t just be some B.S. coming from a robot. Full disclosure, my motivation for writing this review is because they sent me a free tshirt; however, this was just a kind gesture by them and I want to return the favor. The tshirt is not in any way shape or form payment for me writing reviews for them. It’ll take a whole lot more money than a free tshirt for me to sell my credibility. Also, you might see this review on a bunch of different sites. It’s because I’m too lazy to write individual reviews for each site so I’m just going to copy and paste on the sites BetterHelp suggested I could help them out on. I hope this doesn’t come off as illegitimate to you. So without further adieu, here we go.

    – Do counseling on your own schedule by chat, phone, or video
    – Can leave messages for your counselor that they will respond to
    – My counselor (at least) follows Cognitive Behavioral Therapy methods, which are good best practice standards for psychology and not just B.S.
    – Unbiased – my counselor and I have not seen eye to eye on every subject we’ve discussed. I’ve talked about some very controversial subjects that they disagreed fundamentally on with me such as whether or not there is a wage gap between men and women. Even though we strongly disagreed on the evidence, my counselor has never held a grudge. She handled the discussion professionally while still giving a good opinion and staying focused towards my treatment and not getting caught up in the details.
    – Price – I used to spend $120 a week going to a counselor in real life (with insurance). BetterHelp is less than half of what I used to pay (I believe it’s $45 a week) and they offer more service than my IRL counselors ever did.
    – Privacy – For me, I live alone so there’s nothing better than talking to a counselor from the privacy and comfort of my own home. Though I guess if you have a full house with kids and relatives and whatnot this could be considered a con as there is not really a good place to escape to from prying ears.
    – Reminders – They send you text reminders on your phone of when your appointment will be.
    – The web interface – Makes it easy to schedule appointments, connect with your counselor, write to your counselor, share attachments with your counselor, etc. It’s pretty snazzy.

    – Connectivity can sometimes be crappy on VoIP calls. I have experienced some small issues with my counselor either coming through poor quality or disconnecting from the call when using the web interface. Typically though, she calls me right back and there has never been a catastrophic failure where we were not able to get reconnected and continue the counseling session that day.
    – Availability – My counselor is only available for phone/video sessions Tuesdays and Fridays. My schedule works fine for this. I’m not sure if all counselors on BetterHelp maintain this schedule or not, but this would not be very flexible for some people.

    That’s about it. Not really much to say as the pros and cons really speak for this service. Overall though, I feel like this is the best counseling experience I’ve ever had because I really open up and be myself over the internet rather than being in person for counseling. I feel like BetterHelp is actually one of the few businesses today that cares about their customers and is actually making an effort to grow, which is also another reason why I am taking my precious time to write this review. I would recommend them.

  3. Shannon N Murray said:

    Better Help has been such an amazing tool in the short time i have been a member. Specifically, my counselor, Jamal Jones. He so wise, and gives many perspectives and solutions to problems i have trouble solving on my own. For that i am very grateful. I am also grateful for the accessibility. Better Help is reasonably priced, especially in comparison to other like services. I can get counseling from my couch where i am comfortable, and there is no pressure.

  4. Kevin Wilson said:

    Joining BetterHelp was by far the best decision of my life and I am so thankful for what it is! I have always struggled with depression, and traditional counseling had never seemed to work for me.

    My life and work life are so hectic with ever changing hours that the app based chatting and the flexible times for video or voice calls, fits my life perfectly. Also, the ability for you to “message” anytime so you’re not forced to wait until your next session, I find to be super helpful and beneficial. It allows you to intervene with whats truly going on rather than letting it taking the back burner until your next appointment. Ultimately, the app based approached allows for me personally to make time easily for bettering my mental health than it normally would.

    But most importantly, the atmosphere that comes with BetterHelp is so comfortable and feels so safe. They do a wonderful job pairing you with a counselor that fits your needs and preferences. And because of that, I feel like I have grown so much already. I never had this much progress nor have I felt so welcome with Therapy before. I could not recommend Better Help enough.

  5. Shanon said:

    I agreed to a free trial week. Used the messaging a little bit, but decided it wasn’t for me. I canceled the day before the week trial ended. I didn’t get the confirmation email that it was canceled until two days later, and they charged me for a month. I’m in the process or demanding a refund.

  6. Mitch B. said:

    I see how this service can be a benefit to people, but my experience was very poor. My first counselor, Jeanette Etnier, started well enough. Then she cancelled the first appointment, which pushed my first online meeting a week later. Then she did it again – and this time without bothering to tell me why. I was tired of this and switched, where I found out the new counselor couldn’t meet with me for three weeks – and well into another payment block. No thanks. I know I can switch, but this was all very discouraging. Maybe I’ll be back, but I can’t be throwing money away like this either.

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