Betterhelp Review

With more than 20,000 licensed therapists and 1.6 million subscribers, Betterhelp is the largest online therapy platform in the world. No other therapy site out there can offer you so many different counselors and treatment options. This makes Betterhelp a perfect starting point for people who are making their first steps into the world of online therapy.

In this Betterhelp review our aim will be to dive into all the small details which we believe makes Betterhelp the best online therapy site. We promise to do our best to also highlight the issues we found with the platform, and provide the most accurate information so that you can make your own informed decision.

Betterhelp Rating Breakdown 2021

Overall Rating

Overall Rating - 5 Stars

There’s almost no such thing as a perfect business, but Betterhelp sure comes close. The lengths they go to inorder to keep your privacy and safety, along with their proven track record and very affordable pricing means that for us, Betterhelp is as good as it gets.

Price

Price - 5 Stars

Betterhelp is the most affordable and fairly priced therapy platform if you are interested in live sessions. It is true Talkspace’s basic plan is cheaper, but as we all know, without live sessions the effectiveness of treatments is greatly diminished. Betterhelp pricing starts at $90 a week, and they offer a 7 days free trial. They also have a financial aid program which allows you to cut costs by 40% if you are eligible.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options - 4 Stars

No other platform has so many psychologists you can choose from, with each offering different types of treatments and specializations. However, even though you can choose your own therapist, the app really tries to choose one for you which is something we didn’t quite like. On top of that, no psychiatric treatment is available through Betterhelp.

App and Software

App and Software - 4.5 Stars

The betterhelp app is modern and very easy to use. Their site supports all devices, and as long as you are familiar with chat rooms and sending emails, you will have no problem getting the most out of it.

Customer Service

Customer Service - 4.5 Stars

Betterhelp really excels at this field, and you can be sure you will get quick and helpful responses from their support team. The only thing we didn’t quite like is the fact there’s no way to reach them by phone – but that is an industry standard unfortunately.

Safety and Privacy

Safety and Privacy - 5 Stars

Betterhelp is the biggest therapy platform in the world, with more than 1.6 million subscribed users, operating since 2013, and hipaa compliant – it is as safe to use as they come. The site is owned by Teladoc (TDOC) which is a publicly traded company and follows strict rules and regulations due to that.

Should I use Betterhelp?

Is Betterhelp Legit? The Company Behind Betterhelp

Operating since 2013, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, employing more than 50 employees (and thousands more freelance counselors) and owned by superstar public company Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC) – BetterHelp is one of the most credible companies out there and is growing at a staggering pace (on track to double revenues from previous year). The company has received tremendous coverage in the Chicago Tribune, Atlantic, American Psychological Association, The Wallstreet Journal and many more serious publications hailing and praising the BetterHelp model.

Betterhelp in Numbers For 2021

Year Founded2013
U.S Based CompanyYes
Number of Licensed Therapists21,400
Accepts Insurance?No
Hipaa compliantYes
Therapy ModesText, Audio and Video
Available TreatmentsPrivate therapy, couples, teens (13-19 only)
Average Price$90 – $120 per week unless eligible for financial aid
Sign Up TimeFew minutes, incredibly simple and easy to use
Response TimeImmediate
Mobile AppYes
Websitehttps://www.betterhelp.com/
Customer Reviews98% positive
Our Editorial Rating5 Stars
Current Promotion50% discount for the first month

How Betterhelp Works

Betterhelp is a mental health counseling platform that aims to match you with your ideal therapist as soon as possible. Even though the signup process is very simple, there are a few things to be aware of, and some ways to make it work better for you and become more efficient. When you first sign up for the service, you do not have to pay anything or give out any personal information – Betterhelp lets you stay completely anonymous.

Based on our experience, it usually takes a day or less from the moment you sign up until you are matched with a therapist of your choice and can begin therapy.

Getting Started With Betterhelp

Getting started only takes a few minutes. All you have to do is fill up a quick questionnaire that will help the Betterhelp algorithm match you with an appropriate counselor. If you have read our Talkspace review, you know Talkspace is the only platform that allows you to be interviewed by a real person who’ll help you with the matching process – Something Betterhelp currently doesn’t offer regrettably. 

This means you have to make an extra effort in filling up this questionnaire the best way you can. Luckily, they let you be as specific as you like with regards to the type of therapy you are looking for, and what kind of psychologist you think will suit you the most. 

Once you are done, you will be presented with a few automated suggestions for your potential match – if you don’t like any of them, you can ask to see more. You can also change therapists any time, even after therapy has already started.

Getting started illustration

Choosing Your Own Therapist

Although Betterhelp doesn’t advertise this option, and clearly try pushing new clients into their automatic matching system – there’s still a way you can choose your own therapist instead. To do so, you have to go to Betterhelp’s desktop version rather than the mobile app. Scroll all the way down, and click the ‘find a therapist’ link in the footer menu.

You have to choose your location, then you will be presented with a list of relevant profiles you can browse. If you refresh the page, other profiles might appear. So if you see someone you like, open their profile in a new tab, while hitting the refresh button on the main page a couple of times still, to see what other profiles might show up. 

You can read each therapist’s profile, see how they present themselves and whether or not you feel comfortable with them and what they offer. When you find someone you like, all you have to do is click the ‘Get started’ button and you will be prompted to pay and get the therapy rolling.

I Picked a Therapist - Now What?

Betterhelp pick a therapist illustration

You will have to use real information to pay for services, but Betterhelp ensures your therapist doesn’t get access to it. For the purpose of your interaction with them, picking a nickname is sufficient. To protect your privacy, it is better if you avoid giving out private information in chat – your therapist doesn’t need to know your real name, full address or anything like that. If they ask for it – they are out of line and you should consider replacing them.

Once you have created your account and requested to be matched with a specific counselor, you will get an automated message from the Betterhelp system. This will be followed by a brief introductory message from your potential therapist, asking you to tell a little bit more about yourself. This is an automated message and is not sent by the therapist in real time. Still, make an effort to reply seriously and include all important details – so that your therapist can get a sense of whether they can help you or you will be better off finding someone else.

Right after you send your first message, you will be asked to pay for the Betterhelp service. You pay for a month in advance, which includes unlimited messaging (text or chat) and one live chat, phone, or video session per week. The mode for the live session is chosen by you – but some therapists don’t offer video sessions, so make sure to check that in their profile first.

Payments and Betterhelp Financial Aid

Payments are made on a monthly basis, and there’s only one plan to choose from. As mentioned above, you get unlimited texting and one live session a week. The price varies between $90 and $120 per week – depending on your location and requested treatment. You can pay with either credit / debit card or Paypal.

During the initial signup questionnaire, you can specify if you are currently unemployed or facing any type of financial difficulties. When the payment screen pops up, there will be a link on it saying ‘Apply for financial aid’ – you can click it to find out if you are eligible for their program or not. You’ll be asked a few questions and offered discounts based on the information you provide – with the largest discount being 40% off the original price. 

Betterhelp Treatments

Betterhelp treatment plans all include unlimited messaging with your therapists. This isn’t done in real time, but rather works more like sending out emails. We have found response times to be very good, but it can obviously vary between different therapists. Unfortunately, Betterhelp does not allow you to request a set response time from your counselor like other platforms do.

If you feel like your therapist is not responding quickly enough or their replies are a bit too flat – don’t hesitate to call them out on it. For any type of treatment to be successful, it’s important you’ll be clear and transparent in what you need and expect from them. If they are unable to adjust, it just means you’ll have to replace them with another counselor.

All communication is done through a private, secure virtual therapy room to which only you and your therapist have access to. You can login to it from both the desktop version or the Betterhelp app, but sometimes you will be logged out and have to sign in again which we found a bit annoying. There’s no limit to how many messages you can send there, and they can be as long and detailed as you like. You are also able to attach pictures and audio files. 

One thing we liked in particular is the ability you have to “shred” messages in your room. Only you have this option available, no one else can edit or alter the contents. This gives you a lot of agency and freedom, and made us feel very safe in our communications with therapists on the site. You also have an option of flagging certain messages as “urgent”.

Betterhelp Live Sessions

Betterhelp gives you the option to communicate with your therapist through a weekly live session. This feature greatly enhances the therapy and should not be overlooked. As is with live therapy, it’s better to have a set day and time each week so that it feels more structured – but some flexibility is possible of course if you find yourself needing to reschedule a specific session.

Live sessions are available through chat, phone calls and video calls. If your internet connection can support it, we highly recommend the latter. There’s so many proven benefits to being able to see one another during your sessions. It will not only make you feel better and more comfortable, but will also make your therapist’s work much easier and better.

Betterhelp say live sessions typically lasts 30-50 minutes. From our experience, it is almost always closer to an hour long. The length and frequency of sessions is something you can change, and should talk to your therapists directly about. In the end, it’s all about finding what works best for you, so if that means 4 or 5 ten minutes sessions per week – many of the therapists will allow that.

Betterhelp treatments illustration

Betterhelp Treatment Types

Betterhelp offers the widest range of available treatments online, simply thanks to the sheer amount of licensed therapists offering their service on the platform. Common fields of expertise include: 

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Stress
  • Trauma and grief
  • Eating disorders
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Relationship counseling
  • Teen counseling
  • LGBTQ related issues
  • Religion focused therapy

Most therapists specialize in popular treatment methods such as CBT, mindfulness or Psychodynamic treatment. Betterhelp’s focus is on private counseling for adults only, but if you are dealing with family issues there are also quite a few therapists specializing in group therapy who can help with that.

It is also worth mentioning that Betterhelp own and operate separate sites for Teen and relationship counseling. You can read our reviews of Teencounseling.com and Regain to see if the dedicated platforms are a better fit for your needs. Regardless, you are still able to get the same treatments by using the Betterhelp platform instead.

Betterhelp and Insurance

Even though Medicaid expanded their coverage of telehealth services, Betterhelp does not currently accept any type of insurance. You can read a very detailed guide on their website, but the gist of it is that partnering with insurance providers will mean Betterhelp is unable to maintain your privacy and complete anonymity.

The best thing to do is check directly with your insurance provider and see whether or not you are eligible for any form of coverage while using Betterhelp. If you do, Betterhelp will have you sign a release form and then proceed to provide your insurance company with all necessary details.

Betterhelp notes, and justifyingly so, that even without insurance their pricing is significantly lower than what you’ll pay for live therapy in most cases. If you feel you still can’t afford it, try applying for their financial aid program or speak directly to a customer service representative. From our experience, they are very responsive and will do everything in their power to assist you and find a way for you to get help on their site.

What Makes Betterhelp Special?

Betterhelp is the largest online therapy site in America, and certainly one of the best. The amount of different therapists offering their services on the platform makes it incredibly unlikely you won’t be able to find the help you deserve and want.

In our Betterhelp vs Talkspace article we compare Betterhelp directly to their main competitors in great detail. To sum it up, both are very good. Customer service and software are both excellent, with Talkspace enjoying a very narrow edge in both. Talkspace is cheaper if you don’t need live sessions, otherwise Betterhelp is the more affordable choice.

What truly sets Betterhelp apart and makes it stand out though, is the length they go to in order to ensure your privacy and safety. We have tried many online therapy services, and stand in direct communication with all of their representatives, but have never come across anyone handling these matters more professionally or transparently than Betterhelp does.

Betterhelp platform preview

The best way to illustrate how seriously they take these, is by looking at their vetting process for potential therapists, which is far more advanced and rigorous than other platforms out there. All of the counselors on the site are licensed, state approved physicians with at least a Master’s degree, 3 years and 2000 hours of clinical experience.

The vetting process then includes the following steps:

  • A through review of the therapist’s background, references and credentials
  • Case study exam conducted by a licensed clinician
  • Personal interview
  • Platform skills test

Each successful applicant is then assigned a mentor – a more experienced therapist who has been using the platform for a long time. All therapists then go through constant peer review, results monitoring and training on a regular basis.

What Our Readers Have To Say About Betterhelp

I have been using Betterhelp for almost a year now and it has been great! I really like the app, so easy to use and my therapist is great!
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Jimmy X
I really like Betterhelp, thank you so much for recommending it. I just started, but so far so good.
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Naomi Barrett
I used Betterhelp for 4 months, was able to get good help. Kinda annoying they don't take insurance, but overall it was fine.
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Erin Hester​

Betterhelp Review - Frequently Asked Questions

Is Betterhelp the best online therapy site?

Betterhelp is currently our most recommended online therapy site. Talkspace gives them a good run for their money, but in the end we feel like Betterhelp has the edge. Of course, that doesn’t mean It will necessarily be the right fit for you - we recommend reading as many online therapy reviews as possible first. A good place to start is our Betterhelp vs Talkspace comparison.

Is Betterhelp legit and safe to use?

Absolutely. Betterhelp is a large, publicly traded company with a stellar reputation to maintain. Over the years, they have proven time and time again how seriously they take their client’s privacy and safety, as well as the lengths they’ll go to ensure only the best therapists are featured on their platform.

Does Betterhelp work with insurance?

Unfortunately no. You will have to inquire directly with your insurance provider to see if you are eligible or not. Betterhelp will provide all necessary documents and receipts of course, but they do not partner directly with any insurance company. We recommend reading our guide for therapy sites with insurance for more details.

How can I pay for Betterhelp services?

Betterhelp accepts payments through credit / debit card, Google Pay or Paypal.

How long does it take to match with a therapist?

Betterhelp says it will take between a day or 2, but from our experience it is very quick. Sometimes we got matched within 10 minutes or so! In any case, you will get an email notification as soon as it happens, and can then begin therapy immediately.

Can I get psychiatric counseling and medication on Betterhelp?

Currently not. Betterhelp therapists are all licensed psychologists who don’t prescribe any type of medication to their patients.

Betterhelp Review - Final Verdict

Throughout our Betterhelp review we have tried our best to highlight why we think Betterhelp is currently the best online therapy site in the world. This is based on our personal experiences with using the site, as well as the fact user reviews out there are overwhelmingly positive. Overall, we are convinced that for anyone new to remote therapy, Betterhelp is a great place to start.

That said, we don’t wish to create the impression Betterhelp is perfect. There are certainly still areas they need to improve – most notably the signup process. While fast and seamless, the fact it is 100% automated can feel quite mechanical and impersonal.

Luckily, there’s a way to go around it and choose a therapist on your own. Once you do, the level of customer support and the responsiveness of therapists completely changes the picture, and you will surely feel like a valued customer – there is nothing robotic about the experience after the initial signup process is out of the way.

While Betterhelp doesn’t work with insurance, we feel this is somewhat mitigated by the fact they are the most affordable online therapy site out there. Aside from Talkspace’s basic plan, which doesn’t include live sessions, there is no cheaper, better alternative to Betterhelp. All of this makes us convinced Betterhelp is a great place to start your journey towards improved mental health.

Betterhelp logo

Overall rating 98.0%

Updated June 28th, 2021

Overall Rating
Price
Treatment Options
App and Software
Customer Service
Safety and Privacy