BetterHelp Review (Pros/Cons, Pricing, and More)

BetterHelp Review

Mental health treatment has surged in recent times as an increasing number of individuals are not only becoming more interested in learning about counseling but also participating in mental health therapies. Even before the demand brought on by COVID-19, expert leaders and health professionals were developing more convenient and accessible ways to provide online mental health services, also known as online therapy or telemental health, to individuals who need it.

In this article, I’ll provide you with a complete review of BetterHelp, including pros and cons, key features, consumer feedback, and pricing packages.

Sign up for BetterHelp here!

The History of BetterHelp

BetterHelp is just one of the virtual platforms through which individuals can receive therapy to address a range of mental health concerns related to grief, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress, anger, relationships, and more. BetterHelp was founded in 2013 by Alon Matas and Danny Bragonier after Matas struggled to find convenient and flexible counseling services that fit his schedule. BetterHelp’s mission is to make professional counseling accessible, affordable, and convenient so that anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help anytime, anywhere.

In 2015, BetterHelp was acquired by Teladoc, a larger multi-disciplinary telehealth company. However, BetterHelp remains under the leadership of Bragonier and Matas, who have assisted in the company’s growth as one of the largest online counseling services.

RELATED: Talkspace vs BetterHelp

Convenient, confidential, and anonymous therapy

One of the most convenient features of BetterHelp is access to services through a computer, tablet, or smartphone, making for a highly convenient mode of therapy. BetterHelp provides care from a range of licensed and accredited mental health professionals, including psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers, professional counselors, and more. All mental health professionals who work with BetterHelp hold at least a Master’s degree in their respective fields and they have been certified by their state’s professional board.

BetterHelp’s counselor matching process allows individuals to fill out a form with basic, introductory information that allows matching specialists to determine the best professional to meet individual needs. These key features ensure for the highest quality user experience possible.

Confidentiality and security

One of the most unique features is that users can choose to remain anonymous by entering nicknames, pseudonyms, or initials as part of their profile. This highlight allows people to share sensitive or uncomfortable topics, which they may not be able to communicate through traditional therapy. 

In addition to ensuring user anonymity, for those who take advantage of this option, BetterHelp is incredibly focused on privacy and confidentiality. These rules are part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, and apply to every medical service.

However, BetterHelp takes further steps to ensure this confidentiality carries over to its virtual platform. They offer the option to “shred” any past messages with therapists, meaning they are disposed of and no longer associated with your account. All messages are protected by 256-bit encryption, servers hosted in “A grade” facilities, and SSL browsing encryption.

RELATED: Talkspace Review

Excellent counseling content and personalized plans

BetterHelp’s website also offers free “advice” in the form of blogs, videos, tips, webinars, and other resources from their highly qualified staff. In addition to specific content regarding treatment and the use of coping skills, BetterHelp uses this area of its website to provide education on terminology and symptoms associated with some basic mental health concerns. This content is available outside of a paid subscription and can be accessed by anyone visiting their website.

Plans

BetterHelp also offers a range of plans to suit a variety of personal and financial needs, along with the ability to cancel a weekly or monthly subscription at any time. Individuals who receive counseling with BetterHelp will be able to access their “therapy room” at any time to send messages to their therapist and receive responses, feedback, and advice. Messages do not require an appointment or any scheduling and can be sent 24/7. Users will receive email notifications when their counselor has replied to their message.

Effectiveness

The Berkley Well-Being Institute completed an extensive study on the effectiveness of regular counseling through BetterHelp. Results showed that 38% of participants demonstrated a clinically significant improvement after using BetterHelp for 3 months.

In terms of rating their experience, 94% of participants preferred BetterHelp rather than traditional, face-to-face therapy. Additionally, 70% of participants demonstrated and reported a reduction in symptoms of depression.

Is BetterHelp right for you? 

Pros

  • There is a range of content on their website that is available to everyone, regardless of their membership status.
  • Therapy rooms can be accessed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Users can enter their therapy room 24/7 to send messages to their therapists.
  • Base prices are far more affordable than traditional, in-person therapy and also lower cost than some other online therapy options (such as Talkspace).
  • Staff includes counselors who have expertise working with LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, various religious and spiritual backgrounds, and unique relationships.

Cons

  • Pricing packages are not clear. I was only provided a monthly cost after answering a bunch of onboard questions and being prompted to create an account.
  • Some insurance companies will provide partial coverage for BetterHelp services. Unfortunately, they do not participate with most major insurances, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The platform is not intended for individuals in life-threatening situations or mental health crises.

What are people saying about BetterHelp?

  • “In the field of psychology, this has been a game changer both for the treatment of patients and for the wellbeing of both patient and mental health providers. Patients have more flexibility, because location and schedule are no longer a barrier, and they have more choice of providers.” – Chicago Tribune
  • “My therapist asked the same kinds of thought-provoking questions as the traditional therapists I worked with in the past. [My therapist] helped me identify anxiety triggers and coping mechanisms much faster than it would have taken had we met only once a week.” – The Wall Street Journal

How much does BetterHelp cost?

BetterHelp’s website does not directly describe pricing packages.

Their FAQ page states that subscriptions range from $40-$70 weekly. However, after signing up myself, I was charged $260/month (which breaks down to $65/week). This comparatively less than the ranges put forth by in-person therapy and other online therapy platforms.

Unlike most other online therapy forums, BetterHelp states they offer a free trial to allow users to test out their services and determine if online therapy is a good fit for them. However, there is very little information available for this free trial, apart from it being mentioned in one BetterHelp blog article from March 2020, which indicates it is still a relevant promotion.

Sign up for BetterHelp here!

My personal experience

I found BetterHelp to be a useful tool for anyone looking for online therapy. I do not personally know anyone who has used BetterHelp, so I did not have much knowledge of it prior to beginning my research and reaching out for a consultation.

I found the matching consultant to be helpful, however I will admit that I was put off by the lack of transparency as to their pricing models. It does not appear to be in alignment with their mission to provide affordable services if their platform is not straightforward with how much these out-of-pocket services will cost.

I was impressed with their up-front concentration on the presence of trauma, abuse, or any other pressing situation that may be impacting someone’s mental health currently. This focus was encouraging and indicated that BetterHelp works with highly skilled mental health professionals who were prepared to complete full and thorough evaluations to ensure they are meeting each person’s needs.

Final thoughts

BetterHelp offers assistance from a range of seasoned professionals who are well-equipped to use their specialties to deal with individuals with a variety of needs and backgrounds. Despite their lack of clear information regarding pricing, I do find a fee of $70 per week to be an affordable alternative to traditional, in-person therapy. In the end, BetterHelp is a useful platform for individuals to access convenient and affordable online therapy for any reason.

What are your thoughts on BetterHelp? Share your experience in the comments below!

BetterHelp Review $40 - $70/week
Overall
4.6
  • Cost
  • Content
  • Effectiveness
  • Variety
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)

Summary

BetterHelp is a virtual therapy platform designed to treat mental health concerns related to grief, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress, anger, relationships, and more. It can be used across multiple platforms and is highly confidential. Overall, it’s a fantastic option to consider for online therapy!

Pros

  • There is a range of content on their website that is available to everyone, regardless of their membership status.
  • Therapy rooms can be accessed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Users can enter their therapy room 24/7 to send messages to their therapists.
  • Base prices are far more affordable than traditional, in-person therapy and also lower cost than some other online therapy options (such as Talkspace).
  • Staff includes counselors who have expertise working with LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, various religious and spiritual backgrounds, and unique relationships.

Cons

  • Pricing packages are not clear. I was only provided a monthly cost after answering a bunch of onboard questions and being prompted to create an account.
  • Some insurance companies will provide partial coverage for BetterHelp services. Unfortunately, they do not participate with most major insurances, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The platform is not intended for individuals in life-threatening situations or mental health crises.
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Brittany Ferri, MS, OTR/L, CCTP, CLT
Brittany Ferri is a registered and licensed occupational therapist with clinical experience in mental health, cognitive rehab, and complementary health. She is the founder of Simplicity of Health, LLC where she provides wellness education, consulting, health writing, program development, and teletherapy for children and adults. Brittany is passionate about health promotion and disease prevention for all, which has led her to publish several books educating others about wellness. She has authored a textbook called "Effective Occupational Therapy Documentation", a children's book called "Why is there a person in my computer?" that educates kids about teletherapy, and "Complementary Health Approaches for OTs", which is coming in the fall of 2020. She is also a PhD candidate in Integrative Mental Health from Saybrook University, as well as an adjunct professor at Nazareth College. Check out her website at https://www.simplicityofhealth.com

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