BetterHelp Evaluation: What You Want To Know Earlier than Signing Up

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What Does BetterHelp Offer & Who Is It For?

Online counseling or therapy services, like BetterHelp, work in practically the same way as traditional in-office counseling. The only difference is that sessions are performed virtually.

Platforms like BetterHelp enable you to book an appointment and speak with a board-accredited therapist via secure video conference calls or text messages — and it’s often a bit more affordable than in-person therapy.

COVID-19 hastily ushered in a new era of medicine, and telehealth platforms like BetterHelp have seen an unprecedented spike in users of over 25%.

This is how it works and how it stacks up to similar tele-therapy services.

What is BetterHelp?

Since its founding in 2013, BetterHelp has attracted over 1 million members.

Today it’s the biggest online therapy platform on earth!

BetterHelp employs over 4,000 licensed therapists, who can help you cope with a wide range of personal or mental health issues, including:

BetterHelp users can text and video call with their choice therapist seven days a week.

Does BetterHelp Work?

Yes! Many studies show that online therapy can be very effective, acceptable, and practical for treating things like axiety and depression. Specifically, BetterHelp has shown positive results in most users. In fact, studies show that “users of BetterHelp experienced significantly reduced depression symptom severity after engaging with the platform.”

An extensive study by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute found BetterHelp to be “as effective as face-to-face counseling.”

BetterHelp users report that:

  • 98% made significant process
  • 94% prefer BetterHelp over face to face therapy
  • 70% reduced depression symptoms

How Does BetterHelp Work?

Here is a step-by-step guide to how you get started:

Step 1: Fill out a questionnaire

The first step is to SIGN UP HERE, answer a questionnaire and provide your basic information. This includes your age, gender, relationship status, orientation, and more. You will also be asked to provide information about the issue you are seeking counseling for. It can be relationship issues, depression, anxiety, financial health, or just about anything. Be sure to be as specific as possible. 

Step 2: Set up your account

The next step is to create your account on BetterHelp. This is an essential step so that the information you provided above will be stored to your account for future reference. You will also be asked to provide your payment information in this step, but you will not be charged until the time of your first session.

Step 3: Choose your preference for a counselor

Do you want a counselor from a specific area? Certain years of experience? Certain gender/age? What area of expertise in a counselor are you looking for? Make sure you are as specific as possible.

Tip: Many people like to work with a therapist of the same gender. Often times, people find it more comfortable, particularly when dealing with relationship and gender issues.

Step 4: Finding your therapist

Based on the information you provided in the previous step, you will be matched with a licensed online therapist. BetterHelp finds your match within 24 hours. If you’re not happy with who was selected for you, you have the option to request another counselor. Or, you can also decide to change counselors later on after you’ve worked with the one who is initially assigned to you.

Step 5: Begin your sessions

Once you have found the ideal therapist to match your needs, you can start with your online counseling right away. You can set an appointment at a convenient time directly with your online therapist. You can also set how frequent your appointments are based on your needs or chosen package. 

The overall process of signing up at BetterHelp is streamlined and efficient. It is easy to get started on getting the counseling help you need.

Dr. O, one of our medical team members at Manlywellness discusses BetterHelp and online therapy in our BetterHelp Video Review

Choosing Your Online Therapist

The therapist-patient match is an extremely important part of a successful course of therapy. So, BetterHelp has devised a smart way of matching you with a practitioner.

Before ever putting down a credit card — in fact, while you’re creating your BetterHelp account — you will be asked to fill out an onboarding survey. The survey asks you questions about your goals for therapy, as well as basic information about your age, gender, sexual orientation, and religious affiliations (if any).

The survey will enable BetterHelp to match you with a therapist, plus it gives the counselor a starting point to assess your situation and needs.

BetterHelp has therapists for individual counseling, couples counseling, and youth counseling (under 18).

How BetterHelp Compares with Traditional Counseling

BetterHelp promises to deliver a non-traditional approach to counseling. But just how different is this method of delivery? Also, is BetterHelp more effective than traditional counseling?

Similarities of Online & In-Person Counseling

Below are some of the similarities that BetterHelp and traditional counseling share:

  1. Qualification and Experience
    • Both methods offer qualified and licensed therapists to help you work through any concern. Both in person and online therapists have certification and training to ensure their expertise.
  2. Available Treatment Plans
    • Both offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other modern therapeutic treatments.
    • They both provide specific treatment plans that are designed to suit the needs or concerns of each client. You can expect the same kind of treatment plan online as you would in an office counseling.
  3. Cost
    • The cost of both methods is largely the same. And BetterHelp can be covered by most major insurance carriers.

Differences of Online & In-Person Therapy

These are the most common differences between the two types of counseling methods:

  1. Means of Communication
    • The method of communication is the primary source of difference between BetterHelp and traditional counseling. With BetterHelp, you can conduct the therapy sessions in the comfort of your own home. You do not need to go to the therapist’s office. 
    • Online therapy also enables text (SMS) therapy.
  2. Availability
    • Aside from the actual therapy sessions, BetterHelp also enables you to communicate with your therapist throughout the day. Communication can come in the form of text, call, or chat.
  3. Frequency of Contact
    • The frequency of contact is another major difference between the two. Since you have other ways to contact your therapist at BetterHelp, you can expect a higher frequency of contact with your therapist.

BetterHelp Counseling vs Traditional Counseling

BetterHelp Counseling

We have analyzed the counseling services offered by BetterHelp, both its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • You have access to one of 4,000+ licensed and accredited therapists. 
  • You can expect a convenient method of communicating with your therapist – video call, chat, or text message.
  • Appointments can be set up for your most convenient time.
  • The cost of setting up your account is more affordable than traditional counseling methods. 
  • You can enjoy the confidentiality of holding your therapy sessions in your own home. 
  • You can expect an immediate and prompt response from your counselors when you need them.

Disadvantages

  • Those who are used to in-person counseling might have a little getting used to this new method.
  • It is not designed for urgent crisis or emergencies due to a lack of in-person communication. 
  • The immediate response of the online therapist might vary on times of day or day of the week.
  • It is not best for more complex diagnoses like schizophrenia, however other telehealth services have proven to be effective for this type of illness.

Traditional Counseling

We have analyzed traditional counseling services offered to the community through its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • It is a great option for clients who seek out in-person communication with the therapist. Some people feel like they can open up more whey communicate with someone face-to-face.
  • It facilitates to a more comprehensive array of therapy forms (which can often be limited by online communication).
  • In-person counselors have more reviews of their services via 3rd party platforms like Yelp.

Disadvantages

  • Traditional counseling is generally more expensive than online therapy (although not by a large margin). 
  • Getting to and from the counselor’s office can be a hassle and time-consuming. 
  • Setting an appointment is nearly impossible with in-demand counselors. It can take days or weeks before you can set an appointment. Plus, you would have to spend hours waiting in the queue for your turn.

Is BetterHelp Trustworthy?

BetterHelp is one of the top platforms for patients who need counseling or therapy sessions online. But in a world of daily data breaches and internet scams, it’s critical to “read the fine print” on every internet offering.

The summary: BetterHelp is a very trustworthy, HIPAA compliant platform.

Some of the concerns around BetterHelp are centered around the online therapy industry in general. Below are some of the most common concerns about online counseling platforms.

  • Online counseling is of inferior quality to in-person counseling.
  • Users are unsure if therapists can help with their specific use case.
  • Online therapy is expensive.

There might be some aspects of the service that could use improvement, but the company itself is legitimate.

BetterHelp guarantees that only 15% of their applicants are hired as counselors, which means their process is selective and quality of care is strong.

Counselor Credentials

BetterHelp guarantees its members that they work with licensed therapists who have proper training and accreditation.

Currently, BetterHelp offers counselors with the following credentials: 

  • Psychologists
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Family Therapists

All of these are licensed providers who have the proper educational credentials and certification. BetterHelp also guarantees that their counselors all have a Master’s or Doctorate Degree in their respective fields.

All of them also meet state professional board requirements. They also require that counselors which they hire should have at least 2,000 hours of clinical experience and three years of practice (minimum).

To ensure that the BetterHelp counselors meet these qualifications, the company employs a strict verification process. The counselors must provide licensure documentation, references, and proof of identity. BetterHelp also does the cross-checking of the licensure information with the appropriate licensing boards in the US. 

Technology Safety

BetterHelp therapy sessions are conducted online or through other forms of communication such as chat or email. The use of online technology is what made it popular in the first place.

But the very same thing that also makes BetterHelp quite useful also poses a threat. There are concerns about the use of a web-based platform for sharing information. This risk is something that BetterHelp users are concerned about.

However, BetterHelp guarantees that all of its platform databases are encrypted and scrambled. This means that your data is protected and will be deemed useless in the event of theft of information. They also use “A grade” server facility to ensure added security for its users.

Accordingly, the online counseling platform only employs A+ rated security protocol.

As a HIPPA compliant service, all sorts of communication shared between you and your counselor are secure and safe at all times.

Privacy Policy

Along with web security, privacy is another major concern for anyone who might be using BetterHelp for the first time. Rest assured, BetterHelp abides by the existing industry laws and regulations when it comes to privacy policy standards.

To ensure the confidentiality of your concerns and issues that are shared to your counselors, we implement strict protection of data. It applies to all incoming and outgoing calls and messages. The same goes for all the forms and payment methods that you opt during the process.

BetterHelp actually takes additional steps to maintain strict client anonymity. When setting up your account at BetterHelp, you can use your alias if you are not comfortable using your legal name. And rest assured, no information is released to third-parties, such as in the event of legal cases, without the prior approval of the client concerned.

Ultimately, your identification and findings are in safe hands before, during, and after your treatment.

Everything You Should Know About BetterHelp Pricing

If you are considering BetterHelp for your counseling needs, it is important to understand the costs involved. BetterHelp is a suitable option for those in need of counseling or therapy because it is more affordable than traditional counseling. 

The cost of counseling via BetterHelp ranges from $35 to $80 per week depending on the plan you choose.

  • Weekly: $80/week
  • Monthly: $260/month — comes out to $65/week
  • 4x/year: $540/quarter – comes out to $45/week
  • Annually: $1,820/year – comes out to $35/week

For the monthly charge, you have unlimited access to messages and live text/phone chats with your counselor.

In comparison, the cost of traditional face-to-face counseling would be around $150 to $250 per session (without insurance). Tele-therapy tends to be slightly more affordable than in-person care because the companies (like BetterHelp) save on overhead by not maintaining physical clinics.

How Do You Settle Your Payments?

When you create an account with BetterHelp, you will be asked to supply your payment information. Your weekly charges for your counseling sessions will be billed once a month (using the payment information given) via PayPal or credit card. You can keep your membership for as long as you’d like and can cancel anytime.

Does BetterHelp Accept Insurance?

Online therapy is not covered by most insurance carriers. Therefore, you are expected to pay from your pocket when you opt for online therapy services such as BetterHelp. Some insurance companies do cover for face-to-face video conference counseling, but you need to check with your provider.

The email, chat, or other forms of communication are not covered by your insurance. For traditional counseling methods that are covered by insurance, the insurance provider usually requires a diagnosis from your therapist. Speak to a BetterHelp customer service representative for more information.

In particular, the diagnosis must cite mental disorder or similar issues for you to get the coverage you want. All the findings will be submitted to your insurance company and placed under your medical file. Your therapist might also be required to provide additional clinical information such as a summary of your diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Even for the traditional counseling sessions that are covered by insurance copay plans, the savings you can make with BetterHelp is still significant.

Therefore, it does not make any significant difference to your budget if you opt for online therapy instead of traditional counseling since it is more expensive.

Does BetterHelp Offer Financial Aid?

Financial Aid is available for those who opt to use online therapy services through BetterHelp. The company provides financial aid based on the income of a client/patient. The amount of aid will also vary for each client.

Most of those clients who have used the financial aid option were able to save 20-50% of the cost. This would be a significant help considering that BetterHelp and other online counseling platforms are already cheaper than traditional therapies.

BetterHelp vs. Competitors

As online therapy grows in popularity, more online therapy sites are available. BetterHelp is just one of many online therapy options.
Some of the top competitors are Talkspace, ReGain, 7 Cups of Tea, Pride Counseling, Teen Counseling, Doctor On Demand, Amwell. Each platform specializes in different use cases, method of delivery, and in price.

Therapy Service: BetterHelp

  • Weekly price: $40 – $70
  • Therapy suited for: Individuals, Couples, Teens (Ages 13-18)
  • Communication through: Live chat, phone, messages and video
  • What makes this platform unique: World’s largest counseling service offering access to licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists

Therapy Service: Talkspace

  • Weekly price: $49
  • Therapy suited for: Individuals, Couples, Teens (Ages 13-18)
  • Communication through: Live chat, phone, messages and video
  • What makes this platform unique: Working with a Talkspace therapist will give you an unbiased, trained perspective and provide you with the guidance and tools

Therapy Service: ReGain

  • Weekly price: $40 – $70
  • Therapy suited for: Couples
  • Communication through: Live chat, messages and video
  • What makes this platform unique: Regain may be used by individuals or couples seeking counseling for relationship or marital issues and can share a joint account

Therapy Service: 7 Cups of Tea

  • Weekly price: $37.5
  • Therapy suited for: Individuals and teens
  • Communication through: Messages
  • What makes this platform unique: Emotional support community of active listeners, that keeps users completely anonymous

Therapy Service: Pride Counseling

  • Weekly price: $40-$70
  • Therapy suited for: LGBTQ Community
  • Communication through: Live chat, phone, messages and video
  • What makes this platform unique: Professional online counseling for the LGBTQ community

Therapy Service: Teen Counseling

  • Weekly price: $40- $70
  • Therapy suited for: Teens
  • Communication through: Live chat, phone, messages and video
  • What makes this platform unique: Online platform where teens from ages 13-19 can get help from a licensed therapist online

Therapy Service: Doctor on Demand

  • Weekly price: $129 for a 25 min consultation, $179 for a 50 min consultation
  • Therapy suited for: Individuals
  • Communication through: Live chat
  • What makes this platform unique: Virtual doctors appointments from US-based, board-certified physicians, and licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists

Therapy Service: Amwell

  • Weekly price: $99 per visit
  • Therapy suited for: Individuals
  • Communication through: Live chat
  • What makes this platform unique: Amwell provides routine medical conditions, providing help from therapists, psychiatrists, pediatrics, and urgent care

BetterHelp vs. Talkspace

One of BetterHelp’s main competitors is Talkspace. Like BetterHelp, Talkspace is an online therapy platform. They also have a teen therapy option, as well as relationship counseling.

Both BetterHelp and Talkspace are safe, HIPAA compliant options for online therapy. Both specialize in the treatment of a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, grief, and more. 

In terms of pricing, there are no limits with BetterHelp. You can chat and video conference with your online therapist as often as you want. Talkspace offers unlimited text, video, and audio messaging, but you pay for each live 30 minute therapy session. Because of this, Talkspace often ends up being the more expensive option.

When You Should Choose In-Person Therapy Over Online Therapy

While online counseling offers convenience, it isn’t always the best option. People in life-threatening situations need more acute care. If you feel at risk of hurting yourself or someone else, you need immediate assistance. Consider calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Online therapy is not the right solution for you if any of the following is true:

  • If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • You are a minor or you are under the care of a legal guardian
  • If you are in an urgent crisis or an emergency situation
  • You have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, or if you have been advised to be in psychological supervision or psychiatric care

Click here for a full list of resources for immediate help.

So, What’s the Verdict on Betterhelp?

BetterHelp is a great option when convenience and accessibility are a priority. This is especially helpful if you’re at a stage where you prefer not to go out but still want to get the counseling you need. 

What sets BetterHelp apart from similar models is that they have excellent customer service and real, vetted professional practitioners.

They make an effort to help you understand their platform and explain what they’re looking for in a client. Their commitment to help clients also extends to ensuring people are matched with the right therapist and service. 

With 4,000 licensed therapists available, you are sure to receive online therapy at your convenience. No wonder BetterHelp has been voted number 1 in many reviewers of online therapy.  

To reiterate, online counseling is best for people looking for:

  • Accessibility
  • Convenience
  • Anonymity
  • Variation in communication methods

Most importantly, it is suitable for those who want to avoid the social stigma linked with counseling, something that often makes people uncomfortable and reluctant to seek help, resulting in them suffering in silence. 

With BetterHelp, patients receive therapy at the privacy of their home. No need for them to feel alone in their struggles. This can make a huge difference in the way patients deal with their troubles and seek help

More Online BetterHelp Reviews

What do real people say about BetterHelp?

TrustPilot Reviews

“They matched me with the perfect counselor. I can get daily motivation outside of our sessions. Sessions are scheduled at a time that’s best for you, and even if there isn’t availability on their calendar they usually can fit you in where it’s best. You can choose to text, phone call, or video call your counselor. It’s super convenient and worth every penny.”

“Better help is just that. When I put my hand out for better help, they are there to help me up. I’m not sure where I’d be without it. I was paired with a counselor who was passionate and caring and always there when I needed her. It’s been a truly uplifting experience and I deeply appreciate the help I’ve received.”

“Better Help has changed my life. I was looking for a service that I didn’t have to travel to see a therapist. The time it takes to drive in traffic, stress to make the appointment and then remember the week’s events can be overwhelming. Better help has the tools to help with everything for a therapy session. There is a journal feature where you can write things down when you need to. Also, there are webinars to help with different topics that change monthly. One of my favorites is the fact that I can email my therapist. If something comes up and I feel overwhelmed I can write to her and she responds quickly.”

Trustpilot Reviews on BetterHelp

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Summary

Reviewer

Manly Wellness

Review Date

2020-08-09

Reviewed Item

BetterHelp

Author Rating

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