The Complete Guide To Online Therapy With BetterHelp [updated for 2021]

A Therapist’s Guide To Online Therapy With BetterHelp (2021)

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This post contains affiliate links. As an affiliate of programs including Amazon and BetterHelp, we make commissions from qualifying sales.

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If you are looking for a BetterHelp review written by a therapist, you have come to the right place.

BetterHelp is a popular web-based platform that provides online therapy with licensed counselors and therapists. With over 3,000 licensed therapists, BetterHelp has changed the lives of more than 950,000 clients.

For a monthly membership fee that costs about the same as an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy, BetterHelp gives you virtually unlimited access to your own online therapist – via chat, phone, or video sessions.

As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to drag on, online therapy with BetterHelp has become an increasingly popular choice for those suffering from acute stress, loneliness, depression, and isolation.

As you read this BetterHelp review, consider the benefits of having access to your own licensed therapist without ever leaving your home!

Online Therapy With BetterHelp Review Pinterest Graphic
BetterHelp Review: Affordable Online Therapy For You in 2021

BetterHelp Review Summary: BetterHelp is an excellent provider of online therapy that offers a low-cost, secure, and convenient way to access your own licensed therapist. While not appropriate for some, it has revolutionized the way clients get help and has made access to services available to millions who need it.

What You’ll Learn in this BetterHelp Review

  • How the BetterHelp app works;
  • How online therapy benefits you;
  • What the costs are and how to sign up;
  • Opportunities for teens, couples, and members of the faith-based and LGBTQIA communities;
  • What other clients are saying about it;
  • How to sign up for BetterHelp;
  • Fees and membership plans;
  • The Pros and Cons of BetterHelp.
An Introduction to BetterHelp

Why you Should Trust This BetterHelp Review

My name is Randy Withers, LCMHC. I am a licensed therapist. I have Master’s degrees in Education and in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I’ve worked in the field of Mental Health for a decade. You can learn more about me here.

While I do receive compensation if you read this BetterHelp review and choose to sign up, I was also a client of BetterHelp. I work alongside BetterHelp therapists, used the service for more than three months, and emerged a better person because of it.

I love online therapy. Whether you choose BetterHelp or some other provider, I encourage you to give it a try.

I wrote this BetterHelp review based on:

  • My personal experience as a client of BetterHelp.
  • My professional opinion of its services.
  • Research that supports the benefits and effectiveness of online counseling;
  • My experience as a client with both face-to-face and online therapy.

BetterHelp Review Summary: As a therapist and client of BetterHelp, I can vouch for its quality. Therapy is helpful for most people, and research indicates that online therapy and traditional counseling have similar outcomes.

Is Online Therapy Worth The Cost?

Absolutely.

Tens of millions of people are diagnosed with a mental illness in the United States every year. Millions more deal with substance abuse, various types of process addictions like self-harm and compulsive gambling.

And aside from all that, tens of millions deal with major life stressors like marriage and divorce, death of loved ones, losses of jobs, and the end of relationships. We are all dealing with something. Every last one of us.

Especially in an age of global pandemic and quarantine. This is not a fun time to be alive.

Consider the following information, collected by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

Fast Facts About Mental Illness in the United States
47.6 million adults experienced mental illness in 2018;
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34;
9.2 million adults suffer from co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illness;
17.7 million adults are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder every year;
Serious mental illness costs 193 billion dollars in lost earnings each year;
37% of incarcerated adults suffer from serious mental illness;
41% of Veterans have a diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder;
7.7 million children between the ages of 6-17 experience mental illness each year.
Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Fast Facts About Mental Illness in the United States

What Are the Benefits of Online Therapy?

Most people begin therapy feeling bad and they leave therapy feeling better. It really is that simple.

Therapy is effective for most people who participate in it. Studies show that as many as 85% of respondents reported a marked decrease in symptoms and an increased quality of life. That success rate is astounding.

BetterHelp Review: Affordable Online Therapy For You in 2021. BetterHelp counseling outcomes and success rates.
BetterHelp Online Therapy Outcomes

Why Should I Pay for A Therapist?

People enlist the services of mental health professionals because to properly support a mentally ill person requires special skills and expertise.

When you see a licensed therapist, here are just some of the things you can expect:

  • Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work;
  • Thousands of hours of clinical supervision and training;
  • Expert-Level understanding of mental health conditions;
  • Use of Evidenced-Based Models designed to affect positive change;
  • Adherence to ethical statutes and best practices;
  • Professional demeanor with an emphasis on confidentiality and client’s rights.

Mental illness is a medical illness. While social supports do indeed have their uses, it’s best to leave medical interventions to the professionals. Hence, the need for quality and effective psychotherapy and counseling.

3 Tips For Online Counseling

BetterHelp Review Summary: Mental health is crucial for everyone. You wouldn’t trust your physical health to an amateur. Why should your mental health be any different?

Is Online Therapy As Effective As Traditional Therapy?

The evidence is clear – therapy works for most people. But is that true for online therapy?

Again, the evidence is clear: yes, it is.

Research shows that online therapy can be just as effective as traditional therapy. It also provides some additional benefits that we’ll discuss here.

Convenience

Convenience is one of the biggest selling points for online counseling apps like BetterHelp. With it, traditional barriers to treatment like distance, transportation, or access to providers no longer exist.

With online therapy, all you need is an internet connection and a Smartphone.

Research shows that online therapy is just as effective as traditional therapy! Read this BetterHelp review to learn more!

Access

BetterHelp has an app on the App Store and on Google Play. You can message your therapist directly using the chat feature and you’ll usually get a response within 12-24 hours. My therapist usually got back to me within a few hours.

You can also schedule sessions via chat, video, or phone through a convenient calendar feature. But one of the features I liked most about BetterHelp was my ability to text Krys (my therapist) a question before one of our arranged sessions.

BetterHelp Review Summary: With convenient (and free) Smartphone apps that provide encrypted communication with your own licensed therapist, BetterHelp’s platform makes counseling both affordable and easy.

Is BetterHelp Legit?

Founded in 2013 by Alon Matas and Danny Bragonier, its mission is to make high-quality professional counseling services more available to the general public.

The company was bought in 2015 and is now worth over 60 million dollars. It’s not a scam. BetterHelp is the real deal.

What Are the Qualifications of BetterHelp Therapists?

In order to be a therapist on BetterHelp, you must earn a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Counseling, Psychology, or Social Work, and be fully licensed by the state in which they work.

Therapists must also have at least three years of practical experience as well as 2,000 hours of clinical supervision.

On BetterHelp, you are likely to see several different types of therapists, all of whom are fully licensed and credentialled. These include:

  • Psychologists
  • Licensed Professional Counselors
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselors
  • Licensed Clinical social workers
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists

BetterHelp Review Summary:: BetterHelp only hires fully-licensed and well-qualified mental health professionals. The service is legit, HIPAA-compliant, and well-respected in the industry.

What Kinds of Issues Do BetterHelp Therapists Help With?

When you first sign up, you will be able to select from a wide variety of topics. These are some of the ones from which to choose:

  • Addictions
  • Alcoholism
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety
  • Borderline Personality
  • Co-Dependency
  • Communication
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Healthy Eating
  • LGBTQ+ Issues
  • Faith
  • Panic and Phobias
  • Negative Thoughts
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Self-Esteem
  • Stress and Trauma
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Weight Issues

BetterHelp Features and Services

BetterHelp is packed with a ton of features and services that more than justify the relatively low price point.

Here is what you can expect with your membership:

  • Over 3000 counselors & therapists with different areas of expertise;
  • Therapists are licensed, trained, accredited, and experienced;
  • All therapists have a master’s degree or a doctorate in their respective field;
  • You’ll be matched with a therapist who is the best fit for your needs;
  • Unlimited private one-on-one communication with your therapist;
  • Option to schedule live sessions with your counselor or use the secure messenger;
  • Access to constructive, educational group webinars;
  • Professional help that is personalized for you;
  • 24/7 availability;
  • Video, Chat, and Phone Sessions;
  • Apps available on The App Store and Google Play;
  • Encrypted and secure communication.
Depression Hurts.
Online Therapy Helps.

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Take the free depression quiz. Then, get matched with a licensed therapist via video, phone, or text. Plans start at $60/week. Take 10% off with our link.

Couples, Teen, Faith-Based, and LGBTQIA Online Counseling

BetterHelp recognizes that different people have different needs for therapy. That’s why they offer specific programs for couples, teens, and members of the faith-based and LGBTQIA communities.

  • Regain provides couples and marriage counseling for those who are serious about saving or improving their relationships.
  • Get professional counseling from a licensed therapist. Visit Regain Couples Counseling.
  • Teen Counseling specializes in working with adolescents and teens. Help your child thrive with professional counseling. Visit Teen Counseling.
  • Faith Counseling offers faith-based members the opportunity to connect with fellow believers, all of whom are licensed, professional therapists. Visit Faith Counseling.
  • Pride Counseling offers professional online counseling and support for the LGBTQIA community. Visit Pride Counseling.

After you sign up with your preferences, BetterHelp will connect you to these partner sites. You don’t need to figure out which one is right for you.

Whether you choose to use BetterHelp, Faith Counseling, or any of the other options, the costs and quality remain the same.

Online Opportunities for Licensed Therapists

It is often difficult for professional mental health counselors to seek therapy. Often, it is due to their busy schedules. Sometimes, therapists fear judgment from their colleagues. Many suffer in silence.

Online therapy with BetterHelp is an excellent option for licensed clinicians, as they can receive the help they need from the privacy of their own homes. While their online therapist will live in the same state, it is unlikely that they reside in the same community. As a result, therapists can seek help without worry.

Fully-licensed therapists can also join BetterHelp’s team if they wish to pursue either full or part-time work. BetterHelp is currently hiring licensed therapists from all 50 states. You can learn more by visiting the BetterHelp Recruitment Portal.   

Related: How To Become An Online Therapist With BetterHelp.

How Does Online Therapy With BetterHelp Work?

BetterHelp is easy to use.

  • First, download the App from either The App Store or Google Play.
  • Second, create an account and enter relevant personal information.
  • Third, answer questions about the type of therapist you’re looking for.
  • Fourth, enter your payment information and be matched with your own personal counselor, usually within 12-24 hours.

After you get started, you and your counselor will get your own secure “room”. This will be your private place to communicate day or night. You can access this room from any internet-connected device, wherever you are.

You can also schedule a formal session. These can be in the form of chat, video, or phone sessions. It’s your choice. There is a calendar feature in the app that allows you to select a time that works best for you.

BetterHelp Full Schedule from BetterHelp Review: Affordable Online Therapy For You in 2021
This is the calendar where you book your session.

Here is a screenshot of what a chat session looks like:

BetterHelp Full Session
A sample chat session

How Many Sessions Can You Have?

You aren’t limited to a certain number of messages or sessions. The frequency of your interactions depends on your availability and the availability of your counselor. You may want to have 5 or 6 short interactions per week, or 1-2 very long and thorough session.

BetterHelp Cost and Pricing

BetterHelp’s mission to make access easy and accessible to everyone, so they developed a plan which is simple, predictable, risk-free, and affordable.

Here are the four subscription plans they offer:

  • Unlimited $80/week – Unlimited messages and live sessions, charged $80 weekly
  • Unlimited $65/week – Four weeks of unlimited messages and live sessions for $260 (Billed Monthly)
  • Unlimited $45/week – Three months of unlimited messages and live sessions for $540 (Billed Quarterly)
  • Unlimited $35/week – Twelve months of unlimited messages and lives sessions for $1820 (Billed Yearly)

I recommend that you choose a plan that works best for you and your budget. From time to time they also offer free 7-day trials, so check your email and be on the lookout for money-saving deals.

review of BetterHelp costs
Pricing options available to BetterHelp members.

Can I Cancel BetterHelp?

When you accomplish your goals or if you find that it’s no longer helpful, you can cancel your subscription.

Canceling is easy and done online.

You can also suspend your subscription for up to three weeks. If you want more time than that, they recommend you cancel your subscription and restart it at a later time. When you resubscribe, they will try to match you with your original counselor, but they are not able to guarantee it.

You can also contact BetterHelp customer service at (888) 688-9296. Their email address is contact@betterhelp.com.

Is BetterHelp Covered by Insurance?

  • BetterHelp does not accept third-party insurance. There is no mechanism in place to enter insurance information.
  • Some insurance companies allow you to submit receipts for partial or full reimbursement.

How Do I Sign Up with BetterHelp?

The process is simple. Also, keep the following three things in mind:

  1. Your talks remain confidential;
  2. Your information is securely encrypted;
  3. You can choose to remain anonymous.

BetterHelp will ask you about 20 or so questions. They’ll ask for your name and age and sexual orientation and they’ll screen you for depression by asking about your mood, appetite, and sleep. The whole thing takes 5 minutes.

As soon as you submit your payment information, you’ll receive a series of emails that walk you through your next steps. You will have already been matched to a counselor by this point, so now all you do is sit back and wait for their first message to arrive in your inbox.

BetterHelp Testimonials From Former Clients

BetterHelp has a 4.5 Star Rating on TrustPilot with more than 800 verified reviews. These are some of the 5-star BetterHelp reviews taken from TrustPilot:

“Making the appointment to “chat” holds me to the appointment. I have no excuse for not taking 30 minutes to chat. My counselor is wonderful and interacts with me throughout the week between chat sessions. Spectacular program for those of us that tend to cancel stuff like this and don’t follow thru or follow up.”

– “Kye Kye”

“…I faced two huge problems after I decided to get help. 1) It’s so hard to find and start mental health treatment. 2) It’s so tough to find someone I’m comfortable with and can trust. BetterHelp solved both of those problems very well. Additionally, not being in person seemed like it’d be a hindrance, but I’m finding it to be an accelerator to the process. I think differently when I talk in a video call than when I’m typing messages to my Dr. This has helped me communicate better…”

– “Tyler Abair”

“My therapist has helped me navigate some difficult times in my life. I appreciate her clear-sightedness, honesty, and compassion.”

– “Jennifer”

“Normally I’m… don’t write reviews…, but BetterHelp is different. Affordable even for the lowest poverty bracket, convenient to access, and some of the most effective clinical help I’ve ever received. Within days of beginning the free trial, I had resources to help me, and an open, successful dialogue established with my counselor. Committing to the membership was an easy choice, especially since my insurance doesn’t cover ANY mental health services in my city.”

“Peter”

The BetterHelp App has a 4.6 rating on The App Store with more than 7,600 reviews. It has a 4.4 rating on Google Play with over 6,700 reviews.

BetterHelp Wants Your Feedback

My Experience With BetterHelp

Summary: Based on my personal and professional experience, I stand by BetterHelp. It’s an excellent service, though I do recommend you take the time to find a therapist you really connect with.

In order to write this BetterHelp review, BetterHelp gave me three full months of their service to test their product. So that’s what I did.

I am proud to recommend BetterHelp, both as a licensed therapist and as one of their clients. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but my experience was remarkable.

If you’re curious, I used BetterHelp to better deal with some relationship issues. I chose a female therapist named Krys because I wanted a woman’s perspective.

She did a great job validating my concerns, calling me out on some of my own nonsense, and helping me to develop a few strategies to deal with things like anger, resentment, and building trust. It was time well spent.

BetterHelp video session for review
BetterHelp video session.

Strengths of BetterHelp

  • My therapist, Krys, was excellent. Compassionate, empathetic, and kind. She also taught me a thing or two that I didn’t already know.
  • Therapists make use of CBT worksheets. Homework assignments are part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, so I was relieved to see that I was given assignments to complete. For example, one assignment was to read about the concept of “The Wise Mind.” It was helpful.
  • I liked the chat feature and the ability to leave questions. Sometimes I felt like having conversations and other times I just wanted some feedback or the answer to a question. I’d usually hear from Krys the same day. I loved it.
  • You can attend these free group sessions called “groupinars” that center around a special topic – post-traumatic stress, for example, or coping with depression. I’m a big fan of psycho-education. It seems as if BetterHelp is, too.
  • Frankly, I thought the video sessions would be awkward, but it wasn’t. It’s just like FaceTime.
  • They offer specialized programs for teens, couples, LGBTQIA, and faith-based communities.
  • Discounted rates for students.
  • Discounted rates for readers of my blog.

Drawbacks of BetterHelp

  • Cost is an issue for many. For some, $35-80 a week is tough to manage.
  • Sessions are scheduled in 30-minute blocks. This worked for me, but if you need more, ask.
  • Not appropriate for suicidal, psychotic, or developmentally disabled people.
  • Therapists do not diagnose, though that’s not always a bad thing.

My Clinical Opinion of BetterHelp

  • The platform is solid. It’s easy to sign up.
  • Your information is secure. They take confidentiality seriously.
  • Therapists can be hit or miss, but this is true everywhere. It’s also true in every profession.
  • My therapist was terrific. She was experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable. She certainly taught me a thing or two.
  • I was concerned that online counseling would be like a watered-down version of traditional counseling. That wasn’t the case. The phone and video sessions, in particular, were practically identical to a face-to-face session.
  • BetterHelp emphasizes quality control. I was asked several times for feedback about my therapist.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this BetterHelp review to be helpful. I hope that it was. My online therapist was superb and I hope you will say the same thing, too.

So, is BetterHelp legit? Yes, of course it is.

Is it right for you? That’s for you and your therapist to decide.

Some final advice:

Make use of your online therapist. Ask them for assignments. Do your homework. Participate in regular sessions. And attend their Groupinars. These groupinars are run by therapists who are experts in the chosen topic. Don’t ignore that opportunity.

To take advantage of a 10% discount for new members, make sure to sign up using this link. And make please leave a comment below to let me know if this BetterHelp review was helpful.

Verdict

BetterHelp Online Therapy

BetterHelp Review by: Randy Withers, LCMHC. Managing Editor, Blunt Therapy

betterhelp
BetterHelp is online therapy for clients who want access to well-qualified and highly effective therapists.
Convenience
Affordability
Effectiveness
Quality of Platform
Ease of Use
Quality of Therapists
Privacy

Summary

BetterHelp provides a much-needed and high-quality service to those who might not otherwise have access to therapy and counseling.

4.9

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About The Author
Randy Withers, LCMHC
Randy Withers, LCMHC is a Board-Certified and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at a private practice in North Carolina where he specializes in co-occurring disorders. He has masters degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and Education from Florida State University, and is the managing editor of Blunt Therapy. He writes about mental health, therapy, and addictions. In his spare time, you can find him watching reruns of Star Trek: TNG with his dog. Connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also see what he writes about on Medium.
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1 thought on “A Therapist’s Guide To Online Therapy With BetterHelp (2021)”

  1. Thank you for posting this. BetterHelp is awesome. One of the best decisions I ever made was to try them out. My therapist was really really good. Here’s a tip for everyone, if you sign up and wait a day or two they’ll send you a 7 day free trial so you can see if it’s good for you.

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Reviewed for accuracy by Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LCMHC, LCAS. Licensed Therapist and Managing Editor of Blunt Therapy

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