Table of Contents
Affiliate link notice: As an affiliate of BetterHelp and other third-party vendors, We will receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links provided on this page. For more information, visit our disclosure page.
Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Randy Withers, LCMHC
To my fellow therapists – if you work at a community mental health agency, chances are you are overworked and underpaid. I can relate. Before starting my own practice, I did my time in the trenches. I took the vow of poverty just like everyone else. But if we are being honest, many of us dream of better income and maybe one day running our own show. If that sounds like you, keep reading.
Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of BetterHelp, and receive commissions if you make purchases or sign up using my referral links, which appear throughout this article.
Salary is a bit of a taboo topic for many clinicians. It makes many of us feel dirty to talk about. I suppose that is one of the reasons why so many clinicians have a hard time paying for rent and student loans. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I want to share with you my experience working for BetterHelp, and how it allowed me to build my own practice.
In this article, I’m going to reveal 5 things I love about BetterHelp. But I’m also going to talk about 3 areas where they need to improve. Hopefully, if you read this article, you will see that BetterHelp can be an excellent tool for professional and financial growth. It certainly was for me.
If you’re a fellow mental health professional looking for either full or part time work, I encourage you to keep an open mind about working for BetterHelp. And if you find this article helpful and want to check out BetterHelp for yourself, I ask that you take advantage of my referral link, which I’ll place here, and throughout the rest of the post. To do so benefits me and also unlocks a sign-on bonus for you. So it is a win-win for us both.
Let’s get started. But first, just in case you’ve never heard of BetterHelp, here is what it is and why it might be of interest to you:
What Is BetterHelp?
- BetterHelp is an online counseling platform connecting clients with licensed therapists, offering flexibility, convenience, and a broad range of services.
- Therapists on the platform have autonomy in choosing their focus and clients, with the potential to build a large caseload quickly.
- BetterHelp offers incentives for new therapists, including sign-on bonuses and access to free professional development courses.
- Some challenges include a disappointing starting hourly rate, lack of support for progress notes, and reliance on email for customer service.
- Despite its challenges, working for BetterHelp can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for therapists willing to put in the effort.
BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that aims to make mental health services more available to those in need, no matter where they are. They connect clients with experienced, licensed therapists in a way that feels comfortable and convenient for both parties.
The platform offers various services like individual therapy, group therapy, marriage/couples counseling, Christian counseling, and LGBTQ counseling, and caters to a broad range of needs and preferences.
The cool thing about BetterHelp is that clients can choose how they want to interact with their therapist—whether it’s through text, video, or phone calls. This flexibility allows people to engage in therapy in a way that suits their lifestyle and comfort level.
I have been a fan of BetterHelp for several years. Because I am a blogger, I received a free trial for BetterHelp and experienced its benefits firsthand. I am convinced of its value not only for clients but also for therapists.
For therapists, BetterHelp is an opportunity to expand their reach and help more people while enjoying the freedom of working from anywhere with an internet connection.
How To Join BetterHelp as a Therapist
If you’re thinking about working for BetterHelp, the process is pretty simple and starts with making sure you meet their requirements. You need to be a licensed mental health professional, like a psychologist, counselor, or clinical social worker, and have a current license to practice in your state.
To kick things off, go to BetterHelp’s therapist sign-up page and fill out the application form. You’ll need to share your contact info, licensure details, and your education and experience. They’ll also ask you to complete a quick self-assessment about your background, how you approach therapy, and your areas of expertise.
After you submit your application, BetterHelp will take a look at your info. If you meet their criteria, they’ll invite you for an interview. This usually includes a video call where they’ll assess your clinical skills and how comfortable you are with technology and online therapy.
Once you get the green light, you’ll need to complete a few more onboarding tasks like a background check and providing proof of malpractice insurance. Once you’ve crossed those off your list, you can set up your profile, list your areas of expertise, and start accepting clients.
And here’s a little extra perk: depending on your state, you might be eligible for a sign-on bonus when you join BetterHelp. That’s a pretty sweet deal for mental health professionals interested in diving into the world of online therapy.
5 Things I Love About Being A Therapist At BetterHelp
As of this writing, I’ve been with BetterHelp for almost nine months. That’s plenty of time to poke around the platform and to get a sense of what works and what does not. While BetterHelp is not perfect (and what is?), here are 5 positives that really stand out to me:
1. My Clients Are Engaged And Committed
When I joined BetterHelp, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the clients. But let me tell you, they’ve been a pleasant surprise. They’re just as committed, punctual, and responsive as clients I’ve seen in person. As you know, engaged clients make therapy more productive and enjoyable for both parties.
Honestly, I had my doubts. I thought that maybe the online aspect would make people less serious about therapy. I was wrong. My clients on BetterHelp have shown real dedication to their mental health journey and are fully engaged in the therapeutic process.
What’s more, I’ve had the chance to work with a diverse group of people from across an entire state. This has opened my eyes to different perspectives and experiences, helping me grow as a therapist and stay passionate about my work.
2. BetterHelp’s Platform Has Won Me Over
Initially, I was skeptical about conducting therapy through BetterHelp’s phone, video, and chat sessions, but they’ve been surprisingly problem-free, useful, and convenient. Sessions last either 30 or 45 minutes, which allows me to get creative with scheduling and actually see more people throughout the day.
I also love the worksheet feature. BetterHelp partnered with a website called TherapistAid, which produces psychoeducational materials. BetterHelp has these materials embedded in their platform, so you can send clients homework or review educational materials with them in real time.
There’s a “Therapy Goals” worksheet I use with all my clients that I find particularly helpful. It encourages clients to identify the specific reasons they are coming to therapy, what their goals are, and what life will look like for them once they have achieved them.
3. Freedom to choose my focus and clients
A major perk of working for BetterHelp is the ability to specify the types of issues I want to treat and the treatment methods I prefer. This flexibility allows me to focus on areas I’m passionate about and feel most competent in. It also allows me to say no to clients with whom I’d either be operating out of scope or perhaps just not a good match.
I have worked at a ton of different mental health agencies over the years, and BetterHelp has offered me way more autonomy and control than any of them ever offered me. I have to say, this is a big deal for me. I’ll bet it’s a big deal for you, too.
4. Bonuses for new therapists
When I joined BetterHelp, I got a $500 sign-on bonus after seeing my first client, and there was another $500 bonus for working my first 40 hours. That was nice. In my entire professional career, I don’t recall getting a sign on bonus anywhere, ever. Or a bonus for anything, for that matter. Bonuses aren’t exactly standard in this field.
But they are with BetterHelp. At least for now. I think the bonus varies a bit from state to state, but it should be somewhere between 350-500. And yes, you get it. You don’t have to stick around for a year or whatever before they send it to you. I got both of mine in my first month.
Also, if you work 120 hours a month, you also get an extra $650 for healthcare, though you can use it for whatever you want.
Additionally, BetterHelp gives you access to free professional development courses you can use to maintain your license. The company they use is called Relias, and there are text-based and video-based CEU’s on a variety of useful topics.
5. My Caseload Blew Up In Record Time
I was concerned it might take a while to build my client base. To my surprise, I had over 50 clients within just two weeks. Now I work as much or as little as I want. That number has stayed pretty consistent, too. Once you get to a number that works for you, all you have to do is switch off your availability and BetterHelp will stop sending you referrals. If the time comes when you want to boost your numbers, you just switch it back on again.
One of my takeaways from this experience is realizing just how huge the demand is for quality, affordable, accessible therapy. BetterHelp has quite the reach, too. I’m able to help clients from all over my state. I wouldn’t be able to do that in a traditional private practice.
3 Areas Where BetterHelp Can Improve
As much as I have enjoyed working for BetterHelp, it’s not perfect. Here are 3 areas where they can do better.
1. The starting hourly rate is underwhelming
I’ll be honest, the starting hourly rate is disappointing. You begin at $30 per hour for the first five hours, then it increases to $35 for the next five hours, and $40 for the following five hours, and so on. If you’re only planning to work 5-10 hours per week, it’s not the most lucrative option.
Basically, if you want to make $1000 a week, that’s 25 billable hours. For 30 hours, it’s $1250. You can decide whether that works for you.
2. A lack of support for progress notes
Another thing I’ve struggled with at BetterHelp is their lack of progress notes. It’s nice not to be bogged down by paperwork, but it can be tricky to keep track of important information and remember session details without a structured system for documentation. This can impact the continuity of the therapeutic process.
To tackle this challenge, I’ve had to come up with my own way of documenting sessions while sticking to BetterHelp’s guidelines and policies. This means setting aside time after each session to write down key points and keeping a secure, confidential file for each client.
Update November 2023: BetterHelp has actually been working on this issue, and seems to have made significant progress. I still think they have a ways to go, but this is far less of a problem than it used to be.
Score one for BetterHelp!
3. No phone support means relying on email and waiting for responses
One of the more frustrating aspects of working for BetterHelp is the lack of phone support for customer service. Instead, you have to rely on email, which can be a hassle, especially when you need immediate help.
As a therapist, there are times when you need quick answers or assistance, such as when you encounter technical issues, or have concerns about a client’s well-being. In those moments, having to send an email and wait 24-48 hours for a response can feel incredibly inconvenient and even anxiety-inducing.
Is working for BetterHelp Right for You?
If you’re a mental health professional considering online therapy jobs, BetterHelp might be an option worth exploring. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons to see if it aligns with your career aspirations and personal values.
If you’re aiming to supplement your income, hone new skills, or broaden your client base, BetterHelp could be a fantastic fit. On the other hand, if your main goal is to work limited hours while maximizing your income, you might want to look into other opportunities.
Ultimately, BetterHelp presents a chance for mental health professionals to offer valuable services to a diverse range of clients while enjoying the flexibility and support the platform provides. Although there are some drawbacks, the experience is fulfilling for me and rewarding for any therapists who are willing to invest the necessary hours and effort.
BetterHelp has really changed how mental health services work, making therapy more accessible and convenient for those in need, while offering therapists like us unique opportunities for personal growth and flexibility. It’s true that working on the platform comes with some drawbacks, but my experience on the platform has been largely positive.
As mental health professionals, our role in helping others navigate life’s challenges and overcome obstacles is vital. By embracing platforms like BetterHelp, we’re able to reach even more people who might not otherwise have access to quality mental health care.
If you’re considering working for BetterHelp, there’s a $350-$500 sign-up bonus, which adds to the appeal for mental health professionals curious about online therapy. With the right mindset, dedication, and persistence, you can make a real difference in your clients’ lives, all while enjoying the flexibility and support that BetterHelp offers.
FAQ About working For BetterHelp
What qualifications do I need to have in order to work for BetterHelp?
BetterHelp requires that its therapists have a master’s or doctoral degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field, as well as a full, unrestricted license to practice therapy in their state.
How much can I expect to earn as a therapist working for BetterHelp?
The exact amount you can earn working for BetterHelp depends on the number of hours you work each week, and the types of services you offer on the platform. According to BetterHelp’s website, therapists typically earn between $30 and $60 per hour of therapy provided.
What kind of clients can I expect as a therapist working for BetterHelp?
BetterHelp serves a diverse range of clients, including those dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and more. As a therapist, you can expect to work with clients from all walks of life and backgrounds, and to provide therapy via video, phone, and messaging.
How does BetterHelp ensure the safety and confidentiality of its clients’ information?
BetterHelp takes the privacy and security of its clients’ information very seriously. The platform uses industry-standard encryption and security measures to protect clients’ data, and all therapists are required to abide by strict confidentiality and privacy guidelines.