Maybe you’re one of more than 46 million U.S. adults with a mental illness. Or, perhaps you just need to talk some things out, get some advice, and a safe, comfortable place to be heard.
Unfortunately, finding and affording quality counseling that is right for you can be a huge challenge. Schedule challenges, money challenges, and even just finding a quality counselor you connect with all stand in the way of getting the hep you need.
BetterHelp is the biggest online therapy app, and makes getting counseling from a licensed therapist as easy as sending a chat message or email, or engaging in a video or phone call. Prices start at $40/week for unlimited sessions, after a free one-week online therapy trial. Click here to find an online therapist now.
Quick summary of BetterHelp:
- A+ Better Business Bureau rating
- 7-day free trial — no coupon or discount code needed
- You choose from more than 6,000 licensed and certified counselors (other sites match you with a therapist)
- All BetterHelp therapists have a Master's or Doctorate degree.
- BetterHelp pricing starts at $40/week for unlimited sessions
- You choose how to communicate: Chat, email, phone, video, text
But how do you know if BetterHelp has the right online therapist for you?
If you’re looking for a detailed run-through, this article goes over how BetterHelp online therapy works, the types of therapy involved, and how to get started.
- What is BetterHelp?
- Is BetterHelp legit?
- How does BetterHelp work?
- Does BetterHelp have an app for therapy?
- Can BetterHelp therapists prescribe medication?
- Does BetterHelp cost money?
- Is BetterHelp covered by insurance?
- Is BetterHelp worth it?
- BetterHelp reviews
- BetterHelp vs. Talkspace: Which is better?
- How to schedule a therapy appointment with BetterHelp
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is the largest provider of online therapy. They offer counseling services for individuals, couples, and teens working through depression, anxiety, grief, narcissistic personality disorder, stress, addiction, and more. With private communications through chat, phone, and video sessions, BetterHelp simplifies mental health treatment.
Is BetterHelp legit?
An independent study in 2017 by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute at the University of California, Berkely, confirmed several benefits of BetterHelp’s online counseling service. The report states that people receiving therapy with BetterHelp saw improvement similar to in-person treatment, and that symptoms of depression were reduced overall.
Access to a licensed and accredited therapist anytime day or night might sound too good to be true. But this study and the positive online therapy reviews show BetterHelp is a legit company that can help almost anyone work through their problems.
Plus: the Better Business Bureau, or BBB, gives BetterHelp an A rating.
How does BetterHelp work?
BetterHelp works by using technology to facilitate open communication between you and your therapist. To talk with your counselor, you can send text messages throughout the day or schedule a time for a live chat, phone call, or video session.
The signup is painless and begins with a short questionnaire you complete on the BetterHelp website to better understand why you are seeking therapy, and what your preferences are in terms of schedule, gender and race of therapist and other factors.
Getting paired with a therapist takes about 24 hours. However, you can exchange messages right away after that.
Does BetterHelp have an app for therapy?
BetterHelp can be used through their secure website, or secure app, available through iTunes or Google Play. Both the mobile app and website allow you to choose a therapist, have a live video session, or use the secure text messaging feature.
What do you do in therapy with BetterHelp?
The process of starting therapy with BetterHelp starts with you selecting a counselor. All of BetterHelp's counselors:
- Have a Master's or Doctorate degree
- Are either accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC).
- Are qualified and certified by their state's professional board
- Have at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience
You will be matched with a therapist based on your preference for gender, race and age, specialty and experience, such as LBGTQ and gay issues, depression, mental health issues, aging and menopause, sexuality, grief, addiction, relationship issues, abuse, parenting challenges, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, dating, self-esteem, trauma, communication style, and more.
Some BetterHelp therapists specialize in different types of therapy:
- Person-centered therapy, also called client-centered, or person-centered therapy, requires the client to take an active role in his or her treatment with the therapist being and supportive — and not providing direction or instructions.
- Gestalt therapy is considered a type of client-centered therapy, one that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives, rather than what they perceive to be happening based on their past experiences.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-focused approach that takes a hands-on, practical problem-solving method. CBT's goal is to change patterns of thought and behavior — and therefore change how the client feels.
- Psychodynamic therapy is similar to CBD, but it also includes recognizing the power of unconscious thought in driving thoughts, behavior and feelings.
- Humanistic therapy requires the counselor to provide unrestricted acceptance, freeing the client to openly express their feelings and thoughts. Humanistic therapy often overlaps with client-centered therapy.
- Interpersonal therapy focuses on improving interpersonal behavior and communication to help the patient understand how she contributes to her struggles, and by improving her relationships with others and herself, will receive the support and acceptance that will improve mood and wellbeing.
- Schema-focused therapy seeks to create a new, healthier framework for your thinking, perception of recent events and view of relationships and the world. Schema-focused therapy is typically used for more severe mental health issues.
Once you choose a therapist, you can start communicating by text, and, if you prefer, schedule a phone or video session.
Like most counseling sessions, a first session with a BetterHelp therapist will include the professional getting to know you, understand the challenges that led you to seek therapy, your goals for therapy and possibly your childhood and other background information.
Can BetterHelp therapists diagnose?
BetterHelp therapists can diagnose many conditions including depression, anxiety, trauma disorders, bi-polar, narcissistic and borderline personality disorders.
Can BetterHelp therapists prescribe medication?
The selection of therapists you can work with are licensed and certified by their state’s board, which means they undergo the same rigorous standards of any other mental health professional.
But like most online therapy companies, as well as therapists who are no medical doctors, BetterHelp does not prescribe medication, which is typically provided by a medical doctor, or psychiatrist.
Does BetterHelp have same-day psychiatry appointments?
BetterHelp therapists are not medical doctors and otherwise do not offer psychiatric care or prescription writing services. Seek the care of a local psychiatrist, or, if you are in crisis, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
Does BetterHelp cost money?
Online therapy with BetterHelp costs between $40 and $70 per week, after your free, one-week trial. Keep in mind you’ll pay by the month instead of making weekly payments. The service doesn’t appear to have different plans or tiers to choose from, but reports from users show that $65 per week is the average you’ll pay.
Traditional, in-person, face-to-face therapy costs $60 to $200 or more per hour.
If you can’t afford to pay for BetterHelp, financial aid is available. Answering a few questions about employment status, income, and how many dependents you have could save you 25% or more off the regular price — no discount code required.
Is BetterHelp covered by insurance?
Some insurance plans will cover online therapy, although BetterHelp’s website states their services aren’t typically covered. Since healthcare plans all have different covered benefits, you should check with your insurance company to find out for sure.
Even if you have health care coverage, paying out-of-pocket might be less expensive. Because of the low costs, working with a therapist at BetterHelp may cost a lot less than traditional therapy.
Is BetterHelp worth it?
The question is not whether BetterHelp or other online therapy sites are “worth it” — but rather whether counseling and mental health services overall are worth it.
As troves of research has found, the answer is: yes.
A recent study published in Translational Psychiatry found that not only does cognitive behavioral therapy change a client's life, it changes their brain. A Forbes journalist summarized it like this:
The study in Translational Psychiatry, which suggests that people who have cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) have measurable changes in the way certain regions of the brain are connected. Given what we already know, this isn’t so surprising in and of itself, but the results are noteworthy because the participants had more serious mental health issues than are usually the subject of CBT studies. This is the latest in a growing body of evidence suggesting that talk therapy not only has significant and lasting effects on mental health, but that these changes can actually be measured in the brain.
First, it’s important to understand that any effort to increase your happiness and quality of life is a worthwhile investment.
With the help of cognitive behavior therapy, your counselor can help you retrain your emotional responses to people, situations, and events. This method can deliver the quickest results, and you may even notice a difference right away.
The value of online therapy sites like BetterHelp is that it is very convenient, affordable, anonymous, secure and takes away all the challenges that can stand between a person and the counseling they need.
BetterHelp vs. Talkspace: Which is better?
Not all online therapy platforms are equal. While most use cognitive behavior therapy online as the primary method of treatment, the intake process, services, and pricing options can vary.
Talkspace and BetterHelp are among top online therapy sites.
|Online therapy service||Cost||Insurance?||BBB rating||Features|
|HealthSapiens||$120/mo. unlimited sessions for Wealthysinglemommy readers (usually $197/mo.)||Maybe||A-||Unlimited, 24/7 immediate access to a therapist. Not for ongoing counseling.|
|BetterHelp||$40-70/week for unlimited sessions, plus 7-day FREE trial||Maybe||A+||You choose from thousands of licensed therapists, connect via phone, chat, email or video at your convenience. You can choose to be anonymous|
|Online-Therapy.com||$47.96 (with 20% discount) for weekly sessions and online tools||No||Not rated||Program includes worksheets, video tools — plus weekly therapy for higher price. Therapist is assigned — not chosen by you.|
When considering BetterHelp vs. Talkspace, the cost is about the same. Both services start $40 to $49 per week, with BetterHelp providing a free, one-week trial.
Talkspace offers unlimited text messaging as well, although the number of responses from your therapist depends on which plan you purchase. If you want to add video or phone sessions, you may pay more for those features.
With BetterHelp’s program, there are no additional costs to communicate via live chat, phone, or video. The weekly price allows you to message your therapist any way you’d like.
The option to choose among different pricing structures can make online therapy more affordable for some, but you should make sure you’re making an apples to apples comparison between the two programs.
How to get started with BetterHelp
With the goal of leading you to find happiness and live a better life, BetterHelp makes mental healthcare more accessible than traditional face-to-face sessions. They’ll also match you with a professional therapist for private online counseling no matter where you’re at.
How to schedule a therapy appointment with BetterHelp
Getting started is easy, and the price seems reasonable considering you can message your therapist 24/7. Plus, you can schedule video sessions, phone calls, and live chats around your own schedule.
Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker,” her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.