Learn Whether Online Therapy Is Right for You
Are you looking for online therapy or a Betterhelp review? If so, look no further. In this post, I hope to give you enough information about the online therapy service Betterhelp to make an informed decision. I know it can be confusing when you see services such as this advertised to know whether it is right for you.
What I’ve done is sifted through the hundreds of reviews to identify common themes as far as benefits, things to watch out for, and who this service might be best suited for.
I also took advantage of their one-week free trial, so I can report back to you based on my own personal experience! I had a specific issue that I was trying to solve and had a very helpful chat session with a therapist for one hour.
Overall, I think that Betterhelp has a good track record—for the right type of client who has the right expectations. Let’s dive in!
First, a Betterhelp review wouldn’t be complete without considering their background and what they offer. The company was founded in 2013 and has 4000 licensed professionals (master or doctorate level; psychologists, family therapists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors) and more than 1 million users. Each professional must have 3 years and 2000 hours of experience to become a service provider for Betterhelp.
How it Works
To get started with Betterhelp, you fill out a questionnaire that helps them match you to an appropriate therapist. I actually switched twice before settling on a therapist I thought fit my needs—so you can do that too!
All plans include unlimited text-based chat, as well as weekly scheduled phone or video sessions if you so choose.
Note that although the chat is unlimited, this does not mean that your therapist is available at all hours of the day to respond. Nor should they be!
At the time of writing this review, the cost for the service is $65 per week billed monthly. You can also apply for financial aid if your income is low.
Once you get started, you chat with your therapist in a secure chat room. I found this part of the process easy and intuitive without any issues. My therapist intially wanted to talk on the phone or do a Skype chat, but I preferred text chat and she was fine with that.
I’ve listed below all of the potential benefits of Betterhelp based on reviews I’ve read and my own experience.
- You can be anonymous/you don’t need to use your real name
- If you have privacy concerns, you can stick to chat-based therapy and don’t need to use the phone or video chat
- With text messaging, there is no pressure to reply right away
- You can go back and re-read chat sessions for things you may have missed or can’t remember
- You can message your therapist throughout the week
- You can message your therapist after an anxiety attack rather than waiting until your weekly appointment
- If your online therapist happens to be in your state (province, etc.) you might be able to meet in person
Ease of Use
- It’s easy to change therapists if you find the first one not suitable. In trying out the service, I did go through the process of changing therapists and it was incredibly easy. Not only that, but I was able to read bios of multiple therapists and choose the one I wanted.
- It costs a fraction of what in-person therapy would cost.
- Your therapists may be available at non-standard times for sessions (like 5 am if that works better for you!)
- You can receive therapy from the comfort of your home
- You can save time not making trips to see a therapist
Below I list some things to be aware of before you use the service.
- You will be turned down for therapy if you report having suicidal thoughts (I find this reasonable, as an online therapist may not be equipped to help a person in this situation. However, I have empathy for those who have been turned down for this reason)
- Some therapists might be more available more than others. If yours is not getting back to you quickly enough, maybe think about switching therapists. (And, if you are in crisis, don’t text your therapist—call a crisis line)
- It may take some time to find a therapist who is the right fit for you (however, this is also true of in-person therapy, for which the cost is higher and it is harder to switch)
- If you feel that you are in therapy mode all the time, try not to overuse the text option.
- If you feel unsupported with text/chat alone, try to get a phone call/video chat session so you can connect better.
Who It’s Best For
It became clear to me as I read through the reviews that there were some types of people for whom this service would be really well suited to. I’ve tried to compile a list for this review of the situations in which I think Betterhelp could really work:
- You are relying on friends to support your mental health
- You don’t think you will ever go see an in-person therapist
- Someone you know needs therapy but won’t go (make it easy and sign up for them!)
- You can’t afford in-person therapy
- Your schedule doesn’t allow for in-person therapy
- You live in a remote area where it is hard to find traditional therapy
- Your company will pay for the service for you
- You are living temporarily in a foreign country
- You feel too socially anxious to talk to a therapist in-person (you can gradually move from chat, to phone, to video)
- You find it difficult to leave your home
- Your issues are mild to moderate
- You express yourself better in written form
- You travel a lot and in-person therapy is difficult to fit into your schedule
Who It’s Not Suited For
Below are a few reasons I identified that Betterhelp may not suit you. I wouldn’t want you to use this service if it’s not right for you, so I thought it was important to include this in my Betterhelp review.
- You can’t afford it
- You have a severe mental health issue
- You find it hard to communicate unless it is in person
Tips to Make it Work for You
Finally, I’ve compiled some tips to help make Betterhelp work the best for you!
- Make sure to put in the effort if you use the service
- Schedule a phone or video session once a week and then supplement that with chat therapy through the week
- If you aren’t happy with your therapist, switch until you are
- Create a schedule for sessions and stick to it
And if you want to hear from someone who has used the service, I suggest this video from Faith Mariah at Radical Transformation Project! She uses the service herself for full-time therapy and has lots of good feedback.
That’s it! If you are thinking about using Betterhelp, I suggest you understand how the service works, think about what you want to gain, and make a plan for success if you do forge ahead. Let me know in the comments if you’ve used this service!