Learn Whether Betterhelp Is Right for You
Are you looking for a Betterhelp review? 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 available at E-counseling.com to identify common themes as far as benefits, drawbacks, things to watch out for, and who this service might be best suited for.
I will write all of this with the caveat that I have not used this service myself. The reason for this is that I live in Canada, and I can access free mental health services in my community.
However, based on what I found from my research, if I were looking to use an online therapy service, it appears 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 indicates that it 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 report back to you, I will share that I did go through the signup process with Betterhelp to get a sense of how it works. I may in the future even give the 7-day free trial and chance so that I can share my experience. For now, I can share the details that I’ve learned about how the service works.
To get started, you fill out a questionnaire that helps them match you to an appropriate therapist. 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. It’s important to note the monthly charge part, because many people complained that they expected a weekly charge. So in essence, you will pay $260 USD per month.
You can also apply for financial aid if your income is low. It seems as though most people are granted aid of around a 10% reduction, but that for some this reduction only lasts one month. So, this may be more hassle than it’s worth.
Once you get started, you will chat with your therapist in a secure chat room. You may be given worksheets to complete, and your therapist should ask you introspective questions to help you find solutions to your issues. He or she should also hold you accountable for doing the work needed to improve your mental health.
I’ve listed below all of the benefits that I cam across as I read through reviews. Overall, many people said that they benefited greatly from therapy through Betterhelp and that it made a positive difference in their mental health.
- Can be anonymous/don’t need to use your real name
- If you have privacy concerns, you can stick to text-based therapy and don’t need to use the phone or video chat
- More time between replies gives you time to carefully think about your responses; 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
- Ability to message therapist throughout the week (not usually part of in-person therapy)
- Ability to message 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
- Easy to change therapists if you find the first one not suitable (Note: 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).
- $260 per month instead of $250 per session for in-person visits
- Therapists may be available at non-standard times for sessions
- Receive therapy from the comfort of your home
- Save time not making trips to see a therapist
Yes, there were also drawbacks that people noted and I will share in my Betterhelp review. I’ve listed these for you below as far as the ones that came up the most.
- 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)
- The wait for replies from your thrapist can be troublesome (as I noted above, it’s not reasonable to expect your therapist to be on-call at all times. However, it seemed to me that some therapists were available more than others from what I read. So… if yours is not getting back to you in a time that you find reasonable, 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)
- You may feel that you are in therapy mode all the time
- If you are prone to not staying on top of your subscriptions, canceling the service when you are done could be problematic
- Short replies form your therapist may leave you feeling unsupported (if this happens, try to get a phone call/video chat session before you quit)
- It may feel like you are being rushed (again, perhaps try switching therapists or asking for video sessions)
- Monthly billing that is not immediately apparent (just be aware!)
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 Betterhelp review of the situations in which I think Betterhelp could really work:
- You are relying on friends to support your mental health and don’t think you will ever go see an in-person therapist
- Someone you know needs therapy but won’t go, and so you offer to pay for Betterhelp for them to get them to try it (I’m thinking of a family member, or an employee)
- You are looking for couples therapy but have schedules that are difficult to coordinate (yes, they do couples therapy!)
- You have the means to pay for the service but not enough to pay for in-person therapy
- You are very busy with a schedule that doesn’t allow for in-person therapy
- You live in a remote area where it is hard to find traditional therapy
- You are a student and will receive financial aid from Betterhelp because of your very low income (but you can still afford it)
- You are looking mostly to cope with stress (this came up multiple times)
- Your company will pay for the service for you
- You are living temporarily in a foreign country
- You have been avoiding therapy or putting it off
- You are a working mom with little time
- 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
- You are trying to cope with grief over a divorce or death
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 (don’t use your grocery money to pay for online therapy)
- 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, based on what I heard from others who have used the service.
- Make sure to put in the effort if you use the service
- Use the 7-day free trial to see for yourself if you like it (be sure to cancel before the end of the 7 days so you are not charged, if you don’t want to continue)
- Be sure to cancel your subscription once you are finished
- 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 as many times as you need to (one person had switched four times)
- Create a schedule for sessions and stick to it
- Read the full terms of service so there are no surprises
To summarize, if you are thinking about using Betterhelp, I suggest you understand how the service works and how you will be billed, think about the benefits and drawbacks and 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!