BetterHelp Online Counseling Review
One of the common questions that we hear from our readers is …
“How do I get professional counseling for my mental health issue?”
By Patrick Alban, DC. Last updated September 8, 2023.
At Be Brain Fit, we understand that a brain-healthy lifestyle isn’t always enough to keep you mentally healthy.
Sometimes, for instance, professional mental health counseling is needed.
One in four people experience a mental disorder in their lifetime, but most never seek professional help.
That’s unfortunate because quality therapy can make a big difference at these crucial times.
And online counseling works at least as well as office-based counseling.
Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of professional online counseling.
Since the Covid pandemic, more people than ever are taking advantage of professional counseling, especially online counseling.
[Note: As a BetterHelp affiliate, we earn revenue from BetterHelp when you buy through our product links, at no extra cost to you.]
The Case for Online Counseling
Below, I discuss the features and benefits that make online counseling an excellent alternative to traditional, office-based counseling for mental health issues.
But first and foremost, know that the quality of online counselors is just as good as in-office counselors.
A study conducted by the University of California found BetterHelp to be just as effective as traditional, in-office counseling.
Ninety-eight percent (98%) of BetterHelp clients reported making significant progress with their counseling, while 94% said they actually preferred BetterHelp to meeting with a therapist face-to-face.
How Online Counseling Compares to In-Office Counseling
The biggest obstacles that keep people from seeking traditional, in-office counseling are:
- Cost — The average therapy session costs between $100 and $200 per 45-minute session, depending on where you live. Health insurance plans generally provide minimal coverage for mental health issues. Also, insurance companies often deny or limit claims payments for unforeseen reasons.
- Access — Even with mental health insurance, provider networks are generally quite limited. This means that it can be harder to find a suitable counselor, or any provider.
- Inconvenience — Work, family, and other commitments make it hard to squeeze in-office therapy sessions into a busy day.
- Stigma — Many people who would otherwise seek mental health counseling are either ashamed or embarrassed, or think it unwise to pursue it because office-based counseling makes it hard to be discreet.
With BetterHelp, these issues are not a concern.
Online Counseling Is Much More Affordable
BetterHelp is significantly less expensive than typical in-office therapy.
Traditional therapy can cost $100-200 per session.
Health insurance generally provides minimal coverage for mental health issues.
In fact, the total cost of BetterHelp counseling is typically comparable to the co-payment of most insurance plans.
The fee for BetterHelp counseling ranges from $60 to $90 per week, depending on which plan you choose, and you may message your therapist anytime.
Finding the Right Counselor Is Easier
With traditional counseling, you may find it hard to locate the right therapist, or any therapist, in your area.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of counties in the US have a severe shortage of mental health care workers.
If you have mental health insurance, you’ll likely be confined to therapists in your insurance company’s provider network.
They may not accept new patients, may be booked for weeks in advance, or may not be experienced in dealing with your particular issue.
Finding the Right Match
But regardless of how you locate a therapist, there is no guarantee of finding a good match.
BetterHelp’s intake questionnaire matches you with a therapist who has the qualifications and expertise you prefer in a counselor, in as little as 48 hours.
Additionally, you can state your preference regarding your therapist’s gender, age, language, sexual orientation, area of expertise, and more.
And, if for any reason you are not satisfied with your counselor, BetterHelp makes it easy for you to switch to a new one.
There’s no uncomfortable break-up with your current counselor.
Convenience Is a Major Advantage for Online vs In-Office Counseling
Online counseling allows you to “meet with” your counselor at times that suit your schedule.
Additionally, you can be in contact with your therapist from the comfort of your home or any other location you choose.
Once you are matched to a counselor, you and your counselor will gain access to a dedicated virtual “counseling room” — your personal and discreet place to communicate.
BetterHelp offers more communication options than any other online counseling service.
With BetterHelp, as long as you have a computer or mobile device, you can use it to message, chat, phone, or video with your counselor, any time and anywhere you need.
And since there is a record of all your communications, you can review all of your counseling contacts at your leisure.
Privacy, Discretion, and Security Are Paramount
Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health care is still very real.
Fear of being judged by employers, colleagues, or family may make you leery about getting help.
Know that BetterHelp takes your privacy and confidentiality seriously.
Your therapist is bound by therapist confidentiality rules.
In addition, all messages between you and your therapist are encrypted and BetterHelp’s databases are encrypted and scrambled.
What Kind of Expertise Do BetterHelp Therapists Have?
BetterHelp has the world’s largest network of licensed, accredited, and experienced counselors.
The qualifications of their professionals are the same as those who offer traditional, in-person counseling.
The counselors at BetterHelp include these fully credentialed professionals:
- psychologists (PhD/PsyD)
- marriage and family therapists (LMFT)
- clinical social workers (LCSW/LMSW)
- licensed professional counselors (LPC)
They must have a master’s or doctorate degree, be certified by their state’s professional board, have at least three years of hands-on experience, and must reside in the United States.
BetterHelp does a rigorous background check on each therapist; only about 25% of those who apply are accepted.
Their counselor directory contains over 33,000 licensed therapists who have collectively helped over 4 million clients.
The majority of BetterHelp’s users are based in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom, but their services are available internationally.
While the BetterHelp platform is delivered in English, the therapist network provides services in over 44 different languages (including sign language) in over 168 countries.
On BetterHelp’s website, you can consult their “Find a Therapist” section to see a complete biography of any counselor.
What Issues Can BetterHelp Address?
According to BetterHelp, they have qualified and experienced therapists to help individuals, couples, families, and teens with many issues, including:
- Anger management
- Attention disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Career difficulties
- Eating disorders
- Family conflicts
- Grief and loss
- Life transitions
- Religion and faith
- Sex and intimacy
- Self-esteem and coping
- Sleep disorders
- Trauma and abuse
- Veterans issues
NOTE: Any online therapy, including BetterHelp, is not the right solution for you if any of the following is true:
- You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
- You are a minor or you are under the care of a legal guardian.
- You are in an urgent crisis or an emergency situation.
- You have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, or you have been advised to be under psychological supervision or psychiatric care.
- You were required to undergo therapy or counseling either by a court order or by any other authority.
- You do not have a device that can connect to the internet or you do not have a reliable internet connection.
Getting Started with BetterHelp
Tap any of the “Try BETTERHELP” link buttons on this page to go to their website.
- There, you’ll first tell them the type of counseling you’re looking for — individual, couples, or teen.
- Next, you’ll take an online questionnaire in which you’ll answer questions about yourself, including the symptoms you’re experiencing, the issues you’d like to address, and your preferences for the qualities you want in your therapist. It’s important for BetterHelp to know all this in order to pair you with a compatible and helpful counselor.
- Then, BetterHelp’s proprietary algorithm will match you with a counselor appropriate for you and your situation, in as little as 48 hours.
- Once you’re paired with your therapist, you and your therapist will get a therapy room which will be your personal and discreet place to communicate.
- If, for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with your therapist, you can easily request a change.
- You can use BetterHelp for as short or long a time as you’d like.
- Once you accomplish your goals, or decide to discontinue for any other reason, you can cancel your subscription at any time.
Sometimes, you need professional mental health counseling to help rebalance your life, relationships, or work.
Counseling, aka psychotherapy or talk therapy, has been shown to be very helpful for a wide range of behavioral and emotional issues.
BetterHelp is the largest online counseling service, with 33,000+ licensed, accredited, and experienced counselors.
Once you sign up, you will be matched with one of these therapists based on your needs, preferences, and location.
With BetterHelp, you get the same professionalism and effectiveness you would expect from a traditional, office-based counselor.
It’s professional and private like in-office counseling, but more affordable and convenient.
BetterHelp is quality mental health counseling, but on your terms.
Patrick Alban, DC