Can You Get A Diagnosis on BetterHelp?

Written By

Dr. Azhar Qureshi

Updated:

Fact Checked

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This article analyzes what types of diagnoses you can and can’t get through BetterHelp.

Online therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to services like BetterHelp that provide convenient access to licensed counselors. However, many wonder if these virtual therapy platforms can actually provide official diagnoses.

What is BetterHelp?

BetterHelp, launched in 2013, is an online therapy service connecting clients to professional mental health counselors.

  • Users fill out a questionnaire about their needs and preferences, and BetterHelp’s algorithm matches them with one of the platform’s 35,000+ licensed therapists.
  • Sessions take place via phone, video chat, or text-based messaging.
  • Depending on desired features, the service costs between $65-$100 per week.

BetterHelp.com also offers financial assistance and scholarships to make therapy affordable.

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Can You Receive An Official Diagnosis?

BetterHelp counselors can provide their clinical opinion on whether a user exhibits symptoms of a particular mental health condition. However, they cannot give an official diagnosis.

There are two reasons BetterHelp does not offer diagnoses:

  1. No in-person evaluation: Most licensing boards require in-person assessments to diagnose disorders officially. BetterHelp only facilitates virtual sessions.
  1. Specialization restrictions: Many therapists on BetterHelp list specializations but don’t have licenses permitting diagnosis for certain conditions.

So, while your BetterHelp counselor can discuss their perspective on your symptoms, only doctors and specialists can formally diagnose conditions after an in-office evaluation.

DisorderBetterHelp Diagnosis?Formal Evaluation Needed?
DepressionCounselor opinion on symptomsYes
PTSDCounselor opinion on symptomsYes
ADHDNoYes, psychiatrist
AutismNoYes, specialist
Table showing BetterHelp’s diagnosis capabilities by condition

Guidance You Can Get from BetterHelp

a computer screen with counselor

Though unable to provide diagnoses, BetterHelp therapists offer other forms of clinical guidance:

1. Symptom evaluation

Counselors can hear your symptoms and, drawing on their experience, evaluate whether they may indicate specific conditions like anxiety, OCD, etc. They can discuss how your reported behaviors and feelings align or differ from diagnostic criteria.

2. Treatment recommendations

Without an outright diagnosis, your provider may still suggest therapeutic techniques, lifestyle changes, or referral to other specialists that could help manage your symptoms.

3. Outside diagnosis support

If you plan to seek a diagnosis elsewhere, BetterHelp allows you to discuss those results with your counselor and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Seeking An Official Diagnosis

If hoping to get an actual diagnosis, consider these options:

  • Doctor: For common conditions like depression or anxiety, set up an appointment with your primary care physician or a psychiatrist who can formally assess symptoms and diagnose appropriately.
  • Specialists: For autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, etc. visit licensed specialists like neuropsychologists who can conduct intensive evaluations and provide official diagnoses when applicable.
  • In-person therapy: Traditional in-office therapy practices also allow clinicians to make formal diagnoses after working with clients over multiple sessions.

Though convenient, BetterHelp’s exclusively virtual format prevents official diagnostic confirmation. Still, counselors can provide guidance to help you treat symptoms that may arise from your condition while you pursue a formal diagnosis via other avenues. It’s important to consider any potential cost advantages.

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Mental illness causes, diagnosis, and treatment

Bottom Line

While BetterHelp therapists cannot formally diagnose mental health disorders due to restrictions from licensing boards and the company’s remote service model, counselors can still provide treatment recommendations based on your reported symptoms. 

Those seeking an official diagnosis will need to connect with medical professionals for in-person assessments. However, you can utilize BetterHelp’s virtual sessions for expert guidance on finding relief from your symptoms in the interim or as part of treatment post-diagnosis.

Looking for more mental health tips? Make sure to follow our Mental Health Board on Pinterest!

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About the author

Dr. Azhar Qureshi

Dr. Azhar Qureshi

As a physician and cardiologist, my training encompassed a comprehensive range of invasive and noninvasive procedures, providing extensive hands-on experience in echocardiography, cardiac stress testing, diagnostic catheterization, and coronary interventions. In addition, I developed skills in psychological assessments and formulating detailed case reports. This multifaceted training has equipped me with a strong foundation across cardiology, psychological studies, and documentation to support my medical research. I am passionate about medical writing and exchanging knowledge to help the global community. Social

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