BetterHelp Review (2023): Is It Worth It?

Written By

Erica Barnes


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In this comprehensive BetterHelp review, we’ll take a deep dive into how the service works, its features and pricing, pros and cons, and how it compares to traditional in-person therapy.

In recent years, online therapy and counseling services have become increasingly popular. One of the leading providers in this space is BetterHelp, an online counseling platform that connects users with licensed therapists for virtual sessions.

How does BetterHelp work? aims to make professional counseling easily accessible through digital means. Here is an overview of how the service functions:

  • Sign up: Users complete a questionnaire about their background, struggles, goals for therapy, and preferred therapist qualifications like gender, religion, specialty, etc.
  • Get matched: Based on the intake form, BetterHelp matches users with a licensed therapist. Matches occur within 48 hours.
  • Communicate: Once matched, users can message their therapist within the platform’s messaging system. Therapists typically respond daily.
  • Schedule video or phone sessions: Users can schedule live video or phone sessions with their therapist at the frequency they choose (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.). Sessions run from 30-45 minutes, depending on plan selected.
  • Messaging: In between scheduled sessions, users can message their therapist anytime for guidance, check-ins, resources, or support.
  • Switch therapists: Users can switch therapists at any time if the match does not seem like a good fit.
  • Pause or cancel: Users can pause or cancel a membership anytime with just a few clicks. No hidden fees or commitments

Sponsored, keeps our community free. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

official betterhelp logo
Star Rating 4.5 Of 5

4.5 (6,513+) FROM TRUSTPILOT


Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

✓ Over 33K credentialed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

✓ Subscriptions as low as $65/week, billed every four weeks

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

✓ 20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

BetterHelp’s features

BetterHelp aims to provide flexible, convenient mental health support through a mix of asynchronous messaging and live video/phone therapy sessions. Here are some of the key features:

  • Variety of therapists: BetterHelp has over 33,000 licensed therapists across over 50 specialties like depression, anxiety, relationships, trauma, PTSD, etc.
  • Custom matching: Get matched with a therapist based on your needs, preferences, background, identity, faith, location, schedule, etc.
  • Convenient access: Access counseling from anywhere via smartphone, tablet, or desktop. No need to commute to appointments.
  • Additional resources: Therapists can share readings, exercises, worksheets, and other resources through the platform messaging.
  • Progress tracking: BetterHelp has built-in questionnaires to track your progress over time. Review progress with your therapist.


BetterHelp uses a subscription model with no long-term contracts or commitments required.

  • The exact price depends on your location, therapist qualifications, and session frequency selection.
  • New users can get their first month 20% off.

BetterHelp compared to traditional in-office therapy

For many users considering therapy, a key question is how BetterHelp compares to traditional in-office counseling. Here’s an overview of how the two options stack up:

BetterHelp Traditional Therapy
Setting Virtual In-office
Methods Messaging, phone, video In-person conversations
Accessibility Available 24/7 Limited to appointment times
Cost As low as $65/week, no insurance $100-$250 per session, may bill insurance
Flexibility Change counselors or plans anytime Typically weekly or bi-weekly
Commitment No long-term contract Often have session commitments or cancellation fees
Travel No commute needed Must travel to therapist office

From the table, it is clear that BetterHelp offers greater flexibility and affordability compared to traditional in-office counseling. It expands access to care by eliminating transportation barriers and allowing messaging between sessions.

Key benefits of BetterHelp

  • More affordable, lower cost
  • Saves time by eliminating commute
  • Convenient 24/7 access from anywhere
  • Easy to pause, change, or cancel plans
  • Flexible messaging and live sessions

Key benefits of traditional therapy

  • In-person human connection
  • Body language and social cues
  • Accepts insurance coverage
  • Medication prescriptions
  • Easier to do group therapy or couples counseling

There are merits to both options. In-person therapy provides human connection and insurance coverage, but BetterHelp offers more flexibility at lower costs.

Ultimately, choosing between them depends on your specific situation, needs, and preferences. Many find BetterHelp more convenient and budget-friendly, but traditional counseling still plays an important role, especially for those who prefer or require an in-office setting.


BetterHelp therapists and qualifications

BetterHelp therapists complete a rigorous vetting and onboarding process to ensure they are licensed and qualified. Here are some key facts about BetterHelp counselors:

  • Licensed professionals: All BetterHelp therapists hold a valid professional license in their state – like Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Psychologist, etc.
  • Identity-informed care: BetterHelp has therapists well-versed in cultural competency to serve diverse communities. Users can filter for factors like gender, sexual orientation, race, language, and faith.
  • Rigorous vetting: Only the most conscientious therapist applicants are approved to join BetterHelp after an intensive review of licensure, education, training, and clinical hours.
  • Continued development: BetterHelp therapists undergo continual professional development in digital counseling skills and ethics.

With such rigorous selection and training of its therapist network, BetterHelp stands out in offering easy access to highly qualified, experienced counseling professionals.

What are reviewers saying about BetterHelp?

Reviews from licensed mental health professionals affirm BetterHelp as a legitimate, worthwhile online therapy option.

As one independent review site noted BetterHelp has established itself as a premier virtual counseling service by building a network of fully licensed therapists. concluded the following based on their readers’ responses:

  • Over three-quarters of BetterHelp users said the counselor they were matched with adequately addressed their needs.
  • An even higher percentage, nearly 9 out of 10, felt the BetterHelp counselors presented had impressive qualifications.
  • Around the same number reported being pleased with the range of therapist options shown during the pairing process.

Experts across leading wellness sites praise BetterHelp’s messaging with your therapist as a major advantage over office visits. Having ongoing support outside of sessions is invaluable.

  • Other reviewers online had less positive experiences, stating that BetterHelp did not seem like the right fit according to some users. The assigned therapists came across as impersonal and lacked an understanding of the client’s unique needs during video sessions.
  • In the end, some felt the quality of care did not justify the price. The therapists appeared overworked and burnt out. While online counseling offers benefits, some found the detachment and lack of in-person connection unhelpful for their needs.

In summary and overall, BetterHelp so far received 6,703+ reviews on TrustPilot with an average of 4.5 stars. Reviewers of BetterHelp more consistently than not found its convenience, affordability, and therapist quality as major assets.

For many people, BetterHelp lowers the barriers to start addressing mental health needs.

Sponsored, keeps our community free. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

official betterhelp logo
Star Rating 4.5 Of 5

4.5 (6,513+) FROM TRUSTPILOT

Try BetterHelp

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with an experienced therapist online in as little as 48 hours.

✓ Over 33K credentialed professionals

✓ Financial aid available

✓ Subscriptions as low as $65/week, billed every four weeks

✓ Cancel plan or change therapist anytime

✓ 20% off your first month through Therapy Helpers

BetterHelp’s pros and cons

Below we break down the key upsides and downsides of using BetterHelp based on online user reviews and expert analysis:

BetterHelp pros

  • Convenient access: Counseling from anywhere, anytime by phone or video chat. No transportation needed.
  • Lower cost: More affordable than traditional therapy for most people.
  • Flexibility: Change therapists or plans anytime. Pause or resume service easily.
  • Fast start: Get matched with a counselor within days and schedule the initial session. Not waiting for weeks.
  • Custom fits: Therapists matched based on your preferences and needs.
  • Expanded care access: Breaks down barriers like transportation, stigma, and schedules.
  • Messaging included: Messaging with the therapist between sessions.
  • Financial aid: Financial assistance is available.

BetterHelp cons

  • Impersonal: Lacks in-person human touch and body language cues.
  • Technical issues: Video chat can sometimes lag or freeze.
  • Internet line: Reliance on a stable internet connection.
  • No insurance: Must pay full cost out of pocket since BetterHelp doesn’t work with insurance companies.
  • Asynchronous: Messages may not get addressed immediately in times of crisis. Not the right platform to use for any crisis situations or severe mental health issues.
  • No medication: Counselors cannot prescribe medication like psychiatrists can.

BetterHelp isn’t necessarily suited for everyone. Those wanting or needing medication management, frequent emergency access, certain state availability, or who simply prefer an in-office setting may find traditional counseling better aligns with their needs.

But for many people needing convenient, affordable counseling, BetterHelp delivers significant benefits.

Will my insurance cover online therapy?

So, the deal is that BetterHelp doesn’t actually team up directly with any health insurance providers. That means they’re considered an out-of-network provider.

The upside for you is no annoying insurance paperwork! The downside is that you have to pay their whole therapy bill yourself—no insurer assistance.

To see if online or mental health therapy is covered by your insurance, closely review your coverage details:

  • Confirm you have benefits for mental health services. Not all plans include this coverage.
  • Note if you’ve met your annual deductible yet. Unmet deductibles can increase your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Check the number of therapy sessions your insurance covers per year. Plans often cap visit quantities.
  • Determine the dollar amount your insurance reimburses per therapy appointment. This affects your copay amount.
  • See if you need a referral from your primary doctor first. Some insurers require pre-authorization.
  • Check with your insurer if they reimburse online or therapy costs.

Knowing these key insurance provisions will tell you what online therapy expenses your plan will handle, if any.

Compare covered amounts to the therapy provider’s fees to calculate your potential out-of-pocket costs. Contact both your insurer and potential therapist to discuss accepted payment methods before starting sessions.

Is BetterHelp legitimate?

As an industry leader, BetterHelp has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2015. In addition, BetterHelp employs the following practices:

  • BetterHelp’s Platform is HITRUST Risk-based, 2-year (r2) Certified
  • BetterHelp’s browsing encryption system (SSL) follows modern best practices
  • BetterHelp’s databases are encrypted and scrambled
  • All the messages between you and your therapist are encrypted
  • 1:1 therapy sessions with a licensed therapist
  • Your therapist is bound by therapist confidentiality rules

With longstanding success in delivering effective online counseling globally, BetterHelp has firmly established itself as a legitimate, ethical leader in the digital therapy space.

Is BetterHelp good for the community?

My research indicates that BetterHelp gives back a bunch to causes they care about, which is cool. They’ve donated like thousands of months of free therapy sessions to some awesome nonprofits.

For example:

  • They hooked up frontline healthcare peeps through NAMI during COVID.
  • They also supported the Me Too movement and people who went through sexual violence.
  • BetterHelp also stepped up to help Afghan refugees get therapy via partnerships with the Malala Fund and Restore Her Voice.
  • And they worked with Sandy Hook Promise to offer counseling for folks affected by gun violence too. Plus they partnered with OUT Foundation to support the mental health of LGBTQ+ athletes.

So seems like they really try to get therapy to communities who need it most, which is great to see. Just wanted to mention some of the ways they give back since it’s an important part of what they do.

BetterHelp Review: Final verdict

In this comprehensive review, we evaluated BetterHelp’s overall approach to online counseling, features, usability, therapist qualifications, pricing, pros and cons, and how it compares to in-person therapy.

Given its flexibility, affordability, and accessibility, BetterHelp proves an excellent option for most people’s counseling needs though traditional therapy still holds benefits too.

By expanding access to quality mental health care beyond physical and financial barriers, BetterHelp and services like it have tremendous potential to help us build a society of healthier, more empowered people.

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About the author

Erica Barnes

Erica Barnes

I’m an African American woman living in New York, with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. I’m passionate about researching mental health topics, spirituality, and breaking down stigma in my community. I’ve dedicated my life to shedding light on important issues surrounding mental health and working towards creating a more understanding and compassionate society. As a researcher at Therapy Helpers, I’m here to use my skills to educate and inspire others through insightful articles. Thank you for being here!Social

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