Written By

Saba Imran


Fact Checked

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BetterHelp promises convenient, quality online therapy. But is it too good to be true? Let’s dig into the real facts about BetterHelp’s legitimacy, effectiveness, and more.

Is BetterHelp legit?

The short answer is yes – BetterHelp is a legitimate company that connects people to licensed therapists for online counseling. But let’s dig deeper.

  • At its core, BetterHelp simply provides a platform for licensed mental health professionals to offer online therapy. The technology and marketing may seem flashy, but underneath, it’s just therapists doing their job through BetterHelp.

So, while BetterHelp utilizes Silicon Valley startup practices like apps and subscriptions, it ultimately aims to facilitate regular therapy, just delivered online. The quality depends on finding the right therapist, like with in-person counseling. isn’t perfect. But it’s a real company sincerely working hard to make therapy more accessible, not some shady scam.

Is BetterHelp really therapy? Or just slick marketing?

Here’s the truth: Yes, real licensed therapists provide legitimate therapy through BetterHelp’s platform.

  • Early on, skeptics questioned online therapy. But studies show it’s equally effective for many issues. And COVID-19 forced therapists to successfully adopt virtual sessions.
  • So, despite the flashy marketing, BetterHelp offers genuine therapeutic treatment. The tech is just a means to an end.

Of course, severe cases may still need in-person support. But for most people’s problems? Online counseling has proven effective.

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

Is BetterHelp a scam? Red flags to watch for

While BetterHelp has flaws, it is not an outright scam. Complaints often reflect broader therapy issues, not deceitful business practices.

While BetterHelp isn’t an outright scam, some shady therapists have slipped through the cracks.

  • BetterHelp aims to pair people with skilled therapists for digital counseling. When that falls short, it’s usually just human error – not intentional fraud.
  • You must vet your counselor thoroughly. Switch immediately if you notice red flags like limited availability or half-hearted responses.

BetterHelp aims to connect you to quality care. But like any platform, a few bad apples make it through. Put in the work to find a good match and avoid bad experiences.

office employees near their desks and smiling at each other

Does BetterHelp actually work? Here’s what impacts your results

Whether you see real improvement comes down to three key factors:

  • Your counselor’s general competence
  • Your personality and need alignment
  • Using interactive video sessions

It’s not the platform itself but the therapist match that matters. Compare profiles extensively to find the right fit.

Video therapy has proven more effective than just messaging or phone calls.

With the right provider relationship, BetterHelp can absolutely enable positive change. Find someone you click with.

Does BetterHelp use real therapists?

Yes, BetterHelp employs real, licensed therapists. According to BetterHelp, their therapists are licensed professionals who have experience and are vetted before joining the platform.

  • A license doesn’t guarantee a therapist is ethical or skilled, but it shows they worked extensively to prove their knowledge of proper therapy.
  • If unsure about a specific therapist, look up their license status and disciplinary record with the state you are located in. This won’t reveal everything but will confirm they are licensed and in good standing.

While limited, this basic license check is a good first step when vetting therapists. If issues arise, choose someone else.

How does BetterHelp compare to in-person therapy?

Functionally, online therapy through BetterHelp works very similarly to traditional in-office therapy for most people.

  • The main differences are the communication medium (video chat vs. in-person) and format (texting, live chats, phone calls, and video sessions vs. mostly in-person visits).

But the core elements of quality therapy remain – an empathetic therapist who listens without judgment, asks insightful questions, and offers helpful perspectives or advice. Building rapport and trust also happens online.

  • Studies consistently show online and in-person therapy have comparable effectiveness for certain issues like depression, anxiety, relationship problems, etc. Both can provide meaningful improvement when done well.

BetterHelp even replicates some in-person conveniences online, like quick messaging with your therapist anytime, with responses often within 24 hours.

  • Changing therapists is easier than finding a whole new local provider if you don’t click with one.

Online therapy also removes common in-person obstacles like transportation, finding childcare, taking time off work, and illness.

The enhanced accessibility helps more people start and stick with counseling.

So, in terms of therapeutic value, BetterHelp measures up well relative to traditional in-office therapy for many people. The core elements remain, just delivered conveniently through your device.

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

Does online therapy work? Here’s what the research shows

Many question if online counseling can really help like traditional in-person therapy. But the research makes it clear: done right, virtual sessions are proven effective for many conditions.

Multiple studies back the efficacy of quality video conferencing therapy, also called teletherapy:

  • A 2021 comprehensive analysis found online and in-person therapy equally effective for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more (Matsumoto et al., 2021).
  • Other rigorous studies also showed comparable results between video therapy and in-office counseling for issues like relationships, trauma, and mood disorders (Wagner et al., 2014; Norwood et al., 2018).
  • A 2022 study found patients saw comparable therapeutic alliance and empathy in videoconferencing versus in-person psychotherapy.
  • Leading organizations like the American Psychological Association confirm the benefits of teletherapy.
  • A 2017 study in Behavioral Medicine found eight phone-based psychotherapy sessions effectively reduced depressive symptoms in about a third of geographically isolated HIV-positive adults with depression.
a sign with words real on it

The consensus based on current evidence is that live video sessions with a qualified therapist generally match in-person therapy’s effectiveness for many people.

There’s limited evidence on effectiveness of phone sessions and text-based messaging therapy.

  • The key is two-way videoconferencing – allowing personal connection missing from messaging alone. This enables quality care online.
  • Of course, more severe cases often still need in-person support and crisis resources. But for mild-moderate issues? Online counseling is a legitimate option to consider if it makes care more accessible for you.

The takeaway is that despite early skepticism, competent virtual therapy consistently demonstrates real therapeutic value on par with office visits. The tech is just a new means to the same end – helping people heal.

How does BetterHelp cost compare to in-person and competitors?

  • BetterHelp runs $260-$360 per month, billed every four weeks
  • Competitors like Talkspace and Cerebral cost $259-$436 per month
  • Financial aid discounts prices for those who qualify
  • In-person private counseling costs $100 per $200 per session, which can add to $400 to $800 monthly.

While not dirt cheap, BetterHelp offers reasonable rates, considering that you can message your therapist anytime, and scheduled live sessions are included.

For many common issues, it provides accessible therapy otherwise blocked by barriers like transportation, inflexible work schedules, and illness. Convenience is its strength.

What are the different types of therapy offered by BetterHelp?

Here’s a quick rundown of the main therapy options BetterHelp offers:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – Focuses on changing unhelpful thought and behavior patterns
  • Dialectical behavior therapy – Helps build distress tolerance and emotion regulation skills
  • Solution-focused brief therapy – Aims to set and reach concrete goals step-by-step
  • Psychodynamic therapy – Explores how past experiences shape your current life
  • Couples counseling – Improves relationship skills and patterns as a unit
  • Family therapy – Targets dynamics and communication within family systems
  • Group therapy – Brings together peers facing similar struggles

So in a nutshell, BetterHelp has therapists trained in all the major modalities. They offer individual counseling as well as options for couples and groups. There’s a wide range available to suit different needs.

Should I use BetterHelp?

BetterHelp may be worth considering if you’re seeking more flexible counseling options. Their large network of licensed therapists provides online video sessions, text chats, and phone calls – whatever works best for you.

  • It opens up access for those who can’t easily do traditional in-office therapy.
  • The convenience factor is a major draw. Just be sure to do your research first.
  • Vet the therapists carefully, assess their specialty areas and credentials. Make sure it’s a good match before committing.
  • Plans can be paused or canceled anytime, there are no long-term commitments or penalties.

And remember, while online therapy removes geographic barriers, the therapeutic relationship is still key. You want a provider who builds rapport and trust with you. If Betterhelp facilitates that kind of caring connection and understanding, it could be a gamechanger for getting help on your schedule.

But take time to evaluate if it’s the right fit. The technology should facilitate, not replace, human-centered care.

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

What are BetterHelp’s pros and cons?


  • Convenience of remote therapy
  • Message therapist anytime
  • Easy to switch counselors
  • More appointment availability
  • Verified licensed therapists
  • Financial aid available
  • Access therapists out-of-network


  • No diagnosis or insurance billing
  • Quality varies
  • Less support for severe cases
  • Limited local resources
  • Not ideal for everyone
  • High therapist workloads

While convenient, BetterHelp isn’t a fit for complex cases needing intensive in-person care. But for many with mild-moderate issues, it can be an empowering online therapy option.

Bottom Line: Could BetterHelp work for you?

BetterHelp isn’t perfect. No program works flawlessly for everyone.

But for many people’s needs, it provides quality, convenient online counseling with legitimately licensed therapists.

  • Do your research to find the best provider match. Then, give the relationship a fair try to blossom. Switch counselors if needed.

Approach with reasonable expectations. The tech is flashy, but the care is real. For your situation, BetterHelp could enable positive change.


Is BetterHelp actually legitimate?

BetterHelp pioneered convenient online therapy.

The short answer: Yes, it’s a legitimate platform. BetterHelp therapists must be properly licensed professionals.

Here’s how to confirm your provider measures up:

  • Therapy is a heavily regulated field.
  • Extensive training and exams are required just to get licensed, let alone maintain a license.

These strict standards apply to all practicing therapists – online or offline.

So, working with a BetterHelp counselor means you’re protected by the same ethical and competency regulations as in-person therapy.

BetterHelp claims to vet its therapists’ licenses. But if you ever feel uncertain, independently verify your provider’s license status yourself.

  • This simple check will confirm they are a registered, ethical therapist in good standing. If not, move on.

While not everything, proper licensure provides a baseline of legitimacy. Do this easy check for peace of mind.

How reliable is BetterHelp?

In general, BetterHelp’s website and apps are reasonably reliable based on user experiences. Some technical issues may occasionally occur, but this is true of most platforms.

There is some therapist turnover on BetterHelp, so sometimes people have to find a new provider if theirs leaves the service. However, this staffing variability also happens with in-person practices.

Many BetterHelp users ultimately work with the same therapist for years. Overall, the platform seems fairly stable and consistent for most people.

Can I trust BetterHelp?

Trust ultimately relies on the individual provider you connect with, not the platform itself. Vet your specific counselor thoroughly and pay attention to your gut instinct during interactions. If you feel genuinely heard, understood, and supported, that builds trust. But if you find the remote sessions leave you feeling dismissed or uneasy, trust may be difficult. While technology can facilitate access, a caring human connection is the essential ingredient for meaningful progress. Ensure you have that before fully trusting any online therapy.

Where is BetterHelp located?

BetterHelp’s main office is located at 990 Villa St in Mountain View, California, United States.

Who owns BetterHelp?

BetterHelp is owned by Teladoc Health Inc., which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TDOC.

  1. Effectiveness of Videoconference-Delivered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adults With Psychiatric Disorders: Systematic and Meta-Analytic Review.
  2. Working alliance and outcome effectiveness in videoconferencing psychotherapy: A systematic review and noninferiority meta-analysis.
  3. Videoconferencing versus face-to-face psychotherapy: Insights from patients and psychotherapists about comparability of therapeutic alliance, empathy and treatment characteristics.
  4. Telehealth proves its worth.
  5. Tele-Interpersonal Psychotherapy Acutely Reduces Depressive Symptoms in Depressed HIV-Infected Rural Persons: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
  6. Online therapy: an added value for inpatient routine care? Perspectives from mental health care professionals.
  7. Computer therapy for the anxiety and depression disorders is effective, acceptable and practical health care: An updated meta-analysis.

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

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About the author

Saba Imran

Saba Imran

I'm passionate about medical research and writing. I earned my Master's degree in Microbiology because I love learning about tiny microbes and how they impact health. With over 6 years experience as a healthcare researcher and medical writer, I've published many times in international journals. Participating in research projects has given me in-depth knowledge to make complex topics easy to grasp. In my free time, I volunteer at the community science museum to get kids excited about science and discovery. My goal is to take difficult concepts and make them understandable through meticulous research, hopefully benefiting people across the globe. I believe clear science writing can empower us all. Social

9 thoughts on “Is BetterHelp Legit? THE SHOCKING TRUTH”

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  4. Shoot, I had no clue about doing that license check to make sure your therapist is legit. Such a simple thing I would never have thought of! This whole piece was full of little nuggets like that to protect yourself.

  5. Dang, this was super insightful! I’ve been on the fence about trying BetterHelp but feel way more informed now about what to realistically expect. Big ups to the author for breaking it down in such an easy to digest way. Definitely got me thinking this could be worth a shot for my situation if I find the right counselor match.

  6. So while BetterHelp clearly ain’t perfect, I’m feeling educated enough now to give it a shot if I stay alert. Appreciate the author arming folks with facts – both good and bad – so we can make the best choices for getting help.

  7. I agree that BetterHelp offers convenience, but valid critiques remain on inconsistent customer support. More oversight could improve confidence in service quality.

  8. If serious about reform, BetterHelp must address transparency and service issues. Until then, consumers may approach cautiously.


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