Why is BetterHelp So Expensive? The Hard Truth [2024]

Written By

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Updated:

Fact Checked

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Note: This post is supported by our readers and contains affiliate links, which will earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. Therapy Helpers does not accept money for reviews.

It’s no secret therapy prices have really shot up in recent years. When you notice BetterHelp costs more than just grabbing coffee with a pal, it’s normal to wonder…what gives? 

We get it—even at a fraction of in-office counseling which averages $100-250 per session, shelling out $65-90 for BetterHelp each week can add up quick.

While a tremendous value, the convenience and expertise come at a price. And a look behind the scenes reveals why they can’t simply offer free video counseling sessions with professional therapists.

As therapy sites like this gain traction by simplifying access to counseling, a prevailing question emerges—”Why is BetterHelp so expensive?

Key Reasons for BetterHelp’s Pricing

ReasonDescription
Platform Operating CostsDeveloping and running an online therapy platform incurs major overhead expenses
Therapist Salaries & BenefitsAttracting licensed therapists requires competitive compensation
Marketing & Customer AcquisitionAdvertising & promotions to gain new users is very costly
Guidance IncludedBetterHelp includes perks like weekly group classes and between-session messaging with your assigned therapist. These features facilitate extra guidance and support, aiming to optimize your healing process.
Social Impact Programs
Through its community initiatives, BetterHelp grants discounted and free online counseling scholarships to clients who demonstrate financial hardship and an inability to pay anything for therapy services.
This table summarizes the main factors, covered in detail below, that contribute to BetterHelp’s pricing model.

As you’ll see, operating an on-demand global therapy service online necessitates high costs.

middle aged man in front of laptop with puzzled face

Overhead Costs of Running an Online Therapy Platform

As an online company, BetterHelp.com incurs considerable expenses required for a large company to provide reliable and outstanding service and support. These necessary operational costs include:

Technology Infrastructure Expenses

  • Developing and maintaining the software, servers, bandwidth, and other systems that power BetterHelp’s online platform for consistently smooth user and therapist interactions
  • Expanding data capacity to support the growing number of therapy exchanges
  • Maintaining consistently an up-to-date increasing online therapist database ready to serve the needs of users anywhere in the globe

Administrative & Customer Service Teams

  • Staffing phone, email, and chat support teams to handle new sign-ups, subscriptions, existing members, therapist satisfaction, billing questions, and other issues 24/7
  • Implementing and constantly perfecting systems to match users to appropriate therapists based on profiles, conditions, availability, and other factors

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 licensed 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

Therapist Salaries, Benefits & Session Pay Impact Pricing

BetterHelp employs over 33,000 licensed therapists and counselors across North America and the UK. BetterHelp must offer competitive compensation and benefits packages to attract and retain quality counseling talent.

Salaries & Health Benefits

  • Therapist annual salaries can range from $40k-$83k depending on experience and credentials (Source: ZipRecruiter)
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) annual salaries range $70k-$110k depending on experience (Source: GlassDoor)
  • BetterHelp also provides health, dental, disability, vision, life insurance, retirement savings plans, family medical leave, maternity & paternity leave, work-from-home options, vacation, job training, professional development, pet-friendly work place, and numerous other valuable benefits

Per Session & Messaging Rates

  • In addition to base compensation, BetterHelp therapists earn extra income per therapy phone call, video chat, or text exchange based on duration
  • More active engagement from users means higher pay for their counselors

These above costs mean BetterHelp must charge subscription fees sufficient to cover their rising therapist staff expenses.

Marketing and Advertising Costs

As an online first company, BetterHelp relies heavily on advertising and promotions to reach prospective users and drive sign-ups. These escalating customer acquisition costs include:

Traditional & Streaming TV/Video Ads

  • National TV commercials campaigns airing on ESPN, CNN, Fox News and other cable/streaming networks
  • Pre-roll video ads on YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and more digital platforms

Celebrity & Influencer Sponsorships

  • Sponsorship deals with names like Olympian Michael Phelps and actress Glenn Close to promote BetterHelp with their audiences and followers

  • Paying for BetterHelp search ads on Google to target users specifically seeking therapy
  • Placing BetterHelp promotions in Instagram feeds and Facebook sidebars viewed by their core demographic

These various advertising and marketing expenses contribute to the fees and subscriptions prices charged by BetterHelp.

BetterHelp PricingIncluded
Monthly Cost$65-$90 per week, billed every four weeks
# of Sessions/WeekText your therapist anytime (support in between sessions) + 1 weekly live video or phone therapy + 1 group class session
Cancel AnytimeYes
BetterHelp AdvantagesKey Perks
Convenience & Accessibility100% online therapy eliminates commuting & scheduling hassles
Flexible PricingPackages range $260-$360/month, messaging in between included
Licensed Therapists33,000+ experienced, professional therapists

Messaging Promotes Treatment Progress

While session costs add up for active users, BetterHelp offers included text messaging as a major perk. This facilitates more regular contact with assigned counselors.

Frequent Check-ins & Quick Questions

  • In between weekly live video chats, members can text therapists whenever needed
  • Quick questions receive helpful perspective without having to wait days for an appointment

Rapid Response Times

  • BetterHelp therapists typically respond to messages within 24 hours
  • Quick access to feedback keeps treatment progressing vs. lagging between sessions

This unmatched messaging access and responsive text-based therapy drive value and justify monthly costs for members.

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

BetterHelp

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

✓ Over 33K licensed 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

No Long-Term Commitments Provide Flexibility

Users aren’t locked into long contracts and can adjust plans to meet changing needs.

Life Situation Changes

  • If financial conditions improve or decline, members can upgrade or downgrade accordingly
  • Plan flexibility helps continue care through job losses, moves, or other transitions

Evolving Treatment Needs

  • As therapy progresses, less frequent sessions may suffice for some members reducing the monthly cost
  • Short-term packages support solution-focused treatment models

By removing long-term constraints, BetterHelp’s pricing & plans accommodate users through life’s fluid circumstances.

Financial Assistance Makes Therapy Possible

To expand access to those in need, BetterHelp provides financial assistance and discounted plans through its aid program.

While pricing remains a barrier for some, this program helps subsidize costs for thousands of members and counting. 

So, part of standard subscription fees helps fund this initiative – further serving BetterHelp’s mission to make professional counseling universally accessible for as many people as possible throughout the global community.

Who Qualifies

  • Students
  • Low-income members
  • Unemployed individuals
  • Those facing financial hardships

Discounted Rates

  • Sliding scale fees based on individual situations
  • Flexible partial scholarships and grants
  • Custom payment plans with extended deadlines

Bottom line: Is BetterHelp Expensive?

In the end, while certainly not cheap for some consumers, BetterHelp does work incredibly hard to provide maximum unique value in terms of accessibility, flexibility, and professional therapeutic help, which explains why over 4 million members find the platform worthwhile versus other online therapy and in-office therapy options.

Those struggling with BetterHelp's pricing should explore some of the more affordable alternatives covered in this article.

When it comes to mental health support, selecting the right therapy solution for your budget and needs can make all the difference.

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

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About the author

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Helen Kaminski, MSc

Mindful living for a happier, healthier you. I’m a writer and mental health advocate in Warsaw, Poland, with five years working as a therapist. I hold a psychology degree from the University of Warsaw. I specialize in writing about mental health, using my experiences and academic background to educate and inspire others. In my free time, I volunteer at a Disability Learning Center and go for nature walks. My writing aims to break down mental health stigma and help others feel understood. Social

3 thoughts on “Why is BetterHelp So Expensive? The Hard Truth [2024]”

  1. As someone who has used BetterHelp on and off for about a year, I was interested to click on this article to understand why their pricing is set the way it is. I wouldn’t say it’s excessively expensive compared to traditional therapy, but the author makes valid points about the potential issues with the subscription-based model. I respect BetterHelp’s mission to improve access with an online option.

    Reply
  2. On the whole, I’d say BetterHelp provides a solid platform for convenient web-based counseling, though the realities of remote therapy may not suit everyone’s needs or expectations. For any Australians considering signing up, be prepared to put some extra work in to optimize BetterHelp’s global resources to your local context. Give the trial a go first and ensure you feel supported before committing further. When it comes to mental health, finding the right fit is so important.

    Reply
  3. Wow, this website is an absolute treasure chest of information! 😍💎 I could not stop reading from beginning to end. 📚💫

    Reply

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