BetterHelp.com is the online home of BetterHelp, a company who says their goal is to provide their customers with access to quality, professional help when they are facing life's challenges so they can be happier.
The website promises that all the counselors you can be matched with through the BetterHelp website are licensed, board accredited, and qualified with either a PhD or a masters certificate in addition to years of counseling experience.
How Does It Work?
Customers will sign up for an account and fill out a short questionnaire so you can be matched with a professional counselor who can provide the support and guidance you need. Once you've created your account and been matched with a counselor, you will begin communicating with your counselor via online messages, whenever you need, on your schedule.
Customers can communicate with their counselor on an unlimited basis each week until they feel they have successfully overcome the problem or obstacle they were facing. Customers are welcome to cancel their membership at any time without penalty.
Customers can sign up, get matched, and begin speaking to your counselor all for free. Customers who decide to continue with their services will pay a flat fee of $35 per week for unlimited counseling, which gives you the ability to speak to your counselor as much as you need.
Since BetterHelp allows their customers to pay for services on a week-by-week basis, their website does not detail any overarching or general Refund Policy. Customers who feel they have an issue or complaint that warrants a refund should contact Customer Service and deal with their situation on a case by case basis.
Customer Service Contact Info
Customers who would like to contact their Customer Service team with questions, concerns, or complaints can do so by submitting them directly to their website through their Contact Us link, by phone at 888-688-9296, or by traditional mail at 440 N. Wolfe Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94085.
The few reviews available for BetterHelp at this time tend to be very positive, and reviewers describe a very professional and beneficial experience which just happens to have the added advantage of being accessible by internet or through your mobile device.
It is still important to understand, however, that BetterHelp does not claim that they are a replacement for professional therapy or counseling. They are an additional or alternative tool that people may use if traditional therapy is difficult to schedule or cost prohibitive, but depending on the issues you are dealing with, you may still be referred to a traditional mental health professional if that's what they feel is best for your needs.
Is It Safe?
Customers who are concerned with privacy issues are assured by BetterHelp.com that their system is HIPAA compliant to ensure your privacy. They provide banking grade encryption which allows users to be completely anonymous, even to your counselor.
Competitors and Alternatives?
Online counseling is a fairly new type of service and it doesn't seem as though BetterHelp has many competitors in the market right now.
If you have any experience with this company or their products, please leave your BetterHelp reviews below.
332 ‘BetterHelp’ Reviews
First, let me say that if you get matched with a good counselor, or one you mesh well with, it will probably be fine. However, if you want to change counselors, it may not be as easy as their marketing or previous reviews make it sound. The "change counselors" option was not available, and, after discussions with their customer service, they reluctantly admitted that the availability of counselors in my area was not very good. When trying to change counselors, the support rep asked about my preferences for matching with a new counselor, but seemed to ignore when I asked if I could see the preferences I'd already put in when signing up, so I could decide if I wanted to change anything. If the feature wasn't available, that's fine, but just be straight with me about it.
Another thing that came up in the support conversation was that you can only be matched with counselors licensed in your area. Which might make sense from a legal perspective, but I wish they'd been up front about it on their site, so I wouldn't have expected to have a national selection of available counselors (not everybody lives in a wealthy, high-population state).
I didn't actually go through with changing counselors (they said there were none available, so I decided to try again with my counselor and then ended up canceling my account), but the support rep also said you lose your previous entire conversation with your counselor when you change, and therefore have to back it up yourself (e.g. File->save page in the browser) if you want to keep a copy.
One last thing: Some aspects of the user interface seem manipulative, particularly in the onboarding and exit survey process. Questions where there is no option to decline to answer, or the available answers seemed limited. At the beginning of the conversation with my counselor, there was a popup with a consent form (something about being able to share the conversation with a mentor), but there was no information about whether declining would mean I couldn't continue counseling. When answering questions in the exit survey, there were popups with other questions, and it seemed there was pressure to review your counselor even if you don't want to. When I did finally got to click the link or button that cancels the account, since I had paid for a month, it said "you can continue until your service expires", and, without asking, dropped me right back into the conversation with my existing counselor. (It's made to look like a chat type interface, but seems to work more like email.) This was after I had clicked a button like "no, I don't want to resume with , after I restart my service". I think BetterHelp's product team should think about how important consent is to a healthy experience, particularly in a counseling setting.
Side note for context: The only way I interacted with my counselor was through this messaging interface, which, as I said, was made to look like chat but worked more like email (more of a daily interaction rather than a real time interaction). I did have an issue where it seemed like the counselor hadn't seen one of the messages I spent a long time writing, because they only responded to the one after it. You can also make an appointment for a live chat, phone call, or video conference with a counselor, but I didn't use those. However it did look like those appointments would be easy to book, if desired.
I've been using BH for about a year now. The counselor I have had usually gets back within 24 hours and she forewarns her clients ahead of time if she won't be able to communicate (say,while on a trip). I think this should be standard practice, as a lot of people seeking help have attachment issues.
I don't expect online counseling to be like in office counseling, even when the the fit is okay. However, sometimes I wonder the reasons she brushes off or doesn't address some of the things I write about... I mean, basic ones, like social anxiety and low confidence.
Otherwise, I appreciate a platform where I can write things out to a counselor. My last experience with a therapist in an office didn't go so well after a year of seeing her, so this has been a good place, at least for me and with the counselor I was assigned , to say some things I was too anxious to say in an therapist's office. After my last in office therapist experience, I sort of swore I'd never seek therapy again, but I'm starting to lose that sense of aversion to seeing a therapist as I work with the counselor on better help.
Don't go to betterhelp hoping to work out/heal major issues or disorders. It has its purpose, but its not a panacea for the most difficult issues.
The billing is sort of shady, yes. I didn't appreciate being billed so much at once when I signed up, without my knowledge. I believe they post the billing schedule somewhere, but it's not glaringly obvious, and that sucks because people who are emotionally distressed sometimes aren't looking for the 'fine print' when they sign up and give their card #.
I haven't tried phone or video counseling, so I have no comment about that, except the counselor I am working with feels like she would be dependable (would show up on time) in that regard.
These services prey on people's desperation and need for some kind of help. Further, they seem tailored towards very specific types of illnesses or disorders. Some depression or anxiety might benefit from one of these online outlets, but someone with a severe psychotic disorder such as a schizo-spectrum disorder or bipolar would probably find little relief. Real face-to-face time with a psychiatrist and care team is needed. But I suppose adding that caveat to their webpage might hurt sales. Remember with these companies it always about the bottom line.
The service is worthless. I didn't received any response from them even after paying for their subscription.
I am glad that others are getting help with these people. We were not so fortunate.
My adult child was matched to a counselor and after the initial dialogue establishing the issues she needed help with the counselor did not appear to read the latest response from my child. It seemed that the counselor was recording the previous responses. Did not ask questions if she understood what was being said by the counselor. She allowed me to read the last responses from the counselor. I could not figure out what the counselor was trying to say. The response was so unrelated to the statements made by my child I could not figure out what was being said. We tried three times to contact them through the website. The only response we received was the automated response that says we will get back to you in one business day. That was almost three (3) months ago. Still waiting for a response.
I have been amazed by how insightful Merlena has been. She has challenged me when I needed it, then supports me with kindness and respect when I am in a vulnerable place. I am so grateful to have been paired with Merlena and am very much reaping the benefits of this astonishing agency.
Would recommend BetterHelp and Merlena James Leger, LPC to everyone who wants some mental health support.
Thank you for the time to share my perspective.
I'm REALLY pleased with the service BetterHelp provides so far. I've been in and out of therapy my whole life and the two main reasons why I haven't gone consistently are: the money and the inconvenience of having to commute to an appointment. This app is revolutionary, especially for people like me who really value therapy but can't afford $200/hour, plus I love writing vs. talking in person because I feel like I can be more open and think clearly about my answers and not be caught off guard or go on the defensive while answering a question face to face. Thank you!
Christine Garnett is 3000000/10. She gets all the stars. I have not ever opened up so quickly to anyone in such a short period of time. I feel like I am finally in a place where I can acquire the tools to help myself while also being supported by a professional.