Oasis Therapy and Wellness
BetterHelp Review: Finding Online Therapy in 2023

BetterHelp Review: Finding Online Therapy in 2023

BetterHelp is a leading online therapy platform, boasting a vast network of over 25,000 licensed therapists across the US. It stood out as the top choice for customer experience in our assessment of the best online therapy programs of 2023.

For individuals seeking affordable therapy, particularly those without insurance, BetterHelp’s online therapy is an excellent option. It is also beneficial for those with mobility issues, hectic schedules, and residing in areas where there is a shortage of therapists to fulfill the local demand. But how does BetterHelp compare to other online therapy companies?

To answer that question, we put BetterHelp to the test. Our team of online therapy reviewers signed up for the platform, searched for a therapist that met their preferences, scrutinized the billing methods, compared it with other teletherapy services, and analyzed customer reviews to understand what people liked and disliked about it. Our BetterHelp review provides all the information you need to determine whether it’s the right choice for you.

Why Our BetterHelp Review is Reliable

Our goal is to provide readers with valuable insights into products and services that can improve their lives. With this in mind, we conducted thorough research on the online therapy market, focusing on BetterHelp. You can trust our review because we…

  • Took surveys of 200 BetterHelp customers and former customers
  • Conducted two focus groups to gauge the usefulness of online therapy services
  • Contacted brands’ customer service teams to ask questions and assess responsiveness
  • Consulted six leading psychologists and psychiatrists
  • Became customers of online therapy providers ourselves
  • Reviewed academic research on the efficacy of online therapy versus in-person therapy
  • Read hundreds of verified customer reviews from trusted third-party sources such as BBB and Trustpilot

Pros and Cons of BetterHelp Online Therapy

To dive right in, we have to acknowledge that every service has its strong points and its weak points! Based upon our extensive research and personal experiences, here’s a collective list of BetterHelp’s pros and cons.


  • Network of over 25,000 therapists
  • Ability to preview the software and therapist match before subscribing
  • Communication available online or through mobile app compatible with iOS and Android
  • Financial aid available for qualified users
  • No long-term contracts; cancel anytime
  • Upfront pricing


  • Does not accept insurance
  • Does not accept Medicare or Medicaid
  • Counselors cannot diagnose mental health conditions
  • No access to an MD for prescription needs

How BetterHelp Works

BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that connects users with licensed and experienced therapists for remote teletherapy sessions. Users can access virtual visits from the comfort of their homes or anywhere they choose, via live video, phone, or chat sessions, on their own time.

BetterHelp caters to those seeking general mental health counseling or therapy for a diagnosed mental health disorder. The duration of therapy depends on the user’s mental health needs, budget, and lifestyle, which could be anywhere from a few weeks to several months. According to our team’s survey of 1,000 online therapy users in April 2022, most BetterHelp customers (38 percent) used the service for four to eight months. Of the rest, 24 percent used it for eight to 12 months, 23 percent used it for four months or less, and 15 percent used it for at least one year.

Users can access the BetterHelp platform via the website or mobile app, where they can manage their accounts, schedule appointments with their online therapist, and contact customer service.

Therapy Session Format

BetterHelp’s weekly subscription cost includes unlimited messaging and one live chat, phone, or video session per week. This flexibility allows users to choose the telehealth format that suits them best. Some users change the format every week, depending on their mental health needs.

In general, each live session lasts 30 to 45 minutes, with the exact duration determined by the user and therapist. The average session length, according to BetterHelp, is 30 minutes.

Unlimited Messaging

Messaging on BetterHelp is not a real-time form of communication, like video. It is more like email and is available 24/7. However, users should not expect an immediate response. Only 50 percent of BetterHelp users received a response within a day, according to our online therapy survey. Of the rest, 17 percent received responses within a few days, 25 percent received responses within a week, and 8 percent regularly waited more than a week for a response. Users and therapists can work together to establish response times and frequency.

Users receive an email when their therapist sends a message. Messaging is a useful feature between live sessions, allowing users to ask quick questions or check in with their therapist. It also creates a continuous conversation that users can reference at any time.

Live Chat + Privacy

BetterHelp offers a “shredding” feature that allows users to delete messages they send to their therapist for added privacy. Shredded messages will no longer be visible in the user’s account. However, users cannot delete messages from their therapist. This feature works for both the regular messaging and live chat formats.

The live chat feature on BetterHelp’s online therapy platform is similar to text messaging. Users can communicate with their therapist in a private, secure online therapy room and type questions and responses. Live chat can be a great option for users who prefer text-based communication, especially if they are concerned about privacy.

Additionally, users can access their chat history and review previous conversations as the chat session will remain in the therapy room until they cancel their subscription.

Live Phone Sessions

If you prefer to communicate with your counselor over the phone, you can easily schedule a live phone session using the BetterHelp app. This option is convenient for those who value the relative anonymity of phone communication. To start a phone session, you’ll log in to your therapy room at the scheduled time, and your therapist will prompt you to initiate the call. The system will request your phone number, and once you enter it, the system will dial your number and connect you with your therapist. It’s important to note that BetterHelp will not share your phone number with your therapist.

Live Video Sessions

For a more in-person counseling experience, you can schedule a live video appointment with your therapist. To set up a video therapy session, you’ll need to schedule it through your online counseling room. According to BetterHelp’s online therapy survey, 66 percent of members used the video therapy option, with live chat and phone therapy following behind. During the video session, you and your therapist will connect through the online counseling room via video.

Group Webinars

BetterHelp users also have the option to join therapist-led educational seminars, called Groupinars, on various mental health-related topics. After signing up for a membership, you’ll have access to a calendar displaying the sessions and topics for the week, which may include communication skill-building, identifying unhealthy behaviors, and building resiliency, among others. You can ask questions using the chat function at any time, and therapists will either answer them live or during a Q&A session at the end of the seminar. Every Groupinar is recorded and available for registrants for one week after it’s hosted.

About BetterHelp

BetterHelp is an online mental health care platform that provides affordable, convenient, and discreet therapy services to people who need them. The platform was founded by entrepreneur and investor Alan Matas in response to the lack of accessible and affordable therapy options. BetterHelp offers specialized services through its other platforms such as ReGain for couples therapy, Teen Counseling for teens aged 13-19, and Pride Counseling for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Enrollment Process

BetterHelp’s enrollment process is simple and straightforward. After answering a short questionnaire that takes an average of seven minutes, you can identify your areas of concern, lifestyle factors, and the kind of therapist you’re looking for. You can choose between individual, couples, or teen counseling during enrollment. If you select couples or teen therapy, BetterHelp will direct you to its specialty sites ReGain and Teen Counseling, respectively.

BetterHelp Counselor Matching

BetterHelp uses an algorithm to match you with a therapist based on your preferences, such as age, gender, and sexual orientation. Once you’re matched with a therapist, you’ll receive an email and can start scheduling individual or group therapy sessions. If you’re not satisfied with the initial match, you can request to change counselors using the “Change Therapist” feature on your profile page.

Types Of Service Offered By BetterHelp

BetterHelp takes a therapist-led approach and focuses on determining the best modality for your specific needs. All BetterHelp counselors have specialized training in different types of counseling. Some of the more common treatment methods include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness therapy
  • Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
  • Solution-focused therapy
  • Trauma-focused therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Client-centered therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Family therapy

BetterHelp will match you with a therapist who meets your individual needs. BetterHelp therapists have a wide range of specialties, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship issues
  • LGBTQ+ matters
  • Trauma
  • Anger management
  • Stress
  • Addiction
  • Eating issues
  • Family conflict
  • Grief
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Career difficulties
  • Coping with life changes
  • Intimacy-related issues

Can BetterHelp Prescribe Medication?

No, BetterHelp therapists cannot prescribe medication. Although BetterHelp has mental health professionals with advanced degrees, only psychiatrists, who hold medical degrees, are authorized to prescribe medication.

If you need online therapy that offers medication prescription, you may check out our Talkspace review and Brightside review.

Can BetterHelp Diagnose Mental Health Conditions?

No, BetterHelp therapists do not diagnose mental health conditions. While BetterHelp therapists are licensed and qualified mental health professionals who are authorized to diagnose, BetterHelp does not permit diagnosing through its platform.

How Much Does BetterHelp Cost?

The cost of a subscription to BetterHelp’s counseling services ranges from $240 to $360 per month. However, the final cost will depend on your location, preferences, and therapist availability in your state. The initial payment for your first four weeks is required upfront, and subsequent billing will occur on a monthly basis. Recurring payments can be made using either PayPal or a credit card.

Does BetterHelp Accept Insurance?

BetterHelp does not accept Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, but they do provide an itemized invoice that can be downloaded and submitted for insurance reimbursement. The amount of reimbursement will depend on your specific insurance coverage. Before signing up, contact the phone number on the back of your insurance card to determine whether your health plan covers online mental health services. If you are seeking insurance options to offset the cost of therapy, there are other options available, such as Talkspace and Brightside.

BetterHelp Does Provide Financial Aid

For those who cannot afford the cost of BetterHelp, financial aid or reduced weekly rates may be available. Financial assistance is offered to those who qualify, including students, veterans, and those on subsidized government programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Before payment, BetterHelp will prompt you to check your eligibility for financial aid, which requires answering questions about your employment status, monthly income, military status, and number of dependents.

After submitting the financial aid form, you will see the price you are expected to pay, including any discounts. Your discount will apply to the next three months, and you can reapply for financial aid after that. BetterHelp will send you an email notification when it’s time to reapply, and you can do so as early as seven days before your current financial aid expires.

Our Experience with BetterHelp

Our reviews team conducted a mystery shopping exercise with BetterHelp for over two months, during which we attended online therapy sessions for several weeks, switched therapists to compare experiences, utilized the platform’s guided journaling feature, completed worksheets from our therapists, and participated in virtual support groups. We also tested the BetterHelp platform on both laptops and smartphones and contacted customer service to address any issues we encountered.

Our experience with BetterHelp was largely positive, with several benefits. The therapists we worked with were highly skilled, and we appreciated the sense of community and connection we gained through the support groups. We also found the iPhone app to be user-friendly. Moreover, BetterHelp’s customer service team was very accommodating when it came to payment due dates. For instance, if you need to adjust your payment schedule because of a vacation or other reasons, you can contact customer service and request a change. We reached out to customer service on two separate occasions, asking to extend our payment due date by a few days and more than two weeks, respectively. Both times, the team promptly responded via email within 36 hours to confirm that our subscription had been extended as requested.

Another positive aspect of our experience with BetterHelp was the ease of switching therapists. The process is straightforward and takes only a few minutes to fill out a short multiple-choice form about your experience with the previous therapist and what type of therapist you want next. You can browse through several therapist profiles, read their bios, check their availability, and ensure that they have the necessary experience and expertise. BetterHelp also suggests the top ten therapists for you based on your answers, but you can also explore other profiles. You can switch therapists at any time to find the right match for you.

However, we did encounter a few drawbacks during our time with BetterHelp. While customer service was responsive to billing inquiries, they were less helpful with technical issues. For example, during an audio therapy session, we discovered that the session was actually over video and could not figure out how to fix it. We filed a query through the “Help” section of our account after the session, but the response from customer service did not explain whether the issue was with our scheduling, the therapist, or something else entirely.

Additionally, there was some variability in the number of available appointment slots for therapists each week. Our first therapist had many openings, even on weekends, but our next therapist was booked solid for the next two weeks. Although you can see a therapist’s hours when switching, there is no way to determine their availability during those times.

How BetterHelp Protects User Privacy

BetterHelp takes several measures to safeguard user privacy and confidentiality. According to its FAQ page, all communications with therapists, including messages in chat rooms, are protected with 256-bit encryption, which is the same level of security used by banks. BetterHelp’s databases are also encrypted and scrambled, which means that data remains unusable even in the event of a data breach. However, both BetterHelp and Talkspace were found to be sharing anonymized user data with Facebook, as per Consumer Reports.

In June 2022, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden sent letters to BetterHelp and Talkspace requesting information about the type of information shared with third parties, how users’ information is protected, and how the related policies and potential risks are conveyed to clients. The letters addressed BetterHelp’s data-sharing with Mixpanel, a tool that assists companies in understanding user interactions with their products.

BetterHelp has clarified its privacy and data policies with its reviews team and addressed the letters, stating that it no longer works with Mixpanel or any other external analytics company. BetterHelp has also confirmed that it works with Facebook but is not paid by any third-party advertiser, including Facebook, for data.

According to BetterHelp’s privacy policy, if you opt into targeting cookies and web beacons, the company may share information about your activity on its website with third-party advertisers. However, BetterHelp has confirmed that it will never share your name, email address, phone number, diagnosis, questionnaire answers, session data, journal entries, messages, worksheets, or any other communication with your therapist.

You can modify your privacy settings anytime.

The Bottom Line

BetterHelp received high satisfaction ratings from 97% of users in our online therapy survey conducted by our reviews team. Users appreciate the convenience of live audio and video sessions, unlimited messaging, and a user-friendly interface. BetterHelp boasts a network of over 26,000 therapists and offers financial assistance to those in need.

Signing up takes less than 10 minutes, and our reviews team received multiple counselor matches within 24 hours. While some matches didn’t meet all of our therapist preferences, BetterHelp made an effort to balance our requested specialty areas and therapist attributes, such as non-religious therapists or those aged 45 or older.

BetterHelp counselors strive to reach out within 24 hours of your match. If you’re unsatisfied with your therapist, BetterHelp makes it easy to switch. You can view your therapist match and switch therapists before paying.

BetterHelp also enjoys an overwhelmingly positive reputation online, with high ratings on sites such as Trustpilot and BBB.