A few months ago, BetterHelp reached out and asked us if we would be interested in partnering with them to promote the service. We agreed, on the condition that we would be provided access to test out the platform and provide an honest review. Betterhelp did not pay Unapologetically Surviving to write this post, however, if you sign up for BetterHelp using our link, you will receive 10% off your first month using the platform, and we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are our own.
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that makes therapy more accessible by allowing individuals to match with professional counselors and participate in online sessions through any web-enabled device. Through BetterHelp’s platform, you receive access to the largest network of licensed and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC). All BetterHelp counselors are state board certified and have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience.
How do I get matched with a therapist?
Signing up for BetterHelp is a quick and seamless process. When you visit BetterHelp’s home screen, you have the opportunity to indicate the type of counseling you are seeking (counseling for yourself, for you and a partner, or for a child) before proceeding to fill out a brief questionnaire. After completing the questionnaire, you will be prompted to make an online account.
What does the questionnaire ask?
The questionnaire asks a total of 30 questions to learn more about you and your expectations. These questions fall into 3 categories:
- demographic information
- screening questions for depression and overall health and well-being (i.e., feelings, behaviors, and habits)
- provider expectations and preferences
We have included a selection of screenshots from the questionnaire below.
I’ve filled out the questionnaire and made my online account, now what?
According to BetterHelp’s website, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to match with a counselor, depending on counselor availability. It took us less than 24 hours to receive our match and a welcome message from our new therapists.
Are there any other steps you have to take before you’re able to actually connect with your counselor?
Yes! BetterHelp will prompt you to add a little more information about yourself to help your counselor get to know you and your immediate/long-term concerns. In this section, you can add as much or as little as you’d like, but we recommend using this space to share more about you and your therapy goals in your own words. This is also a great opportunity to get some of the more difficult things to speak about “out in the open” for those of us who have difficulty verbalizing exactly what we’d like to say in sessions. Additionally, after you have been matched with a counselor (but before you can speak with them), you will be required to enter your contact information, as well as an emergency contact, for emergency situations. We have included screenshots of this information below.
It is important to note that BetterHelp is not intended for use in crisis situations. Individuals who may be in danger or those with urgent concerns should immediately seek local emergency services. Betterhelp provides a great resource list for those in the following countries:
- United States
- United Kingdom and Ireland
- South Africa
- New Zealand
How much information am I given about my counselor?
When you match with a counselor, you will have access to their “bio.” The counselor bio provides information related to the type of clients they work with, their counseling style, their specialties, the type of services they offer (messaging, live chat, phone calls, video sessions), and licensing information. You can also see reviews from the counselor’s other clients. We have included screenshots below.
How do you communicate with your therapist?
One of the things we really love about BetterHelp is the ability to choose the experience that works best for you. You can communicate via messaging or through phone or video sessions. CC chose to communicate via messaging, and Brittany chose to communicate through phone and video sessions.
What does communicating with your therapist through messaging look like?
CC: It was essentially texting! I had a minor concern that I wanted to talk about with a neutral third-party, so I felt messaging would be a good option (& I wanted to test it out to be able to speak to it!). It was less regimented than a scheduled session because I could reply on my own time. My therapist was always quick to reply (usually within 12-24 hours), and there is also the option to mark the message as ‘Urgent’ if I wanted to share something more pressing with them (although counselor response time is not guaranteed). I often forgot to reply, but my therapist would send a nudge or I’d receive an e-mail reminder that I had unread messages. I preferred the messaging method because it allowed me to engage when I felt “ready” to (I knew I would feel “obligated” to attend scheduled meetings and would feel bad constantly rescheduling).
What does communicating with your therapist through video sessions look like?
Brittany: Meeting my therapist via video was a lot like my previous experience in therapy (without the hassle of a long commute!). Because I wanted to mirror the in-person experience as much as possible, I really enjoyed being able to utilize video sessions. Being able to schedule face-to-face time with my therapist has been awesome because it encourages me to show up authentically and have that visual connection in addition to our messaging throughout the week. I also liked the ease of using BetterHelp’s video platform. You simply select a date/time that works for you and your therapist (see below for scheduling screenshots), hop on the platform at the scheduled time (you will receive multiple email and text reminders), and wait for your therapist to invite you to the video call. Canceling and rescheduling an appointment is also a breeze and can be quickly done with a few clicks.
What if I don’t like the therapist I’m matched with?
Brittany: While I really enjoyed who I was initially matched with, I wanted to have the opportunity to explore some things that came up in those sessions with someone who had a different therapeutic approach. I was so relieved to learn that BetterHelp makes it so easy to make the switch and begin scheduling sessions with your new therapist. If at any time you are unhappy or would like to try someone new, you simply select the “Change Counselor” option in your BetterHelp profile, and they will provide a selection of new counselors to pick from. From this page, you can view their bios and see a summary of their availability, so that you can ensure that it works with your schedule. Once a new counselor is selected, it may take up to 48 hours to process the change. I was able to begin messaging mine within a few hours. Another great thing is that your questionnaire responses (which can be updated at any time) are saved to help your new therapist get to know you, and as always, you have the opportunity to add additional information that may be helpful, such as describing what you felt did not work in previous sessions. NOTE: When you switch therapists, your correspondence with your previous therapist will be removed.
What other features does BetterHelp offer?
There are a number of cool features within BetterHelp! Not only can you journal within the platform, but you can share the entries with your counselor with the touch of a button. BetterHelp also offers “Groupinars” on a regular basis, which cover a wide range of subjects, including boundary setting, self-care, navigating racial injustice, healthy relationships, grief and loss, and trauma recovery. We have included screenshots of these features below.
What is pricing like?
Unlimited access to BetterHelp’s live sessions, 24/7 messaging, journaling, and groupinars typically costs approximately $65-85 per week ($260-$340 per month), however, pricing is based on financial need and assistance is available. Upon registering for BetterHelp, you will be asked to complete a short survey that includes information about your living environment and financial status. Based on these survey answers, you will receive a quote that includes the weekly cost of the BetterHelp service and can decide at that time to input your payment information (BetterHelp does not take insurance). Your membership payments will be charged to a credit card or PayPal on a recurring basis. If you accomplish your goals or if you find online counseling with BetterHelp to no longer be helpful for any reason, you can simply cancel the subscription.
In summary, we are really enjoying our experience with BetterHelp and would encourage anyone thinking about starting therapy to give it a try! If you have any additional questions about BetterHelp, please do not hesitate to let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add it to this page as soon as possible. You can also reach out to us via DM on Instagram (@unapologeticallysurviving).
If you’re interested in trying out counseling with BetterHelp, click here for 10% off your first month. As a reminder, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.