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BetterHelp Online Therapy: Pros, Cons, Insurance, & More

Founded in 2013, BetterHelp has become the largest online therapy platform in the world. They offer virtual sessions with licensed and accredited therapists via phone calls, video calls, and handheld chat. You can also opt for group sessions, journaling work, and faith-specific counseling if you’d prefer through BetterHelp’s sister sites.

If you’re on the fence about reaching out for support, don’t be — you are certainly not alone. Conservative estimations of mental health cases in the United States, alone, tally in the millions. The CDC even suggests that up to 20% of Americans will face a mental health condition in any given year, which would imply that cases could easily reach 100 million annually.

And that’s just reported cases.

With an option like BetterHelp, you can easily and discreetly reach out to a trained professional and ask some questions. There’s a momentum to negative thought — depression doesn’t just appear one day; it is the accumulation of thoughts, decisions, and medical history. A therapist can help assess your symptoms and determine how to “right the ship,” which is much easier if caught early.

Here are some ‘pros’ to seeking treatment with BetterHelp:

Multiple ways to access care, and 24/7 scheduling options: you can reach your therapist any time of day

Easy to change therapists: you can always request a new therapist if your current one doesn’t feel right

No time commitment: you do not have to sign up for any specific amount of time, and you can use the app as much or as little as needed

Affordable: you cannot get reimbursed by insurance for BetterHelp, but you can qualify for financial assistance (plus, it only costs $60-$90 per week — often much less that traditional psychiatry)

Wide range of issues addressed: talk therapy, stress, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, family conflicts, parenting, substance use disorders, eating disorders, trauma, anger, and more

There are very few ‘cons’ to choosing BetterHelp, but the service may not be for everyone. Kids and teens cannot seek therapy via BetterHelp, for example. Also, BetterHelp cannot diagnose medical conditions, dispense medication, or fulfill a court order for therapy. It is truly just a talk service meant to help patients feel better in any possible way. Use it for that purpose, and it’s worth its weight in gold.

Curious about BetterHelp’s specific features?

After completing a survey about yourself and your goals for therapy, BetterHelp will match you with a therapist, usually within a day or two. All the company’s counselors have a master’s or doctorate degree and possess at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of experience as mental health professionals. After matching, you, the client, gets to choose how you’d like to contact your new therapist — video call, phone call, or instant messaging.

If you decide to use the chat feature, your therapist may assign guidance, homework, or feedback.

“Therapy can be intimidating, especially for a lot of first-time clients. Text-based communication (texting and live-chat sessions) are a great way to take some of the anxiety out of starting therapy and help clients dive into the process,” says James Imrie, the creative and marketing manager at BetterHelp.

If you want to chat on the phone, the call is made through the app so you don’t have to share your phone number with an actual person.

BetterHelp also offers more than 20 live interactive group seminars each week. These are called “groupinars,” and they cover topics from anxiety to depression. If you want to attend a groupinar but aren’t able to make it to the meeting time, you can get a link to the recording via email.

Why you should give BetterHelp a try

“Online therapy can serve as a source of connection and support, especially during a time (in light of the pandemic) that feels otherwise isolating,” says Sheava Zadeh, PhD, LEP, BCIM, a psychologist and mental health expert.

“Clients who live in remote areas or who have limited mobility or limited access to transportation may be more motivated to participate in online therapy,” Zadeh says. “It allows for more flexibility in scheduling, as clients have access to more specialists and can select the specialists who can work with their schedules.”

Mental health means the world to us. We’ve partnered with BetterHelp in an effort to bring virtual mental health support further into the mainstream. If you sign up for their therapy services through any of our links, 247Health may earn a commission.

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