BetterHelp is one of the biggest online counseling platforms offering their e-counseling services to over 5,000 people a day in the United States. It provides individuals, couples, and teens a way to get help with the convenience of doing it anywhere at any time. You’re able to communicate with a counselor in four separate ways: exchanging messages, live chatting, live phone call conversations, or live video sessions. BetterHelp is an affordable, safe, and extremely professional platform. If you have access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone, you can have a session with your counselor, making it a more accessible and reliable form of therapy for many.
How to Sign Up:
It’s an easy process- nothing to be afraid of. The signup process consists of filling out a questionnaire where you’ll be asked a series of online questions, in multiple-choice format, about yourself to find the best counselor for your needs.
Here is a list of the type of questions to expect. You’ll notice, they’re straight forward.
- Are you looking for Individual, couples or teen counseling?
- What is your gender?
- What is your orientation?
- Have you ever been in counseling or therapy before?
- Are you currently experiencing overwhelming sadness, grief or depression?
- Have you been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?
- Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
- Feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
- Are you currently experiencing anxiety, panic attacks or have any phobias?
Once you’ve finished the questionnaire, which should take about 5 minutes, you will create a private account by entering your name, email, and password. You will use this information to log in to your account to communicate with the therapist. Before you can begin, you will need to verify your email as a security step.
Now, you are ready to pick a counselor. Here you can share if you have any preferences in the age, gender, religious background, or specialty with whom you’ll be matched. Finally, this will be the longest section to fill out. You will be asked a few more questions around the reasons why you are seeking therapy, at which point, you will get matched with a licensed counselor located in your state. This typically takes around 24 hours. After reviewing your information, the counselor will begin the conversation with you through the site’s message platform where communication between you and the counselor will remain private and encrypted.
About BetterHelp Counselors/Therapists:
BetterHelp has over 6,000 counselors, stating to have the world’s largest online counseling platform. The therapist may choose to work as online counselors because the overhead is cheaper than having to work out of an office. As a result, cutting out such extra costs as rent, utilities, and transportation. Also, the therapist can focus entirely on their clients and not have to worry about day-to-day operations such as acquiring clients, billing, and marketing.
BetterHelp does hold its therapists to a high standard. They are all fully licensed in the state that they reside in the United States. Therapists must meet the appropriate credentials, training, experience, and be licensed by a State Board. This may include the following: Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Doctor of Psychology (PsyD), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Only about 15% of the therapists who apply get accepted. It’s an intense verification process that consists of checking credentials with their respective state licensing board, the completion of a case study exam by a licensed clinician and a video interview, which takes about 4-5 weeks to complete. This assures you that you are working with a professional counselor who has your best interest.
How it Works:
BetterHelp therapists can help with a variety of issues and concerns. There are four ways to communicate with your counselor:
- Live Chat Sessions
- Live Phone Sessions
- Live Video Sessions
You can use all these forms of communicating at different times. They can all be used, or you can stick to just one form. Whatever works best for you and meets your needs best.
Messaging is done in a private and secure “room” where only you and your counselor will exchange online messages. These messages won’t be deleted after each session, so you can go back to review and reflect on what was said by the counselor. This is a big bonus that comes with e-counseling. In this room, you can write about anything. You can ask questions, discuss your concerns, explore behavioral patterns, talk about your fears, and worries, etc.
The counselor will respond within 24 hours with some feedback and insight on what you’ve shared. They will pose some questions for you as well which in turn starts and continues a dialogue. You can message your counselor 24/7 and it requires no scheduling because this format of communicating is not in real-time so it could take the counselor a day or two to respond. Once the counselor responds, you will get an email notification.
To have a live chat, live phone, and/or live video session, you will need to schedule a time with your counselor. At the time of your scheduled time, you will log in to your account and chat with them through BetterHelp to keep the conversations private and safe.
Live Phone sessions can be done by using your landline or cell phone, but you will need to log in to your counseling room at the time of the session. The counselor will prompt you when they’re ready to start the phone session at which point the system will ask you for your phone number. It will then call you at that number and connect you to your counselor without your number being revealed to the counselor. It remains anonymous. Live video sessions are done in the counseling room, as well. The counselor will prompt you when they’re ready to start the live video session. Once you confirm their invite, you can chat with each other in a virtual face-to-face setting such as Facetime or Skype.
BetterHelp has a built-in infrastructure that secures your privacy and confidentiality, which are more advanced than what is required by law or regulations. Hopefully, this leaves you feeling safe and at ease that every conversation between you and your counselor is protected by strict federal and state laws.
BetterHelp does not work alongside any insurance companies so nothing needs to be shared or reported with them. Also, you can “Shred” all messages exchanged between you and your counselor if you fear of anyone reading them. Your identity may even remain anonymous with the therapist if you so desire.
The only way your information or records can be released to a third party is with your permission. If this is something you need, your counselor will send you an authorization form for you to fill out and sign before releasing the information.
BetterHelp Cost and Pricing:
The cost of counseling ranges between $35-$80 per week and is charged monthly by credit card or PayPal. You can cancel your membership at any time with no commitments. It’s completely up to you how long you’d like to use BetterHelp but bear in mind, your subscription will continue to renew until you cancel.
Here are the four subscription plans they offer:
- Unlimited $80/week – Unlimited messages and live sessions, charged $80 weekly
- Unlimited $65/week – Four weeks of unlimited messages and live sessions for $260 (Billed Monthly)
- Unlimited $45/week – Three months of unlimited messages and live sessions for $540 (Billed Quarterly)
- Unlimited $35/week – Twelve months of unlimited messages and lives sessions for $1820 (Billed Yearly)
BetterHelp offers affordable pricing options if the cost is an issue. Most services offered at BetterHelp are not covered by health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. It’s best to check your coverage before using health insurance (if covered) because often, BetterHelp can offer you a lower rate than the co-pays of most insurance plans. It’s best to call your insurance company to find out all the details.