People ask me all the time my thoughts about online therapy providers and I thought I would share my personal experience with using their telehealth services.
As a practicing therapist in Mount Pleasant, I know it can be difficult sometimes to find the right counselor when traveling or when you live far from the city. And, when your schedule does not allow for any flexibility, online counseling can be a great alternative.
For me, when it came time to pick an e-counseling service, I felt like it was a bit of a toss-up. There were a few highly recommended companies, such as BetterHelp, so I went with them as they were well-established and offer the biggest variety of therapists.
Fortunately, I was pleased with BetterHelp. I have read good and bad reviews on them on the internet, which is quite normal, so I figured I would add my two seconds from the perspective of a licensed therapist in South Carolina.
Here are the five reasons why I would recommend BetterHelp
1. Easy to Use
The sign-up process was honesty quite easy. It took me 10 minutes to complete. I answered several multiple-choice questions, mostly about myself and my current emotional and mental health. I wasn’t asked anything too personal, so I didn’t have to worry about confidential information landing in someone’s hands I didn’t trust yet. I like that they offer 24/7 unlimited messaging. I heard back from a signed therapist within 24 hours of my first message. Later, I wanted to explore some of the other services they offer such as a phone session and video session. I had to make an appointment for those but that was quick and easy too.
It was nice meeting my therapist in person. I was apprehensive at first about doing a video session, but I am happy I did. Once I overcame my initial fear of not knowing how this will go, I started to see the benefits of video online therapy.
BetterHelp has fair prices, compared to its competitors. I opted for the weekly option recently which suited my needs well. A while back, I went with the monthly option while I was going through something that I knew would last for a few months and could really use a solid support system. I found it encouraging that a longer subscription plan was also cheaper. In some ways, it helped with my treatment plan because I knew what to expect and I knew that I wouldn’t have to go through this alone.
They even offered a sliding scale when it was starting to be more of a financial burden. I was surprised that they were willing to accommodate. That was a huge relief!
My therapist replied to me within 24 hours and up to twice a day, which was perfect for me at the time. Since my schedule was crazy busy, I never demanded immediate replies, so it gave me not only time to reply but also, I had time to reflect on their insightful suggestions and questions. Between my therapist and me, our communication was always very transparent and respectful.
Video sessions were better when I had more pressing concerns. Email messaging became more challenging when I was starting to feel more anxious and restless. This is when I realized that it’s best to implement a more regular schedule with my therapist and not just when I felt super overwhelmed or helpless. This helped me feel more supported and I didn’t want to run away from my problems as much.
4. Therapist – Client Relationship
I enjoyed the few therapists I worked with on BetterHelp. I was matched based on my gender preferences, location, and the therapist’s specialties. I opted for a female mental health professional, but I was assured that if I could switch therapists at any point if I felt like it wasn’t a good fit. Fortunately, I found them all to be warm and thoughtful. I found myself connecting with older therapists, as well, as it served me in my healing process. That won’t be true for everyone, that’s why it’s ok to work with several therapists before realizing if the therapist’s gender, age, or ethnicity affects the way you feel toward them or yourself.
BetterHelp was helpful with this step because it offered a variety of therapists with a range of different genders, age groups, and ethnicities.
Ending ties with my therapist was easy, even though I felt bad, the therapist made it easy. They informed me that I had no reason to feel bad. That they were there to help me with my needs. And, that I am always welcome to come back to BetterHelp. I can even request the same therapist if they are available. I found this to be the hardest part of the entire process because it was almost too easy to stop an online service. It felt too abrupt. This is where in-person therapy differs from online therapy.
Meeting with someone in person, I believe, would have made me commit to therapy for a little bit longer because I would have felt like I was a part of a commitment. For me, meeting someone in person helps me form a stronger bond with them, but this won’t be the same for everyone, especially when it comes to therapy.
And so, this was my experience with BetterHelp. Take it for a grain of salt, as I am a therapist so I might be biased to what I may consider important or not. Everyone has their own preferences and may have a difference in options. I expect that and I would really love to learn more about your experiences with BetterHelp. It is always good to stay well-informed and gain different perspectives.
I have included some questions below to help create an open dialogue about BetterHelp’s online counseling services.
- Did you find it easy to use?
- Did you run into any problems with your therapist?
- Which form of communication did you try and find the most effective
(video, phone, messenger, chat)?
- Did you find the prices affordable?
- Would you recommend online counseling for everyone?