You may have heard of BetterHelp and how it provides virtual counseling. However, because of the many sites that claim to provide such kinds of services yet, they are questionable, you may be wondering, is BetterHelp legit?
Wonder no more since this is an honest review of this therapy platform. It will show you whether Betterhelp is legit or not.
More about BetterHelp
BetterHelp was founded by Alon Matas and Danny Bragonier in 2013. This is after Alon Matas sought depression counseling services. However, it is now under Teladoc, a telehealth company that Alon acquired in 2014.
Using the platform, you can get individual, couples, and teen therapy. Therapists specialize in areas such as anxiety, relationships, depression, stress, addictions, trauma, sleeping, parenting, anger, eating, family conflicts, self-esteem, religion, grief, LGBT matters, and more.
However, BetterHelp is not suitable for you if it’s an emergency situation, you are a minor, therapy is required by court order, you need prescriptions and you don’t have a device to connect to the internet or you don’t have internet.
How to use BetterHelp
BetterHelp is an online platform that you can access using your smartphone or computer. Once you need their services, you sign up, fill a questionnaire and then you are matched up with a counselor.
The questionnaire contains questions about you and the kind of therapy you need. Based on the answers you provide; you are then matched up with a therapist. You can also opt to choose a therapist from the database.
You can be matched with a therapist within hours or days, depending on availability. Usually, it takes 24 hours or less. Your membership starts once you establish contact with the counselor.
Are the therapists real?
Not only are the therapists real, but they are qualified, licensed, and experienced. They consist of accredited psychologists, clinical social workers, family therapists, and professional counselors who are all licensed. Also, they have a doctorate or a master's degree in their field of specialization.
Before joining the platform, they are vetted such that only 15% of those who apply are approved.
The vetting process is rigorous and includes verifying credentials, reviewing experience and background as well as doing a skills test. On top of that, they are supposed to have continuous quality improvement and client feedback.
With this, the client is assured to get similar professionalism and quality service as you would from an in-person therapist. However, you have the freedom to choose when and how to communicate with your therapist.
How to choose a therapist
How do you choose a therapist? At BetterHelp, either you can be matched with a therapist or you can choose one from the database.
If you are matched with a therapist and after a few sessions you don’t feel comfortable with them, you can email BetterHelp and request another matching.
How do you communicate with the therapist?
BetterHelp has various ways of communication that consist of chats, video sessions, phone calls, and messaging. You are free to choose the method that you are comfortable with.
To communicate in real-time with your therapist, also known as live sessions, you can choose between the video sessions, chats, and phone calls using your phone, computer, or tablet. You need to schedule these beforehand.
You can use messaging to communicate at any time. This doesn’t need scheduling. You simply send a message to the therapist whenever the need arises, at any time, no matter where you are. Usually, the counselors respond to messages once a day, or they can do it more frequently if you prefer.
How much does it cost?
Therapy sessions at BetterHelp cost between $60 and $90 per week. The cost depends on whether you are getting discounts and financial aid. The billing is done every 4 weeks.
You can cancel your membership at any time.
Is it HIPAA compliant?
BetterHelp is HIPAA compliant. The therapists adhere to HIPAA privacy rules to protect the medical records and information of their patients.
However, a patient can seek the services anonymously without divulging their real identities.
Is it effective?
Studies have shown that legitimate online sessions help in improving mental health and changing their lives. One such study is by the University of California – Berkeley and San Francisco which found that those who used BetterHelp experienced reduced depression symptoms.
Also, the testimonials and feedback from users about how the platform helps them to make changes in their lives is another proof of its effectiveness and legitimacy.
However good it is, there are some situations in which you shouldn’t substitute BetterHelp with in-person therapy.
Such include when you need an official diagnosis when you require medication prescribed and to fulfill court orders. In these instances, it's better to opt for face-to-face therapy.