5 Tips to Get the Best Therapist on BetterHelp (for You)
Nothing is more important in therapy than finding a therapist who’s a good match—a therapist who gets you, who makes you want to go to therapy, and who inspires you to do the work.
This is as true on BetterHelp (a sponsor) as it is anywhere else: the way to have the best experience on BetterHelp is to find the BetterHelp therapist who’s the best match for you.
But how do you do that?
We’re here to help. While there’s no magic formula to guarantee you’ll get a good match on your first try, there are ways to improve your chances. Follow these five tips for help finding a therapist you can’t wait to see every week.
Use the directory.
There’s a secret—or at least a less obvious—way to get started on BetterHelp, and it’s the way we recommend: using the directory to pick your own therapist.
The default way to start therapy on BetterHelp is to let their algorithm match you with a therapist. Many people are satisfied with the results of this process. We weren’t.
That’s probably because we’re therapy nerds. We have a lot of picky preferences for what kind of therapists we want to see.
Your mileage may vary.
Most therapists are well-equipped to help you address a wide range of issues.
While we recommend being thoughtful about the therapist you choose, we acknowledge that there is a danger of overthinking therapy. You can get stalled by analysis paralysis and give up before you’ve even begun because you’re so worried about making the wrong choice.
Please don’t do that.
There are so many good therapists out there that chances are good you’ll find one who’s at least good enough to get you started on your path to healing and growth.
That said, if you are picky, it can pay off to spend time researching therapists before you pick one.
There’s a way to do this on BetterHelp, and it helped us find great therapists on there. To use the directory to research and choose a therapist, follow the steps below.
How to Choose Your Own Therapist on BetterHelp
To use the directory to research and compare therapists on BetterHelp, follow these steps:
- Scroll to the bottom of the BetterHelp home page.
- Click on “Find a Therapist” in the menu at the bottom.
- Enter your zip code in the search box at the top of the “Find a Therapist” page.
- Scroll through the list of therapists generated by your search and open the bio pages for therapists who seem like they might be a good match.
- Compare several therapists before choosing one. Look at each therapist’s areas of expertise, personality, and style. See how their pictures and the words they use make you feel.
- If you feel like you’re not quite finding the right match, refresh the page to see a different set of listings. You can refresh the results page as many times as you like.
- Once you’ve found a therapist you want to try, you can sign up to start working with them. To start the process, you can click on “Get Started” in that therapist’s section on the listings page or click on “Work with me!” on that therapist’s profile page.
The number of listings you need to read before finding the right therapist depends on how specific your needs are. We recommend taking the time to find someone who feels right but not getting bogged down by the search for perfection.
It’s not really a huge deal if you don’t find the right therapist the first time—BetterHelp makes it easy to change therapists.
If you’re not sure what to look for when you’re looking at a therapist’s profile, read on. We’ll give you tips on what to focus on to find a therapist who’s the right match.
Read therapist profiles.
You can find a lot of great information on a therapist’s BetterHelp profile.
The first thing you’ll see is their name and profile photo. Just seeing what they look like can help you get a sense of whether you might feel comfortable with them.
What's on a Therapist's BetterHelp Profile Page?
On every BetterHelp therapist’s page, you’ll find:
- Their profile photo
- Their name and credentials
- Their main areas of expertise
- The types of live sessions they offer
- A button you can click to sign up with them
- Their biography and background information
- The methods they use and their additional areas of expertise
- Their license number(s) and the states they’re licensed to practice in
- Things that their clients have said about what it’s like to work with them
All of this information can help you figure out whether this therapist is the right therapist for you. However, we recommend focusing on their areas of expertise, the methods they use, the overall intuitive impression you get of them, and whether you could see yourself working with them.
Right under the therapist’s name, you’ll see short keywords describing their areas of expertise. Check whether these align with the issues or needs you want to address in therapy.
Next, after the list of keywords, you’ll see which type of live sessions that therapist offers. We recommend looking for a therapist who offers video sessions, because live video sessions are the closest thing to getting in-person therapy sessions without actually seeing someone in person. They’re also well-supported as effective by the research.
In the “About Me” and “Professional Experience” sections, you can find out more about where the therapist went to school, their additional areas of expertise, the kinds of clients they’ve helped, how long they’ve been practicing, and what kinds of therapy methods they use.
If you want to learn more about the different methods therapists use, and which one might be best for you, you can read our article, “Which Therapy Method Is Right For Me?”
The “License Information” and “Reviews” sections can be useful if you’re mostly convinced this therapist is a good match and just want a little more information to confirm your choice.
You can use the information in the license information section to look up and verify their license. We recommend that you do this. Skip ahead to Tip #4 for more information on how to do it (and how to understand what you find when you do).
Reading reviews can add to your overall impression of that therapist’s style and approach. We recommend looking for specific information about what they’re like and what kind of personality they have. Do they sound like someone you’d work well with? The answer to that question will help you decide if they’re right for you.
What Should You Look for on a Therapist's Profile?
We recommend focusing on a few things:
- Whether the therapist has expertise that’s relevant to your needs.
- Whether you have things in common (or desirable differences) that make it seem like you’d click with this therapist.
- The therapist’s general level of experience. While younger or newer therapists come with their own strengths, it’s usually better to find a therapist who has at least a few years of experience and a proven track record with clients.
In summary, you’re looking for a therapist who’s been doing this a while, who seems like they’d get you as a person, and who seems attuned to your interests and needs.
If you feel like this therapist is the right one, you can click on “Work with me!” to start the sign-up process. However, we recommend taking a moment to absorb everything before choosing—maybe even sleep on it before you decide. This way, you’re more likely to let your intuition guide you, which is just as important as making sure a therapist checks every box on your list.
Look for a therapist who feels right.
Looking for therapists who meet your essential criteria—such as having expertise in the areas you want to address in therapy—is a quick and important way to narrow down your options.
But that’s not all there is to it. In fact, using this Column A, Column B method to choose a therapist can be misleading.
Think of what it’s like when you’re dating. Looking for a therapist isn’t all that different.
Yes, it’s important to know what your dealbreakers are and what you absolutely need so you can swipe left on the profiles of people who clearly wouldn’t work.
However, as you probably know, going through this process doesn’t guarantee you’re going to want to go on a second date with the person you choose.
In fact, you may have found that the people who worked out the best were the ones who seemed the least likely to work on paper.
While there’s something to be said for knowing what you like, connecting with another person on a deep level is a mysterious process. The only way to truly find the right person for you is to use your intuition—whether you’re looking for a partner or a therapist.
For more information on what intuition is, how it works, and how you can use it to find the right therapist, you can read our article, “Using Your Intuition to Choose the Right Therapist.”
Intuition works best when you meet face-to-face. This is why you usually need to go on a few dates before you find the person you want to keep seeing—and why you might need to meet with a few therapists before you find the right one.
That said, you can still use your intuition when you’re looking at profiles online. The impressions you can get from a photo or the tone of a therapist’s writing “voice” can give you a feel for them that goes beyond how much they have of Column A and how much they don’t have from Column B.
And that’s important, because ultimately, you’re not only looking for someone with the right background and expertise, but someone who’s a personal match—someone whose personality, approach, and style click with you.
How Do You Find a Therapist Who Feels Right?
It can be tricky to find a therapist who feels right just from looking at their profile, but it’s not impossible. You just need to know what to look for. Any of the following can be “intuition triggers”:
- The therapist’s profile photo (Do they feel like someone you’d like to meet and someone you’d feel comfortable talking to?)
- The tone of the language they use (Do they seem playful or serious? Gentle or no-nonsense? Warm or detached?)
- Larger patterns in their background or history that form a certain impression (Do they have multiple things in common with you or multiple relevant areas of expertise that build on one another?)
In general, look for anything that gives you a holistic view of the therapist. Don’t just look for details, but look at the way they add up. Look at how they paint a mental picture or give you an overall feeling about them.
It might take some trial and error (and time) to get a full read on a therapist, but the important part is not to dismiss things like how you feel when you look at their picture or how you feel when you read the words they write. These are just as important as the logical, A to B part of your search.
Check your therapist's license.
Confirming that a therapist has an active license doesn’t prove they’re a good therapist. However, it can help you rule out some bad therapists—and give you the confidence that the therapist you’re signing up to see is a real therapist who is qualified to help you by virtue of the license they carry.
BetterHelp makes this process easy by listing a therapist’s license information on their profile page. You can use the license numbers you see listed there to check their license on the state therapy board’s website. (Though in most cases, all you need to be able to check a therapist’s license is their full name.) Read the tips box below for help on how to do this.
We’ve made it easier to look up a therapist’s license with our State-by-State Therapist License Lookup Guide.
When we noticed that this resource didn’t already exist on the internet, we made it ourselves! We spent hours researching, testing, and compiling a list of every therapy board’s website for every kind of licensed therapist in every state in the U.S. (as well as Washington, DC) so that you could get this essential information with just a few clicks.
Click here to use this resource.
When you check a therapist’s license, you can find out:
- Whether they are, in fact, licensed
- The status of their license, such as “Active,” “Expired,” or “Suspended”
- Whether they’ve ever been in trouble with a licensing board, the nature of that trouble, and whether they’ve addressed and resolved the problem
Keep in mind that therapists can get in trouble for something as small as falling behind on their paperwork. Simple issues like that can be resolved by correcting the problem (i.e., catching up on their notes, and perhaps taking a refresher course on documentation).
On the other hand, some mistakes are so serious that the therapist may have no way to restore their license and must simply surrender it instead and leave the profession (i.e., taking advantage of clients sexually, materially, or otherwise).
To learn more about the process of checking a therapist’s license and how to understand the results of your license check, you can read our article, “How to Verify a Therapist’s License.”
It’s up to you to decide if you can forgive any negative marks on your therapist’s record. In most cases, it’s easy enough to just find a therapist who doesn’t have a history of formal complaints or problems with their licensing board.
Either way, checking a therapist’s license will give you the information you need to cross them off your list or confirm that they should stay on it.
Change therapists if you need to.
While we recommend taking the time to research therapists and choose your own therapist manually, that’s not the only way to find the right therapist on BetterHelp.
What’s the other way? You can use the “Change Therapists” button to try out as many therapists as you like until you find the right one.
Not everyone knows what they’re looking for in a therapist right away.
Sometimes, it’s easier to figure it out after you’ve tried working with a few different people and gotten a felt sense for what does and doesn’t work for you in a therapist.
Just jumping in and starting somewhere is better than getting bogged down in analysis and feeling like there’s just too many options and it’s impossible to make a choice.
Note that meeting with multiple therapists can be time-consuming and frustrating, which is why we still ultimately recommend taking the time to research therapists before choosing one.
But sometimes, even if you don’t plan to try out multiple therapists, you may end up having to change therapists anyway if the first one you choose doesn’t work out.
The good news is that no matter why you might want to change therapists, it’s easy to do on BetterHelp. In fact, we think this is one of its best features.
Instead of having to call multiple therapists, wait for an answer to find out if they have waiting lists, schedule appointments, and drive to different locations, all you have to do to try another therapist on BetterHelp is click “Change Therapists.”
There is definitely a point of diminishing returns for clicking the “Change Therapists” button.
You could spend the entire first month of your subscription paying just to try out different therapists. You could reach the point of analysis paralysis and stall out when you find that you just can’t find the perfect therapist.
So, we recommend embracing good enough—choosing a therapist you click with on at least a basic level, like to talk to, and feel like you can trust.
If it takes a few tries to get there, by all means, embrace how easy it is to try different therapists on BetterHelp.
There’s no reason to stick with a therapist who isn’t working out—or whom you just don’t like. Just click that “Change Therapists” button and move on.
Nothing matters as much in therapy as the relationship you have with your therapist. Taking the time to look for the right therapist increases your chances of having a successful therapy experience—one that leads to positive, lasting change.
BetterHelp gives you many different ways to find the right therapist. Using all the tools they give you will help you get the most out of your BetterHelp subscription.
You can use the directory feature on BetterHelp to browse through all the available therapists for your area and choose one who seems like the best fit for your needs.
We recommend spending time reading therapists’ profile pages and coming up with a list of therapists with relevant expertise who seem like people you’d click with. You can then do a “background check” by checking their licenses.
But while it’s worthwhile to do, don’t worry over this process too much—if the first therapist you choose doesn’t work out, it’s okay. You can simply click the “Change Therapists” button to try someone new.
No matter how you get there, it’s important to find the therapist who’s right for you. Finding a therapist you can’t wait to see every week will help you stick with therapy and achieve your goals. It might even change your life!
Stephanie Hairston is a freelance mental health writer who spent several years in the field of adult mental health before transitioning to professional writing and editing. As a clinical social worker, she provided group and individual therapy, crisis intervention services, and psychological assessments.