Is BetterHelp Worth It? (2024)
Whether BetterHelp is worth it depends on what you’re looking for and how it compares to other options where you live.
You’ll want to consider whether you can find a better match with a therapist locally or online, whether you’re able to commute to a therapy office or prefer the convenience of online sessions, and how BetterHelp’s prices compare to local therapists’ prices.
Many people find that weekly costs on BetterHelp are lower than local per-session therapy costs. The weekly cost of BetterHelp is between $65 and $90 per week, and many people live in areas where therapy costs $100 to $200 per session (or sometimes even more).
You can use local or online therapy directories to compare prices.
What If You Have Insurance?
If you have insurance, your per-session cost with insurance will probably be lower than BetterHelp’s weekly prices. Average insurance co-pays for specialist visits (including psychotherapy) are about $30 to $50 per session.
However, whether insurance is your best option will depend on whether there are therapists who are a good match for you in your insurance network and whether the therapy you want to get is covered by insurance. Therapy is typically only covered by insurance when the purpose of your sessions is to treat a mental health condition.
Some insurance plans can also present barriers to affordable care, such as high deductibles or a limited number of therapists who accept your specific plan. We recommend researching your plan and comparing your options before making a decision.
While BetterHelp isn’t the best fit for everyone, many people rate it highly and say it’s a good value for them. Many users give it good reviews for ease of use, accessibility, cost, and how much they like their therapist.
At OpenCounseling, we believe that whether any therapy experience is worth it depends on whether you and your therapist are a good match. Many people—including us—have found therapists who were a great match on BetterHelp and had great experiences because of that.
What Discounts Are Available for BetterHelp?
You can get 20 percent off your first month by clicking the link below:
How Much Is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is a subscription service that bills every 4 weeks and costs between $65 and $90 a week (updated 12/1/2023). How much you pay depends on your location, preferences, and therapist availability.
BetterHelp offers income-based financial aid. If you qualify for financial aid, it can reduce your cost significantly.
To apply for financial aid, follow this link. When you enter your payment details, look for the “Apply for Financial Aid” link and click it. Next, answer a few questions about your income and ability to pay.
Any discount you receive is instant and based on a good-faith representation of your finances.
What Is BetterHelp Like?
Depending on how you use it, BetterHelp can feel like traditional therapy or like something new and different. Many find it to be an up-to-date alternative that’s more flexible than traditional therapy.
There are subtle differences that can give in-person sessions an edge—think about the difference between having a video call with someone and being with them in person. You generally feel more connected when you’re in the same room.
However, there are many benefits to remote therapy sessions as well, including accessibility, comfort, and cost. For many clients, the benefits of online therapy sessions are more significant than the benefits of in-person sessions.
Therapists see the value, too—many now offer video sessions alongside traditional face-to-face sessions, whether through BetterHelp or through their own private practice.
What Kind of Sessions Should You Get?
When you get weekly live video sessions, BetterHelp feels a lot like traditional therapy. However, if you opt for audio or live chat sessions, the experience will be different.
We believe video sessions give you the best value, but we also appreciate that there can be circumstances when audio or even chat sessions are a helpful option. For example:
- You might be traveling somewhere without high-speed internet or where you can’t be alone.
- You might want to share something about a partner, child, or roommate who’s hanging out right outside your door.
- You might have to squeeze in a session during a short lunch break at your work desk.
In any of these cases, it’s great to have a way to see your therapist that still works instead of having to cancel a session—or not even go to therapy at all.
One of the unique features of BetterHelp is the ability to message your therapist through your online (or in-app) “therapy room.” You can message your therapist as often as you want, and they’ll typically reply once a day (though they may take certain days off).
While it’s important to understand and observe healthy boundaries in therapy, and it isn’t healthy to message your therapist too much, many clients find the right balance on BetterHelp.
It can be a great additional value to be able to touch base with your therapist about what comes up in your day-to-day life between sessions. Your BetterHelp chat room can become a useful place to note things you want to talk about during your next live session.
What Is Included in BetterHelp's Subscription?
Your monthly BetterHelp subscription includes one weekly live session and the ability to message your therapist anytime. (Note that while you can send as many messages as you want, therapists typically respond only once a day, and they may take certain days of the week off.)
Live sessions can be live video, audio, or chat sessions. They’re typically between 30 and 45 minutes long. You and your therapist can determine the length and frequency of your sessions. To get the best value out of your BetterHelp subscription, we recommend weekly full-length live video sessions.
Another perk that comes with your BetterHelp subscription is that you can change therapists as often as you need. Changing therapists can be cumbersome when you do it the old-fashioned way—you’ve got to start the rounds of calling and checking availability all over again, like you did when you searched for your first therapist. On BetterHelp, it’s as easy as clicking the “Change Therapists” button.
You can change therapists as often as you want on BetterHelp for no additional cost (though it can sometimes take a little extra time to get a live session scheduled with a new therapist). This can be a great way to try out a few different therapists, which you often need to do before you find one who’s the right match.
You pay for a month at a time on BetterHelp, but if you ever need to take a break or go on vacation, you can pause your subscription for up to three weeks by reaching out to BetterHelp’s customer service team at [email protected]. (If you want to pause your subscription for longer, you’ll need to cancel and resubscribe.)
You can cancel your subscription at any time and for any reason. Note, however, that your cancellation is not effective immediately but is based on your billing cycle. This means your subscription will be active through the end of the current pay period.
If you cancel early in the billing cycle, you may or may not be able to get a refund for unused time. To request a refund, you can contact BetterHelp customer service at [email protected].
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Is BetterHelp worth the price?
Whether BetterHelp is worth it depends on your unique circumstances, needs, and preferences. The per-session cost for BetterHelp ($65 to $90 if you get weekly live sessions) can often be cheaper than other local options.
Ultimately, whether any therapy is worth it depends on whether you can find a good therapist who’s a good match for you. Many have done that on BetterHelp and found it to be a great value.
In general, we think it’s worth it, as do many other BetterHelp users. Many say BetterHelp connected them with a therapist who’s a great match and that they have been pleased with what they’ve accomplished in therapy through the platform.
BetterHelp users appreciate being able to have sessions from home or other locations and being able to message their therapists when things come up between sessions.
Is BetterHelp better than Talkspace?
Which platform is best for you depends on what you’re looking for. BetterHelp and Talkspace are similar, but not exactly the same, and each platform offers features and benefits that the other doesn’t.
Is BetterHelp cheaper than regular therapy?
Whether BetterHelp or local in-person therapy sessions are cheaper depends on where you live. If you live somewhere that the cost of living is low, you may find therapists who offer sessions for less than the weekly cost of a BetterHelp subscription.
However, in many places, the average cost of therapy sessions is well over $100 per session. The cost of a BetterHelp subscription is $65-$90 per week. This means the most you’ll pay on BetterHelp is $90 per week, or $90 per session for weekly sessions (that price also includes all messaging for the week).
We recommend comparing BetterHelp’s rates with local therapist listings where you live to see if it’s cheaper for you.
Is BetterHelp expensive?
Whether the cost of a BetterHelp subscription will be expensive or affordable depends on your income and your monthly budget. BetterHelp takes this into account and offers income-based financial aid. With financial aid, your monthly subscription can be significantly lower.
We recommend comparing BetterHelp’s rates to local therapy rates where you live, including discounted and sliding-scale rates. (With financial aid, BetterHelp can still be cheaper than income-based sliding-scale rates from local therapists in private practice, but you’ll need to do the research to know for sure.)
Is BetterHelp free?
BetterHelp isn’t free, but it does offer income-based financial aid that can reduce the cost of a monthly subscription.
Honestly, it’s hard to find free therapy, even from non-profits and the public mental health system. It’s easier to get free counseling if you’re a member of a special group—for example, if you’re a veteran or a victim of domestic violence—as there are special organizations that serve these groups.
You can also sometimes get free therapy from trainee therapists at local colleges and universities, though even they often still charge at least a nominal fee per session. Still, it can be worth exploring these and other options, as it is possible to find free therapy sometimes.
We encourage you to explore our articles and listings to find potential options for affordable therapy where you live. Our online listings include local non-profits, college therapy departments, and state-funded therapy clinics. Please visit our home page to search for providers in your area.
Does BetterHelp offer student discounts?
As far as we know, BetterHelp doesn’t offer a specific student discount. However, they offer income-based financial aid that can be significant if you are a student with little to no income.
Some colleges and universities offer free or discounted access to BetterHelp through student wellness programs. Most also offer free or low-cost in-person therapy or counseling sessions to students through on-site campus counseling programs.
You can read our article on college and university counseling programs for more information.