Times are tough. Stress, anxiety, and fear about the future or the current state of the world can interfere with your ability to live a happy, productive life. If you are experiencing intense, negative emotions, you may have considered therapy. You may have also seen ads from BetterHelp, which offers both individual and group therapy. Is BetterHelp individual therapy worth the money? This blog post will give you an answer.
Is BetterHelp Individual Therapy Worth It?
There is no guarantee that individual therapy sessions will help you reach your mental health goals. All therapists, and all patients, are different. However, BetterHelp can give you access to a variety of therapists for a single price. If you want to reduce the work of researching therapists in your area, and plan to use the BetterHelp app for weekly individual therapy, it’s worth a try.
What Is BetterHelp?
According to its website, “BetterHelp is a mental health platform that provides online mental health services directly to consumers. The online counseling and therapy services are provided through web-based interaction as well as phone and text communication.”
If you are interested in talk therapy, BetterHelp can connect you with an individual therapist and offer a schedule of group therapy sessions to attend at no extra cost. It is not mandatory to pursue either option.
What Is Talk Therapy?
Talk therapy uses discussion and counseling to manage the symptoms and treat a range of behavioral, mental, and emotional disorders. If you are experiencing anxiety, depression, mania, or want to adjust or eliminate unhealthy behaviors, talk therapy can help you explore these issues and reach a solution.
Does BetterHelp Offer Talk Therapy?
Yes! BetterHelp offers regular talk therapy sessions in the form of both individual and group therapy. Users have access to one individual therapy session and one group therapy session each week, as well as tools to accompany therapy sessions. Additional sessions come with additional fees.
How Much Does BetterHelp Cost Per Month?
As of February 2023, BetterHelp costs $320 per month. The cost is broken down into four weeks, which cost $80 each. Each week of BetterHelp includes one individual therapy session and one group session.
How Much Does Individual Therapy Cost?
Unless your insurance provider covers mental health care (most don’t,) an hour session with a therapist usually costs $80-$150 an hour. Group therapy sessions are typically less expensive.
Depending on how often you want to attend therapy sessions, BetterHelp may save you money or just be a wasted expense. Before you sign up, consider how often you want to go to therapy and what options you have available through health insurance.
How Long Are Individual Therapy Sessions on BetterHelp?
Individual therapy sessions may last from 30-45 minutes. (Group therapy sessions are 90 minutes long.) Users can schedule therapy sessions once per week.
Is Weekly Therapy Necessary?
The answer to this question depends on the individual receiving therapy. A person who is experiencing high levels of anxiety due to their home or professional environment may find that weekly therapy offers respite and hope for the rest of the week. Other people may prefer a monthly therapy session to “check in” on their mental health. Therapists may offer “homework” after weekly or monthly therapy sessions to keep their clients accountable.
Financially, monthly therapy sessions may be a way for patients to receive mental health care without breaking the bank. A combination of monthly individual sessions with more frequent group sessions may also help to reduce costs.
The best way to discover whether you would benefit more from weekly or monthly therapy is by trying both out.
Personal Review of Individual Therapy on BetterHelp
One of our writers took the time to sign up for BetterHelp and share their experiences. Here is what they said about attending some individual therapy sessions:
I got matched with a therapist pretty quickly after joining the app, which was great. Her schedule was pretty open on Mondays, so I chose a time and didn’t talk to her beforehand. We didn’t discuss her credentials, but she is easy to look up on Google and she also mentioned she had a practice outside of BetterHelp if weekly therapy was too much for my particular goals.
This therapist was very good at listening to what I had to say, which aligned with what I was looking for. I did feel a bit strange feeling the need to keep talking, but I began in later sessions to just pause and wait for her to guide the conversation. That worked better, although I’m not sure if I ever found a good rhythm or connection with my therapist. I wondered if it was a lag in connection, too. The app worked well for most sessions, but I did experience a wifi issue one session and we had to hang up and start again. This was frustrating, but ultimately not a big deal.
I’ve done online therapy before, and I appreciated that my therapist could just send me information within the app that I could view after our session. I’m not sure if they were just copied and pasted from Microsoft Word, because the formatting was a little strange, but the content she first sent was helpful. I appreciated that.
Changing Therapists in BetterHelp
A few days before one of our therapy sessions, I was having some anxiety and sent a message to my therapist. It was a weekend, so I didn’t expect a text back. Later that day, she sent a message about a topic in psychology that I didn’t really think applied to my situation. When we discussed it in our next session, she said she sends that information to all her clients. I didn’t really feel like my therapist had properly read or responded to my message, which was frustrating.
After four weeks, I decided to change therapists. I felt awkward doing so, as I had spent four weeks with the previous therapist and didn’t want to hurt her feelings by switching. I also wondered if there was still work to be done and wisdom to be gained from the first therapist, but ultimately I decided to switch. I sent a message in the BetterHelp app telling the therapist that I was switching to explore my options and not because I was frustrated with the quality of our sessions. She did not respond in time for me to switch to another therapist. BetterHelp also asked me to leave a review of the therapist, in which I shared the positives of our sessions. I do think she offered some interesting insights, but there wasn’t a great flow of conversation.
Does BetterHelp Give You The Option of Working with an LGBTQ Therapist?
BetterHelp asks a lot of questions regarding what patients want in a therapist. If you prefer an LGBTQ therapist, a female therapist, a therapist of color, or a Christian-based therapist, for example, you can make that known.
After requesting a new therapist, I was given a choice of a dozen therapists in Texas to look through. I was a little frustrated to see that there were very limited LGBTQ options. I prefer an LGBTQ therapist over one who just has experience working with LGBTQ patients. Fortunately, there are some options for LGBTQ BetterHelp users who want to engage in group therapy sessions focused on their sexuality or gender identity, although that’s not really what I was looking for.
I ended up choosing a female therapist with over a decade of experience. Immediately, I appreciated her energy more than my previous therapist. She was engaging, and enthusiastic, and it felt like we were having a productive conversation. I even admitted that I felt a little odd that I had revealed so much to my previous therapist. (Of course, I know that all therapists are bound to confidentiality.) Even after a single session, I felt relief that I had made the switch to a different therapist.
The Importance of a Supporting Therapist
I felt good after all of my sessions, which was a good sign. I also looked forward to my therapy sessions. Therapy gave me a space to vent and talk about the things that were on my mind.
My therapist and I briefly communicate on the app. She sent me information regarding confidentiality after our first session. I appreciated having that information in writing. When I had to schedule an appointment a few days after our scheduled date, she reached out to check in with me. The message was simple, but it made me feel like I was being supported by someone who valued me as an individual, not just as one of her patients. I really appreciated that.
If I had quit BetterHelp after my first therapist, I might have walked away from the app not feeling great about it overall. Once I was paired with the right therapist, I felt more optimistic about the app, even if the cost is pretty high compared to what I was paying for therapy before.
(Previously I had paid $100 a month for a single session with a therapist.)
My Advice for BetterHelp Users
Spending over $300 each month for therapy might seem like a hefty price, or it might seem like a relief if you had been previously spending $125 for single therapy sessions. If the cost makes you nervous, definitely look for deals through podcasts and ads. Even a 20% off discount makes a difference.
BetterHelp may also be a great way to find a therapist that you can communicate with off the app. I’m not sure if BetterHelp therapists are allowed to find clients through the app, but the very least you could do is look through the list of suggested therapists and contact the ones that you see fit on your own. You may find that they offer monthly sessions or that they charge more for weekly sessions than you can get on BetterHelp. Every therapist is different. Remind yourself that your therapy journey is just that - a journey. There is something to be learned every step of the way.
Just one session with my therapist put me at ease. Do I think I need to see her once a week? Not really. I wish there was a plan where I could spend less money a month in exchange for only one or two therapy sessions. But I’m glad I was at least able to connect with this therapist.
More Reviews of Individual Therapy
The above is just one person’s experience. You can check out reviews on Reddit or other forums to get more perspectives on the ease of using the app, the quality of the therapists, and how effective treatments were.
One user on the mentalhealth subreddit shared, in detail, her experience with two therapists. They wrapped it up with pros and cons of using BetterHelp:
- The therapists can easily ghost you. They can stop replying to messages and leave you in the cold. They can ask to switch to a chat session over calls.
- The app is buggy. It's slow, crashes occasionally, drops calls, has terrible audio quality, and sometimes doesn't start sessions. I didn't get into this above, but basically, all the in-app calls & video chat & UI are awful. Therapists don't get paid unless you use the in-app features, so you can't switch to Zoom / Skype / or a regular call.
- Therapists seem to be spread thin or take on too many clients. My first therapist would constantly mix me up with other clients.
- It's tough to vet out therapists based on experience and credentials on the app. All you see about them is a paragraph they've written about their own background; there are no reviews or credentials verified. The app search is minimal. They show you a few therapists, but there's no filtering capability.
- Changing therapists is easy. It takes a few days, but you can choose a new therapist at any time on the app.
- You can choose between voice chat, video chat, or a chatroom. If you are camera shy or don't have privacy, this can be very useful.
- Depending on your insurance, it can be cheaper at $80 / session.”