I’ve been in and out of therapy for pretty much my entire life. It started in 3rd grade and has continued all the way to the present day. As you could imagine, I’ve been through my fair share of therapists. I’ve loved some, completely disagreed with others, but overall I feel that therapy is a vital part of my transition through life’s phases.
I’ve always done the in-person style of therapy and it’s working very well. My insurance covers the bulk of the expense and it’s been a pretty easy experience so far.
BUT - there’s been a wave of talk about this new app called BetterHelp.
What is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is an app designed to bring the opportunity of therapy into anyone's life in a convenient and affordable* manner.
Per their mission statement - “Making professional counseling accessible, affordable, convenient - so anyone who struggles with life’s challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere.”
Simply put, BetterHelp is an app that is a convenient therapy service right at the touch of your fingers. You pay monthly for the service and get assigned a therapist that you can meet with weekly.
There’s a few parts that I know people are curious about, so I’m going to go ahead and break this post down into separate subsections to make things a little easier to read through.
How much does it cost?
This is the part that I was most curious about, so I know many of you are wondering the same thing!
Unlike traditional therapy where you pay per session, BetterHelp charges you a flat monthly rate for your time with your counselor - whether you meet with your counselor or not. I, personally, wish they had a better way of charging since sometimes counselors are unavailable at a time you need or are out of town and unable to meet. But, no system is perfect!
The plan that I am currently on is $65 a week, so about $260 a month. Luckily, BetterHelp offers a financial aid system, so I get a 15% discount based on my income and current financial status. This cuts my price down to about $55.25 a week or $221 a month. Compared to the traditional therapy that I’m used to, this is quite a jump! After insurance, my copay for an in-person therapy is only $30 a session or $120 a month.
Some of you may be wondering, wtf Taiya - why don’t you just do traditional therapy instead of paying $100 more a month for this BetterHelp situation? I will answer that question very soon, dear friend.
Luckily, BetterHelp can be canceled at any time. If you’re not feeling it anymore, quitting is as simple as heading to the app and pressing a button that says Quit Counseling - EASY PEASY!
The subscription play that I’m on is the most popular plan - being billed monthly. They do have an additional plan that can affect the final price you will pay.
You can be billed weekly at $80 a week, monthly at $65 a month, quarterly at $540 every three months or yearly at $1,820 a year. So the longer your plan is, the less you pay. Shorter durations = more money.
I chose to do the monthly subscription since I’m unsure if I will continue this on a quarterly or yearly term. I like to test things out before I fully commit!
Why are you paying more than going through insurance?
Convenience. That is the 100% honest truth right there. When I was doing traditional therapy, I would dread it because I would have to drive to a counselor’s office after work. Sometimes they would run behind, which sucks! But it would also put me in really bad traffic once I would head home after each session.
It’s hard to find a good therapist and the one that I liked was not in the most convenient location when you’re dealing with California traffic. Especially when everyone else is getting off of work around the same time!
Also, I have my dog with me everyday at my office. This means I then have to drop her off at daycare, which is an additional $24 a day, and worry about picking her up after the fact - MORE TRAFFIC!
So, although I would save money going through my insurance, right now this is just the most convenient way for me to stay sane with therapy.
Are the therapists legit?
Yes! The therapists on the BetterHelp app are all legitimate. They are licensed and trained just like any therapist that your insurance would send you to. You can even see your therapist’s specialties, license number and past experience all on the app.
They’re the real deal!
How does the process work?
When you sign up for BetterHelp, you’ll be prompted to enter all of your normal information - email, password, name, reason for joining, etc. You’ll then set up your payment plan and move on to the fun part - meeting your therapist!
BetterHelp takes the information they know about you to pair you up with a therapist that they think best suites your wants and needs. This is bitter sweet considering they don’t know your personality and could pair you up with someone you totally don’t jive with. I got very lucky in the fact that I love my therapist. She’s a total gem and we’re definitely on the same page as far as therapy styles.
Once you're paired up (which could take 24-48 hours, I believe), you can then exchange messages with your new therapist. In my experience, my therapist asked me a bunch of questions via the messaging feature before we even set up an actual meeting. This was so we didn’t have to waste time going over a backstory and could get into the nitty gritty when it came time for our actual session.
The great thing about BetterHelp is you get unlimited messages with your subscription. I can message my therapist whenever I want and about whatever I want. They even have an option to mark your message as urgent if it’s about something that you need to have seen immediately. Super cool!
Once you exchange a few messages, your therapist will open up the option to schedule your session. A calendar shows the days and times that your therapist is available for sessions. My therapist is available 3-4 days a week and has a good amount of availability in the afternoon / early evening, which works great for my schedule.
If you don’t see a time or day that works for you, BetterHelp encourages you to message your therapist to see if you can come to an agreement on a particular time that works best for you both.
You get to choose how you conduct your session - video or audio. I love video sessions because I need to be face to face with someone in order to open up fully. The video session works identical to a FaceTime call, except it is through their app.
Your therapist will call you and begin the session at the time that you chose.
My therapist only offers 30 minute sessions. I actually just found out that this is completely up to the therapists. They can offer anywhere from 30 mins to 1 hour. I do wish that my sessions were more in the 45 minute range, but I’ve never had a problem getting things said in a timely manner.
Each session is run just like traditional therapy. There’s no difference at all, which I love! Your therapist can even assign goals or homework at the end of each meeting.
My therapist and I worked out a goal in which I complete one worksheet a week. The worksheet that I’m doing is based on cognitive therapy and has been a really great tool in my journey. The worksheets are great because they’re all through the app. This means that I can fill it out and submit it so that my counselor can see all of my answers. You can also mark your goal as complete so that your therapist knows you’re sticking to what was talked about.
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My only complaints
I do wish my sessions were longer. Like I mentioned above, the 30 minute sessions that I am given are based on my therapists regulations - not those of BetterHelp. So this is nothing against the app itself!
I don’t necessarily agree with the way they charge. I wish it could be per session, but I do understand that the subscription comes with unlimited messaging with your therapist. It is just inconvenient if it is hard to agree on a time or if the therapist (or you) are out of town.
What I love
I love the messaging feature. It’s a great way for me to communicate with my therapist and get things out that don’t need to be taking up a whole session. Or if I’m really going through some shit, I can get it off my chest right then and there.
The financial aid is a game changer. I was nervous when I saw the initial price, but I was relieved when I saw that there was an option to lower the cost a little bit.
Convenience is a must. Like i said, it’s hard for me to get to a traditional office based therapist with my current situation. Having the option of just logging onto my app and meeting with my therapist is freakin amazing.
Disclosure : Some of the links within this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and continue on to a purchase.