I’ve spent half of my life going to therapy but only started doing online therapy this year. When I get depressed it’s really hard to talk to someone face to face. I loved the idea of being able to chat or text with a therapist so I decided to give online therapy a try. If you’re struggling with your mental health I recommend you take advantage of any resources and support available to you. I wasted years of my life trying to beat depression “on my own” and when I think about all the experiences I missed out on because of my depression I really regret it. Here is my honest review of the online therapy service I use (BetterHelp).
What Is BetterHelp?
BetterHelp is an online service that matches you with a therapist and then you can text, call or video conference your therapist. The best part is that the service is unlimited which means you can talk to your therapist multiple times a week. I think this is a huge benefit of online therapy and I really like that I can send my therapist messages anytime I’m feeling anxious or depressed throughout the day. When I was seeing a therapist face to face I had to wait until my weekly appointment if something came up. I love that I am able to write my therapist emails from my phone as things come up and she usually responds within 48 hours.
Benefits of Therapy
There are many proven benefits of going to therapy. I personally have been able to learn how to manage severe anxiety and clinical depression with regular therapy. Before I went to therapy I didn’t have any coping tools. I felt trapped inside my mental illness and I didn’t see any way out. My clinical depression was untreated for ten years before I finally got the help I needed. Now I have established a whole routine that helps me keep my anxiety and depression under control. Without my therapists, I don’t know if I ever would have been able to learn the skills I needed to slowly pull myself out of depression and start living life on my own terms. My therapist gave me someone to talk to that really understood mental health and helped walk me through the process of recovery. I really don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t decided to go to therapy.
Here are some of the benefits of therapy:
- Learn new coping skills
- Gain an understanding of mental health
- Have a safe space to talk about past and present issues
- Get a professionals perspective and opinion on what you are struggling with
- A supportive environment for processing trauma
- Start swapping out unhealthy coping tools for new healthy habits
- New ideas for coping with stress and trauma
- Make long-term changes in your life
- Get the support and information you need to manage your mental health
Myths About Therapy
I have a whole podcast about mental health and asking for help. There is still so much stigma around going to therapy that it can be difficult to reach out. There are tons of myths about going to therapy that keeps people from reaching out and getting professional help for their mental health. Here are a few myths you might have heard or believe about therapy:
- I should deal with this myself
- Going to therapy makes me weak
- Only people that are really messed up go to therapy
- I won’t learn anything from talking to a therapist
- I have good friends and family so I don’t need to talk to a therapist
- Therapists only want to make money
- I went to therapy once and didn’t like it so it’s not for me
- Everything you learn in therapy is just common sense
Signs It’s Time To Try Therapy
There are lots of signs its time to reach out to a therapist. I personally believe everyone could benefit from a good therapist even if they aren’t struggling with a mental health issue. My therapist helps me stay high functioning and gives me an outlet to process the daily stress that life throws at me. However, if you are struggling with any of the issues below that could be a sign that you should really try reaching out for professional help.
- Your relationships are strained and difficult
- You don’t have any interest in doing the activities that you used to enjoy
- You’re not sleeping enough or are sleeping too much
- You have noticed a drastic decrease in your level of functioning
- Doing everyday tasks feels difficult
- You feel out of control or are having difficulty managing your emotions
- You recently went through a traumatic event and are struggling to process it
- You are using a substance or other unhealthy coping mechanism
- Your grades or work are suffering
- Your friends or family have told you that they’re concerned
All of the counselors that work at BetterHelp are accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC). They all have a Masters Degree or a Doctorate Degree. They have over 2,500 counselors that you can be matched with. When you signup you will take a short survey to help match you with a therapist that specializes in what you want help with. If you get matched with a counselor that you don’t think is right for you it is easy to request to switch to a different counselor. I really like the counselor I am matched with, she is easy to talk to and always has lots of ideas for new things to try and coping strategies. I also like how easy it is to switch counselors. The first person I was matched with wasn’t a great fit for me so I just hit a button and was assigned a new counselor. Now the therapist I work with is a total rockstar and she has really been able to help me through some tough seasons. Sometimes you have to try out a few different people to find the person that is right for you and it’s way easier to do this on BetterHelp than in person.
BetterHelp has counselors with training in lots of different areas like stress, anxiety, relationships, parenting, depression, addictions, eating, sleeping, trauma, anger, family conflicts, LGBT matters, grief, religion, self-esteem and more. They will have you take a survey and then you will be assigned a counselor that specializes in the areas that you need support in.
BetterHelp is not recommended if you:
- You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others
- You are a minor or you are under the care of a legal guardian
- You are in an urgent crisis or an emergency situation
- You have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, or if you have been advised to be in psychological supervision or psychiatric care
- You were required to undergo therapy or counseling either by a court order or by any other authority
- You do not have a device that can connect to the Internet or you do not have a reliable Internet connection.
The great thing about subscribing to BetterHelp and being in regular contact with your counselor is that you have an immediate support person and resource if shit hits the fan. We all go through hard times and the great thing about having a relationship with a counselor is that you have someone ready to step in and help you right away. Paying for therapy has been the best money I’ve ever spent and in my opinion, it’s worth the cost to have a trained professional give me advice. If you’re struggling with mental health issues I bet you’ve had friends or family give you some pretty terrible advice (I know mine have!). Not everyone understands mental health issues and by talking to a professional you are able to get advice from someone who is well educated on the issues you are struggling with. Having a professional available to give you support can be freaking life changing.
I’m sure you know that therapy is freaking expensive, BetterHelp costs $65.00 per week. I know that is a lot of money but I think they provide an incredible service for that price. The fact that I can message my therapist and she gets back to me in the same day is pretty damn amazing. A one-hour session with my old therapist cost me way more than $65.00 per week and if anything came up during the week I had to wait until my next session to talk about it. With BetterHelp I can type out an email right when things come up for me or schedule an extra phone or video chat if I’m having a rough week. I also really like that it is a flat monthly fee. That means if I schedule extra sessions or email my counselor more often than usual it won’t cost me any extra money.
Being able to talk to someone over email is a huge plus for me. There are certain topics that I want to discuss with a therapist face to face eventually but I’m not ready yet. For some reason talking to a real live person is a lot scarier than email. I’ve been able to discuss some of these issues with my therapist over email and it has really helped me. I’ve been able to get some support and coping ideas while still feeling like I am in my comfort zone. If talking to someone about your issues gives you anxiety the email feature in the app is a great option for you. I also like that any time I am feeling super overwhelmed I can write an email to my therapist in the moment to let her know what is going on and then we can discuss it at a later time. It makes me feel a lot less alone to know I can reach out any time.
I love BetterHelp because it’s so much more convenient to talk on the phone or on the computer than to have to drive to my therapists’ office. Face to face counseling can be really stressful for me because I have anxiety and sitting and talking to someone about what’s bothering me can be really difficult. When I’m struggling I find it a lot less stressful and intimidating to use the chat feature on BetterHelp. I hate going to therapy after work. I feel too damn tired to really get much out of it. With BetterHelp I’m able to schedule calls with my therapist on my lunch break which is way more convenient for my schedule. It saves me a ton of time because I don’t have to drive to the office, find a parking spot, walk to the office and then drive home. This service is also a lot more accessible to people with children because you don’t need to have childcare to use it. I have found that talking to a therapist via video chat is really effective for me and I am just more comfortable talking to someone in my own home than in an office.
–BetterHelp therapists can’t prescribe medication. If you are interested in learning about medication options you should talk to your Doctor.
-It’s expensive. BetterHelp is wayyyyyyy cheaper than what I used to pay to see my therapist face to face but let’s get real it costs a lot of money. I think BetterHelp offers an excellent value because you get unlimited access to your counselor. The website says your therapists reply within 48 hours but mine almost always replies on the same day.
-It’s easy to blow off appointments or not take it seriously. To get the most out of BetterHelp you need to have some self-discipline to make sure your scheduling time to talk to your counselor and fully participating in all of your sessions. BetterHelp charges you by the month not per session so it doesn’t cost you any extra if you miss a session. This makes it easy for someone like me to skip their appointments. I’ve gotten into a good routine now by sticking to a scheduled time every week but if you’re not someone that will be able to make yourself do it every week you won’t get your money’s worth.
-It’s not a good option if you need to get out of your house or have face to face interaction with someone. While you can video chat with your therapist it’s not the same as talking to someone in real life. If you need more in-person interaction you should stick with traditional therapy.
-It’s easier to have a miscommunication over text than in person. I try to be really clear when I write to my therapist but it’s just easier to misunderstand each other over a computer than in a face to face therapy session.
I hope this BetterHelp review helps you decide if online therapy is right for you. If you’ve been wanting to start therapy but you haven’t felt comfortable enough I recommend you try this service. It’s an easy and affordable way to get professional mental health advice. If you decide it’s not for you then you can always cancel it after the first month. I think it’s a great resource and I recommend giving it a try if you’re struggling with your mental health or need some professional support. If you need immediate support check out the crisis text line to talk to a crisis specialist via text message.
If you’re looking for some more free mental health resources check out my journal prompts for depression and anxiety or go read my anxiety and depression survival guides.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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