Nowadays, there are plenty of online mental health counseling options. Apps and websites such as BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Cerebral allow you to speak with a mental health professional from the comfort of your own home.
After moving across the country and losing my health insurance, I decided to try BetterHelp, and here are my observations about online therapy:
The counselor I matched with was extremely attentive to my concerns. In my first few months of seeing him, I felt like he gave me good tools to use in my dark moments.
The app is nice in that it gives you the option of doing a video call, phone call, or text chat with your counselor, but the medium of communication that you use can greatly affect your experience. I went with the video call option, and when we spoke, the counselor seemed talkative and helpful. But whenever I texted him, he wrote short, disjointed messages that didn’t help me at all. I didn’t mind too much since I rarely used the text option, but it was still vaguely concerning.
I liked how my counselor really listened to me and focused on reframing my negative thoughts, but the cost of the app became overwhelming.
Once my YouTuber coupon code expired, the BetterHelp app cost $260 per month – more than my monthly insurance and car payments combined.
The app can also be unsustainable when you try to balance your sessions with your work schedule. BetterHelp rarely had available appointment slots under two weeks away. I only received my work schedule a few days in advance, which made scheduling appointments difficult.. If you work a 9-5 job, scheduling sessions is next to impossible. This can give you far fewer sessions than you pay for.
During my most recent session with my BetterHelp counselor, we talked about how my career isn’t where I want it to be. My counselor then went on and on about all of LinkedIn’s great resources… for 20 whole minutes. I felt my eyes glaze over and started to tune him out, too. My counselor meant well, but I couldn’t help but think that this conversation isn’t worth $260.
I decided to cancel my BetterHelp subscription.
When my friend told me that her BetterHelp counselor asked her for her astrological sign because it could influence her emotions, I knew that I wouldn’t regret my decision to stop using the app.
After doing even more research, I discovered that initially, BetterHelp did not have to verify the legitimacy of their counselors. It was only after the company was criticized by the public that they changed their Terms of Service to remove the burden of proving the legitimacy of the counselor from the app user.
Online therapy apps can be helpful if you desperately need therapy and don’t have health insurance, you to have research which apps have the best therapists. Online therapy isn’t as bad as people might say, but if you can help it, it definitely shouldn’t be your first choice.
Featured Image by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels
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