5 Better Help Horror Stories

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In this blog we provide you with a list of horror stories from the users of Better Help.

Better Help Horror Stories

In October 2018, BetterHelp was knee deep in controversies due to the horror stories of their experiences with the therapist and the services provided by the platform. 

Some of the major concerns that were raised included use of unfair pricing, bad experiences with the app, and the therapist, the controversy that the reviews were from paid reviewers and actors, as well as unethical issues surrodunign use of data from the platform. 

Here are some horror stories from reddit users from the subreddit r/talktherapy:

The first story by a user has highlighted unethical issues and behaviors by the therapist who went on to belittle, humiliate the client to the point where the client did not feel safe and was almost pushed to talking about their own life.

“When I signed up for Betterhelp, I was matched with a therapist that wasn’t really responsive. So I solicited a change of counsellor. This time I could pick somebody. I went for one that looked right for me. He was very responsive, and on the very first day, we arranged our first video chat. He was a bit odd, but some of the things he said made sense, so I decided to book another video chat for the next day. Little did I know I was about to be humiliated and belittled by this man. The tone of the conversation was completely different. He implied that his life was almost perfect and that I should be like him. He also used his age to say I didn’t know anything about life. I felt that everything I said was being used against me. At a certain moment, he wanted to imply I had signs of narcissism in me, and having suffered from narcissistic abuse pretty much my whole life, that was veeery hard to hear. I had never felt this unsafe with a therapist before. He admitted himself to being a narcissist. Close to the end of the session, while I couldn’t stop crying and every time I tried to say something, I would cry even more, he said “now, you have one minute to share your thoughts before our time is over”. He said it that way. Cold. Distant. Not addressing any of my emotions.

After the session, I almost killed myself. I couldn’t understand how I could live without hurting everyone around me. I felt that I deserved to disappear completely without any evidence of my existence because I was the source of the worst evil and everything that would ever come out of me was poisonous.” (Source: r/talktherapy)

Similar to this, we have another story:

“Had an absolutely terrible experience on BetterHelp too. I could not for the life of me find a good therapist there. I had one therapist that was extremely condescending and kept saying how terrible my problems in life were. I don’t know if that’s normal but it made me feel even worse. I had to just tell her off during my session.”(source: r/talktherapy)

Another user has spoken up about his own experience with this therapist who has pushed onto the client their own agenda without paying attention to the client’s own story and narrative:

“No one seemed to remember what was going on in my life week to week. One therapist strongly pushed that my problems were due to me really being gay. She pushed it pretty hard. It’s been about 2 years since then, and really, I’m still not gay. I liked some of the group calls, but overall I think they overwork their therapists.

I’m much happier now that I’ve found someone local in private practice. It’s not perfect, but she remembers me. And has not been weird about my sexuality.” (source: r/talktherapy)

One horror story from a user of betterhelp has highlighted the issue that better help tend to overlook the clients needs, not really pay attention to what the client asks for, therapists not showing up, and overcharging clients. 

I had a really negative experience with better help also. When I first signed up, I requested a woman counselor, because I knew I’d be more comfortable discussing childhood traumas. They set me up with a male counselor. Someone eventually reached out, asking if I was okay with everything, since I hadn’t set up a session, and I was then able to choose a different counselor. I really thought she was going to work well. I had one 35 minute phone call with her, which seemed really short and rushed. She told me to get back on her schedule so we could go further into what we were discussing, but the next date was over 2 weeks out. I messaged her and asked if that was normal, and she said yes. So I booked that spot for 2 weeks away…. then she never showed up. I sat in the “sessions” tab for 35 minutes waiting. (Also, I have 9 kids, and my husband had altered his work schedule so I’d have the time for my appt.)

I messaged that she never showed up, and they just suggested that I, again, choose a different counselor. It took me 15 years to finally get brave enough to seek therapy… needless to say, I really regret not researching better help before signing up. I’ve obviously canceled now, but that sound up costing me $520 for ONE 35 minute phone call.(source: r/talktherapy)

Similar to the previous story, this client has also brought up the issue of better help not paying heed to client needs as well as unethical issues with the therapist who has imposed their own narrative to the client. 

“First therapist – seemed okay at first, but when I brought up the fact that I’d had an abortion (and was struggling with this decision, mentally) she suggested that I “write an apology letter to the baby, because they’re an angel in heaven now.”

I switched therapists.

All was going well, until about three sessions in, when my new therapist suggested I try volunteering on a “mission trip.”

She then disappeared – and in fact, I have no idea if she ghosted me, or if something happened to her. I literally never heard from her again.

So, I again switched therapists, this time making extra sure I had checked the box that specified a “non-religious” therapist.

I did a quick google search on the woman I was matched with. She teaches at a private Christian Evangelical university.”  (source: r/talktherapy)

Some therapists who do not work for better help has also given their opinions on the matter of working with betterhelp. Here is what they had to say:

“Speaking as a therapist, never used as a client. Many of us won’t work for them because they are a big tech company first, and a healthcare provider second (or third or fourth). 

They have had some data and confidentiality issues, pay therapists really poorly so folks don’t stay, and many clients have experienced their therapist just disappearing without a proper termination because BH doesn’t facilitate a proper end to treatment.”

Another therapist also brought in the issue of the 24 hour access and issues related to boundaries as well as the poor pay.

“As a therapist I’ve only heard bad things. They advertise that you’ll be able to message your therapist at any time which doesn’t set up a foundation for proper boundaries and then clients get upset when they don’t hear back or they try to use their therapist for mental health crises like active SI.

I’ve also heard they have unrealistic expectations for their therapists and pay them poorly. It doesn’t seem like their practices are all that ethical and text therapy doesn’t seem like it would be that helpful to begin with.”

What is BetterHelp?

BetterHelp is an online therapy service provider that allows users to start a text-chat and online therapy session with a licensed, accredited therapist.

Better help was founded in 2013 and has since then become one of the largest online therapy platforms in the world.

The services that betterhelp provides include offering virtual therapy- chat, email, or video call and phone call based sessions with licensed and accredited therapists.

The company also includes additional services for mental health support like journaling and group therapy sessions for multiple people and couples. 

The service that BetterHelp provides uses a monthly membership payment plan which individuals can subscribe to and cancel their plans at any time they want. 

As of today, BetterHelp has expanded its services and works closely to other businesses and several sister websites that provide mental health support and therapy for couples, teens, members of the LGBTIQ+ community, as well as for people who are seeking therapy with a faith-based or spirituality based approach. 

For the mental health service that better help offers, you can access therapy via texts, live chat, phone calls, and video calls with 24/7 access. 

This allows you to reach out to your therapist at any time of the day as well as allows you to change your therapist with ease if you do not find that they are a good fit for you with no additional issues. 

You do not have to commit to a certain amount of time, you can decide how long you want to use the platform, and you can cancel your subscriptions anytime.

The platform provides you access to well-qualified and experienced therapists who are board certified and have a minimum of 3 years and 1,000 hours of experience. 

BetterHelp  prides itself from being able to offer financial assistance to those who qualify for it; however, the drawback is that the services are not covered by insurance. 

Another additional issue is that, therapists at better help provide talk therapy, but they do not diagnose, prescribe medications, or fulfil a court order and the services are only for adults. 

To get yourself into the service, you have to register and you can do that through their app. 

For users, to register they will be asked to complete a questionnaire and then the company will match them with an appropriate therapist.

To avail their services, the process is as follows:

  • Go to betterhelp’s website or register in the app. On the website, select the type of service you’re interested in, while for app users, you simply hit “get started”.
  • When you sign up, complete a questionnaire that focuses on you and your life.
  • After you’ve completed the questionnaire, you will be connected to a therapist that can best fit your condition. 

After you’ve been matched to some therapists and you have chosen your therapist, a virtual therapy room is created for you and the therapist which you can access through the app or site. 

  • Now, you can begin and pick up conversations from your device whenever and wherever 24/7. It has to be mentioned that your therapist will respond to you five times a week and depending on the schedule of your therapist, you will have to wait for a reply. For example, if you message at night the reply will come in the morning the next day.
  • For people that want face to face sessions, betterhelp also offers live video sessions. For this you will have to consult with the therapist you are working with. 
  • You also have the liberty to switch therapists or stop therapy whenever you want.

When it comes to the legitimacy of the professionals at betterhelp, the company claims that each therapist is licensed and has the required training and credentials to practice as per state laws- this includes: master’s or doctorate degree and possess at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of experience as mental health professionals- all of which the company cross checks before hiring. 

Conclusion

References

2022 BetterHelp Review: Should You Try It? Healthline. Retrieved on 4th May 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/betterhelp-review

YouTube’s BetterHelp mental health controversy, explained. Polygon. Retrieved on 4th May 2022. https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/4/17932862/betterhelp-app-youtube-sponsorship-controversy-explained

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