Betterhelp Or Regular Therapy: (Which Is Better?)

This article will focus on the key characteristics of both types of therapy – online and in person or regular therapy – while at the same time highlighting the many different features of availing online counseling services. The article will also introduce the company Betterhelp which is an online mental health counseling platform and will list its services as well.

Betterhelp Or Regular Therapy: Which Is Better?

When it comes to online therapy provided by platforms like Betterhelp or regular therapy which is also known as in person therapy provided by any brick and mortar clinic, both have their pros and cons! However, online therapy is a new and exciting experience that is still new to many people. Nonetheless, companies like Betterhelp are making online counseling possible for people across the globe and hence getting them the help that they need!

Let us take a look at what areas these two types of therapy services can be compared in:

  • Pros & Cons – Types of Therapy Services
  • Services
  • Modes of Interaction
  • Costs of Services
  • Added Benefits – Betterhelp
  • Insurance Vs Financial Aid
  • How To Get Service

Before we look at each area in detail, let us introduce both types of therapy services as well as Betterhelp!

BetterHelp – Your Online Partner In Mental Health

Betterhelp is one of the largest online platforms that provides multiple services for all types of people who are suffering from mental health problems and require counseling. What is great about this service is that it is online hence it is available anywhere and every time. You do not have to go to the doctor’s office to get an appointment or wait in line for your turn. This is great if you feel pretty down and getting out of bed is a challenge for you!

With approximately 1700 licensed therapists available online at the click of a button, Betterhelp ensures that its clients receive the best help they can get by connecting them to professional therapists and counselors who know what they need to do This is apparent by the total number of sessions which Betterhelp

 has already conducted from their platform; a whopping 70 million sessions already completed! This is possible because the company understands the needs of clients well and hence provides therapy related services to them online and not just at  physical location. In a world where things are changing constantly and the unknown is always around the corner, it is becoming more of a need rather than a desire to get services online and at your doorstep – we simply don’t have time nowadays!

When you visit their site, you will see that the company realizes the various situations you may be stuck in; you could be a child who needs help, a person in a relationship who feels they need to opt for couple therapy or an individual who is having a tough time facing their problems. The website also recognizes people who experience different feelings, thoughts and experiences compared to the vast majority of people; it does not judge a person based on how others are but how the person is themself! So don’t worry! You are in good hands at Betterhelp.

What Is A Regular Therapy Service?

It is a fancy term for the services you receive at a clinic that exists in the physical and not the virtual online world. Here, clients will go meet their counselor or therapist face to face for a session relevant to counseling or therapy.

These sessions provide a holistic picture to the therapist as they do not only talk to the client but also observe them in person; they can read their body language, sense how they feel and identify abnormalities in the way they talk, behave or even exist within a certain space. Furthermore, the client is able to communicate openly and develop a relationship with their therapists; this helps the therapy process which leads to better results and quick progress.

Pros & Cons – Types of Therapy Services

In this section, we will take a look at the pros and cons of online therapy provided by Betterhelp and the therapy provided at a regular clinic located physically in a certain area.

The Pros & Cons of Betterhelp – An Online Therapy Service

Here are the pros and cons of availing online services from Betterhelp:

  • Accessible
  • Effective
  • Affordable 
  • Reduces Barriers to Therapy
  • Increased Privacy
  • No Face to Face Interaction
  • Not Sufficient Information for Therapist

Accessible

The best thing about Betterhelp is that it can be accessed at any time from anywhere around the world; the company has a diverse set of working professionals on their panel who are available around the clock. Regardless of your time zone and location, you will be paired with a counselor.

Effective

Betterhelp is a company that is diverse and promotes inclusivity so no matter who you are, what age group you belong to or what minority you represent, at Betterhelp your issues will always be entertained. Furthermore, as the client does not meet the counselor face to face or can keep their identity hidden, there is a lesser chance of experiencing an unpleasant situation such as discrimination; also, the people on the panel are aware that they will be working with diverse individuals so they are usually up for the job!

Affordable

Keeping other factors at bay, the costs of running a company online are way less than those of a brick and mortar one. However, if you are running an online business that incorporates recruitment practices from across the globe, costs will vary if not increase always. Nonetheless, online services like Betterhelp are cheaper compared to most in person therapy services.

Reduces Barriers to Therapy

Many people are uncomfortable going to therapy, especially the younger generation. So taking it online may actually reduce the barriers of having a physical session; over time the person may become comfortable with the idea of availing therapy and eventually accept the idea of meeting one in person especially if their mental health demands it. 

Increased Privacy

Betterhelp provides the option of chatting sessions as well as call sessions; if the client is comfortable enough they can also go for video sessions. However, in person therapy is always face to face hence people may avoid that because they do not want to reveal their identity especially if they have a lot of history they want to delete.

No Face to Face Interaction

Online services are not for everyone especially those who need to be physically in a room with someone to open up; in fact it can be difficult to open up if you are not with the person on the other side of the screen.

Not Sufficient Information for Therapist

This can be a problem; the therapist needs to have enough information to guide the counselee in a better manner. The quality of service may reduce if online sessions are conducted. Furthermore, online sessions may prevent the counselor from identifying dangerous situations such as individuals who are suicidal especially if the session only involves chatting.

The Pros & Cons of Regular Therapy

We do understand that compared to online therapy sessions, in person therapy or regular therapy can be more expensive and not accessible to all. Also, some people may not be comfortable in revealing their identity by showing up at a clinic especially in a place where a lot of stigma is attached. However apart from these cons, the in person therapy does have pros:

  • Increased Effectiveness
  • Better Diagnosis
  • More Opportunities to Improve

Increased Effectiveness

The in person therapy session may suit some people more because they need to be in a physical setting in order to open up. Also, their mental health may require that they go for physical sessions rather than online ones. Maybe they need more attention, have to be observed more closely or they need human interaction which they have been lacking over time.

Better Diagnosis

In these cases, the therapist is in a better position to not only guide the counselee but diagnose them with a condition if it is required or allowed as part of the session. To be diagnosed is something complex; chatting is not enough and you need to physically see the person and also observe how they behave in order to get to the true issue.

More Opportunities to Improve.

Counseling is not all about talking. Psychological health is complex and requires cognitive and behavioral efforts – sometimes clients need to be present in person and take part in activities. The tests that are conducted on them require them to be present in person. Furthermore, if they are present physically, they can engage in healthy activities as part of the session that will be more effective as compared to trying to do them online.

Services

Different types of services are available at both online and regular therapy platforms. Some of these services are common and hence offered by both whereas others may only be offered in one of the two types of therapy! We will first look at those services that are commonly offered by both platforms.

Individual counseling

Both therapy platforms provides counseling to individuals as well where they can get services for a variety of disorders such as:

  • Depression
  • Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Grief
  • Marriage
  • Trauma
  • PTSD
  • Eating Disorders
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety

Each individual will be assigned a service provider based on their needs. The service provider will be from the area of requirement. This means that they can be someone who is a counselor for couples focusing on individuals only or a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Couples Counseling.

The platforms also provide counseling for couples who are facing issues in their relationship. They provide services that help the couple express their problems and work through them in a safe and constructive environment so that the problem is solved and not broadened. The counselor guides the couple so that they utilize their time and efforts in understanding the issues both of them go through and how they can reach a solution.

Teen Counseling

The platforms also provide services for teenagers who are going through a variety of problems such as:

  • Depression
  • School Problems
  • LGBTQ
  • Family Conflict
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying
  • Friends Issues
  • Eating Disorders
  • Trouble Sleeping

Most of these services and others are offered at both online and regular therapy providers. However, there are some services that are only offered at a regular clinic such as:

  • Services for severe disorders
  • Medication
  • Psychiatric Therapy

Services For Severe Disorders

Regular therapy allows the right conditions to evaluate and treat severe diseases such as:

  • ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Anger Management
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Autism spectrum support
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Emergency responder support
  • Family relationships
  • Gender identity
  • General support
  • Intimate / Romantic relationships
  • Learning Disorders
  • LGBTQIA+ support
  • Medical issues / Physical health
  • Medication consultation
  • Military / Veteran support
  • OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
  • Perinatal support: pregnancy, prenatal, postpartum
  • Phobias
  • Psychological testing
  • Psychosis / Schizophrenia
  • PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Sex / Intimacy issues
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Stress

Medication

These services are offered by physicians who are focused on mental health. Treatment is available for adults for depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. It involves:

  • Ongoing symptom tracking to mitigate medication side effects
  • Directly message physician for questions or concerns
  • Combine treatment with therapy to learn and build new skills 
  • Available in-person care for adolescents and those who need controlled substances

Psychiatric Therapy

This is another service that is usually offered by regular clinics only because there are concerns related to the activity of diagnosing people through online platforms or prescribing them medicines. Let us see who a psychiatrist is and what types of approaches they adopt!

The Psychiatrist – The Doctor Who Mends Your Brain

A psychiatrist is a doctor who helps treat people with mental health issues and they consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD). These doctors do not only treat mental health disorders but diseases that affect the brain as well. 

This is a branch of medicine that deals with problems associated with human behavior hence the doctor needs to be well versed in social and biological sciences.

A psychiatrist is someone who is qualified to treat individuals with controlled medication and therapy. They treat children, adolescents and adults who are suffering from a psychiatric condition and like other physicians they have attended medical school to earn a doctoral degree. These doctors typically help people manage their medicines and how they should monitor their progress.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

The Approaches Of A Psychiatrist – 3 Types

Biomedical Approach

This approach takes into consideration the biological or physical nature of illnesses and hence focuses on providing relief to patients. It tries to locate the center of the issue in terms of the body and often uses medicine to solve the problem. Although this model does not take into account emotional and social factors, it looks at the pathology, biochemistry and physiology of a disease that affects the body or brain.

Biopsychosocial

This model is way more holistic than the previous one and hence takes into account many factors; these factors look at the physical, psychological and social elements in a problem. Thus, this model looks at how a person is affected not only by the present but their past too. It observes and studies how a physical illness has developed over time and also looks at the psychological health of a person and if that contributes to the disease. Genetics play a big role in helping this model explain various diseases. Lastly, this model takes into account social factors such as culture, norms and values to see if they help or damage the mental and physical health of a person.

Hence, this model takes into account all factors from the physical, social and psychological domains.

Biocognitive

This model argues that medicines are not the only answer for a person who is suffering from mental health issues. People who have mental health problems need to be taken seriously and studied properly instead of just giving them medicines to treat the symptoms. Hence this model is not very much in favor of only treating people with medicines but a holistic approach must be taken to understand the issue itself.

This approach states that it is necessary to understand the root of the mental health issue just as we study the root cause of physical pain or injuries. It also advocates for mental health in that it says the same importance should be applied here as it is applied to other areas of health.

Modes of Interaction – Betterhelp Or Regular Therapy?

In this case, Betterhelp is at an advantage because it provides a number of modes of interaction through which an individual can avail counseling services online. 

Here are the modes of interaction a client can choose at the online mental health platform:

  • Chatrooms: These are open 24/7 and you can drop a message any time you feel like doing so. However, your counselor will only get back to you once they have the time or chance to. Usually people like dropping questions they want opinions on from their counselor and don’t mind waiting a bit.
  • Live Chatting Sessions: here you can chat with your counselor in real time and there really is no limit on the number of messages exchanged or time spent talking here. It depends on the needs of the client and the nature of the problem.
  • Live Phone Calls: Kind of like Skype this platform has their own system set up where you can have audio sessions with your service provider. It does not show your contact details to the counselor for reasons of privacy and in case the counselor and counselee become direct. 
  • Video Sessions: clients who are more comfortable or want a more personalized experience can also opt for video sessions. Like other mediums of interaction, there is no limit on these although people mostly hold the opinion that 1 or 2 sessions per week are sufficient.

Unlike Betterhelp, regular therapy has only face to face interaction. Although this may seem petty, face to face interaction is necessary to conduct a proper diagnosis or prescribe medicine by many organizations. So, although online therapy may seem to have many options, regular therapy has much importance.

Cost of Services

In terms of regular therapy, the cost of services is quite high because a number of fixed and variable costs are involved. In terms of online therapy, the fixed costs are low hence it is more affordable. 

In this section we will list the online rates of Betterhelp for its many services:

  • Weekly Plan: It costs $80/week where you subscribe to their services for a week only and can avail whatever and how many sessions you need. In case you subscribe every week, you will have to pay $320 at the end of the month.
  • Monthly Plan: It costs a total of $260 per month which breaks down to $60/week. The client is billed monthly as well – this is pretty straightforward
  • Quarterly Plan: This plan costs a total of $540 but the weekly costs breaks down into $45 a week only because of the longer subscription availed by the client. At the end of the each month the client must pay $180
  • Annual Plan: For clients who need long term services, they can pay $1820 which results in only $35 per week which is extremely cheap. At the end of each month the client is liable to pay $140 only which is the cheapest option.

Like their services and think they are affordable? Why wait when you can sign up today at Betterhelp by clicking here.

Insurance Vs Financial Aid

Regular therapy is expensive and hence it accepts insurance most of the time otherwise it would be very costly to avail. In this section we will mention a few insurance options people have when they decide to go for in person or regular therapy. Also, we will look at what Betterhelp has to say with regards to insurance and what they actually offer!

The following options provide medical and mental health coverage:

  • HSA
  • FSA
  • TRICARE

HSA Is Focused On Mental & Medical Disorders

The Health Savings Account focuses on disorders or diseases that an individual may be facing. Although it is apparent from their website and that of the IRS that they tend to focus on diseases directly attributed to the body, they do cover doctor’s office visits and medication costs and this could apply to mental disorders to which include:

  • Alzheimers
  • Dementia
  • Schizophrenia

This list is not all inclusive and the above examples are given because their effects on the body are apparent in the sense that they affect the brain directly and require medication. Hence, it is possible HSA could cover costs associated with these disorders.

What Is FSA – Flexible Spending Account

It is a healthcare pre-tax benefit which is used to pay for medical related costs such as the treatment itself or any costs incurred – costs that are not covered by other plans or insurance and are basically out of the pocket in nature. It helps you save your money and use it wisely in your priority areas.

It has many benefits. As a member, you can save upto an average of 30% on eligible health care expenses. You also gain access to the full amount if you apply for the FSAFEDS plan on the first day. Furthermore, through this same plan, if you don’t use all of your money you can carry over an estimated $550 to the next year – you don’t lose what you did not spend!

Let’s take a look at what is covered by the plan:

  • Medical expenses such as co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles
  • Dental expenses such as check-ups, exams, X – Rays and braces
  • Eye related services such as vision check-up, glasses, laser eye surgery and contact lenses
  • Professional services which include physical therapy, chiropractor and acupuncture
  • Expenses to buy necessary drugs that have been prescribed as well as over the counter drugs too
  • Health care items for daily use such as bandages, pregnancy kits and blood pressure monitors.

It is necessary to mention that this service is availed through one’s employer who will also be contributing to this fund and is not taxed. Also, as we mentioned before, if you have money that is unused you can get more time to use it – upto 2.5 months – or carry it over to the next year.

TRICARE – Telemental Health Services

This program aims at making telemedicine a reality and the organisation has a wide network of service providers who can cater to your online mental health needs and provide treatment accordingly. It is necessary to point out that this comes under behavioral health care and is likely to apply to those services that can prescribe drugs.

There are two types of categories in this plan:

  • Active Duty Service Members: Before getting care under this program they will need to get a referral from TRICARE.
  • Prime Active Duty Family Members & Retirees: They do not need a referral or authorization to set up a session with an online distant provider. Many of the network providers are affiliates of Betterhelp.

Hence, we recommend that you go for Betterhelp’s services in the manner they advise – apply for financial aid or a subscription package according to your resources and needs – however if you deem it necessary you can try availing Betterhelp with resources such as TRICARE. 

Can I Use Insurance For Betterhelp?

You cannot use insurance to pay for Betterhelp unless in circumstances where it is applicable. The services of Betterhelp are also not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. There are a number of reasons for this which have been highlighted on their website but they include the following:

  • Health insurance plans have partial or limited coverage so it really isn’t useful. Most of the time they do not fully cover the costs and one ends up doing much paperwork to get very little benefit. On top of that you need to finance the insurance as well somehow.
  • In the case that your health insurance plan covers all costs of the services, the co-pay of insurance may be higher than the entire cost of Betterhelp’s services – this is due to the generally low cost services of Betterhelp due to it’s online nature and ease of accessibility for all. So, it is better not to avail insurance because you may end up paying way more to get the insurance compared to the actual costs of the services.
  • Clients at Betterhelp may not be able to use insurance because insurance companies often require that the diagnosis of a patient and their future treatment plans are sent to them. However, at Betterhelp service providers are not allowed to diagnose patients for a number of reasons. The service providers are also not allowed to prescribe drugs. As said before, insurance companies require some sort of documentation or proof that a person is indeed eligible for insurance.
  • Betterhelp emphasizes that their costs for services are very low hence it is not advisable to use insurance. This is what they prefer and they also offer financial aid on their website which can be used to decrease the costs of sessions from around $280 to as low as $216. 

Does Betterhelp Offer Financial Aid?

Yes Betterhelp offers financial aid to those who are in need of it through a relatively simple process. The online mental health company acknowledges the fact that many people are in tight financial circumstances either because of their current mental health or their inability to find a job. Nonetheless, the company offers financial aid for such people in need.

How To Sign Up?

It is easy you just need to visit your nearest clinic – get an appointment before that over the phone! When it comes to online mental health services, a few extra steps may be needed but don’t worry! You can do all this while sitting at home!

Betterhelp – How To Sign Up?

The process to sign up with Betterhelp involves 5 steps:

  • Visit Website: Click here to visit their website! You need to inform them if you are opting for individual therapy, couple therapy or teen therapy.
  • Intake Form: You will be required to fill out a questionnaire that has numerous questions pertaining to your health, income, counseling needs and preferences as well as mental health. This is important so that the algorithm can determine which counselor to match you with.
  • Assignment: You will be assigned a counselor on the basis of your responses. The counselor will be someone from your state. However, if you are a client from overseas, you will be matched with a service provider who matches your needs and preferences.
  • Payment Details: Betterhelp accepts payment through credit card or paypal and you will need to provide your real information here to sign up.
  • Start Your Counseling: After the registration process you can start your sessions with your service provider immediately. You will have access to a wide range of services and options to avail these services through different mediums. We will discuss these in upcoming sections.

Think the registration process is easy? Why not sign up today and start your journey towards better mental health.

Added Benefits – Betterhelp!

Anonymity

Betterhelp has created a platform where people can get the help they need without revealing who they are to anyone – even their own counselor! Pretty neat right? This provides so many people the comfort level and privacy they need to open up about their problems without fearing getting judged or labeled or their information leaking out.

It is simple – people availing services at Betterhelp just need to sign up with a nickname they can choose for themselves and hence can keep their true identity to themselves.

Digital Worksheets.

Enough talk! Let’s get down to some serious business. Betterhelp realizes that mental health services are not all about chit chat; you need to actually do something to make things better in your life.

At Betterhelp, there are more than 150 + worksheets that can be assigned to clients based on their needs and mental health condition. It helps them practically apply what they are being told to do. It also helps them stay consistent in their sessions and stay in touch with their counselors.

Many people are going through serious mental disorders; they feel alone and vulnerable and just knowing they have something to do or someone is waiting for them to submit a certain piece of work really helps them get through the tough times in life.

Monthly Subscriptions

One of the best things at Betterhelp is that you pay through a monthly subscription and not a per session basis. This can actually help a lot of clients not only mentally but financially as well. 

Some people require more sessions and if they are charged per session they will not only be stressed out mentally and financially but they will feel hesitant acquiring the help they need. If they know they have to pay once and can avail as many sessions as they want, they can talk to their counselor without any hesitation. Betterhelp makes availing the service easy which very few businesses understand the importance of!

Furthermore, such a practice prevents exploitation of clients. You can extend progress across a number of sessions instead of achieving it in a few (if possible) to gain more money with the pay per session model. Not to say it is always an exploitative practice but it can become one. In some cases, this model is more suitable. But keeping in mind the needs of clients who require help online, the pay model Betterhelp follows is great!

Conclusion

This article compared to an extent the services provided by a physical and online platform for mental health counseling. The article not only compared the two types of therapy platforms but also highlighted their main features and whether they had any special features.

References

https://www.hsainsurance.com/Home.aspx

https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/flexible-spending-account-fsa/#:~:text=An%20arrangement%20through%20your%20employer,%2C%20insulin%2C%20and%20medical%20devices.

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