BetterHelp vs Brightside (The Complete Picture)

BetterHelp vs Brightside 

This Review compares two renowned e-therapy services, namely BetterHelp and Brightside. It describes the main features of each platform and analyses their respective strengths and weaknesses. 

It draws on what is different amongst them, which would suit a certain kind of individual more based on their needs and why. 

This comparison is highlighted by discussing the following features of both services.

FeatureBetterHelp Brightside
BackgroundPsychotherapy OrientedPsychiatric 
ExpensesAs low as 35USD/weekMinimum 95USD/month
Therapist Merit and Treatment Range Licensed therapists Psychiatrists and Therapists
Exclusive FeaturesFree trialPsychiatric help and provision of medication
Privacy and Security SSL and 256-bit encryptionSSL and 256-bit encryption



BetterHelp was founded in 2013 which makes it one of the first e-therapy services and a pioneer in the field. 

It was founded by Alon Matas, a tech expert who personally suffered from depression for quite some time. He was struck by the realisation that having been financially well off, he still struggled with finding the right match and the best kind of help in terms of quality of therapists available.

This realisation led him to found this organization. Hence the major aim of BetterHelp was to make therapy not only affordable, but more widely available and accessible. 

E-therapy was hence a great way to make this aim achievable. 


The premise on which Brightside was founded is different from most e-therapy platforms.

Where others provide a more standard treatment regimen, Brightside breaks these norms and arguably pioneers the domain of treatment in that they offer highly customized treatment methods for each client. 

They claim and achieve so by offering the services of not only licensed therapists but also primarily focusing on psychiatric interventions. This combination allows the best of treatments to ensue. 



BetterHelp currently offers four different packages for clients to choose from. As the progress, they allow economies of scale for the client, since the per week cost decreases upon a larger time span’s worth of subscription. 

Weekly Plan

This package costs 80USD per week. It allows one live session and unlimited messaging services throughout the week.

Monthly Plan

This plan costs 260USD. This amount is billed at the start of every month. It entails four live video sessions and 24 hour messaging services for the entire month. Four sessions for 260USD suggests that each session (equivalent to per week charge) costs 65USD. 

Quarterly Plan

The Quarterly Plan is an extension of the previous plans such that it allows the same proportion of services (one live session per week and unlimited messaging) along the scale of four months. It requires a lump sum payment of 540USD, which equates to 45USD per week.

Yearly Plan

This plan costs 1820USD paid annually. It is equivalent to paying 35USD per week and runs along the same lines as the previously described packages.


FDA-Approved Medication

This entails doorstep delivery of medication and the prescription and further guidance on how to use them. It costs 95USD per month and a 50USD discount for the first month. 

Therapy + Medication

This includes both psychotherapeutic guidance alongside medication if need be. 

It costs 299USD per month, and a 100USD discount for the first month. 

Evidence-Based Therapy

This costs 249USD per month, and allows a 50USD discount in the first month. It allows online help through a therapist who uses scientifically backed methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 

Therapist Merit and Treatment Range


BetterHelp therapists are ensured to be fully licensed, having completed the necessary examinations, education, training and practise. Moreover, they all complete the minimum 1,000 hours and 3 years of clinical practise experience before applying to BetterHelp

They consist of licensed therapists, clinical social workers, general counsellors etc. 

The treatment they specialise in providing have to do with the following areas: 

  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorder
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa
  • Chronic impulsivity
  • Chronic stress
  • Sexual orientation issues
  • Teen therapy
  • LGBTQIA related issue
  • Educational issues
  • Career related problems
  • Financial worries
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Grief
  • Loss
  • Spiritual matters
  • Existential worries


Brightside proudly employs fully accredited doctors, psychiatrists, licensed therapists and professional counsellors, most of whom are graduates from the likes of University of British Columbia, Stanford etc. 

They offer treatment for a similar range of illnesses such as: 

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Social Anxiety 
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Phobia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

They are licensed to use the following medication and more for treatments as well:

  • Amitriptyline/Elavil
  • Aripiprazole/Abilify
  • Benztropine/Cogentin
  • Bupropion/Wellbutrin
  • Buspirone/Buspar
  • Citalopram/Celexa
  • Clomipramine/Anafranil
  • Clonidine/Catapres
  • Duloxetine/Cymbalta
  • Escitalopram/Lexapro
  • Fluoxetine/Prozac
  • Gabapentin/Neurontin

Exclusive Features


One of the best features that clients have rated very highly about BetterHelp, which no other e-therapy service currently offers, is the initial free trial period. 

BetterHelp provides the first week to clients completely free of cost. This allows clients to feel they are not financially exploited and hence nourishes the bond of trust to develop which is crucial for beneficial therapy. 

Moreover, even upon quitting after the entire first month, BetterHelp reimburses 50 percent of what the client has paid, back to them.  


First and foremost, is Brightside’s unprecedented degree of availability of Psychiatric Treatment. This is not only something that BetterHelp lacks, but even other platforms such as Talkspace who do involve a certain level of Psychiatry oriented treatment, have been unable to do so to such an extent. 

Another feature is the avoidance of a one size fits all approach of treatment. Brightside strictly believes in the uniqueness of each individual and hence approach every client with treatment programmes tailored to their needs. 

Moreover, Brightside’s website has engaging material and literature on Psychology in general and on mental health illnesses. This allows individuals to gain knowledge aside from their therapy sessions. 

Privacy and Security

BetterHelp and Brightside 

BetterHelp and Brightside both ensure complete confidentiality and security for both therapists and clients. 

They do so by making all the communication between the two parties not only SSL encrypted but also 256-bit encrypted according to banking levels. 

They also adhere to HIPAA laws. 


This paper reviewed two of the leading e-therapy services at the moment, namely BetterHelp and Brightside.

It compared both platforms across facets such as the costs they incur upon the client, the packages they provide, the range of illnesses they treat, their therapists’ merit, security of clientele etc. 

Upon an examination of both platforms’s exclusive features, it proposed that those who prefer psychiatric help or a combination of psychiatric and psychotherapeutic help should choose Brightside whereas those who prefer low cost live sessions with therapists would fare better by siding with BetterHelp

Frequently Asked Questions

Which online therapy is best?

There are a number of e-therapy services being provided at the moment. The best for each person differs based on their specific needs. However, the ones generally considered top of the line are BetterHelp, Talkspace, Cerebral, Brightside, Amwell, 7 cups etc. 

Which is better, Talkspace or BetterHelp?

Both are considered very good services for e-therapy. Those who might not mind the inability to avail live sessions would find Talkspace to be a better fit for them, whereas those who need that feature would consider BetterHelp to be more useful.

Is BetterHelp actually good?

Yes, BetterHelp is considered very good. This is because it’s legitimate and their services are fully transparent in all regards. Moreover, their interventions have been proven effective by research and their therapists are fully licensed. They have more than a million patients as well so far. 

Is Brightside covered by insurance?

Brightside is generally not covered by insurance so far. However, they do accept HSA/FSA payments if a client has those accounts. 

Why is BetterHelp bad?

BetterHelp is not bad. A few question marks arose in 2018 when complaints regarding their customer support services grew. However, their founder, Alon Matas addressed those sufficiently. 

Is online therapy legal?

Yes, online therapy is completely legal once you abide by all the relevant state and federal laws and ensure that the practitioners on board are completely licensed. 

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