Good morning, Travelers & Dreamers!
Today, I want to talk to you about my experience this last month with BetterHelp. Most of you know that it’s a virtual counseling resource, which is brilliant for those of us who don’t want to (or can’t) leave the house. That makes it perfect, on paper, in the midst of a global pandemic!
Unfortunately, like most things that sound too good to be true, BetterHelp needs some work.
I want to start with the positives of my experience. I’m sure that there are plenty of counselors on that site that have the necessary availability. If you want to try the app, then I encourage you to do so. Don’t let this dissuade you from seeking help if you need it. It is inexpensive when you receive what you signed up to receive.
Another positive is that my counselor was really great…for the whole half-hour I spoke with him. I felt at ease and comfortable with him, which isn’t something that’s always easy for me. (I have serious trust issues when it comes to opening up about anything emotional in my life. I was raised to “survive,” not to give in to silly things like “feelings.” 🙄 And often my feelings were mocked or thrown in my face when divulged to trusted adults.) I was also able to text message and send voice recordings to my counselor, which was nice.
This is the end of the positives.
My counselor was so swamped, that the earliest I could schedule my next session was two weeks after the first. I didn’t think that would be too much of an issue, since I would be able to message him whenever I liked. I used my online journal to type out journal entries I wrote in my hardcopy journal. That way, I could share entries that I thought might be helpful to my counselor in guiding me.
The very first entry I shared with him – the only entry I shared with him – received a one-word reply: “Noted.” That’s it. “Noted.” One-word replies mean that you aren’t interested, or at least that’s how I take them. As a mental health professional, you should know that better than anyone. It did bother me, but I let it go. I tend to read too much into a lot of different situations.
But I never sent him another journal entry.
At the end of our first and only half-hour session, he instructed me to come up with two short-term goals and one long-term goal to work on until our next session. I asked if that was all I should do and he said that “this is only our first meeting.” And I figured, “Yeah, that’s fair,” and decided he would know more about this process than I would. I was really trying my best to let him lead me through this new experience. I went into it willing to learn how to let therapy work for me.
And the final straw that broke the camel’s back: Cancellation. I waited two weeks for my next session, as I mentioned earlier. Then, the day before my session, he messaged me that he had to cancel. He broke a tooth and needed to get it fixed.
And okay, that’s a totally valid reason to cancel. But then I had to reschedule for two weeks later! I wouldn’t have my second session with this counselor until a few days into my next billing cycle. That means I spent $300 for a grand total of:
- One half-hour phone session.
- A dozen text messages/voice messages.
That is not $300 worth of therapy. In fact, it would be cheaper to go to see my local psychiatrist at $180 per session at this point than to pay for BetterHelp.
I cancelled my subscription yesterday. And here’s more issues. The only way to contact them was through email. No. When I want to cancel something, I prefer to use a phone number. But they seemingly had no customer service number at all. I mean, you’d think it would be right on their site, right? But it wasn’t.
I finally found it on Yelp! where I also found all of their negative reviews. Did you know that they monitor their reviews from clients on their site and anywhere else they can control it? That’s sus as all hell.
Anyway, I got the number and called them, expecting it to be out-of-order or some shit by this point. Someone picked up and I explained my issue, requesting a full refund. I receive a follow-up email several hours later, saying that they would refund me after I cancelled the subscription.
I cancelled the subscription and now I wait. I will update this post when I have more information. If I’m not refunded, you will all know. If I am refunded, you will all know. I don’t trust BetterHelp at the moment, but a timely refund could persuade me to try this service again.
After Covid-19 is over and they aren’t swamped. Because as it stands right now, they are too busy to offer their clients the help they advertise they can provide.
Until next time, Travelers and Dreamers! Also, read the first chapter of my book: REM World.