Other Answers

It just seems like doors are constantly being slammed in my face and nothing is working.

Thank you for your comment/question. I will respond to this answer in a way that hopefully helps you to view some of the challenges that you have experienced in a more helpful and empowering way. First, I would like to take sometime to normalize some of the past experiences that may have led you to draw to the conclusion that, "Things haven't worked in the past and therefore probably won't in the future either." Although you may or may not have actually said this exact phrase, this could be the negative belief or message that you now subscribe to. What we believe about ourselves is one of the most important things about us as individuals. The reality is we all experience challenges, difficulties and adversities of various types. In fact, many people choose to walk away or give up when experiencing difficulty. However, when we walk away, give up, or quit, we are foregoing the opportunity for us to grow. In other words, the way we build our emotional muscle is by going through adversity and opening up those doors after we just got slammed in the face by them. As a therapist, one of the things that I find myself telling people is that we need to know that what we are pursuing is worth it. This means working through the difficulties that may come as a result of pursuing your goal(s). Someone once said, "Anything worth having take sacrifice." It's no different than someone who is training for a particular event or the person wanting to build muscle mass. Eventually, that person is going to have to go through the pain of training. The process is not always fun, but many times we need to go through that process to build the emotional muscle that will be required to succeed in whatever endeavor we are pursuing. It is also important to consider that there may be reasons why the doors are getting slammed in our face. Some of the times, we may be sabotaging ourselves and we may be part of the problem. Other times, there may be circumstances that are beyond our control that caused the doors to slam. We can see this played out in the area of relationships for someone who may desire to have a partner but finds repeatedly that after some time, people just walk away. Or we can look at the area of employment, when someone repeatedly applies for a job and/or a promotion but never gets that call back or seems to be repeatedly overlooked. As a counselor, I try to help individuals focus not so much on the door being shut, rather their response to the door being shut. I once read about the founder of Hershey's chocolate, Milton S. Hershey. Milton had nearly 1,000 rejections regarding his recipe for chocolate. Later, he was asked if he ever felt like giving up, after experiencing so many slammed doors, so-to-speak. Milton's response was impressive. He replied, no, rather he saw each rejection or "slammed door" as an opportunity to perfect his recipe, until it was finally accepted. There are countless similar accounts of individuals who have experienced quite similar opposition. Even Abraham Lincoln was rejected countless times before becoming president. You see, if Milton and Lincoln would let the slammed doors keep them from trying again, they would never have experienced success in the way they did. The same is true for us today. Sometimes we need to reconsider what we are pursuing while other times we need to continue to press on and move forward. Yes, we will need to adapt along the way. Yes, there may be times when we feel like giving up. However, feelings do not determine truth and we can use the power of reframing to help us see the bright side of things. I have encouraged many clients over the past several years to take the "mess" and turn it into a "message." What is it about individuals who are able to overcome and continue pursuing their goal? We may have a tendency to think these people were "special" and they had incredible abilities which helped them obtain favor and success. While this may be true to an extent, we all have gifts, abilities and are unique. It's not all about possessing the perfect skill set or having all of the right credentials. Rather, the thing that separates those who succeed from those who do not is resiliency.  Resiliency, as defined by the Oxford dictionary states that it is: '1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.' Or '2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.' Wow! Isn't this what we all need? A measure of resiliency. Resiliency says you can knock me down but you cannot knock me out. Resiliency says, I may be down but I'm not out. So as you get back up and move forward, consider the stories of Milton S. Hershey and former President Lincoln and countless others. And know that you do not have to go through this alone. We were not created to do life alone. Surround yourself with people whom you trust and who are for you. People who support you and help you get up when you may fall. Ask yourself, who do I have in my life who can help me along this journey I'm on? I would encourage you to consider talking to a therapist who may be an additional support for you. Someone who is not there to judge but to help you along your way. Someone who can listen to you when needed.  I hope this response has offered you, perhaps a new way to view the situation(s) you find yourself in. In addition, I hope you can be encouraged as you move forward opening back up those doors that once slammed you in the face or perhaps finding a new door to open.
Answered on 08/04/2022

I am 41 years old and just now have pinpointed that I may have trauma from when I was a teenager.

Hello, I'm sorry to hear about your struggle. It's really common for people who experience trauma to have some unhealthy coping skills (like drinking too much, or seeking attention/affection from other people). There are definitely some things you can do to try and take better care of yourself while you're trying to work through the trauma. Some of the things you can do are pretty basic self-care skills (like eating well, exercising, getting good nutrition), and some things may push you outside of your comfort zone a little (like getting involved in some kind of supportive community). Even in rural areas, there can be places for you to go to get into some of this healing stuff.  I know in my state, there is a Recovery Center in every county, where people can go to engage in supportive groups or supportive one-on-one coaching. If there's nothing like that close to you, the internet can offer a whole world of these kinds of supports. I know during the pandemic, there was an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting starting every hour online. There are also other kinds of online groups, like SMART (which stands for Self Management and Recovery Training) that use Cognitive-Behavioral tools, or Refuge Recovery, which uses Mindfulness and Meditation. One of my favorite quotes that I've heard is that the opposite of addiction isn't sobriety, it's connection.  This connection can also be really important to try and find when you're healing from trauma. Knowing there are other people out there in the world who are supportive and caring, despite what you've been through and what you've done to try and stop the pain from the trauma can be so helpful. Also, knowing there are many other people who have also gone through traumatic experiences and have also used unhealthy coping skills can be very validating.  Ultimately though, trying to find more healthy ways to cope and heal is a great goal! Sometimes, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can include trying to give back to your community or the world in some way through volunteering or through some kind of service, which can be a huge part of the healing process. When I was working at a Recovery Center in my community, we had a whole team of volunteers who reported getting a lot out of spending time at the center helping other people who have just started their recovery journey...there's something about going through the pain and suffering of addiction that leads people to try to help other people in a similar situation. It not only uses the knowledge you have gained to inform others, but  it can also be a strong motivator to stay sober, if there are other people looking up to you as a sober guide. Those are some ideas I have for you, I hope they have helped in some way!  
Answered on 07/26/2022

Hello, how/is there any daily practices I can use to get over childhood trauma?

Hello, Thanks for reaching out for help. There can be several things at play here in this situation, you would likely be well placed to explore these further in therapy but I will put some questions for you here to help get you started on your path to self-discovery. Firstly, what age were you when your parents were fighting? What age were you when you were first aware of the fighting? Why am I asking this? It informs us of the stage of development you may have been at when this time in you life may have been affecting you. What do I mean by this? When we are growing and developing there is what is known as key stages of development. These are around ages 2, 8, 15/16, 20/21. Now this does not mean that if something traumatic or confusing happens at ages in between those highlighted that it may not still affect you because it can. Simply put, the ages i've highlighted here are the ages when your brain is growing the most. This is akin to our teenage years when we go through growth spurts and our bones get longer, etc except its our brains. Now when we are growing up, our brains are like sponges, they soak up everything in our environment: the good, the bad, the indifferent. However those key stages of development are when our brains are growing the most, so if something happens at those ages it can be more of a detriment to the future or our brain development. It's the nature versus nurture discussion. So to be plain, if something traumatic or confusing happens around age 2 for example then it will affect our brain development more than if it happens when our brain is growing at a normal rate and therefore not a key stage of development; so for example say age 4 for easy maths. How does this work? Well, the experiences we have can leave lasting imprints on our psyche, you could think of it as mental scars if that makes it more relatable but simply put these events can leave a lasting impression and alter how our brains develop, especially if its around key stages of development ages. It's not as binary as pathways in our brain growing to the left under ideal conditions and under less than ideal conditions they grow to the right but it does help to explain the context.  Why does this matter? Well, under less than ideal conditions these events can change the structure of our brains in development, which can lead to mental health issues when we are older. So our brains don't stop growing until around age 25, which means mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, to name a few, can appear when we hit age 25 or they can appear the next time something traumatic or confusing happens in our adult life because we are prone to develop them due to our experience when we were younger. It essentially lowers our tolerance to cope with traumas so the next time one happens that can be the straw that breaks the camels back and then we have anxiety or depression or other mental health concerns, that may appear seemingly our of nowhere at the time but its not until we start to explore behind the curtain that we find the reasons or potential reasons for these things. So how does this help you? Well, it offers potential insight. With insight comes understanding which we can then act on and choose to do something about. The power lays within you through awareness of what might be going on for you and that's what therapy will provide you with..........awareness...........and the tools to deal with your day to day symptoms. At this time, before I offer tools or daily practices we would need to explore what is happening for you so we know what would be the right tools for you that are effective. I'd recommend exploring in the therapy space what might be happening so you can figure out for you, with your therapist, the best tools that work.
(BA, (Hons), Integrative, Counsellor)
Answered on 07/22/2022

Do you know if BetterHelp offers any therapy for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) individuals?

Hello Scott, I am glad you reached out to the BetterHelp platform with your query, BetterHelp does indeed offer therapeutic services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). On the BetterHelp platform, you will be matched with one of the 25,000+ licensed professionals. During your matching process, you will be asked to complete a short questionnaire. On your questionnaire, you will have the opportunity to ask to be specifically matched with a therapist who specializes in ASD interventions. You can also request other matching potential such as gender, age, cultural background, age as well as other criteria important to you. Once you are signed up you will have the opportunity to review the biography of your matched therapist so you can determine if you consider you, are a good match. At any time during your therapy services, you can simply switch to another therapist who you might consider a better match for you! No questions asked. Here at BetterHelp, we are committed to you receiving the services that suit you. People with autism spectrum disorder have historically found much difficulty in accessing evidence-based therapy services from licensed professionals. This has been due to several factors, to include communication difficulties, social anxiety, financial challenges, and fr others transportation limitations.  As a result, many people with an autism spectrum disorder are not getting the professional treatment they need to improve their daily functioning and enhance the quality of their everyday lives.   One of the benefits of remote online therapy services is that if you have ASD you can stay in your familiar environment and stay focused on your communication without the external demands of an unfamiliar environment. Research indicates that technology-based therapy allows for an increase of thinking time during conversations, and an increase of control during conversations, and of course a significant reduction of external sensory simulating distractions, and generally a more comfortable milieu to experience your therapy. Technology-based interactions are known to decrease stress related to the non-verbal communications - such as eye contact, tone of voice, and body language.  On the BetterHelp platform, you will have the option of using Video Calling, Voice Calling or Chat (messaging) sessions. You will have the opportunity to meet with your therapist once a week. We offer 30 or 45 minute sessions – all you need is a good WI-FI connection and a smart phone, laptop or PC and the time to commit to your therapy services. Internet-based therapy has shown significant promise for many mental disorders, including depression, generalized anxiety disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), panic disorder, and many others. Because of the high rates of these conditions in adults with ASD, it is important that internet-based therapy programs are able to address multiple conditions. If you are considering online therapy, BetterHelp can help you address a number of mental health-related concerns and life challenges from the comfort of your own place. Here at BetterHelp, we offer a professional online therapy platform that gives individuals the ability to communicate with your matched therapist via messaging, voice call, live chat, or videoconference. Best Wishes, Gaynor 
Answered on 07/20/2022

How long is a typical therapy session? One hour?

Hi – thank you for asking your question. It’s great that you are starting therapy and are excited to work with a therapist! I wish you well with your healing experience. For your question of length of a session – live sessions can range from 30 to 45 minutes. Some therapists have flexible schedules and can work with you to determine how long your session will last, between 30 to 45 minutes. Other therapists have preferences (and schedules) for either 30-minutes or 45-minutes. You’ll want to check with your therapist for expectations of the exact time length, as well as the days and times they offer live sessions. The days/times will also show on their “Schedule”, which you can view on the left-hand side of your therapy room. Also, you and your therapist can have live sessions through video, phone, or online chatting (typing). Most therapists offer a selection of how clients can have live sessions (video, phone, chat). Outside of a live session, you can message your therapist in your private therapy room. Check with your therapist for their office hours and expectations for when they will message you back. For instance, most will return a message within 24 business hours (Mon-Fri). However, some therapists do work on weekends – it’s important to check with your therapist for their weekly schedule and expectations. For your question of being paired to a therapist: Yes, BetterHelp initially pairs you with a therapist, if you did not specifically choose a therapist at the beginning. You always have a choice for which therapist you work with. So, if you start working with a therapist and don’t feel a connection or prefer a different therapeutic style, you are welcome to change therapists. You do so via your online therapy room – Help – Change Counselors. Customer service can also assist you with your request to change – from your therapy room, click on Help – Contact Us. You can search for a therapist on the BetterHelp site at this link: https://www.betterhelp.com/therapists/. Choose your state, and you’ll see lists of therapists licensed in your state, along with a description and profile for each therapist and reviews from clients. When you find someone you wish to work with, you can click the “work with me” button or contact customer service (Help – Contact Us) and let them know. They will check to see if the therapist is accepting new clients and will work to connect you. In addition to working with a therapist, BetterHelp offers Groupinars, which are basically webinars on topics related to psychology and mental health, where a therapist (not necessarily your therapist) presents on a topic, and attendees can ask questions and engage via a typed chat feature (if attendees want to engage). It’s anonymous as your name is not shared in the chat. There are groupinars on a variety of topics, such as trauma, grief/loss, being new to therapy, plus an assortment of other topics. Attending a groupinar may help you feel more comfortable with your therapy experience, as well as provide you with additional information and support. If you cannot attend the webinar live, if you register, they will send you a link to the recording that you can watch/listen to for a week after the webinar concluded. Here’s a link to see what Groupinars are currently being offered: https://www.betterhelp.com/groupinars/. The topics change every so often, so make sure to check back every couple of weeks. I hope that helps a bit! I wish you well as you start therapy! Dr. Sally Gill, LMFT
(PhD, MS, LMFT, C.C.T.S.I.)
Answered on 07/20/2022

Do you do Cognitive behavioural therapy?

Hello Alexis, I’m so glad you are considering therapy with us at BetterHelp. Please reach out to customer service at contact@betterhelp.com for the payment/billing question. They are very responsive and will get back to you ASAP!  Yes, most of us do CBT. When you are ready to subscribe, just make sure you say that's what you are interested in and it won't be a problem :) In addition, I wanted to provide a bit of information about what to expect from the BetterHelp service. I'm so glad you have reached out.  Depending on your subscription plan, you will likely do at least one live session a week, whether it is video, phone, or live texting. In addition, we will text with you up and back throughout the week. It’s good to shop around for the right therapist based on their specialties. When you are matched with a therapist, make it clear what you are looking for. It will not hurt our feelings for you to try out several of us until you find the correct fit (there are literally 20,000 on this platform, so you have choices!). We just want what’s best for you. Think of it like remodeling a home. You may just want help painting and changing some fixtures or going after walls with a sledge hammer. You would certainly want different kinds of professionals for these tasks, and you would also want to learn their specialties before getting to work. For example, I specialize in anxiety disorders, grief, sleep improvement, and sexual functioning. I also have been successful with many other areas. However, if a client comes to me asking for help understanding their dreams, I would (kindly) suggest they pick another therapist since that is not my area of expertise. As I mentioned above, there are lots of styles of therapy, and many different practice specialties. Here are some of the main areas that people usually want help with (but there are many more, of course. You may want to Google, “types of therapy.”) - Empathy (unconditional positive regard). Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us without judging. You may come from a family or friend group where this is hard to find, and a therapist can listen to you kindly and empathically. - Reality testing (helping you separate the logic from emotions). Sometimes we have difficulty understanding whether a situation warrants the kind of reaction we feel. For example, you may become enraged at poor customer service. A therapist can help you understand why you feel this way and how to deal with such situations. - Learning new patterns for thoughts (cognitions). Sometimes we fall into logical fallacies or thought distortions such as-or-nothing thinking and catastrophizing. These lead to increased feelings of depression and anxiety. Your therapist can help you understand these distortions and what to do about them. - Understanding anxiety triggers. We are creatures of habit, and we tend to be afraid of consistent things. Unfortunately, the more we avoid a fear, the stronger that fear gets (avoidance is like fuel for fear). As such, it is important to start learning about the common themes of what makes you anxious. Is it a fear of being judged? A fear of failure? A fear of not being loved or admired? Everyone is different. The best way to do this is to start keeping a log of the times you experienced the fight or flight response. Jot down in a journal or in an app like Google Keep these times, including: -- What was the triggering event? -- How long did it take to calm down?  Over time, your therapist will likely recommend that you also track “what was the automatic thought,” or the instant thought that just popped in to your mind that might have made you feel even worse (such as “everyone here is going to hate me.” Or “They all think I’m stupid.”) Your therapist can help you identify themes and come up with alternative cognitions or thoughts to battle these automatic thoughts. - Disrupt intense fear or the fight or flight response with deep breathing. Learning deep belly breathing (or “diaphragmatic breathing) is a great tool to add to effective stress management. Taking time to breathe deeply for a few minutes is a free and easy to learn method to take you out of the fight or flight zone and into a zone where you can think more clearly and not experience those side effects. You can Google “deep breathing” or “diaphragmatic breathing” to start learning a technique that really helps most people. You can find mobile apps to help (for example the Breathe2Relax or the Virtual Hope Box app – both are free and evidence-based) or watch videos online that can walk you through it. These are skills that not only help you now, but can assist you throughout your entire life (for example, dealing with road rage, poor customer service, annoying family). You can also disrupt the fight or flight response in the moment with just a minute or two of intense exercise (for example, push-ups, jumping jacks or walking up and down a flight of stairs). This helps use some of the adrenalin and glucose that are released into your blood stream when you have encountered a stressor and leaves you thinking a bit more clearly. - Accountability partner. Your therapist can help you set achievable and realistic goals and help keep you accountable for making progress. This can prevent you from making goals that are too large and unrealistic. Your therapist can also congratulate you on the small achievements that you may not want to share with others (for example, “Yay! You were able to go through the day only reading the news twice!”). - Helping you understand how your early life affects you now. In our early childhood we learn many things and have many experiences that lead to our behaviors as adults. Some therapists (especially those with psychodynamic backgrounds) can help you understand these effects. - Coping with grief, mourning and break-ups. Therapists can help you grieve and mourn losses such as deaths, break-ups, and other ways that you have lost people close to you. - Processing and working through trauma. Therapists can help you understand the symptoms of posttraumatic stress and help you learn ways to reduce these symptoms. - Learning ways to improve sleep, chronic pain, sexual functioning, and other quality-of-life factors. There are many evidence-based techniques that therapists can help you learn to improve your daily functioning in these areas. - Improving communication skills with partners, family, children, friends, or co-workers. As the saying goes, “love is never enough.” To help maintain healthy relationships, your therapist can help you learn effective and clear communication skills. 2. CONSIDER YOUR “STAGE OF CHANGE.” Sometimes we may have the need to change but not yet the motivation (like reducing substance use, quitting smoking, or other healthy behavior change). Depending on your stage of change, it may not be the right time for therapy. Here are the major stages of change. Consider where you are: - Precontemplation: This is the stage during which you may not even be aware of the issue. - Contemplation: This is when you are just starting to think about making change. - Preparation: This is when you get ready to change. This is when a therapist is MOST helpful. - Action: This is when we actually start making the change. Therapists are also very helpful here. - Maintenance: Maintaining the change can be difficult, and therapists are very helpful at this stage as well. 3. CONSIDER WHY YOU CAME TO THERAPY. Here is my last bit of advice: If none of the types of therapy I described above seem like a good fit for you, then your time and money are probably better spent on other healthy activities like a gym membership, high quality groceries, taking a class that fuels your soul, looking into local social groups, or saving up to travel and visit friends and family. There is no rule saying that everyone needs therapy! It just might not be the right time in your life for it. I’m sending you hopes of a beautiful spring. Thank you so much for reaching out! Best regards, Julie Note: If you are in crisis and feeling like hurting yourself, please call 911, go to your closest emergency department, or call the suicide hotline (the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) immediately at 800-273-8255. You could also go to their website to chat at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
Answered on 07/20/2022

Do you speak Spanish.

Thank you for your question. I am bilingual/bicultural and have spoken Spanish for most of my life. I have also worked with many Spanish speaking only clients and we've been able to develop a good therapeutic relationship to help them address their concerns in a culturally sensitive way. In my experience I've learned that individuals who experience any kind of significant stressors or trauma, they usually do this in their native language. When someone's native language is not English, it can be difficult to express those experiences in English when they were experienced in another language. Being able to express stressors or past trauma that occurred in someone's native language, really should be verbalized in that language, when at all possible, to help the individual express themselves more appropriately and accurately.  Trauma research suggests that traumatic memories, for example, may be encoded differently from other memories like a particular birthday party or visiting relatives during the holidays. If one can use the same language at the time of the experience to the language when it is being retrieved during a therapy session, this can help promote the path to healing by allowing access to the memories through their native language. Some individuals will try and express themselves in English if their clinician is not bilingual. They may feel shame or embarrassment at not being able to effectively respond to questions in English regarding a past trauma as they are learning to be bilingual themselves. But they usually struggle with effective communication as their experiences were in their native language and some significant details or emotions will be left out if they solely try to respond in English. It's also important for individuals, whose native language is not English, to feel confident about stating their preference for a clinician who is fluent in their native language. This will encourage more fluid narratives from the individuals. The goal is to help them process their trauma or stressors in the most effective way possible that will lead to healing from that specific trauma or stressor. I would be very happy to learn more about you and work with you to help you address any concerns/issues you are experiencing at this time.   Thank you. Adlin de Cardi, MA LMFT  
Answered on 10/17/2021

Just wondering what type of mental illness I have

Dear Molly,  Thanks for reaching our with this question. I think it takes strength and courage to take this first step and reach out with a question. It sounds like you likely are dealing with symptoms of challenges in your functioning or life that leaving you wondering whether or not mental illness might explain some of these experiences. I would say, if you are questioning the impact or are experiencing symptoms, it is a good idea to reach out for more formalized support.  As a starting place, there are several mental health screeners that are available at many mental health organizations as well as mental health agencies. Screeners are NOT intended for diagnosis, but are a way to provide a quick snap shot of your mental health. A screener may indicate that you have symptoms of a mental health illness, but a full assessment is required to better understand what this means and to seek treatment for each individual person. These tools or screeners are designed to provide information, resources, and tools to help you understand your health. Basic screeners are available for things like depression, anxiety, addiction, and a few other general mental health concerns.  I would use these screeners as designed and seek more a formalized assessment by a licensed provider if you are seeking diagnosis and treatment. Attempted to engage in a process called self-diagnosis, can be damaging to your mental health. This process typically involves a wrong self diagnosis, followed by incorrect treatment. Similar to how you most likely would not self-diagnosis a medical concern and self treat, you should exercise the same caution with mental health. Seeking out a professional assessment and accurate diagnosis is one of the most important aspects of a recovery plan. This can lead to gaining a better understanding of your diagnosis and seeking out a treatment plan that is individualized.  I understand that this process can sometimes bring on strong emotions as you seek understanding and clarity into your distress. As you consider what options are best for you, I want to remind you of a few options that might be helpful. First, betterhelp does not provide diagnostic clarification, but can provide treatment. If you are seeking assistance with this first step, you can discuss with your primary care provider or seek out a mental health clinic in your community as a starting place.  As you continue this journey, I wish you the best of luck.  Best,  Kelsey Place, MSW, LICSW
Answered on 10/11/2021

Are there financial aid/student discounts for Betterhelp?

Thank you so much for your question! I'm so glad you asked this question - the answer is yes! Better Help works with people in all types of financial situations to ensure they have access to affordable, quality therapy. Better Help works with each individual person to find a price that is affordable and within that person's budget. Better Help is truly focused on making sure that everyone has access to high-quality therapy, despite any financial stressors a person may be experiencing. Better Help's Client Success Team doesn't just talk the talk, they actually follow through on their promises, too. I've had several clients who have experienced financial hardship during their Better Help subscription, many to the point of strongly considering canceling their subscription. The vast majority of my clients who have reached out to Better Help to discuss payment difficulties have been able to reach a financial agreement that allows them to continue therapy at a discounted price. These clients have said that it's really easy to talk to and work with Better Help's client success team. Better Help truly is really great at making therapy affordable for everyone, especially people facing difficult financial strains. It's one of the many perks of the platform! If you would like more specific information on what kind of an arrangement can be made, including pricing specific to your situation, please feel free to reach out to the Better Help team directly. I apologize that I cannot give you exact numbers or specific prices, but the team handles all financial questions and will work directly with you to come up with a plan. You can send an email to contact@betterhelp.com to get more specific information. They're really great at responding to questions, and they promptly respond to all questions they receive either the same day or the next business day. Thank you so much for asking this question. I completely understand that financial concerns are a huge barrier to people seeking therapy as it is expensive. I would encourage you to reach out to contact@betterhelp.com directly to have all of your questions answered!
Answered on 09/08/2021

How will therapy help?

Therapy has many benefits and I know it may seem cliche but it truly can help you feel better in all areas of life. At the most basic level, therapy gives you a neutral party with whom to share your story. Someone who can help you process what happened and how you are feeling about what happened. Therapy also gives you a different perspective at times and can challenge your thinking when you are stuck in one route that is not helping.  Yes, you can read about all the logistics of psychology and emotions and human behaviors and everything else that goes into why we do the things we do, but a book cannot give you the feelings, emotions, and human connection you get when releasing your story to a real-life person. Your story still stays in your head and you cannot get objective feedback from yourself. Reading about something is much different than going through the actions. You can be the most knowledgeable person in the world and still have things to learn. Knowing about all the things that go into what makes a person and what plays role in mental health is a good step but it is hard to be objective about yourself.  It sounds like you are very self-aware which is also a very important step. However, we all carry biases - about ourselves, about the world, about others. Biases are not a bad thing but they can block us from seeing clearly. That being said, seeing a therapist can give you someone to help look inside and shift beyond your biases. Therapy is a fresh perspective.  It can be extremely hard to trust someone, especially a random stranger with whom you get paired at a mental health agency or on a website, or wherever. Therapy does involve taking a "leap of faith" so to speak. You are putting your trust in another human for them to not screw you over. That is terrifying! But, it can also be the best experience you have. You also have to go in with an open mind and knowing that you are not going to click with every single therapist you meet. This includes truly know that it is okay and also knowing that it is okay to switch therapists if that is what feels right to you. Good luck!!! 
Answered on 08/27/2021

Can BetterHelp counselors prescribe medication?

Hello - Better Help therapists are not able to prescribe any medications. This is because we are not medical personnel. We are mental health practitioners. Mental health practitioners are not allowed to prescribe medications. I would like to encourage you to see a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. They would be able to prescribe something for you if they determine that it would be needed. On the other hand, you have mentioned some challenging symptoms that could definitely be helped by also seeking out mental health therapy. Research has shown that the best outcomes come when a client/patient utilizes both medications when necessary and mental health treatment. It sounds to me like you could really benefit from working with a therapist to help you with the symptoms that you are describing, especially since it has been going on for a few years. That is a long time to deal with these things! Medications can help with what you are describing, and so also can therapeutic interventions. To give you an idea of some of these interventions, you could learn about coping skills for anxiety and depression. You could learn about tips for helping you to focus and complete tasks. You could monitor your moods to detect a pattern. This last idea is based on a worksheet that could be used. Seeing a therapist and scheduling live sessions on a weekly basis would really help you with learning how to cope, giving you ideas on how to manage these things, and provide you with support and accountability. I say accountability because your therapist would most likely ask you to complete relevant worksheets or "homework" assignments that would be geared toward your specific goals. Working together, you would figure out what your goals are for therapy and how you would make progress towards them. In this way, you would begin to feel hopeful that you will start feeling better and managing life's challenges better, all with the support and expertise of your therapist. So in summary, I am recommending that you seek out medical input to see if you might need a prescription. I am also recommending that you sign up for counseling, as that will provide the practical tools, emotional support, and accountability that you need in order to see wonderful change and growth take place.
Answered on 08/11/2021

Can you write ESA letters?

Thank you for your question related to the provision of an emotional support animal letter.     There is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses. Some seek therapy while others use prescribed medicine from a family doctor. Still, others turn to the age-old comfort of man’s best friend. A canine companion is often an excellent emotional support animal through unconditional love, support, and comfort. Studies show that dogs can induce increases in oxytocin and dopamine for humans, which are linked to positive feelings and bonding.  Emotional support animals also have certain legal protections and rights to help owners. In the United States, federal laws prevent discrimination based on disability. The Fair Housing Act ensures a landlord cannot deny housing to an ESA owner. The Air Carrier Access Act allows passengers to fly with their emotional support animals with no pet fees and helps provide owners guidance as it relates to size restrictions. To take advantage of these protections, it is not enough to say your dog is an emotional support animal. There is a formal emotional support animal letter you need to secure to prove that the pet helps manage your mental condition. Just who can help you with that ESA letter? Who can prescribe an emotional support animal letter? What do you need to know before asking? That is what we cover here.  Who Can Write ESA Letters? Authorized professionals can authorize an emotional support animal letter. Any licensed mental health professional can write ESA letters and state the pet is part of your therapy treatment plan. The full list of who can write ESA letters includes: Primary Care Physician  Licensed Mental Health Professional (including psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist)  Licensed Therapist  Licensed General Physician  Physicians and ESA Letters Your primary care physician, or family doctor, can issue an emotional support animal letter as long as they are licensed. If you have a family doctor who helps with your health conditions, you can consult with them about the advisability of an emotional support animal. This is a good option for people who do not want to disclose their needs to strangers but still require help. It is important to note that just because one thinks they qualify for an ESA doesn’t automatically mean they will receive a prescription. An in-depth analysis of a person’s psychological background is taken and it is up to the doctor or mental health professional to determine whether one qualifies for an ESA prescription. Therapists and ESA Letters A licensed therapist is one who assists patients in developing cognitive skills to manage symptoms. Therapists are also able to provide the necessary emotional support animal documentation. Quite a few health care professionals can assist, including psychiatrists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, and psychologists. The professional does need to hold a license. Otherwise, the letter will be invalid and not accepted. Ensure the mental health professional you are scheduling with is licensed to prescribe an emotional support animal letter before starting a session. If you currently see a therapist, bring this up with them and see if it is a valid option for your treatment plan. If you do not, do some research online to find a therapist in your area. You can also consider telehealth counseling and contact a therapist through the Internet for a virtual session. As always, sites that guarantee an ESA prescription automatically are not valid and should be avoided. Asking for an ESA Letter When you approach a professional of choice who is fully licensed or a doctor to prescribe an emotional support animal letter, you need to know what to ask for. Your family doctor or licensed professional will check your condition, ascertain your needs, and decide if you need animal-assisted therapy to manage symptoms. This might be an easy conversation if you have an established relationship with a family doctor or therapist. If you do not, you might need to do a little thinking and planning before diving in. Try these tips to prepare for that conversation.  Education Make sure you understand what you are asking for. A therapy animal opens you up to ESA laws that you need to understand. You also want to know how pet therapy works and if it would be beneficial for you. Take the time to check out articles and videos to evaluate how a support dog or cat can help. How would this support animal make your life better? Also, you are taking on the responsibility of pet ownership. How would you return the favor and make the pet’s life better? Some people ask for this ESA letter after they have a pet already, but others look for the right animal after determining their need with a professional. Think carefully about your ability to commit to a pet just as you are asking the pet to commit to you. Medical Reports  If this is your first visit with this professional, you need to provide the necessary medical reports to evaluate your condition fairly. Medical reports and history help to verify your condition and needs. You can always request these records from your family doctor. Without these documents, a professional won’t write an ESA letter for you. ESA Qualifying Conditions  Emotional support animals are not necessary for every condition and are not conducive to some. Does your condition qualify? Some qualifying conditions include attention deficit disorder, depression, anxiety, or motor skill disorder. The letter must clearly define and state what your situation is according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Service Animal and ESA Please note a service animal is not the same as an emotional support animal. The purpose of an emotional support animal is to serve as a source of support and comfort for therapeutic purposes. Service animals go through training to serve specific purposes, typically for physical disabilities. Emotional support animals do not have the same access as a service animals, so do not expect to bring them to the grocery store or other places.  ESA and Pets  It is also important not to get emotional support animals and pets confused. The role of the two is very different, and the legal protections are not the same. A pet is what you get for a cuddle buddy or a pal for the family. You are emotionally attached, but it is not for therapy. Pets are not covered under ESA laws. ESAs are part of your treatment and will be “prescribed” as necessary by a mental health professional or family doctor.  Be Open to Discussion Opening up about your mental health can be challenging. You need to have an open and honest discussion with your family doctor or other professionals when it comes to an emotional support animal. How will your support dog help with your symptoms? Why do you need pet therapy? Answering these questions will help your therapist or family doctor with their ESA letter. Make sure you are asking for this letter for the right reasons. If you simply want to travel with your pet and avoid extra fees, do not ask for this letter. If you need an extension of your therapy through an animal, get an ESA letter. If your cat or dog plays an integral, supportive role as you combat your mental illness, get an ESA letter.  I appreciate you asking your question and encourage you to also research further in-person and online about this topic. I hope that this information has helped you. Kind regards,  
(M.S., LPP)
Answered on 08/09/2021

How do I start?

Hi there. I know it can be scary to start counseling, especially thinking about sharing your stories and experiences with a stranger while being vulnerable.  You are so brave for asking this question, it's actually a very common concern and question.  I was a client once myself, so I am very familiar with your feelings regarding counseling. I want to assure you that as counselors, our priority is you and to be able to provide a comfortable and safe environment for you to during the session. We want to be able to help, understand, and guide you to meet your goals. We know that you may not feel comfortable telling us about yourself in the beginning. As a counselor, I believe in developing a good rapport with my clients to better understand them and also to improve our therapeutic relationship.  I believe meeting the client where they are, I will not force you to talk about something you're not ready to do.  I try to be compassionate, patient, and kind to all my clients.  Finding a therapist that you, as a client, can feel comfortable talking and connect to is very important. My suggestion is to read the therapist's biography and see if you can connect with them. You would want to think about your preferences and who could help you best. It is perfectly fine to have preferences in therapist, so this would be "gender, ethnicity, age, allies or identifies with a certain population, culture, and etc..." Each counselor has their own expertise that they are the focus on, this is also important to consider, as you want someone that is knowledgeable in what you would want to work on. There are times where your first counselor is going to be a perfect match for you and help you well, but there are also times where that won't be a case and you have to find a new therapist and that is perfectly ok, you can go on and find the therapist that will be a match for you. I hope this helps you feel more comfortable in getting started with counseling. 
Answered on 07/29/2021

A counselor who counsel's sex offenders I have to do this once a month condition of parole for 1 hou

Unfortunately, I don't have the necessary experience to provide you with the type of counseling you are seeking at this time. My experiences, although varied, have not been in this particular area. I would encourage and recommend exploring the profiles of other Counselors who may be better suited to accommodate, assist and support you with your therapeutic goals. When exploring Counselors, it may also be helpful to the Counselor to have additional details about what you are interested in gaining from the counseling experience. This way Counselors will be able to identify and determine the possibility of being a good match. There are Counselors in the field who are Certified and trained to provide this type of therapy on a regular basis. I'd also encourage you to connect with your PO who may be able to provide you with a list of Counselor resources. Additionally, you might conduct an internet search using the specifics for the therapy you are seeking in order to locate appropriate Counselors. Likely, there are also groups that may be available in your local area and/or in an online format that may meet your needs. Some other thoughts relate to ensuring that the Clinician with whom you schedule meets the guidelines/requirements which could likely be accomplished by discussing the matter with your PO. This will require the identification of specific rather than generalized goals and perhaps obtaining prior approval of the therapeutic connection. Oftentimes, legal situations necessitate unique parameters and thus require ensuring that you are on the right path with regard to those expectations. In closing, thank you for reaching out to ask this question. It requires courage to seek counseling and follow through with the process beyond simply making the initial appointment. However, I am confident that you will find and connect with a Clinician with the knowledge base and expertise to guide you through processing, developing new skills, coping, and completing your requirements. Counseling is effective when one applies the strategies, recommendations, and skills in real-time situations. Please continue to explore every avenue for achieving your identified goals. I hope that the information I've shared is helpful and useful.  
Answered on 07/24/2021

Is there a trial I can do or any way I can sign up for just one week

As a counselor, and as someone who has been a consumer of counseling services in the past, I can certainly understand why you would be concerned about joining an online platform. While any platform can be very intimidating and worrisome because none of them can offer guaranteed results, online counseling can seem like a greater risk than traditional face-to-face methods. While I am unable to speak to trial offers with BetterHelp, as a counselor I can discuss some of the benefits of online counseling that will hopefully help you with your decision. Unlike traditional counseling that is usually one meeting per week for a 45-50-minute session, BetterHelp offers more methods for contacting your counselor throughout the week in addition to a traditional session. Clients can utilize their journal and share it with their counselor for feedback prior to their session. Worksheets and assignments that clients may be working on in therapy can be discussed prior to sessions through the asynchronous messaging system in BetterHelp. While there should be no shame in seeking and utilizing mental health services, there is still stigma in our society that people are concerned about. Online services provide privacy so that you can feel comfortable entering the counseling room without worrying about who might see your car parked at a mental health practice. Sessions can be in the form of video, but also via phone and live text chat. This gives clients flexibility, not to mention the ease of obtaining services because you do not have to travel to an actual office. The groupinars that you can access are also a fantastic features. You can maintain your anonymity since you do not appear on screen with your actual name, and yet still benefit from chatting with other members and a counselor about the groupinar topic. Many private practices do not offer group-type experiences in any format because it is difficult to arrange, but BetterHelp offers quite a few with new ones being added. Just as you are skeptical to receive services, I was initially reluctant to PROVIDE services. I wanted to make sure that the agency encouraged ethical practice, that they were serious about client privacy, and that they did not do anything to prevent counselors from practicing according to all the laws, rules, and ethics that we are bound by. I am glad to report that BetterHelp always encourages counselors to make any adjustments necessary to abide by the laws, rules, and regulations, and ethics we are bound to uphold. As a potential client, this really is important for you since you certainly want to choose a platform that has your best interest in mind. Good luck in your journey, whichever route you choose. 
Answered on 07/23/2021

Lesser rate for those unemployed or impacted by covid? How to access?

Hi there, I know you are probably really frustrated with not being matched with a counselor yet. Hopefully, I can help with that. I am not currently open to new clients but would be willing to bring you on as a new client. The best thing to do as far as the financial hardship issue is to actually contact the support team from BetterHelp at the following email address: contact@betterhelp.com They are the best place to contact because the platform doesn't give the therapists any billing/charges information...none of us know anything about the charges or any of the discounts or other things that the platform offers to the members. They encourage us to redirect the members back to the support team for further information.  I know that is frustrating and wish I could tell you more.  I think they feel it's just easier for the therapists to remain focused on the clients and counseling if we don't become involved in the billing or charges. So, I apologize for going into such great detail about why I am unable to help you with the billing questions, HOWEVER, with that said, I can completely understand your frustration and the dilemma you find yourself in with not having been matched with a therapist yet and yet needing to pay upfront. That has to be very discouraging and scary, especially with your funds being very tight, I'm sure. I would suggest that you do contact the support team and ask about getting credit for the time you have paid for but have not engaged in a live session. Like I mentioned before, I do not mind taking you on as a client if you would like to connect with a therapist right away.  My name is Stephanie Ellis. I have been a licensed clinical social worker/clinical therapist for almost 9 years and before that, I was a registered nurse for 11 years. I would be happy to help you and if you contacted the support team with your questions, then you could also mention that I said I would take you as a new client. I am happy to help if you are able to get the financial assistance you need in order to proceed. I hope to meet you in the near future and hope that at least some of this information was a little helpful.  I hope you understood that I  sort of had to go into such great detail with my response here because under this Questions heading, our responses are not allowed to be quick and brief...they have to be 350+ words, so I had to get creative with my response in order for it to be adequate enough in length to be accepted and sent to you.  I hope you are able to find out what you need from the support team...I'll be here if you decide to connect with me.  Take care and best of luck to you!
Answered on 07/22/2021

I want to apply for counseling with Ariana Grande give away, Can I just not enter the credit card?

Hello! I am glad that you reached out. Sorry to hear that your days have been feeling disrupted. It is courageous of you to seek out professional assistance. In order to find out about the Ariana Grande giveaway, you would have to contact customer support directly. Questions regarding insurance and account information can be answered through customer care contact@betterhelp.com It's great that you are seeking therapy. Therapy can be an effective treatment for a host of mental and emotional problems. Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive person can often make you feel better. It can be very healing, in and of itself, to voice your worries or talk about something that’s weighing on your mind. And it feels good to be listened to—to know that someone else cares about you and wants to help. While it can be very helpful to talk about your problems to close friends and family members, sometimes you need help that the people around you aren’t able to provide. When you need extra support, an outside perspective, or some expert guidance, talking to a therapist or counselor can help. While the support of friends and family is important, therapy is different. Therapists are professionally-trained listeners who can help you get to the root of your problems, overcome emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, job stress, or self-doubt, for example. Others turn to therapy during difficult times, such as divorce. But in order to reap its benefits, it’s important to choose the right therapist—someone you trust who makes you feel cared for and has the experience to help you make changes for the better in your life. A good therapist helps you become stronger and more self-aware. Finding the right therapist will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort. The connection you have with your therapist is essential. You need someone who you can trust—someone you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and intimate secrets, someone who will be a partner in your recovery. Therapy won’t be effective unless you have this bond, so take some time at the beginning to find the right person. It’s okay to shop around and ask questions when interviewing potential therapists. The good thing about Betterhelp is that you have so many qualified therapist to choose from. As you start to address your concerns you are more likely to have control over your emotions and be on a path to a healthier future. I wish you the best on finding the best support and treatment!
Answered on 07/09/2021

I need therapy and assistance, but can’t afford it…

Hello-  Thank you for reaching out.  This is a concern we often hear from clients.  The good news is that Betterhelp has options that make therapy services available to most clients. Financial worries should not keep someone from reaching out for services.   Betterhelp offers financial assistance to individuals who have low income or financial needs. When you begin the initial questionnaire, you will be asked about your current employment or financial difficulty.   Completing this section on financial difficulty may result in a greater discount for you.  You will also see a link to apply for financial aid near the payment details.  Click on this link and answer a few questions about your income and ability to pay.  You will then be given an instant response and this is based on good faith representation of your finances. Another option would be to contact customer service to see if you qualify for a discount or financial aid. Please remember that you may need to reapply periodically to continue to receive the lower rate.  Betterhelp will send you a reminder email when it is time to reapply for the financial aid or discount.  If you still have questions, I would encourage you to reach out to customer service and see what options are available for you.   In general, the Betterhelp platform costs less than traditional face-to-face therapy services (which can cost between $100-150 per session) and is often cheaper than an insurance co-pay would be as well. Your mental health is important and worth the cost.  The Betterhelp platform offers tools such as an online journal function, access to educational groupings, 24 hours 7 days a week messaging service, and chat, phone and video live sessions.  You are getting exceptional service at a reduced price.  Betterhelp bills monthly, versus weekly and remember you can cancel Betterhelp at any time should you decide that you no longer want services.  I wish you all the best as you seek services.  Taking this time to work on your "struggles" is well worth the investment.  I believe that you will be able to find an affordable option here at Betterhelp!    
Answered on 07/09/2021

What if I can’t afford the counseling is there anywhere I could go that I could afford?

Deciding to see a therapist to address your mental health concerns can be difficult but important. It is a hard enough decision to make for many people without also having to worry about finances.  BetterHelp offers financial aid that reduces the fee based on your income and/or other financial burdens. The initial questionnaire asks about employment status, financial burdens, and other financial burdens that hinder one from addressing their emotional and/or mental health concerns. There is also a further opportunity to describe your financial situation, which may result in a greater discount. When you enter your payment details, look for the "Apply for Financial Aid". You will answer a few additional questions regarding your financial situation. The discount you receive is instant and is based on a good-faith representation of your financial situation. You will need to reapply for Financial Aid every three months to continue receiving the lower rate. BetterHelp will send you a reminder email as that date approaches to remind you. Another option that many people are seeking is a therapist who offers sliding scale fee therapy. If you qualify, this type of fee structure can make it possible for you to get the help you need. The amount you pay for therapy on a sliding scale fee is calculated on your income. The less income you bring in each month, the less you pay for the therapy services you need.  There are other options as well. Some of these include group therapy, teaching clinics, and employee programs. Group therapy - Most of the time, sessions are free or very low cost and you meet with a group of people with similar mental health concerns and struggles. A therapist mediates the group and focuses the conversation. University or teaching clinics - Teaching clinics usually offer a sliding scale fee or low-cost therapy. In these situations, you would see the therapist and an intern who is receiving training.  Employee Assistance Program (EAP) - Some employers offer EAP that may offer lower cost mental healthcare. You would need to call or review your EAP to see the benefits. Seeking therapy can help you. Don't let finances get in the way. Whether you find a therapist who will work with you on a sliding scale, or you choose online therapy at BetterHelp, get the support you need.
Answered on 07/07/2021

I have Cigna insurance through my job and an EAP. Does BH accept either of those as payment?

So I did not have an answer for you about the insurance but after doing some digging the EAP is addressed through my counselors guide. Below is the BetterHelp response to the EAP process   "An EAP (Employee Assistance Program) is an employee benefit program that assists employees and members of their immediate household with personal problems and/or work-related issues that may impact their job performance, health, mental and emotional well-being. BetterHelp is a subcontracted provider to companies across the US which provide services to EAPs. EAPs generally offer: Confidential assessments Short-term counseling with a pre-set number of sessions on a per-issue basis, and is based on what the employer has contracted with the EAP to provide No cost to the employee or household member, as these services are fully pre-paid by their employer. Members can choose to continue working with you past their allotted sessions by paying out of pocket Financial, legal, and caregiving (child, adult) consultation by professionals in these areas of expertise Do's and Don'tsAs part of the services BetterHelp provides to these members as part of their EAP coverage, the following clinical services are strictly prohibited and NOT part of what is expected to be provided. Please do not provide the following services, even if an EAP member requests you to do so: Custody evaluations Psychological assessment or psychological testing Court-ordered treatment Worker's compensation evaluation Disability evaluation If an EAP member requests your assistance with any of these above-mentioned evaluations, please encourage them to contact their health plan or redirect them to contact their EAP provider’s toll-free number. NOTE: The compensation structure is the same to you regardless of whether your client is from an EAP or from another source on BetterHelp."   I think that this is the best response based on what Betterhelp provides. I know that there are restrictions from your employer (it is different from employer to employer) on the number of sessions that can be received so you will have to consult your HR person or insurance to see what their restrictions are before signing up. Other than the above I think that the EAP programs is a great thing and should be utilized anytime that the person is in need. Do not neglect your mental health.
Answered on 06/26/2021