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Grow Therapy vs. BetterHelp: Which Platform is Best for You?

Finding a therapist with Grow Therapy starts with three simple questions: your state, insurance or payment preference, including cash, and the broad reason you’re seeking therapy.

Author Generic Image By Stacey Nash

Updated on May 21, 2024

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In 2022, nearly 50 million Americans experienced some form of mental illness, equaling 19.86% of adults in the United States. And yet, connecting those who need treatment with licensed therapists can be challenging. 

Many people don’t know where to start. From therapist availability to finding a mental health professional who specializes in your area of need, the process can feel overwhelming. 

Fortunately, online therapy platforms are filling the gap for many people, whether it’s an issue with payment options, finding qualified providers in their area, or utilizing insurance benefits. 

Grow Therapy and BetterHelp are two online therapy platforms designed to overcome the challenges of accessing traditional mental health care. They both connect users with licensed mental health care professionals. However, each platform’s provider, treatment, and payment options vary enough that one could be a better fit for you than the other. 

A deeper look at Grow Therapy vs. BetterHelp highlights these platforms’ similarities, but more importantly, the differences so you can determine which option fast tracks you to the care you need at a price that works for your budget.  

What is Grow Therapy?

Grow Therapy is an online therapy platform designed to connect people with licensed therapists within their region and insurance network. The platform is easy to use, generating a list of providers from which you can make an appointment directly through the platform. There are additional filters as well, such as therapist specialty, gender, and identity to ensure you find the right therapist for you. 

Finding a therapist with Grow Therapy starts with three simple questions: your state, insurance or payment preference, including cash, and the broad reason you’re seeking therapy. You can also select whether you’d rather be seen virtually or in-person.

From there, you’re given a list of potential providers licensed in your state that meet your needs, which can include everyone from clinical social workers and marriage and family therapists to psychiatrists who can manage medication. 

The results of your search also give you access to provider bios, where they list their therapeutic methods and specialties. You can further narrow down your choice of therapists by using a robust set of filters that include:

Grow Therapy goes beyond making connections by also handling booking, billing, and navigating insurance claims for you. Additionally, you can instantly see therapist availability, with the option to book within two days or less with many providers.

Once you’ve decided on a provider and are ready to book a session, you fill out your profile information, including your insurance, billing, and address to make the first appointment. The booking page includes an eligibility check to ensure the provider you’ve selected accepts your insurance plan. If you don’t have insurance, Grow Therapy also accepts out-of-pocket cash pay (rates vary by provider), as well as Medicare, Medicaid, and EAPs in select states.

You can cancel appointments up to 24 hours before your appointment without an additional fee. The price per session varies based on your insurance coverage. Average co-pays are around $30 or less, and generally the costs fall between $0 to $125 per session based on your method of payment and insurance plan details. 

Grow Therapy has providers who offer in-person and/or online appointments, and you have the option to contact your therapist outside of your appointments via email or messaging in the client portal. 

Grow Therapy’s 6,000+ network of therapists covers a wide range of specialties, from ADHD and anger management to anxiety and depression (and many more). Additionally, you can opt for various types of talk therapy and/or medication management based on the type of provider you select. 

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What is BetterHelp?

BetterHelp is an online therapy service designed to match people with a therapist and provide online therapy at an affordable price. It sounds similar to Grow Therapy, but there are distinct differences in how BetterHelp operates. Consequently, one platform may be more suitable for you than the other.

Like Grow Therapy, BetterHelp requires users to answer a series of questions. But BetterHelp’s onboarding survey takes considerably more time because this platform matches you directly with a therapist rather than letting you choose from a curated list of mental health professionals. BetterHelp asks about everything from your religious affiliations to your chosen identity, reasons for seeking therapy, and therapy expectations.

The matching process can take several hours to days. Once you’ve been matched, you can schedule an online therapy appointment. You have several communication options that include video, phone, or live chat. 

Additionally, you can use a 24/7 message room to leave messages for your therapist at any time. (However, responses come at the therapist’s discretion). If the provider isn’t a good match, you can opt to change providers at any time. Keep in mind that there are no options for in-person sessions through BetterHelp. 

BetterHelp has a global network with over 30,000+ providers in countries all over the world. All providers are certified and licensed within their geographic locations. However, BetterHelp specializes in individual therapy. If you need teen or couples therapy, you are referred to separate sister sites. BetterHelp provides access to various forms of talk therapy only. There are no options for medication management. 

BetterHelp runs on a monthly subscription that costs anywhere from $60 to $90 per week, depending on your location. Unlike Grow Therapy, BetterHelp does not work with insurance. 

Grow Therapy vs. BetterHelp: A Quick Comparison

Grow Therapy BetterHelp
Average Cost 0-$125 per session, depending on insurance coverage. The average cost is $30 or less when factoring in copay and coinsurance.  $60-$90 per week
Practicing Therapists 6,000+ 30,000+
Modes of Communication Video chat, email, messaging, in-person Live chat, messaging, phone, video chat
Professional Accreditation Available PsyD, LMFT, LCSW/LMSW, LPC, NP, MD LPC, LCSW/LMSW, LMFT, PsyD, MD
Services Various methods of talk therapy, med management Various methods of talk therapy
Accepts/Bills Insurance Yes No
In-person or Telehealth In-person and online Online services only
Teen and Couples Therapy Yes No

Online Therapy vs. In-Person Therapy

Therapy options have expanded greatly in the last five to ten years. At one point, no one could imagine doing therapy online. While online therapy existed pre-COVID-19, the pandemic led to a huge increase in telehealth services of all kinds — including mental health services. 

While online therapy is a viable, convenient option for many people, it doesn’t work for everyone. The question remains: Is online therapy as helpful as in-person therapy? 

In many cases, the answer is yes. However, that’s not necessarily true for every person, every circumstance, or every condition. 

According to research, online therapy can have the same post-treatment benefits, long-term benefits, and consistency with client follow-through as in-person therapy, all of which are important indicators of treatment success. For all intents and purposes, the two modes of therapy work about the same — it comes down to what’s best for you. 

In-Person Therapy: Pros and Cons

If you’ve ever seen a therapy session portrayed on TV or in a movie, it was most likely in person with someone sitting on a puffy chair or lying on a sofa talking to a therapist. While that’s not always an accurate portrayal, the process does involve making an appointment with a licensed therapist, driving to the provider’s office, and talking to the therapist in an office setting. 

In-person therapy comes with distinct advantages, including:

However, in-person therapy also comes with some disadvantages, such as:

Chance Reynolds, a Grow Therapy provider practicing in Texas, says there are some circumstances under which in-person therapy is a better choice. “The first reason comes down to client preference,” says Reynolds. “If the client is uncomfortable with the technology, then an extra barrier has been added to the therapeutic relationship.” 

In Reynold’s practice, those in the 65+ age range are those that tend to prefer in-person sessions. He also explains that in-person sessions are a better option for those in immediate distress or who may have difficulty controlling their behavior. The face-to-face contact lets the therapist see if the person is taking care of basic hygiene, for example. 

Kristian Wilson, an LMHC with Grow Therapy who has primarily had an in-person practice until the last two years, also finds that age tends to be a big factor in the preference for in-person versus online. She says, “Although online therapy is convenient, some individuals still like to meet in person.” If that’s you, a platform that offers traditional office appointments is the best option.

Online Therapy: Pros and Cons

Online therapy is also known as teletherapy, text therapy, phone therapy, or web therapy. This mode of therapy involves making an appointment with a provider, often through an app or online platform. 

You then connect with the provider via a secure link and talk to the therapist via video, phone, or live chat. Online therapy may also include text, email, and other digital communication. 

Online therapy pros include:

The downside to online therapy typically comes down to:

Some people worry about the effectiveness of online therapy versus traditional in-person sessions. However, a growing body of research suggests the results can be similar. 

For example, a 2017 review found that internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (ICBT) effectively treated conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

Reynolds hasn’t seen a negative difference between the outcomes of online versus in-person therapy within his practice. He says, “Telehealth opens up easier access, and that allows clients to attend treatment (always a plus). It may also be that clients who have been wanting to do treatment but were unable to due to the cost or availability in their area are now engaging.” 

Online therapy provides access to a range of providers and services that might not be within a convenient geographic location. Reynolds also adds, “If clinically appropriate, it is hard to argue against a client who is in their literal, safe space discussing difficult topics. Instead of dragging them into a clinical environment that is dominated by another.” 

Wilson says, “So far, multiple studies, though still preliminary, find that online therapy can be equivalent to face-to-face care.” For example, a 2021 study conducted among veterans found telepsychology services as effective as face-to-face services, as did a 2022 study on CBT in rural settings. 

Wilson adds, “I have done face-to-face therapy for the majority of my career and have just transitioned to online therapy primarily within the last two years. I find that the type of therapy I do can be effective both online and in person.” 

Booking a Session 

Grow Therapy’s booking process doesn’t take long. After getting your curated list of therapists, you can click on your chosen one and book an appointment within the next two or three days in many cases — some specialties or providers may have longer waiting times. Before finalizing your appointment, you’ll enter your insurance, payment, and standard identity information. 

BetterHelp’s process matches you with a therapist rather than letting you choose your own. It can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to get through the survey process, and the final matching may take a few hours to several days. However, the BetterHelp membership doesn’t start until you’ve made your first appointment. 

Paying for Grow Therapy and BetterHelp 

Therapy costs are big treatment deterrents for many people. Both platforms have payment options designed to make it easier to access the services you need at an affordable price. You’ll have to decide which works best with your budget, insurance, and treatment needs.

Grow Therapy connects you with therapists within your health insurance network to take full advantage of your benefits and save money. Sessions may cost anywhere from $0 to $125 per session based on your insurance coverage. The average co-pay cost is under $30.

You can use a credit, debit, or HSA card to pay any remaining fees not covered by insurance — Grow Therapy handles insurance claims and payments for you.

BetterHelp offers relatively low fees but requires out-of-pocket payment. The platform does not bill or work with insurance in any way. BetterHelp accepts payment through credit card or PayPal only, with weekly costs ranging from $60 to $90 billed every four weeks. 

Insurance Accepted

BetterHelp does not accept insurance at this time. Some members have successfully submitted claims for reimbursement, but the platform does not handle this and success varies by insurance provider. 

Grow Therapy connects with a wide range of insurance companies with practitioners in 47 states. Accepted insurances vary by state but include:

Key Takeaways

Grow Therapy and Betterhelp are online therapy platforms that connect people with licensed mental health providers within their state or region. However, how each does that and the treatment and payment options offered are different. 

Betterhelp offers online therapy only, matching members to a therapist that meets the criteria from an in-depth survey. All fees are out of pocket and billed every four weeks. There is no option to bill insurance unless you’re willing to submit claims for reimbursement yourself. 

Grow Therapy uses client insurance to connect with in-network providers for both in-person and online therapy with the option for psychiatric services that include medication management. It’s designed to make it easier to fully utilize insurance benefits and make appointments that fit your schedule and needs. 

If Grow Therapy seems to be the choice for you, and you’re ready to start therapy and take advantage of insurance benefits, book an appointment and start your journey to better mental health. 

Frequently Asked Questions

About the author
Author Generic Image Stacey Nash

Stacey Nash is a Seattle-based freelance health writer.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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