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BetterHelp vs. Open Path Collective ⚖️ Which One Is Better?

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Many people need support with their mental health—almost one in five Americans struggles with some form of mental illness. However, there are many barriers preventing people from accessing mental health care, including time, access to therapists, previous bad experiences with the mental health system, cost, and ever-present stigma despite growing awareness about mental health.

Online therapy platforms are working to bridge the gap between the millions of people in need of mental health guidance and valuable services. BetterHelp is one of the largest mental telehealth companies, bringing therapy directly to people’s homes. Open Path Collective is a nonprofit looking to bridge the gap by addressing one of the main issues keeping people away from mental health—cost. 

Both of these services are great, but they have different benefits and drawbacks. Here is a thorough comparison to help you decide which one is right for you.

BetterHelp vs. Open Path Collective ⚖️ Which One Is Better?

What Is BetterHelp?

If most people know a single mental telehealth platform, they probably know BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online healthcare behemoth providing therapy to several million patients. Founder Alon Matas created the company in 2013 after he became frustrated by his own trouble finding a counselor who would accommodate his needs and schedule.

BetterHelp works by delivering mental health care completely online. After filling out an intake form, patients are matched with a therapist who meets with them once a week, just like a traditional therapist. However, instead of meeting in person, the two meet via phone call, video chat, or even live texting sessions. This makes it easier for patients who don’t have time to physically go to the office, can’t access therapy in their area, or don’t want to be seen going to therapy to get the care that they need.

BetterHelp offers many of the same treatments you can get at traditional therapy, including counseling for anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, and addiction. You can also get family counseling and couples counseling and join the separate platforms for teens or LGBT people to get demographic-specific support.

BetterHelp also offers support for patients in between therapy appointments. You can work through self-guided resources to help you learn coping skills, such as mindfulness, or join group therapy sessions to find a support group of your peers. You can also text your therapist for support, although they don’t have to respond earlier than 24 hours. 

What Is Open Path Collective?

Open Path Collective is a smaller organization that is carving out its own niche in the mental health telehealth sphere. 

While BetterHelp is a for-profit company, Open Path Collective is a nonprofit collective of psychotherapists. Its mission is to provide holistic, professional mental health care at affordable rates. The collective joins a network of thousands of professionals in all 50 states as well as Canada that commit to providing care at affordable rates. 

Open Path Collective only matches you with highly vetted and trained therapists, eliminating concerns many people have over using these online services due to rumors about the dubious quality of care. The vast network of Open Path Collective means it is very easy to find therapists who specialize in whatever you are working through, from fertility challenges to gender dysphoria to chronic illnesses.

Signing up with Open Path Collective is relatively simple. First, you make a profile and pay the one-time membership fee of $59. Then, you look at the directory and filter the massive list of therapists with graduate degrees by specialty, treatment style, and demographic. Then, you read their detailed profile on the Open Path Collective website and contact them to set up a session. Each session costs $30–$60, much lower than other services. 

Open Path Collective offers a wide range of services besides online one-on-one therapy. You can schedule family or couples counseling for a slightly higher price than an individual session, even though many other providers charge much more for those services. You can even opt for in-office care if you match with a therapist who is nearby.

You also have access to wellness courses that cover many mental health challenges, from basic communications skills to anger management. Access to all courses is just $4.99. Open Path Collective’s online courses meet court requirements, and getting a certificate is also affordable. 

Benefits of BetterHelp

There are many reasons why BetterHelp is one of the most popular applications for mental health out there. 

Thousands of Available Therapists

One of the benefits of BetterHelp is the sheer size of the platform. The company works with thousands of therapists from around the country who are licensed and vetted. That makes it easier to find a therapist who meets your needs.

Option for Anonymity

If you’re nervous about anyone finding out you are using therapy or want to protect your privacy, BetterHelp gives you the option of signing up for a profile anonymously. Not even your therapist will know your name or identifying information, and you can choose to communicate in a way that protects your information, for example, by turning your camera off.

The Match Process Is Easy

One of the most stressful processes of starting therapy is finding a therapist who will actually work with your needs. That usually involves combing through extensive directories, contacting therapists to ask about availability, and meeting with therapists on a trial-and-error basis. BetterHelp makes the process much easier for you since the platform algorithmically matches you to a therapist based on your intake questionnaire.

If you don’t like your first therapist, don’t worry—you can always change.

Financial Aid Is Available

The sticker price of BetterHelp, which is around $60–$90 a week, seems pricey as it adds up to hundreds of dollars per month. However, it is still much more affordable than most private practice in-person therapy. BetterHelp is also committed to making it more affordable by offering generous financial aid for as long as people in need are using their services. 

If you go through the financial aid process, you can get most if not all of your therapy costs covered for an unlimited time by BetterHelp, sometimes making it even more affordable than Open Path Collective.

Drawbacks of BetterHelp

All platforms have their cons or drawbacks, and BetterHelp is no exception. Some users are frustrated with it and search for other platforms, including Open Path Collective.

Limited Service and Questions About Quality

As an exclusively telehealth organization, BetterHelp has some limits in terms of the service it can provide. Patients cannot use BetterHelp for psychiatric care or court-ordered therapy. BetterHelp cannot help people experiencing acute mental health crises and redirects those it believes are a danger to themselves or others to emergency services.

There have also been some questions about the quality of BetterHelp’s therapy. Although the site dismissed claims that it employs counselors who are not actually therapists (and prominently displays people’s qualifications on its site), reviews say the quality of care is spotty. Some therapists who’ve worked with BetterHelp say they were overworked, which affects the quality of care.

The Sticker Price Is High

BetterHelp is more affordable than private practice in-person care, and it does offer financial aid—that is true. However, paying hundreds of dollars a month for therapy is still inaccessible to many people. Since BetterHelp does not accept insurance, that still puts a lot of cost on the shoulders of the patient.

Benefits of Open Path Collective

Open Path Collective is a nonprofit that is going toe-to-toe with massive online corporations and delivering results. Here are a few reasons why you should sign up with the platform.

The Quality of Care Is Great

All of the people who sign up with Open Path Collective are therapists with advanced graduate degrees. They are thoroughly vetted by the platform before they can see patients. Open Path Collective also promotes ongoing education for its therapists by offering them discounts to take advantage of training and programs. That way, you know your therapists are at the top of their fields.

Open Path Collective also offers extensive services compared to other companies, including wellness courses that meet court requirements. 

You’re Supporting an Organization with a Mission

Companies like BetterHelp and Talkspace provide a valuable service, but at the end of the day, they are private companies making a profit off of people’s hardships. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, Open Path Collective is a nonprofit with the lofty mission of making mental healthcare more accessible. They don’t take any money from their therapists, and the minimal lifetime fee is just enough to support their operations.

Plus, all the therapists who sign up with Open Path Collective are individuals who want to provide mental health services to those in need.

Care Is Affordable

The biggest difference between Open Path Collective is that the sticker price is so much more affordable than it is with other companies. You only pay $59 as long as you use the services as a membership fee, then $30–$60 per individual session. Couples and group therapy sessions go up to $80, but you can sign up for one individual membership for all of you.

Drawbacks to Open Path Collective

Open Path Collective isn’t perfect, and here are some of the flaws users have encountered. 

It’s Not as Affordable as It Seems

Although the sticker price is low, Open Path Collective may wind up costing you more than other services, such as BetterHelp, because it does not offer insurance coverage or financial aid. If money is very tight, research and see if you would be eligible for a grant from a company such as BetterHelp, as that might make care more affordable.

Some members balk at the lifelong membership fee just for accessing the therapy directory. A fee of $59 is low for people with money but still inaccessible to someone in dire financial straits. You can find many other therapists in your area in Psychology Today and ask if they offer sliding scale rates.

You Can Lose Coverage

One thing to keep in mind with Open Path Collective is that you have to fill out a form when signing up to determine if you’re eligible. If you start making more money or your insurance plan adds mental health benefits, you lose access to the program. This can be traumatic if it means ending your relationship with your therapist because building client-therapist rapport takes time, and you don’t want to undo the progress that you’ve made.

Which Is Better, BetterHelp or Open Path Collective?

Let’s review the similarities and differences between the two to see which therapy platform is better for you.

BetterHelpOpen Path CollectiveWhich is better?
Issues Treated?A range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, OCD, as well as relationships, LGBT-specific counselingA range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, anger managementAbout the same
Therapy Matching Process?Fill out a questionnaire, and the algorithm will match youPick your own from a directoryBetterHelp for convenience, Open Path Collective if you want more control
Resources besides therapy?Group sessions and some self-guided activitiesExtensive wellness courses made by therapistsOpen Path Collective
Fulfills court-ordered therapy requirements?NoYesOpen Path Collective
Offers an option to meet anonymously?YesNoBetterHelp
Offers an in-person option?NoYesOpen Path Collective
Offers financial aid?YesNo, but the price is already lowBetterHelp
Cost?$60–$90 per week$ 59 lifetime membership plus $30–$60 per individual sessionOpen Path Collective

Open Path Collective is one of the best options if you are looking for affordable therapy, as it has the lowest sticker price and works with uninsured people. It connects you with highly trained, vetted therapists who provide advanced services, including court-ordered therapy. A small additional fee gives you access to Open Path Collective’s massive library of online wellness courses developed by professionals, including courses you can use to fulfill court-ordered requirements. 

However, for some people, BetterHelp is more affordable because it offers financial aid, while Open Path Collective does not. You also don’t have to worry about losing eligibility from BetterHelp, which you might if you start making too much money to be eligible for Open Path Collective’s sliding scale prices. Make sure you do research to see which one is more affordable for you.


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