They sell customer data to third parties, and my ex-wife and I had terrible experiences with them.
I cannot recommend BetterHelp to anyone. It is really disheartening to see YouTube creators endorse this place as if it were the second coming. My ex-wife and I have had a terrible experience with them. They have moreover been found to sell customer data. That’s awful. Frankly, anyone supporting this outfit should be ashamed of themselves.
In what follows here, I’ll be talking about Pride Counseling. It used to be essentially BetterHelp but with a different skin, probably to try to corner a slice of the queer market. After my wife and I used them, it was absorbed by BetterHelp. I have no reason to think that our experience with Pride Counseling would be any different with BetterHelp.
BetterHelp Sold Customer Data
BetterHelp was caught by the FTC selling customer data to various other entities, including Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo and Pinterest. It is true that BetterHelp is not held to HIPAA. However, it is under the guise of deceptive advertising that the FCC went after them. They promised that the data would remain confidential, when it did not.
The FTC news release contains this paragraph:
BetterHelp offers online counseling services through that name and through specialized versions for particular audiences – for example, Pride Counseling for members of the LGBTQ community, Faithful Counseling for people of the Christian faith, Terappeuta for Spanish-speaking clients, and Teen Counseling for teenagers who enroll with parental permission.
It confirms what I said about Pride Counseling being BetterHelp under a different skin, but it also mentions several other outfits that I was unaware of.
Our Experience With Pride Counseling
This part of the article is salvaged from an article written in May 2022 that was published elsewhere. I have done minimal editing to it. I’ve not changed the chronology of events. My ex-wife and I are now divorced, for instance.
With the recent divorce talk between my wife and I, I suggested that we get counseling services individually so that we’d be able to work through our own individual problems, besides getting couples’ counseling to decide how our marriage should evolve. My wife agreed. We looked for counselors online to get individual counseling. I found Pride Counseling, we both subscribed to it, but I cannot recommend them. I’m going to explain why in this article.
My wife is a cis woman, 69, heterosexual, and currently considering polyamory. I’m a cis man, 49, pansexual, and polyamorous. I met her 24 years ago. We’ve been married for 21 years. My wife knew I was pansexual, and we talked about non-monogamy 24 years ago, at the start of our relationship. However, I reasserted both recently. This precipitated our current crisis.
Pride Counseling seemed to be perfect for us. I knew if we went with them, we wouldn’t encounter some therapist likely to dismiss my pansexuality or my desire for polyamory. Note here there that I was not scheming to find a therapist who would convert my wife. I merely wanted someone who wouldn’t from the get go piss all over polyamory. In other words, I wanted someone who wouldn’t trap us, again, in mononormativity.
You see, my wife and I had been in therapy before in March 2018. I was already at that time talking about polyamory, but the therapist, consciously or not, brought us back to monogamy. It was a mistake on the part of everyone. I should have stuck to my guns. As far as the therapist was concerned, the therapy was a success, but for me, it was an utter failure.
My instincts were probably right. You’ll see in a moment why I say “probably”. My wife and I both subscribed to their service, which they say is cheaper than other services. I cannot opine about this. The price seemed reasonable to me. They paired me with a therapist, and I picked a time and date to meet her through video. We had a first meeting, in which I poured my heart out. I made an appointment for the next week.
The appointed time came… and went… and my therapist was nowhere to be found. This is why I say “probably”. I don’t know why this therapist stood me up. Was she secretly disgusted with polyamory? Maybe? I can’t know. So I asked to switch therapists right away. Our initial interaction was cordial, but I did not find it especially useful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the second therapist the same week I was supposed to see the first. So there was one week during which I met no therapist.
The next week I met my second therapist, and the relation between her, and I was much better than with the first therapist. However, I had to pour, again, my heart out. We were restarting from scratch. Ok… But then the next week she told me she couldn’t meet me and that I’d have to use the Pride Counseling messaging system to talk to her. It was okay, but definitely not as good as a video meeting. I met her again the week after and again the meeting was good. I felt she heard me.
I was supposed to meet her again today, but got a message that she had to be off the platform for personal reasons, etc. From what I understood, she was essentially quitting, even if temporarily. I sighed, deeply. I considered my options and decided that Pride Counseling’s services were no longer for me. I did not want to switch to a new therapist, again, and, again, have to start from scratch.
In addition, while my wife and I were getting therapy from Pride Counseling, we made more connections in our community and sought the service of a coach to help us navigate forward either towards my wife being fine with my desire for polyamory, or divorce. This coach knows about polyamory and is not trying to steer us again towards monogamy. Given this change in circumstances, I decided that I shouldn’t continue with Pride Counseling and cancelled my subscription.
My wife had already cancelled before me. The first therapist they assigned to her wasn’t good. She immediately switched therapists, but the second therapists wanted to do everything by text, and my wife never met her by video or phone. So she cancelled.
So there you are: two patients who are unhappy with Pride Counseling’s services. I don’t see how they can fix this. Neither of us got the continuity of service we wanted. I think my wife’s experience was less satisfactory than my own. However, even though I liked the second therapist they assigned to me, I decided that it wasn’t worth restarting with a third, who maybe I wouldn’t like. In total, my wife and I saw four therapists, and we would give a thumbs up to only one. These odds are not in our favor. I could be paired with a fourth therapist only to find that I don’t like her and replace her again.
This is why I cannot recommend Pride Counseling. In theory the service should be good, but in practice it is lacking. In 2018 the therapy may have failed, but we were not treading water. We did get progress, but it was progress in the wrong direction. With Pride Counseling, it feels that there is no progress at all. I’m not interested in pouring my heart out again to another therapist. So we cancelled.
Avoid BetterHelp. There are other solutions out there. Even if you are queer, you can do searches in your locality for queer therapists. This resource from Psychology Today can also be helpful for finding therapists: