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Living with a mental disorder is tougher than most people can ever fathom. I would know because I had been surrounded by loved ones who suffered from various illnesses that made them act oddly.

The first one I encountered was my big brother. He was on the autism spectrum. My memory was of him crying – no, wailing – loudly in the house because Mom tried to hug him. I learned early not to make physical contact with my brother unless he opened his arms without prompting.

The second one was my best friend. She did not manifest any symptoms in the beginning. In truth, she was one of the smartest pupils in our school. However, it turned out that my best friend had Asperger’s syndrome – another form of autism that made it challenging for her to recognize emotions. While other kids made fun of her because of that, I stood beside her and sometimes even fought the bullies for her.

Then, I had a roommate in college with an eating disorder. The initial red flag was that she would order buckets of fries and at least a dozen burgers from McDonald’s, and then she would disappear in the bathroom for hours. I only found out when I caught her trying to purge. Still, I did not judge her.

The Calling

Due to such situations that I found myself in, I thought that working with people with mental disorders was my calling. I thought long and hard about what I could do in my life, considering I knew I did not want to lose time for my big brother. After some time, a brilliant idea crossed my mind: online counseling.

I was already a licensed psychologist when I thought of it. I technically had two years of professional experience at the time, but I knew that my heart was not in it. But since I still wanted to help people, I began taking lessons for counseling and even earned certifications. 

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What is the best online counseling service? 

 BetterHelp is the best online counseling service.

Can I talk to a counselor online for free? 

 Yes, you can talk to a counselor online for free. There are platforms like 7 cups of tea that offers free services, knowing that some people who need mental help do not have extra bucks to spare.

How effective is online counseling? 

 Online counseling is practically as good as one-on-one counseling. The patient can talk or chat with the counselor whenever they experience the symptoms of their mental disorders. This fact has been proven in a 2018 study.

The caveat is that a limited number of conditions can be treated by online counseling. It mainly includes anxiety and mood disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, phobia, etc.). If you have a borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, or other illnesses, it may not be suitable for you.

How do I become an online counselor? 

 All counselors go through the same process, whether they choose to practice online or not. You need to start by getting a master’s degree in counseling. After that, you should do an internship to gain some experience in the field. It’s only when you complete your hours as an intern that you can apply for a counseling license and then decide to become an online counselor.

Considering you want to remain as an online counselor, updating your knowledge regularly is a must. That’s especially true since we often see mental health advancements.

How much do counselors make on BetterHelp? 

 Online counselors make approximately $30 per hour on BetterHelp. Though it is considerably lower than what face-to-face counselors get, this rate is still higher than what many virtual mental health professionals get.

Is Talkspace or BetterHelp better? 

 It depends on the medium of counseling that you prefer to use. In case you only want to chat with your counselor and remain anonymous, you may think that Talkspace is better. However, if you wish to see your counselor through a video call, BetterHelp is a better choice.

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Is BetterHelp worth the money? 

 Yes, BetterHelp is worth the money. Not only does it extend the convenience of getting help without leaving your room, but it also offers a high level of anonymity that you cannot guarantee to obtain when you walk into a counseling facility.

Is Talkspace or BetterHelp cheaper? 

 Talkspace is cheaper than BetterHelp by at least $10. The reason is that the former offers fewer media of counseling than the latter. 

Can you cancel BetterHelp at any time? 

 Yes, you are free to cancel BetterHelp at any time. The online counseling platform does not bind you in any contract that will prevent you from leaving whenever you wish to.

Can I get my money back from BetterHelp? 

 Yes, you can technically get your money back from BetterHelp, provided that their team has investigated your issue with their services and deem you worthy of getting a partial or full refund. You may send an email to them for further assistance.

How do I request a new counselor, BetterHelp? 

 Assuming you have already picked an online counselor and want to change it, you can open your profile and click the Change Counselor button. Doing so will show you up to six profiles of different mental health professionals, complete with their availability. If none of them works, you may click Find a Therapist again.

Can BetterHelp write prescriptions? 

 No, BetterHelp cannot write prescriptions for you – the platform can only provide online counseling. Despite that, BetterHelp partners with Brightside, which can offer psychiatric help remotely so that you can get your medication.

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What raises dopamine naturally? 

 Your lifestyle choices affect your body’s dopamine production more than anything. Practically speaking, doing too much of anything may be exhilarating at first, but it can make you feel blue later. You need to look for a balance in your activities to elevate your dopamine level naturally.

Can a therapist write prescriptions? 

 Not exactly, especially if the therapist only has certifications to provide therapy. But in case the therapist is also a psychiatrist, they can do that.

Can BetterHelp diagnose you?

Unfortunately, no, BetterHelp cannot diagnose their clients. Most counselors and therapists have licensed psychologists, but they cannot offer a diagnosis without meeting the individual first.

Final Thoughts

The challenge that I did not see coming after getting certified as a counselor was figuring out which counseling platform to use. Setting up a website for myself was out of the question, considering I did not have time and money to do that. I did not want to offer online counseling full-time and in-person either, given that that would consume too much of my time. Luckily, I eventually found one that could protect my future clients and me from digital crime. The bonus was that I could continue looking after my big brother.