A man who used online therapy service BetterHelp has claimed a therapist told him to “stop being gay” if he wanted to reconnect with his family.
On 19 December, The Wall Street Journal published a report about online mental health services during the pandemic.
With their findings showing that some platforms failed to screen unprofessional and unqualified service providers properly.
Caleb Hill was matched with a therapist who he believed tried ‘conversion therapy’ methods on him.
The dangerous and disproven practice is illegal in several countries.
The 22-year-old was kicked out of his conservative, Christian household after coming out as gay to his parents.
He used BetterHelp to get therapy as he felt isolated and missed his family.
Hill was then paired with a Christian therapist, despite requesting an LGBTQ+ counsellor.
“He said if I chose to go back to who I was and deny those feelings, he could get me where I needed to be,” Hill told The Wall Street Journal.
“He said either you sacrifice your family or you sacrifice being gay…I needed someone to tell me I was gay and that was OK. I got the exact opposite.”
Both BetterHelp and the therapist have declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality.
The platform said “unfortunate and negative experiences are not completely unavoidable” due to the “scale of the service”.
A BetterHelp spokesperson stated therapists can be removed from the site if “information that a therapist conducts conversion therapy or similar practices” is revealed.
Several other users, including other LGBTQ+ people, complained they were also matched with unprofessional therapists, according to the WSJ report.
Users have criticised BetterHelp’s pricing, use of influencers for adverts and targeted ads for LGBTQ+ therapy which some found uncomfortable.