No one ever seems to read the Terms and Conditions of anything these days. Now that I am developing my application for my senior project, reading the terms and conditions of Betterhelp gave me insight as to the legal precautions of making a mobile application. My users are sharing personal details about their lives, and I need to ensure that their rights are protected while using my application.
What I did notice in the Terms and Conditions of Betterhelp is that the company does not monitor or control the quality of counseling services.
“We do not control the quality of the Counselor Services and we do not determine whether any Counselor is qualified to provide any specific service as well as whether a Counselor is categorized correctly or matched correctly to you.”(source: Betterhelp) The key difference for my application is that I want to make sure that all the counselors are qualified and certified to assist individuals during their time of need.
Betterhelp also indicates that the user agrees, confirms and acknowledges that they are aware of the fact that the Counselor Services are not a complete substitute for a face-to-face examination. As a matter of fact, Betterhelp strongly recommends that individuals consider seeking advice by having an in-person appointment with a licensed and qualified professional. These terms are a bit ironic since, many people struggling with mental health conditions want to find an ALTERNATIVE to conventional therapy, and yet, they still insist on people to physically visit a counselor. While I do believe this is an intention to reduce liability, as a business, Betterhelp is a direct competitor to conventional therapy methods. I will definitely look into the laws with regards to third-parties offering counseling services, while still providing alternatives for people suffering people with mental health related conditions.
Betterhelp maintains its liability stating they have all the authority but none of the responsibility for any conversations the user has with the counselor.” Section 4 indicates that “Your relationship relating to the Counselor Services is strictly with the Counselor. We are not involved in any way with the actual substance of that relationship or any part of the Counselor Service (whether provided through the Platform or not), and we do not validate or involved in any of the Counselor Service” (source Betterhelp).
As a company, Betterhelp has the right to delete anything the user posts, the rights to what the user’s write, they can’t be responsible them for anything you read or click on in user comments.
After reading Terms and Conditions for a platform almost identical to what I am developing for my senior project has given me a great deal of insight . Betterhelp was comprehensive with their terms about client-counselor relationships, user authenticity, and warnings. This is important when you have a platform people are using to share their own personal experiences with others. I definitely need to consider the security and confidentiality of users in designing my application.