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Talkspace Online Therapy Review: Benefits, Cost and Who Should Consider It

Talkspace offers a convenient way to access licensed therapists at any time. Here's what you need to know before deciding to sign up.

Woman having an online therapy session on her digital tablet
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for treatment of anxiety and depression has increased exponentially. In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 96% of psychologists polled reported that they were treating patients remotely. The numbers broke down to 64% treating all patients remotely and 32% using a hybrid treatment plan, treating some patients in person and others remotely. 

Online therapy is a great way to take care of your mental health if time, distance or life in general make it difficult to see a therapist in person. Talkspace is an online therapy platform that matches you with a licensed counselor in your state. You can schedule your sessions and meet with your therapist from the comfort of your home.

For this review I considered a number of factors including the services Talkspace offers, its special features, benefits, pricing and therapist qualifications. 

What is Talkspace?

Oren and Roni Frank co-founded Talkspace in 2012. The platform's goal is to provide access to mental health care to those who otherwise do not have access to quality mental health services. 

Through Talkspace, you can connect with therapists with backgrounds and expertise that align best with your needs. These mental health care professionals offer virtual psychology and psychiatry support to individuals, couples and teens through its website and app.  

The platform also offers services for a wide range of mental health needs like anxiety, depression, relationships, trauma, substance abuse, parenting, eating disorders, chronic illness and hardships that the LGBTQ community often faces. 

What makes Talkspace shine is that licensed professionals can prescribe medications through its psychiatric services. A service that its counterparts, such as BetterHelp, have yet to offer. 

A woman in an online meeting
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How does Talkspace work?

Talkspace's sign-up process is straightforward. You can sign up through its website or app. Here's what subscribing to Talkspace looks like:

1. Answer the assessment: When you click the button to get started, you'll be prompted to answer a few questions about the type of therapy you are looking for, your demographics, lifestyle, physical health and preferences. You'll also create your user account.

2. Choose your plan: Next, you can select which plan you'd like to buy. You can choose from the Messaging therapy plan, Live Plan or the Live plus messaging Plan.

3. Get matched: At this stage, Talkspace will suggest three therapists with experience that match your needs. Here, you can choose which one you'd like to work with. You can expect to get matched within 48 hours of signing up.

4. Start therapy: Once you choose your preferred therapist, they will contact you. Depending on the plan you select, you can schedule weekly or monthly live sessions with your counselor.

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How much does Talkspace cost?

We mentioned that there are three plans available through Talkspace; let's compare pricing for each and what they offer.

Messaging therapy: This plan includes unlimited messaging therapy. You can send text, audio and video messages to your therapist any day, any time. It guarantees daily responses five days a week. You'll pay $69 a week for this plan.

Live therapy: This plan includes four 45-minute live sessions a month. The price for this plan is $99 a week.

Live plus messaging therapy: Get the best of both worlds with live and messaging therapy. It offers unlimited text, audio and video messaging plus four 45-minute live sessions a month. This plan will set you back $129 a week.

You can choose to pay any of these plans monthly, every three months (will save you 10%) or every six months (will save you 20%).

Does Talkspace take insurance?

In the words of Michael Phelps, "I have really good news for 40 million Americans". In 2020, Talkspace expanded accessible mental health care coverage for millions of Americans via insurance coverage. Major insurance companies like Cigna, Optum, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana cover mental health services on Talkspace.

To determine if your insurance policy covers Talkspace, you can check your insurance coverage eligibility through your insurer or on Talkspace's website

Does Talkspace offer financial aid?

At the time of writing, I couldn't find any information about financial aid on Talkspace. However, if you have insurance, you might have coverage and may only need to pay a deductible or copay. 

I also found an offer code in the Talkspace app for $100 off your first month with the code SPACE.

Talkspace communication methods

Once you're matched with your therapist, you'll have access to a private room where you can contact them. You can access this room via Talkspace's website or on the app. You can also select your preferred method of communication. 

Video messaging

You can communicate with your counselor through video messages, but it's important to note live video sessions are only available on the Premium and Ultimate plans. Depending on your plan, you can schedule a weekly or monthly live video session with your therapist. If you choose the Plus plan, you can still send video messages to your therapist; it just won't be in real-time.

Voice Message

Much like sending a voice message to a friend through WhatsApp, you can send audio messages to your therapist at any time of day, seven days a week. Even though you can contact your therapist at any time, that doesn't mean they'll respond immediately or every day. You can expect therapists to reply five days a week.

Young man with coffee in one hand and smartphone in the other sending a voice message
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Text message

If you are most comfortable reaching out via text, this is the best option for you. Just enter the chat room and reach out to your therapist the same way you would reach out to a friend. You can send unlimited text messages at any time of day.

Talkspace treatment methods

When it comes to therapy, there are many approaches you can take. The best one for you will depend on your needs and goals. You can talk to your counselor to see which options are available. 

The most common types of treatments found on Talkspace include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Emotion-focused therapy 
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy 
  • Talk therapy
  • Somatic therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Mentalization therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Grief counseling
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Talkspace features

Besides unlimited texting and video sessions with your therapist, Talkspace offers some cool features to help you stay on track with your mental health journey.

Progress tracker: Talkspace offers a great way to visualize your progress through its therapy progress tracker. As you start to foster a relationship with your counselor, you can click on "client journey" in the app to view your timeline. You can set goals with your therapist and see how well you are doing.

Mental health tools and resources: If you want to put what you've learned to practice, check out Talkspace's self-help exercises. It offers many resources to help you navigate different situations including stress, anxiety and negative thought patterns. You can also find other useful tools such as breathing exercises for when you're feeling stressed. Most of the exercises are from 1 to 15 minutes long, making them convenient for when you're short on time.

These resources are available to you at any time. You can find them on your dashboard under Therapy Tools. 

Live chat: For those who have plans that include live chat, you can schedule them in advance through your calendar. The live feature allows you to chat in real-time with your therapist through your preferred communication method: text, audio or video. These live sessions have a duration of 30 minutes.

Benefits of Talkspace

Besides providing access to mental health professionals, some other things make Talkspace stand out:

  • Access to psychiatric care
  • If working with a psychiatrist, they can prescribe and manage medication
  • A vast network of licensed therapists
  • Many large health insurers cover services offered on Talkspace
  • Ability to message your therapist at any time
  • The flexibility of choosing weekly or monthly live sessions
  • Talkspace will match you with three therapists, and you can choose which one you'd like to work with
  • If you're unhappy with your therapist, you can change them at any time at no extra cost

Disadvantages of Talkspace

There's a lot to like about Talkspace, but there are a few things that you should consider before deciding if it's the right fit for you:

  • Medicare and Medicaid don't cover the cost of therapy on Talkspace
  • No therapy options for children ages 12 and younger
  • Negative customer reviews about billing and customer service
  • Similar to other online therapy platforms, therapists on Talkspace can't diagnose mental health disorders

Talkspace therapist qualifications

Talkspace therapists are highly skilled and qualified. According to the website, to become a member of the clinical network, all mental health professionals must possess an LCSW, LMFT, LPCC or Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and must be licensed in the state they practice.

Talkspace verifies all therapists' credentials and runs a background check upon hire. 

Talkspace's privacy policy

When you sign up with Talkspace, you share a lot of personal data, including credit card information, legal name and medical records. You might be wondering, is my information safe?

According to the website, Talkspace may collect, retain, analyze and use any personal information you provide. The company provides a lot of insight into how your information may be used. Although this might sound scary, it's not uncommon for platforms to store and use your data for marketing purposes and to tailor your services.

What's most important is that the information shared with your therapist is safe. When you message your therapist, all of the information is encrypted -- meaning that your messages are only readable to you and your therapist.

To ensure that your medical information remains private, Talkspace is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

Older woman sitting at a dining table sending a text message
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Talkspace customer reviews

On paper, Talkspace has a lot to offer -- convenient scheduling, online resources and tools and access to qualified therapists. But when it comes to customer reviews, the company falls short in terms of good customer experience. Talkspace holds a 1.3 out of 5 star review on Trustpilot, an independent review platform where consumers can review services and products. 

Most clients have complaints about unauthorized charges, billing issues, subpar customer services and difficulty navigating the app. Other reviewers note that they've had good experiences with therapists, but not with Talkspace as a company.

Is Talkspace right for you?

If you're looking to start taking care of your mental health or need help facing difficult life changes, Talkspace may be a good online therapy option. It offers flexible scheduling and access to a diverse network of licensed therapists. It's also one of the few online therapy platforms that offer psychiatric services and medication prescriptions. 

However, good experiences with Talkspace may be a hit or miss. It does not boast great reviews amongst its customers. Since the platform is subscription-based, you can try it out to see if you are matched with a therapist that aligns with your needs, and if you don't like them, you can either request a change or cancel your membership.

If you have thoughts about hurting yourself, Talkspace is not the appropriate channel. If you have an emergency or are in a life-threatening situation, please contact your local police, the nearest emergency room or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifetime at 1-800-273-8255.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.