Here's what you need to know about Talkspace and BetterHelp before deciding which one is best for you.
It's no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the spike in demand for telehealth, and online mental health services weren't the exception. According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, four in 10 US adults have reported symptoms of anxiety and depression since the start of the pandemic.
To offset the mental health impact of the pandemic, many people have sought virtual therapy. Online therapy is a convenient way of taking care of your mental health from anywhere. Talkspace and BetterHelp are two of the most popular online therapy platforms, which are able to connect you with licensed therapists.
Although both provide mental health services, the two have significant differences. We break down the benefits and disadvantages, costs, services offered, special features and customer reviews to help you determine which one is right for you.
Read more: Best Online Therapy Services
Talkspace connects you with therapists that have the expertise that best aligns with your needs. Providers on Talkspace offer virtual psychology and psychiatry services to individuals, couples and teens through the website and app.
Unlike BetterHelp, through Talkspace counselors can prescribe medications via psychiatric services.
BetterHelp is one of the largest online therapy companies available. Through the platform, you can access a diverse network of licensed therapists that you can contact via live chat, video and phone sessions and online messaging.
Talkspace and BetterHelp are both online therapy companies that facilitate the process of finding a therapist. They're both subscription-based, meaning you'll pay a monthly fee for the services you use.
The great thing about online therapy is that it's as effective as in-person therapy without the hassle of a commute or a waiting room. Talkspace and BetterHelp both take the pressure off finding a therapist since both match you to a provider based on answers you provide in an initial questionnaire and preferences.
Here's a quick overview of services offered, cost and features you'll get with a subscription from both platforms.
$69 to $129 per session
$60 to $90 per session
PayPal or credit card
Adults, children over 12, teens, couples
Adults, teens, couples, LGTBQ
Text, video, audio and live chats
Text, live chat, phone calls and video sessions
Many often turn to online therapy because it's convenient and affordable. In most of the US, therapy typically costs between $100 to $200 per session. These online therapy platforms offer quality mental health services for a fraction of that price. Here's an overview of the different plans offered by both.
Sessions with Talkspace can cost you from $69 to $99. Pricing varies depending on your location and therapist availability. Unlike BetterHelp, Talkspace offers tiered plans.
Messaging therapy: $69 per week
With this plan, you get unlimited messaging with your therapist. You can send text, video and audio messages to your provider at any time. However, your therapist may not respond immediately -- you're guaranteed daily responses five days a week.
Live therapy: $99 per week
You'll get four 45-minute live sessions a month with this plan. Live sessions can be through audio, text or video.
Live plus messaging therapy: $129 a week
Live plus messaging therapy: As the name suggests, you get text and live therapy. You'll get unlimited text, video and audio messaging plus four monthly 45-minute live sessions.
Therapy sessions with BetterHelp range from $60 to $90 per session. The exact price of your sessions depends on your preferences, therapist expertise and location. One thing to note is that when you sign up for BetterHelp, you'll be billed upfront for the first month.
Both online therapy platforms offer similar experiences when signing up. You answer an initial questionnaire (although BetterHelp's assessment is more extensive) about your mood, demographics, preferences and goals. You'll then get matched with a therapist.
Getting you matched with a counselor is where the platforms differ. BetterHelp matches you with a therapist based on your answers using an algorithm. Some people prefer to speak with a person because the responses seem impersonal and robotic.
On the other hand, Talkspace matches you with a therapist using an agent who is also a licensed therapist. You'll be matched with three counselors, and you choose who you'd like to continue working with.
On both platforms, once you start working with a therapist, you'll be taken to a secure, private chat room where you can start messaging your counselor.
If you don't like the counselor you were matched with, you can request a change on either platform free of charge.
Both platforms offer tools and resources to help you stay on track with your mental health. Here are some of the most noteworthy features of both.
Progress tracker: Once you've paid your membership, you get access to a progress tracker that helps you visualize your journey. You can set goals with your therapists and see how you're doing.
Self-help exercises: Talkspace offers tools to help you navigate day-to-day life. There are exercises available that help you manage anxiety, stress and negative thoughts. Most exercises are between one and 15 minutes long.
Journal: Upon signing up, you'll gain access to a virtual journal where you can write down anything you want -- goals, thoughts, feelings. This journal is private, so no one will have access to it unless you decide to share it with your therapist.
Group therapy: This is what BetterHelp calls "groupinars." No matter what membership you decide on, you'll have access to weekly live seminars that cover multiple topics including depression and anxiety.
Let's get into how therapists stack up against each other on Talkspace and BetterHelp. On both platforms, therapists are licensed and have experience in their field of specialization. So no matter which platform you choose, you'll be working with a professional.
On BetterHelp, all therapists and counselors are trained and accredited marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors and psychologists. Each BetterHelp therapist possesses at least three years and 1,000 hours of experience.
To become a member of Talkspace's clinical network, mental health professionals must be licensed in the state they practice and have an LMFT, LPCC, LCSW or Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
Read more: Tips to Find the Right Therapist For You
Therapists at Talkspace and BetterHelp treat different mental health conditions including anxiety, addiction and depression. Besides regular therapy, Talkspace also provides psychiatric care and medication management.
Compare services and treatment methods offered by both therapy platforms.
When talking about customer experience, there's a lot to say about Talkspace and BetterHelp. Of the two, BetterHelp holds the best score for customer satisfaction, holding an average 4.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. Customers report that BetterHelp does a good job matching therapists to clients and that it's convenient and easy to use.
Even though Talkspace offers more services and tools than BetterHelp, its customer satisfaction score is surprisingly low, with 1.3 out of 5 stars. The most common complaints are unauthorized charges to their credit cards, bad customer service and difficulty using the mobile app. Other customers said that they had good experiences with therapists but not with Talkspace.
Deciding which platform is best for you comes down to a few factors. You should consider the type of service you're looking for, whether you need the platform to take insurance and if you need financial aid or medication management.
BetterHelp is the best option if you're looking for live sessions with a therapist, if you may need financial aid and if you're OK with paying out-of-pocket.
Talkspace is the best option if you mostly want to text a therapist, seek psychiatric care or have an insurance provider that covers mental health services on Talkspace.
The most important thing to consider is whether you'll be matched with a therapist who understands your needs and can provide the resources you require to embark on your mental wellness journey.
Talkspace and BetterHelp are online therapy platforms that operate on a subscription-based model. They both match you with a therapist they deem fit based on answers you provide in an initial assessment and your preferences.
Both platforms offer great services and facilitate the process of finding a therapist. The best one for you depends on the type of service you are looking for, if you prefer your insurance provider to cover the cost and if you need your therapist to prescribe medication.
Only Talkspace takes insurance from major insurance providers, excluding Medicare and Medicaid. BetterHelp does not take insurance, but it does provide financial aid for those who qualify.