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Online therapy is growing evermore popular. Talkspace and BetterHelp are two major online therapy providers you might be considering.
You can use telepsychology services, such as BetterHelp and Talkspace, to talk with a therapist through your computer or mobile device from anywhere you want with an internet connection.
Research has shown that web-based mental healthcare (i.e., telepsychology) has helped people manage many mental health conditions, including:
Researchers also say that telepsychology services help remove barriers to mental healthcare, so more people can access it.
Still, you may be curious how different online therapy options, like BetterHelp and Talkspace, stack up against each other.
When you sign up for BetterHelp online, the platform will ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your needs and preferences for mental healthcare.
The service will set you up with a licensed therapist within about 24 hours after you submit your questionnaire.
Once BetterHelp matches you with a therapist, you’ll have a “room” in which you can talk with them. Your conversations with the therapist are totally private, so the conversation stays between you.
During scheduled therapy sessions, you communicate with your therapist with video chat, phone call, or live chat. Live chat is similar to text messaging, so your therapist can respond in real time during your therapy session.
Outside your scheduled therapy sessions, you can message your therapist anytime through a messaging service similar to email.
BetterHelp says its service works for adults who have a number of different mental health conditions, including:
However, BetterHelp therapists can’t diagnose conditions or prescribe medication.
The trained therapists may use a range of approaches, including:
A BetterHelp subscription costs $60 to $90 per week. You’re billed monthly. The company says the cost is based on:
- your location
- your preferences
- the availability of a therapist
Cancellation is simple and takes effect immediately.
Online reviewers have noted that healthcare insurers don’t cover the cost of BetterHelp services. However, if you’re curious whether your insurer covers BetterHelp, check directly with the insurer.
Neither Medicare nor Medicaid cover BetterHelp therapy services.
Just like BetterHelp, Talkspace asks you to fill out a questionnaire when you’re signing up. The service uses your answers to match you with up to three potential qualified therapists. You choose one of them to be your therapist.
Therapists who work with Talkspace specialize in many types of therapy. The platform says its therapists can help with mental health issues including:
- anxiety and stress
- family conflict
- anger management
- LGBTQIA+ matters
- eating disorders
In addition to talk therapy for adults, Talkspace offers:
- couples (relationship) therapy
- teen therapy for ages 13 to 17
With a basic subscription you don’t get live therapy sessions, but you can send a phone, video, or written message to your therapist anytime of day or night with no limit on the number of messages.
Talkspace says its therapists will get back to you daily 5 days a week. They may not be available to respond to you immediately during their time off during the week.
You can pay for one-off therapy sessions in which you talk directly with your therapist. You can also pay for a higher-cost subscription that includes regular live video calls with your therapist.
The company recently announced it’s using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze some conversations between therapists and their clients so the company can provide better therapy. You could inquire about opting out of this, however.
Talkspace does not offer a free trial, but you can live chat with a matching agent to answer your questions before signing up.
The price you’ll pay with Talkspace depends on the package you purchase. There are three packages for online therapy. They range from $260 per month with no live therapy sessions to $396 per month with four live therapy sessions.
Talkspace offers couples therapy for $396 per month, or $1,068 every 3 months. This includes unlimited messaging and a weekly live therapy session.
Therapy sessions for teens are $260 per month. They include unlimited messaging but no live therapy.
Psychiatrist appointments are always live. The first session costs $199. Subsequent sessions are $125 per session.
Several health insurers cover the cost of Talkspace, but Medicare and Medicaid do not.
BetterHelp and Talkspace both offer web-based therapy from qualified therapists that you can access anytime online. Both services may be great options for people who want to access mental healthcare but find it hard to travel to a clinic for in-person care.
For both services you’ll need to be comfortable using computers and have a good internet connection. They’re both safe, private, quick, and more affordable than in-person therapy sessions.
Both allow you to switch therapists if you’re not satisfied with the one the service assigned you.
The costs for each service are roughly similar, but it depends on the plan and services you want. If you want to compare costs, consider looking into this directly with each platform.
If you’re in a crisis, neither service may be right for you. Instead, seek help right away by calling a crisis helpline or going to the emergency room.
Are you in a crisis or considering suicide?
If you or someone you know is considering suicide or self-harm, help is available right now:
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.
- Text “HOME” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
- Not in the United States? Find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.
- If it’s an emergency, call or visit your local emergency room or psychiatric care center to speak with a mental health professional.
BetterHelp may be the right choice for you if:
- You want live therapy sessions with a lower-cost plan.
- You’d prefer not to have your conversations analyzed by AI.
Talkspace may be the right choice for you if:
- You need insurance coverage for your therapy.
- You want your mental healthcare professional to be able to diagnose your condition or prescribe medication.
- You need therapy for a teen (ages 13 to 17).
- You’d prefer to choose between three potential therapists rather than being assigned one.
The differences between BetterHelp and Talkspace are really in the details. Both offer similar services for similar prices.
Before you start looking for therapy options, decide for yourself what you want and need from a therapy provider, and what other boxes you need that provider to tick — like insurance coverage or ability to prescribe medication.
With your needs and preferences clearly in mind, you can compare and contrast the details of these services with others and make an informed decision.
And at the end of the day, if you don’t like using Talkspace or BetterHelp, you can always cancel your subscription and look for other online therapy options.