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BetterHelp versus Talkspace? See which one takes insurance, how each rates with users, and what each offers.

Telehealth services, such as BetterHelp and Talkspace, allow you to work with a therapist from any location as long as you have an internet connection.

Research from 2017 has shown that web-based mental health care (i.e., telepsychology) has helped people manage many mental health conditions, including:

Still, you may be curious how different online therapy options, like BetterHelp and Talkspace, stack up against each other.

How we researched BetterHelp and Talkspace

Before we recommend a telehealth service, it goes through a vetting process where we consider some of the following factors:

  • Clinician qualifications. Are the therapists licensed, accredited clinicians? Do they hold a master’s or doctoral degree? How many years of experience do they have?
  • Cost. Is the service cost-effective? Do they work with insurance providers? If not, do they keep the prices reasonable?
  • User reviews. Are current users happy with their personal therapist and the service in general?
  • Ease of use. Does the site look professional, and is it easy to navigate? Is it easy to find the answers to your questions?
  • Accessibility. How often can you check in or contact your therapist? Are the customer service representatives responsive?
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Founded in 2013, BetterHelp is now a subsidiary of the telehealth provider Teladoc. BetterHelp works with a network of licensed mental health professionals who specialize in a wide range of conditions, including:

Since 2013, the online platform has connected more than 2.7 million users with licensed therapists via:

  • live video
  • messaging
  • live chat
  • live phone

The service will set you up with a licensed therapist within several hours to several days after you submit an intake questionnaire.

Pros and cons


  • BetterHelp is a well-established therapy service with a large network of mental health professionals.
  • You’re matched with a therapist within several hours to several days, and you can switch easily if you find that therapist isn’t a solid fit for you.
  • Your subscription provides at least one live video session per week, along with unlimited messaging.
  • Financial assistance is available to some clients.
  • You can use an anonymous nickname with your therapist (although you must provide contact details at signup, which will be shared with your therapist for emergency use).
  • The service is available in the United States and the United Kingdom.


  • Your therapist is chosen for you based on an algorithm (though switching is possible).
  • BetterHelp does not accept insurance.
  • BetterHelp does not offer psychiatry services, group therapy, or teen therapy.
  • BetterHelp therapists are not permitted to diagnose conditions.
  • BetterHelp engages in “surge pricing”, which means that although there is only one subscription plan, its cost will vary depending on availability and demand in your location.
  • In April 2023, Mozilla renewed BetterHelp’s *privacy not included label, reiterating its concerns about its privacy and security measures.
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If you’d like to learn more, consider reading our in-depth review of BetterHelp.

Talkspace is another well-established therapy platform offering a basic subscription plan for text-based therapy, plus two higher-tier plans offering live video sessions and workshops. Founded in 2012, Talkspace says it has served more than 1 million users.

Once you sign up, you can message your therapist 24/7, and they’ll respond at least once a day, 5 days a week.

In addition to talk therapy for adults, Talkspace offers:

Pros and cons


  • You can message your therapist directly.
  • You can choose among three subscriptions plans that offer messaging only, messaging plus live video chat, or messaging plus video chat and a workshop.
  • After an initial matching appointment, you can choose your therapist from a small preselected group.
  • Psychiatry and couples therapy are available to people 18+.
  • The service works with many insurance providers.
  • Talkspace offers therapy for youth ages 13 and up.


  • Live video sessions with your therapist are available only in the two top-tier subscription plans.
  • If you choose the basic, lower-priced therapy subscription that provides messaging only, you may find it harder to develop a strong therapist-client relationship.
  • Talkspace uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze some conversations between therapists and their clients to identify individuals at risk of self-harm or suicide. You can inquire about opting out of this.
  • Talkspace psychiatry providers are unable to prescribe controlled substances like Adderall, opioids like oxycodone, or any other medication on the Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substances list.
  • In April 2023, Mozilla renewed its *privacy not included label for Talkspace, raising concerns about its privacy measures.
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If you’d like to learn more about Talkspace, consider reading our in-depth review.

CostPause subscription?Types of serviceAgeCommunication format
BetterHelp$65–$100 a week (billed every 4 weeks)• up to 3 weekstherapy18+• messaging
• live video
• live chat
• live phone
Talkspace*• Therapy: $69–$109 a week (billed monthly, quarterly, or biannually); $65 per additional session
• Psychiatry: $299 initial visit; $175 follow-ups
• up to 7 days• therapy
• psychiatry
• couples therapy
• teen therapy

• 13+ for individual therapy
• 18+ for psychiatry and couples therapy
• messaging
• live video in some plans

* insurance accepted

BetterHelp vs. Talkspace sign-up process


To sign up for BetterHelp, you’ll answer a questionnaire designed to determine your goals for therapy and your preferences for a therapist (gender, age, etc.).

From there, you’ll be matched to an available therapist who fits your objectives, preferences, and the type of issues you are dealing with. It takes from a few hours to a few days to be connected to a therapist based on your answers. If you find the therapist is not a good fit, you can request a change.


To sign up for Talkspace, you’ll enter a private chat room on Talkspace’s website where you can live chat with a matching agent who’s also a licensed mental health professional. The agent will ask you a few questions about yourself and your preferences and goals for therapy. You can ask the agent questions before signing up.

Once the intake process for Talkspace is complete, you’ll be given a choice of licensed and accredited therapists. If none of these therapists feels like a match for you, you can ask to see others. Once you’ve made your choice, it can take a day or two to interact with your therapist.

BetterHelp vs. Talkspace therapist qualifications

BetterHelp and Talkspace work with various licensed, accredited, and experienced clinicians.

These may include:

  • psychologists (PhD/ PsyD)
  • licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT)
  • licensed clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW)
  • licensed professional therapists (LPC)


All of the clinicians at BetterHelp have at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. Potential therapists must complete a case study exam and be evaluated in a video interview. According to the site, only about 20% of the therapists who apply to work with BetterHelp are accepted to the platform.


Talkspace therapists must pass a review and evaluation and are consistently monitored for their performance.

BetterHelp vs. Talkspace types of treatment


BetterHelp says its service works for adults with different mental health conditions, including:

The trained therapists may use a range of approaches, including:

BetterHelp therapists can’t diagnose conditions or prescribe medication.


Talkspace therapists come from the company’s extensive network of mental health professionals with various specializations, including:

Talkspace also offers sleep therapy and psychiatry services, including medical care and medication management from licensed psychiatrists.

BetterHelp vs. Talkspace communication style


Once BetterHelp matches you with a therapist, you’ll be assigned an online room on BetterHelp’s website where you can communicate with your counselor. The messages exchanged with your therapist are encrypted using a 256-bit system.

You can text your therapist outside of therapy sessions through a messaging service similar to email. You can send messages to your matched therapist at any time, from any location, using any Internet-connected device.

This type of messaging is not in real-time, so it doesn’t require scheduling. You will get a notification by email when the therapist has sent you a message.

For scheduled therapy sessions, you’ll have several options for communicating with your therapist:

  • live chat
  • live phone
  • live video

Live chat is similar to text messaging, except that it occurs in real time. This allows the ease of texting, plus a “live” interaction for immediate response from your therapist. To have a live chat session, you must schedule a time with your therapist.

You can vary how you communicate with your therapist based on your preferences and schedule.


If you subscribe to the basic messaging-only Talkspace plan, you won’t get live therapy sessions, but you can send a phone, video, or written message to your therapist any time 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 be unable to respond to you immediately during their time off during the week.

If you want live video sessions, you can subscribe to one of the higher-cost plans ($99 or $109 per week) that include a weekly live video session. Or you can add on live video sessions to your basic plan for $65 each.

BetterHelp vs. Talkspace cost


A BetterHelp subscription costs $65 to $100 weekly, billed every 4 weeks. Although there is only one subscription plan, the subscription cost varies. The company says the cost varies depending 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 retroactively 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.


A Talkspace therapy subscription costs $69 to $109 a week. Three tiers of therapy plans are available. Psychiatry is billed per individual session.

Talkspace also offers Talkspace Go, a self-guided app that provides anonymous therapist-led workshops via Zoom, plus a variety of classes for $29.99 a month.

With insurance coverage. Talkspace accepts coverage from many U.S. health plan providers and employers. If you’re covered, Talkspace says copays average less than $30 per session.

Talkspace therapy. The three Talkspace therapy subscriptions cost:

  • $69 a week for messaging therapy, with no live therapy sessions
  • $99 a week, for messaging therapy and live video therapy sessions
  • $109 a week for messaging therapy, live video sessions, and workshops

Additional live sessions are available for $65 each.

Talkspace teen therapy. Teen therapy is available at the same prices as standard therapy. In most states, parental consent is required, although the teen must have their own separate account, and the information they share remains private between them and their therapist. Teens do not need parental consent to use the Talkspace Go app.

Talkspace offers free therapy for teens 13–16 who live in one of the five New York City boroughs through the Talkspace NYC TeenSpace program. Talkspace also provides free, unlimited messaging therapy for all Baltimore County public high school students aged 13 and above.

Couples therapy. Talkspace offers couples therapy, but only for adults. It costs $109 a week, which includes unlimited messaging and a weekly live therapy session. Additional sessions are available for $65 each.

Psychiatry. The initial psychiatry evaluation session costs $299, plus $175 for the required follow-up sessions. Prescription costs are additional and vary by medication. Psychiatry appointments are always conducted in live video.

Talkspace psychiatry focuses on medication management and does not include talk therapy. You must subscribe to both psychiatry and therapy if you want both services.

Their pricing for BetterHelp and Talkspace therapy plans is very similar. BetterHelp subscription plans range from $65–$100 a week. Talkspace plans vary from $69 to $109 a week.

Some people are concerned that in June 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a notice that BetterHelp had improperly shared sensitive health data of its customers with third parties from 2017–2020 and asked it to pay $7.8 million, partially for refunds to clients.

While not admitting to any wrongdoing, BetterHelp settled the FTC allegations by agreeing to the payment and pledging to cooperate with the FTC to safeguard the privacy of its members. In May 2024, approximately 800,000 BetterHelp users began receiving notices of partial refunds.

BetterHelp has a 4.8 star rating on Apple and a 4.6 star rating on Google Play. BetterHelp users found the service to be excellent, but the app a bit buggy. BetterHelp has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Talkspace has a 4.8 star rating on Apple and a 4.5 star rating on Google Play. Talkspace users generally love the app, but some are concerned about technical issues with the app and complications with insurance coverage. Talkspace has a B rating with the BBB.

BetterHelp, which costs $65-$100 a week, is probably not cheaper than therapy covered by insurance. But it all depends on what your insurance plan covers and which therapy provider you’re using.

With some insurance plans and some therapy providers, insurance-covered therapy can be more expensive than BetterHelp. But with a therapy provider that accepts your insurance plan, copays for insurance-covered therapy can be as low as $30 per session.

Yes! According to an FTC filing in 2023, BetterHelp had 370,000 active users at the time. Talkspace reported 11,700 active users at the end of 2023.

BetterHelp and Talkspace both offer web-based therapy from qualified therapists that you can access any time online. Both services may be great options for people who want to access mental health care but find it hard to travel to a clinic or office for in-person care.

You’ll need to be comfortable using computers for both services and have a reliable internet connection. They’re both:

  • safe
  • quick
  • more affordable than in-person therapy sessions

Both allow you to switch therapists if you’re not satisfied with the service assigned to 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. Instead, you can seek help right away by calling a crisis helpline or going to the emergency room.

Help is available

If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can access free support right away with these resources:

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
  • The Trevor Project. LGBTQIA+ and under 25 years old? Call 866-488-7386, text “START” to 678678, or chat online 24-7.
  • Veterans Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online 24-7.
  • Deaf Crisis Line. Call 321-800-DEAF (3323), text “HAND” at 839863, or visit their website.
  • Befrienders Worldwide. This international crisis helpline network can help you find a local helpline.
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BetterHelp might be the right choice for you if:

  • You do not need a diagnosis or medication, but you want to work on issues such as stress, anxiety, relationships, parenting, depression, addictions, eating, sleeping, trauma, anger, family conflicts, LGBT experiences, grief, religion, or self-esteem.
  • You want to use a nickname or pseudonym with your therapist (although you must provide contact information at signup, which will be provided to your therapist to use in case of emergency).
  • You want to be able to access a licensed psychotherapist 24/7 from wherever you are.

Talkspace might be the right choice for you if:

  • You need insurance coverage for your therapy.
  • You want to have access to a licensed psychiatric mental health care professional who can diagnose your condition and prescribe medication.
  • You are a teen from 13-17 years old and want therapy, or you are an adult wanting therapy for a teen.
  • You want couples therapy.
  • You’d prefer to choose among several potential therapists rather than being assigned one.

The differences between BetterHelp and Talkspace are really in the details. Both offer similar services at similar prices.

One big differences is that Talkspace provides psychiatry, teen therapy, and couples therapy in addition to individual therapy, whereas BetterHelp provides only individual therapy (unless you leverage its couples therapy sister site: Regain).

But before you start looking for therapy options, it’s a good idea to decide what you want and need from a therapy service and what other boxes you need that service to tick — like insurance coverage or the 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.