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BetterHelp and Talkspace are online mental health services that offer teletherapy, such as virtual counseling and group therapy. They are an alternative to in-person therapy.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
This article takes a look at two online counseling services: BetterHelp and Talkspace. It also lists some alternative services and other treatment options.
BetterHelp has been operating since 2013 and claims to have more than 22,000 therapists available, all of whom are licensed and have a master’s degree or doctorate in their field. These professionals include psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and professional counselors.
The company offers counseling services for individuals, couples, and teenagers. It also runs group seminars.
When registering, a person enters their details so that the system can match them with an appropriate therapist. Individuals can contact their therapist whenever they choose and select their preferred contact method — text messaging, phone calls, or live video chat. A person can change their therapist at any time if they are not happy with their match.
BetterHelp has an average customer rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars with Trustpilot. At the time of publishing, 83% of more than 3,000 reviews award the service the full 5 stars.
Positive reviews frequently mention the efficiency, convenience, and flexibility of BetterHelp, whereas less favorable reviews report bad experiences with therapists.
The payment schedule is monthly, and prices range from about $60 to $90 per week. The exact price depends on a person’s location and plan and the therapist’s availability. It is possible to cancel a membership at any time.
Talkspace started in 2012 and offers counseling services for individuals, couples, and teenagers. It also provides psychiatry sessions that include medication management. Talkspace has a network of licensed mental healthcare providers that cover a range of specialties, including:
- anger management
The sign-up process requires a person to complete a questionnaire to receive a list of recommended therapists. They can then choose the therapist whom they feel is best for them. They can change their therapist at any time should they choose, and there will be no additional cost.
A person gets a private online “room” to speak with their therapist via text message, video, or voice message. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Live video sessions are also available on some plans.
Talkspace has an average customer rating of 1.5 out of a possible 5 stars with Trustpilot. Of the current 39 reviews, the highest rating is 3 stars, with the reviewer being positive about the therapist but claiming that the cost felt disproportionate.
In the negative reviews, customers mention that they experienced a lack of contact from their therapist and that the service is not good value for money.
Many insurance companies reimburse Talkspace costs, which vary among plans but can reach close to $400 per month.
The Talkspace plans include:
- Plus: Includes text, video, and audio messaging and a response from a therapist daily on 5 days of the week.
- Premium: Includes the above plus one 30-minute live session a month.
- Ultimate: Includes the same as above but with four 30-minute live sessions a month.
If a person is looking for therapy that their insurance may cover, they may prefer to opt for Talkspace, as most insurance companies do not reimburse BetterHelp costs.
A person may also wish to consider looking at both company’s reviews to help them decide which might best suit their needs.
BetterHelp allows all users to video call their therapist, whereas, with Talkspace, this option is not available with all plans. If a person is seeking regular live video sessions, BetterHelp may be more cost effective.
The table below shows the key features of each service side by side:
|Cost per month||about $240–360, depending on location||about $400, depending on the chosen plan|
|Insurance||most insurance companies do not cover BetterHelp services||most insurance plans do cover Talkspace services|
|Live video sessions available?||yes, unlimited||depends on the specific plan, but 1–4 sessions are available per month (more are available at an additional cost)|
|Ways to communicate with a therapist||live video |
live online text chat
|live video (30-minute sessions) |
video and audio messaging
live online text chat
|Is psychiatry available?||no||yes, at an additional cost|
|Ways to pay||credit card or PayPal||debit or credit card|
|Option to change therapist?||yes||yes|
|Group sessions available?||yes||no|
Some alternative online counseling services include:
- ReGain: ReGain specializes in relationship counseling, offering therapy to couples and individuals. A couple wishing to seek counseling together will receive a joint account. However, a person can request a private session with the counselor if they wish.
- Calmerry: Calmerry offers online therapy starting from about $40 per week. It offers live video therapy sessions and text messaging.
- Online-therapy: This website offers online therapy based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. A person can speak with a professional therapist if they wish, or they can guide themself through the videos and self-help tools that the service provides.
Mental Health America notes that alternatives to talking therapy include:
- case management
- support groups
- self-help plans
- peer support
- alternative therapies, such as art therapy and animal therapy
BetterHelp and Talkspace offer very similar online counseling services at varying prices.
When choosing, a person should look at the reviews, costs, and services that each option offers. Individuals should also consider how they would like to contact their therapist, as this may determine which company and specific plan they use.