BetterHelp Vs. Talkspace: Finding The Best Online Therapy For You

Updated December 5, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team

This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform. This influences where, how, and in what order the information or listings appear on the site.

Number of Therapists30,000+3,000+
Therapist QualificationsLCSW, LPC, MFT, PsyDLCSW, LPC, MFT, PsyD
Messaging7 days per week5 days per week
Live Chat Sessions
Phone SessionsAvailable at extra cost
Video SessionsAvailable at extra cost
Session Length Limit30-45 minutes45 minutes
Sessions Booking

Pick from a calendar

no confirmation needed

Pick from a calendar

therapist's confirmation required

Matching To Therapist Options

Matching algorithm

can change to pick from a list matching specialist available

Pick from 3 options

matching agent available

Digital Worksheets
JournalN/A
Interactive Group Sessions

20 per week

(no extra cost)

5-6 per week

(for extra cost)

Self-Help Content4,000+ articles and guidesBlog
Self-Help Exercises

N/A

10+ exercises
Showing "Therapy Timeline"N/A
Psychiatry OptionN/A

App Store Rating4.84.7
Google Play Store Rating4.64.4
Payment Commitment

Month-by-month default

can change to week-by-week or quarter-by-quarter

Month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter, or semi-annually
Monthly Cost

$260 to $360

depends on location

(includes a weekly live session)

$276-436
(depends on subscription plan)
Financial Aid OptionsN/A
Payment OptionsCredit card, PayPalCredit card
Insurance/Payer Coverage

Options available

some FSA/HSA providers, some employers, some EAPs, some universities

Options available

some insurance plans, FSA/HSA providers, employers, EAPs, universities

Therapy Has Proved To Better Mental Health. Find A Therapist Who Is Best For You

BetterHelp and Talkspace are mental health platforms dedicated to providing telehealth counseling via licensed therapists. An online mental health platform differs from an independent practice telehealth therapist in that it is often cost-effective and comes with unique extra features that you might not receive with an in-person or independent practice online therapist. Understanding the differences between BetterHelp and Talkspace can help you make an informed decision on the type of care you would like to receive. 

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BetterHelp Vs. TalkSpace: How Are They Different?

This article is a comprehensive guide to the various features, mechanisms, costs, and options available through BetterHelp and Talkspace. Let’s start by discussing the differences in pricing and cost benefits. 

BetterHelp May Be More Affordable

Both BetterHelp and Talkspace bill regular online therapy plans every four weeks. BetterHelp plans range from $260 to $360 monthly, depending on your location, therapist availability, and other factors. Talkspace plans range from $276 to $436 per month, depending on your chosen plan.

BetterHelp offers financial aid for individuals earning a lower income, whereas Talkspace does not offer financial aid to new clients. In addition, Talkspace accepts a few popular insurance plans, whereas BetterHelp may only be covered by some FSA/HAS providers, employers, EAPs, or universities. BetterHelp does not accept insurance but you may be reimbursed, depending on your insurance provider's policies. Speak to your plan provider to understand your coverage for online therapy platforms.

BetterHelp and Talkspace accept credit or debit card payments, and BetterHelp offers the additional payment option of PayPal. With an average in-person therapy cost of $100 to $200 per session or $400 to $800 per month, both BetterHelp and Talkspace can be more affordable than in-person therapy.

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Talkspace  Offers Psychiatric Support

Note that Talkspace offers online psychiatric sessions at a separate cost from therapy sessions. BetterHelp does not currently offer psychiatric services or medication management. Talkspace's rates are subject to change but are averaged to the following:

  • Initial appointment plus follow-up: $374
  • Initial evaluation only: $249
  • Initial Evaluation plus three follow-up appointments: $624

Those seeking psychiatric support through Talkspace are not obligated to attain talk therapy through the same platform. They can supplement a medication regimen with in-person counseling or online therapy through a more affordable platform like BetterHelp.

BetterHelp And Talkspace Offer Helpful Features

There are also differences in features between the two telehealth therapy platforms. Below are some of the standard features offered by the BetterHelp platform:

  • Video, phone, or chat sessions with your therapist (included in all plans)
  • Messaging seven days a week (included in all plans)
  • Hundreds of digital worksheets that can be sent to you by your therapist
  • An individual chat room between you and your therapist that you can return to for review
  • The option to share your journal entries with your therapist automatically or manually
  • Access to sister sites dedicated to couples, teens, and LGBTQ+ therapy
  • The option to change your therapist at any time
  • Free online webinars included in all price points
  • Thousands of blog posts and advice columns
  • Access to a network of over 30,000 therapists

How does Talkspace compare? Here are some of their helpful features, some of which may come at an additional cost:

  • Self-help exercises that can be completed online
  • A blog of self-help content
  • One weekly video session (only with the $99/week plan or higher)
  • Messaging with your therapist for up to five days a week
  • Multiple payment periods
  • Insurance coverage
  • Access to over 3,000 therapists
  • Workshops (only with the $109/week plan)
  • Psychiatry (only with a psychiatry plan, separate from online therapy)

Signing Up For Online Therapy Is Easy

Signing up for BetterHelp and Talkspace involves a similar process. You can sign up on both websites on the "Get Started" page. You will then be led to a questionnaire about your therapy goals, needs, and preferences for a therapist.

BetterHelp allows you to select whether you'd like an LGBTQ+, BIPOC, non-religious, or Christian therapist. You can also specify if you'd like an older therapist or someone of a specific gender. Talkspace also offers the option to select the gender of your therapist. Other questions you may be asked on both platforms include:

  • Your goals for therapy
  • The state of your physical health
  • Your sleep habits
  • The reason you are reaching out for support
  • Any notes you have for your therapist

BetterHelp's initial questionnaire is slightly longer, with additional questions about:

  • Your pronouns
  • Your relationship status
  • Whether you have been in therapy before
  • What approach you'd like your therapist to use
  • Screening for depression and anxiety
  • Your substance use habits

After signing up, creating your account, and finishing your questionnaire, both platforms prompt your first payment, which is made before getting matched with a therapist. The payment includes your first four weeks of therapy.

Matching With A Therapist

Once you enter the Talkspace or BetterHelp platform after payment, you will be matched with a therapist. BetterHelp involves a matching algorithm that can use your information to find a provider that fits your needs. Matching agents may also be used to help you find a fit. If you don't feel comfortable with the therapist with whom you were initially matched, you can change the therapist by selecting from a list of over ten providers currently accepting new clients. You can read through their profiles to select the one that seems best for you.

On Talkspace, you can start by picking between two to three therapist options. If you're unsure or would prefer a matching system, Talkspace can also connect you with a matching agent to find a new provider. You can change your therapist any time through your settings page on the app or website.

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Online Therapy Offers Flexible Meeting Times

When meeting with an online therapist, finding someone who can offer the attention and guidance you seek can be crucial. Below are the session options for each platform.

  • BetterHelp: One 30 to 45-minute session a week, free messaging, and usage of extra features at no cost
  • TalkSpace: Five days of messaging with your therapist per week, one 30-minute video session (included in the $99/week plan), and access to workshops (included in the $109/week plan)

Both platforms allow clients to schedule a session using the therapist's online calendar with their available appointment slots for the week. After selecting an appointment through BetterHelp, you are confirmed for your time slot. Talkspace may require you to wait for your therapist's confirmation before accepting the appointment.

BetterHelp Strives To Make A Positive Social Impact

Outside of the therapy offered to individuals through the BetterHelp platform, the company offers support worldwide to various communities in need through its social impact program. A few of the initiatives BetterHelp has been involved in include the following:

  • Over $42 million offered in discounts and financial aid to low-income clients
  • Over 31,000 months of therapy donated to communities in need
  • Free therapy for those impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine
  • Therapy donated to those impacted by Hurricane Ian
  • Therapy donated to those impacted by the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs
  • Partnerships with over 100 non-profit organizations to donate free therapy to under-resourced communities
  • Celebrity partnerships to raise awareness and reduce mental health stigma
  • TalkSpace does not list any social impact information on its website or blog; However, they state they are committed to offering flexible, cost-effective care to those who struggle to access it in person.

BetterHelp Vs. TalkSpace: Which Is Better?

Both BetterHelp and Talkspace offer benefits to users and commit to reducing mental health stigma, offering affordable pricing, and overcoming barriers to excellent quality mental healthcare. However, each platform has different strengths depending on the category that is most important to you.

Overall, BetterHelp may be the most cost-effective, flexible, and all-inclusive option for online therapy. However, many online therapy platforms are available, and clients are not limited to one choice. Do your research before choosing a therapy platform and choose the option that seems to work best with your lifestyle.

Is Online Therapy Effective?

Signing up for online therapy can be a significant commitment. However, regardless of your choice, internet-based therapy is often more cost-effective, convenient, and flexible than in-person sessions.

If you're unsure of the benefits of online therapy, you can look through some of the many studies that discuss the data found on the topic. For example, studies have found that internet-based counseling can be cheaper, more accessible for those living with a disability, and more effective for certain mental illnesses like depression. In one recent study, researchers compared online cognitive behavioral therapy’s impact to the effects of face-to-face CBT for study participants experiencing symptoms of depression. Results showed that online CBT was more effective than face-to-face CBT in reducing the severity of depression symptoms.

If you're interested in meeting with an online provider, you can get matched with a therapist through an online platform like BetterHelp or MyTherapist for individuals or Regain for couples within 48 hours. In addition, you can access extra content like journaling, worksheets, and webinars upon signing up and paying for your subscription. Experiment with the different forms of communicating and collaborating with your counselor – you may find that one format (like videoconferencing) is more effective than texting, or vice versa.

Takeaway

Onlinetherapy has grown in popularity in the last few years and continues to grow, with over 41.7 million US adults currently engaged in therapy. There is no shame in asking for help, and whatever you are going through, you do not have to figure things out on your own. There are compassionate, highly qualified licensed counselors at BetterHelp, Talkspace, and other popular online therapy platforms. They will work with you in an empathetic and nonjudgmental manner in order to help you reach your mental health goals. When you’re ready to add an experienced therapist to your support network, reach out to BetterHelp today.

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This website is owned and operated by BetterHelp, who receives all fees associated with the platform.