One of the most common questions I am asked is what the differences are between BetterHelp and Talkspace. Having been a member of both of these services on-and-off for many years, I felt like I could shed some light on what the primary differences are between these two online therapy services.
Let's get into it!
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What is the price difference between BetterHelp and Talkspace?
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace offer similarly priced unlimited therapy subscription plans. The cost of each service is as follows:
- BetterHelp pricing averages out to be around $65 per week (for their unlimited therapy service). As a new client, you will pay for an entire month of service up front. After your first month has elapsed, you can continue to pay on a per-monthly basis or you will have the option to pay on a weekly basis.
- Talkspace similarly charges $65 per week for their unlimited therapy plan. Talkspace also requires that you pay monthly, which comes out to $260 per month. Currently, Talkspace is offering a steep discount of $80 off your first month of service with coupon code “FALL80” (without the quotes). This brings the price of your first month to $180. You will be billed the normal price for subsequent months.
Price Accuracy: Prices are current as of December 2020
BetterHelp includes text messages, live chat, live video and phone therapy sessions with their unlimited therapy plan. You can communicate with your therapist an unlimited number of times. There are no limits with BetterHelp.
Talkspace offers unlimited text messaging, but they do not offer unlimited live chat or video sessions. You are limited to only four 30 minute live sessions on Talkspace with your therapist. If you need more sessions, you will have to pay extra.
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace offer a 10% discount off the price if you purchase a quarterly subscription (three months) instead of the default monthly subscription plan.
How you will communicate with your therapist
BetterHelp and Talkspace offer similar ways to communicate with your therapist. Here is a brief rundown of what each service offers:
BetterHelp allows you to communicate with your therapist via text messaging, live chat, live video and live phone sessions. You can communicate with your BetterHelp therapist from within your secure account inside your web browser or from the mobile app (available for Apple and Android devices).
Talkspace allows you to talk to your counselor across text messaging, video/audio messages and live face-to-face video sessions. Video and audio messages are pre-recorded and attached to your text messages. Talkspace does not offer any sort of live phone therapy sessions on their platform.
If you want to participate in a live video therapy session, or send audio/video messages, you are required to use the Talkspace mobile app (available on Android or Apple smartphones and tablets). You cannot use a desktop or laptop computer to talk face-to-face with your therapist or to send audio/video messages.
How you will be matched with your therapist
When you join BetterHelp, you will answer an anonymous questionnaire containing 25 or so questions. The answers you provide to these questions will give BetterHelp a clearer picture about you, your mental state and what you are seeking therapy for.
With this information, you will be matched with and assigned to a therapist that has relevant experience to your situation. In some cases, it can take up to 24 hours to be matched with a therapist when you initially join BetterHelp.
Talkspace is a bit different. When you join the service, there will be no questionnaire to answer. Instead, you are dropped into a secure and private chat room with a “matching therapist.”
This person will ask you questions and get to you know you. Based on the answers you provide to the questions asked, your matching therapist will match you to a counselor that has experience and will be a good fit for you.
Selection of therapists available on each platform
BetterHelp has over 12,000 licensed, trained and experienced therapists on their platform. Every therapist is guaranteed to be an accredited psychologist, marriage and family therapist, clinical social worker or a licensed professional counselor.
Each therapist on BetterHelp holds either a Doctorate degree or a Masters Degree in their field of expertise. They have been fully certified by their state's professional board and have completed all necessary education, exams and training. At minimum, each therapist has at least 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience.
Talkspace has a nationwide network of 3,000 licensed and experienced therapists that have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience. In addition to formal education and training, each therapist has training in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and more.
Talkspace employs an advisory board comprised of prominent professionals and experts in the healthcare industry to ensure they are always improving their service and working with the best counselors.
How easy is it to change your therapist?
If you are unhappy with your therapist on BetterHelp, you can browse profiles belonging to 12,000+ therapists and switch to a new therapist of your choice at any time by clicking the “Change Counselor” button inside your account.
You can change therapists at anytime on the Talkspace platform. The biggest disappointment is that while Talkspace has over 2,000 therapists, you cannot browse any counselor profiles to choose your next therapist. Instead, you can only put a therapist change request into Talkspace. From there, they will assign you a new therapist but you don't have any say in who the new therapist will be.
Customer testimonials, reviews and feedback
BetterHelp is very transparent with the feedback and reviews it receives from customers. BetterHelp even has an entire section on their website where they post every testimonial submitted by verified customers.
BetterHelp not only posts the positive reviews it receives from customers, but they also post negative reviews submitted by customers. The reviews are completely unfiltered. Even more, they have a number of genuine video reviews on their website posted by actual customers.
Talkspace does not appear to post any customer feedback at all. I've searched their website exhaustively for customer testimonials, either typed or video, and I was not able to find either. As far as I can ascertain, Talkspace does not publish any customer feedback in any capacity on their website. Hopefully this changes in the future as this is a major drawback.
Apps and mobile device support and compatibility (Apple/Android)
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace offer mobile apps for Apple and Android devices (smartphones and tablets). Both of these fully supported mobile apps allow you to manage your account, send/receive messages with your therapist, schedule/participate in live sessions and more.
For all intents and purposes, both of these mobile apps replicate the same functionality you would get if you were to log in to your account from your web browser as normal. You can download either of these apps from Google Play and the Apple App Store (by searching for “BetterHelp” or “Talkspace”).
How to contact customer support if you need assistance
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace offer customer support via online ticket-based helpdesk systems. Neither company has a telephone number to call if you have a question. I was unable to find any live chat representatives either.
To contact BetterHelp's customer support department, you will need to visit the BetterHelp website and click the “Contact” button in the upper right hand corner of your screen. Once done, you will be presented with a form to fill out. BetterHelp will respond within 24 hours but in my experience, it is much quicker during normal business hours.
To submit a customer support ticket to Talkspace, you will need to visit their website and scroll to the bottom. You will see a link for “Customer Support.” On the page that loads after clicking the link, in the upper right hand corner you will see a button titled “Submit a ticket.” From there, you can fill out a form that will be sent to Talkspace. It can take up to 24 hours to receive a response.
In my opinion, this is rather lackluster. At the minimum, a toll-free telephone number should be available to customers to contact support should they have a question.
Security measures implemented to protect your sensitive data
BetterHelp and Talkspace both take extensive measures to protect your private and sensitive information. Below is a summary of the many levels of security that both services implement onto their respective platforms:
On both BetterHelp and Talkspace, the conversations between you and your therapist are bound by the same strict federal and state laws that a traditional therapist is subject to follow. Everything you discuss with your therapist on either platform is guaranteed to remain confidential.
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace are HIPAA certified. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets the laws that govern the protection and storage of confidential and sensitive patient data.
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace utilize 256-bit symmetric encryption on all communications between you and their website. This type of encryption is the same encryption used by banks and US military to secure top secret information.
Minimum age requirements to join each service
To join BetterHelp, you have to be at least 18 years old. If you are under 18, you'll need to have your parent or legal guardian create a “teenager account” for you.
Talkspace requires you are at least 13 years old to use their service. You do not need a parent or guardian to create your account, but you will need them to provide the billing and credit card information.
What payment methods are accepted?
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace support the same methods of payment. You can pay for either service using a major credit card such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express. Additionally, you can also pay using PayPal if preferred.
Better Business Bureau profile page comparison
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace are verified and accredited Better Business Bureau businesses. BetterHelp became an accredited business on 12/7/2015 and Talkspace became an accredited business on 7/6/2017. At the time of this writing, both BetterHelp and Talkspare are maintaining an A+ rating from the BBB.
The bottom line and closing thoughts
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace are offering a valuable service. At their core, both offer convenient, affordable and immediate access to licensed therapists. In that respect, they are both top recommendations.
However, when you compare the two services features side-by-side, it's hard not to see that BetterHelp offers a much more refined service with tons of satisfied customers to back it up. For me personally, BetterHelp is always my go to when I need to talk to a therapist to get through a problem I am dealing with.