Talkspace vs BetterHelp

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: Which Is the Better Online Therapy Provider?

Compare Talkspace and BetterHelp—two of the biggest online therapy providers. Each has its own specific pros and cons, but which is the better option for your needs?
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Talkspace vs BetterHelp

Key takeaways

  • Both platforms offer virtual therapy and a 24/7 chat feature.
  • BetterHelp is more affordable, but Talkspace takes insurance.
  • Talkspace provides diagnoses and prescribes medications.
  • BetterHelp customers can attend interactive group therapy sessions.
  • Talkspace works with employers and universities.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our path toward virtual living. People use meal delivery services for dinner, shopping platforms for daily needs, and telehealth appointments instead of in-person visits. 

Talkspace and BetterHelp are two of the largest online counseling platforms, providing customers with convenient mental health support. While both teletherapy providers have similar features—including video counseling sessions and a 24/7 chat feature—there are important distinctions between the two. 

To help you decide between BetterHelp and Talkspace, we conducted an in-depth review of both companies. Read on to see what each online therapy provider offers and how the companies compare.  

Talkspace pros and cons

Pros

  • Covered by some medical insurance plans
  • Offers prescription medications and medical diagnoses
  • An insomnia therapy program for sleep problems 
  • Programs for employers and universities to improve mental health

Cons

  • More expensive than BetterHelp
  • No phone appointments with counselors, only video or text
  • Online therapy sessions are short—just 30 minutes 
  • Cannot prescribe controlled medications

BetterHelp pros and cons

Pros

  • Affordable plans as low as $60 per week
  • Financial assistance of up to 40% off for those who qualify
  • Every plan includes weekly one-on-one counseling visits
  • Optional, weekly group therapy classes

Cons

  • Does not accept insurance
  • Therapists cannot diagnose or prescribe medications
  • Initial questionnaire and therapist match can feel impersonal 

Comparison of BetterHelp and Talkspace

BETTERHELP TALKSPACE

Service availability

Desktop or mobile app

Desktop or mobile app

Cost

$60–$90/week

$65–$99/week
+ optional sessions
for an additional fee

Accepts insurance

No

Yes

Offers financial assistance

Yes

No

Payment methods

Credit card or PayPal

Credit card

Subscription pauses

Yes

Yes

Client age restrictions

13 years +

13 years +

Prescribes medication

No

Yes,
via Talkspace Psychiatry
for an additional fee

Makes mental health diagnoses

No

Yes,
via Talkspace Psychiatry
for an additional fee

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: Costs and payment options

Virtual counseling has a similar cost to in-person talk therapy with insurance coverage. Here's a breakdown of how much Talkspace and BetterHelp cost and how you can pay for them. 

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Talkspace

VISIT SITE
  • $65 per week for unlimited messaging (video, audio, or text)
  • $79 per week for unlimited messaging and one 30-minute session monthly
  • $99 per week for unlimited messaging and four 30-minute sessions monthly
  • Psychiatry has a separate fee: $199 for an initial session and $125 for follow-up sessions
  • Talkspace Insomnia Therapy costs $520 for an eight-week program
  • Covered by some insurance providers
  • No discount for financial hardships
  • Accepts credit card or debit card payments

BetterHelp

VISIT SITE
  • $60 to $90 per week for unlimited chat and weekly 30- to 50-minute therapy sessions. 
  • The price depends upon your preferences, therapist, and location
  • Up to 40% off if you qualify for financial assistance
  • Does not accept insurance
  • Accepts credit card, debit card, or PayPal payments

Customer service and reviews of Talkspace vs BetterHelp

When we looked through independent review sites, BetterHelp came out as a clear winner. Here's a breakdown of each company's customer rating on different sites.

BetterHelp

Talkspace

How do they work?

BetterHelp and Talkspace provide a platform for virtual therapy services. These include both live counseling visits and a 24/7 chat feature. You access your account and communicate with your therapist via a mobile app or desktop site.  

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: The sign-up process

BetterHelp and Talkspace pair you with a counselor that fits with your goals and preferences.

When you sign up for Talkspace, you may either go through an online assessment or speak with a matching agent. Either way, an algorithm uses your answers to match you with three potential counselors. You then select your favorite therapist. 

With BetterHelp, the sign-up process is all online with a questionnaire. Within two days, BetterHelp assigns you a therapist. After you have an assigned counselor, you may sign in and begin using the online platform. 

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: Types of treatment

Both online counseling platforms provide talk therapy for teens, adults, and couples. The therapists address general wellness and mental health conditions and issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Grief 
  • Addiction
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Self-esteem

Only Talkspace has psychiatric services. These medical professionals can make diagnoses and prescribe medications. However, they're unable to prescribe controlled substances like Xanax or Adderall.

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: Who has the better counselors?

All Talkspace and BetterHelp therapists are licensed and experienced professionals. The key is finding someone you like to work with, which may take trial and error. That's why both companies let you change your counselor at any time. 

Depending on your initial questionnaire, your counselor may be a:

  • Psychologist
  • Licensed professional counselor
  • Clinical social worker
  • Marriage and family therapist

But if you want to talk to a psychiatrist for a mental health diagnosis, only Talkspace offers these appointments. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee. 

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: Accessibility

One of the biggest advantages of online therapy is that it's easy to access from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Users of both Talkspace and BetterHelp access their secure account via a smartphone app or desktop site. Here, you may chat with your counselor, schedule appointments, or attend video therapy sessions. 

There is one main difference between the counseling sessions. With BetterHelp, you select either a phone, video, or chat appointment. But Talkspace providers are only available via video or chat.  

Talkspace vs BetterHelp: Exclusive features

BetterHelp and Talkspace each have unique features that may lead you to choose one platform over the other. 

Talkspace exclusives

  • Psychiatry sessions
  • Insomnia therapy program
  • Counseling services for businesses and universities

BetterHelp exclusives

  • Group therapy sessions
  • Phone visits with your counselor 

The bottom line

Both Talkspace and BetterHelp connect users with an online therapist for virtual sessions and chat features. 

If you're concerned about cost, BetterHelp is more affordable for most people. Additionally, the BetterHelp therapy sessions are longer than those with a Talkspace counselor. 

But if you need a virtual diagnosis or mental health prescription, only Talkspace offers these services. Talkspace also provides a teletherapy platform for businesses and universities. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: Talkspace or BetterHelp?

Some people prefer BetterHelp and others Talkspace. For most users, BetterHelp is more affordable, making it better for people on a budget. But only Talkspace offers psychiatric appointments where a professional can prescribe medications and diagnose medical conditions.

Which is cheaper: Talkspace or BetterHelp?

Despite many health insurance providers covering Talkspace, BetterHelp is less expensive for most people. The weekly fees for similar plans are more affordable through BetterHelp, and qualified users can receive a discount of up to 40% off the weekly price. 

Does Talkspace or BetterHelp take insurance?

Talkspace takes insurance, but BetterHelp does not. Ask your insurance provider to see if you have coverage for Talkspace counseling services. Even if your insurance doesn't include Talkspace as an in-network provider, you may still receive discounts using out-of-network coverage. 

Can Talkspace or BetterHelp therapists diagnose?

BetterHelp therapists cannot diagnose mental health conditions, but some Talkspace practitioners can. You must book an appointment through Talkspace Psychiatry, which has an added fee. An initial consultation costs $199, with a discount for follow-up appointments. 

Is online therapy effective?

There is a lot of research suggesting that online therapy does work as well as in-person therapy, particularly for people with depression or anxiety. Consider whether you prefer the convenience of virtual counseling or the personal touch of in-person sessions when deciding which route to choose. 

Who should use Talkspace or BetterHelp?

Talkspace and BetterHelp teletherapy services help individuals, couples, and teens in a convenient and accessible setting. While online therapy platforms can benefit a wide variety of people, they're particularly well suited to those who have difficulty getting to or from a physical office. If your schedule is changing often or you live in an area where in-person therapists are limited, Talkspace or BetterHelp may be right for you. 

Nicole Gleichmann is a writer specializing in biology, technology, and health. Much of her writing has been for medical professionals, including surgeons, dieticians, and chiropractors. You can find her articles on Health, Everyday Health, Technology Networks, CannaMD, and CBD Hacker. Nicole holds a bachelor's degree in organismal biology from Scripps College and has previously worked as a nutrition and wellness coach. She is an avid learner, traveler, and nature enthusiast who lives with her two dogs in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.