Online therapy has become incredibly popular in recent years.
Hundreds of thousands of people per year are now opting to book live video therapy sessions, instead of speaking face-to-face with a therapist.
In this article, I will compare the two most popular therapy apps: Talkspace vs Betterhelp.
Read on to discover a detailed comparison of these online counseling apps – and why I think Betterhelp is the better choice of the two.
Let’s dive right into it.
Features Face To Face: Talkspace vs Betterhelp
Read on for a basic overview of each app and the pricing options.
Available on iOS & Android. Must be aged 13+.
Talkspace originally launched as a text-only therapy app, only adding voice and video calls in 2016. All of its therapists have clocked up at least 3,000 hours of professional experience.
Unlike Betterhelp, it has three price tiers to choose from.
- Unlimited messaging therapy – $260 per month.
- Unlimited messaging therapy with one 30-minute live video call per month – $316 per month.
- Unlimited messaging therapy with four 30-minute live video sessions per month – $396 per month.
Available on iOS & Android. Must be aged 13+, although under-18s need parental consent.
Betterhelp was the first commercially-available online counseling app in the United States, and has amassed more users than Talkspace.
It has over 7,000 licensed therapists on its books, each with a minimum of three years and 2,000 hours of experience.
Its flat-rate monthly fee includes unlimited live video calls.
- Unlimited live sessions (telephone, video and live chat) – $260 per month.
Talkspace offers a 10% discount if you commit to a three-month plan, or a 20% discount if you buy a six-month plan.
You’ll pay this in one lump sum, instead of being billed monthly. So, for a three-month plan with four video sessions, you’ll pay a total of $1,068. In comparison, if you choose to be billed monthly for three months, you’ll pay 3 x $396 ($1,188) in total. You can pay for additional one-off video calls at a price of $65 per session.
Click here to get a $100 discount on any Talkspace purchase.
Betterhelp appeared to offer no discount codes or discounts for longer memberships at the time of this review.
Both apps have offered free trials in the past, although that doesn’t appear to be the case for either app at the moment.
Do Betterhelp and Talkspace offer financial aid?
There is no sign that Talkspace offers financial aid for low-income users at this time.
However, low-income users could be eligible for a Betterhelp discount of up to 40%.
Once you’re matched with a Betterhelp therapist, a window will pop up prompting you to pay for your therapy. In this pop-up, you’ll spot an option which says ‘I can’t afford therapy’. Click that and you’ll be given the opportunity to see if you’re eligible for financial aid.
You’ll be asked a few basic questions about your household income. A few seconds after answering these, you’ll be alerted whether you qualify for a discount.
Does Insurance cover Betterhelp and Talkspace?
This depends on your health insurance provider. Get in touch with them to find out. In many cases, you’ll have to first be diagnosed with a mental health problem by your therapist before your insurance can cover the cost of online therapy.
In many cases though, the co-pay could be higher than the cost of Betterhelp or Talkspace.
BEST VALUE: Betterhelp
Who Are Your Therapists?
All Talkspace and Betterhelp therapists are fully licensed and qualified to help treat any mental health problem.
Talkspace therapists all have over 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Among the thousands of therapists on its books, there are many who specialise in specific types of mental health treatment, including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Existential-Humanistic, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic, Mindfulness and more.
All Betterhelp online therapists are fully licenced with at least three years and 1,000 hours of professional experience. All of its therapists are put through a 4-5 week verification process, which includes a case study exam and a video interview. Supposedly, only 15% of therapists who apply to work with Betterhelp are accepted.
Betterhelp has a larger selection of therapists online to choose from. However, with either app, you’ll be limited to the therapists who are qualified to practice in your state.
How Your Therapist Is Chosen
Naturally, you want to opt for the app which is able to pair you with the best therapist for your needs. Yet, these two apps take a wildly different approach to pairing you with a therapist.
When you sign up to Talkspace, you’ll be put in touch with a ‘Matching Therapist’. They will ask you a series of questions, then present you a list of three therapists to choose from based on your answers. It’s a more personal approach than Betterhelp. However, you don’t get complete control over what therapist you work with.
You can request to change therapist whenever you like. However, if you do so, you will again only be presented with a small list of alternatives.
Upon registering with Betterhelp, you’ll be asked to fill out a 25-point questionnaire and a therapist will be chosen for you based on your answers.
However, if you prefer, you can navigate to the Betterhelp website, find its full list of active therapists and manually select who you would like to work with.
Betterhelp has significantly more therapists on its books. The extra control given to you when choosing a Betterhelp therapist is also a huge plus point.
BEST CHOICE OF THERAPISTS: Betterhelp
Both apps allow you to pay for your online counseling with either debit card, credit card or PayPal.
BEST PAYMENT OPTION: Draw
Both apps use 256-bit encryption to protect your personal information. They are each HIPAA certified, meaning they are bound by U.S law to follow specific data protection standards.
MOST SECURE: Draw
Both smartphone apps prioritise simplicity in their design, meaning even the least tech-savvy customers should have little problem communicating with their online therapist.
However, there is one key difference.
With Talkspace, you can only make video calls on its mobile app. Betterhelp allows video calls on desktop and mobile.
MOST USABLE: Betterhelp
On Talkspace, your private messaging rooms remain open 24/5. Talkspace therapists will tend to respond daily to your text messages.
You’ll need to organise the best time and date for your video calls in advance. Talkspace therapists are bound to deliver the amount of video sessions you paid for, whether that’s one call per week or one per month.
Betterhelp may advertise unlimited text chats and video calls with its basic package, but that’s somewhat misleading.
You’ll have to agree on a suitable number of calls per month and arrange them in advance. In some cases, your therapist won’t be able to deliver your desired amount of live sessions per week. If this is the case, you’re advised to find a different therapist. However, it’ll be difficult to find any Betterhelp therapist who is available for more than one video call per week with you.
Ultimately, if your therapist is less responsive than you’d like, that’s down to the individual rather than the platform they’re operating on. Both platforms make it easy to swap therapists if you’re unhappy with the level of service you’re receiving.
MOST RESPONSIVE THERAPISTS: Draw
Both apps run a ticket-based email customer service. With each, you can expect a response in 24 hours. You can expect a faster response time if you email during business hours. Talkspace is based in New York, while Betterhelp is in California.
BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE: Draw
With both apps, you can cancel at any time. When you do, your recurring payments will cease. You’ll be free to continue using the app for the time you’ve already paid for.
BEST CANCELLATION POLICY: Draw
Stand Out Features
Betterhelp and Talkspace are similar in a lot of ways. It’s simple enough to find a great therapist on either app.
However, there is one major difference between them.
The basic packages of Betterhelp and Talkspace both cost $65 per week (billed monthly). However, with Betterhelp, this includes unlimited video chats with your therapist. To be able to video chat with your therapist on Talkspace, you’ll have to pay significantly more.
That’s why I recommend Betterhelp over Talkspace to anyone seeking online video therapy.
Why Live Video Is Essential For Effective Online Therapy
It’s commonly suggested that only 7% of communication is verbal – and that’s all you can share with your therapist through live chat messages.
With video therapy sessions, your therapist is able to read your sub-communications within your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. In these live sessions, your therapist will be able to gain a deeper understanding of your problems and it’ll be easier to develop a bond with them.
So, even though you’re probably just as likely to find a great therapist on either app, Betterhelp definitely provides better value for money.
Betterhelp vs Talkspace: Frequently Asked Questions
How long are Betterhelp video sessions?
Betterhelp video sessions last 30 minutes. Talkspace video sessions are also 30 minutes long
Can Betterhelp prescribe medication?
Medication can only be prescribed by psychiatrists or mental health doctors. As such, the professionals working for Betterhelp or Talkspace are unable to prescribe it. However, they will refer you to a professional who can prescribe medication if they believe this will help you.
What are the alternatives to Betterhelp and Talkspace?
There are a handful of other online therapy apps available on iOS and Android. These include: Amwell, Regain, 7 Cups Of Tea and Pride Counseling. However, Betterhelp and Talkspace are the most popular and generally regarded as the best.
If you can afford it, you may prefer to choose face-to-face therapy over these apps, or to approach a therapist directly for online sessions.
Is Betterhelp LGBT-friendly?
Betterhelp will ask for your sexual orientation during your initial registration survey. You’ll also be asked if you would prefer a LGBT therapist.
You’ll be questioned about this in your initial Talkspace interview too.
If you prefer a LGBT focused platform Pridecounseling may be an Alternative.
Can I pause my online therapy subscription?
With Talkspace, you can pause your subscription for up to 7 days. Betterhelp allows you to pause your subscription for up to three weeks.
Why is online therapy so expensive?
Online therapy isn’t cheap, but it is cheaper than face-to-face therapy.
Either way, you’ll get access to an experienced therapist who is qualified to help ease your mental health problems.
Many people find therapy to be hugely beneficial to their overall wellbeing, and most who do agree that it was well worth the money.
Is BetterHelp actually good?
Betterhelp is packed with fantastic licenced therapists, who are more than qualified to help you overcome whatever mental health issues you are facing.
It can be argued that online therapy isn’t as effective as face-to-face therapy, as it’s not as easy for either of you to pick up on the nuances of each other’s communications.
However, as web connections get stronger and video calling software becomes more powerful, the gap between online and face-to-face therapy is getting smaller all the time.
When you consider the price difference between the two, it’s no wonder so many people are booking live sessions with an online therapist on Betterhelp.
Is Talkspace worth the money?
Talkspace is also a great app. The therapists on this app are just as likely to be able to help you feel better about whatever mental health problem you’re struggling with.
However, you’ll spend a lot more on video chats compared to Betterhelp. There’s no compelling reason to justify spending this extra money with Talkspace.
If you want high-quality online therapy, choose Betterhelp instead.
Betterhelp vs Talkspace: Any more questions?
Hopefully, this detailed review helps to solve the Betterhelp vs Talkspace debate.
Do you have any more questions about the difference between Betterhelp and Talkspace – or the pros and cons of using online therapists?
Perhaps you’d like to know what to expect from your live sessions with a therapist online?
Either way, feel free to ask in the comments below.
I’d love to hear from you.