09 Apr BetterHelp vs TalkSpace – Which One Is Best For You?
BetterHelp and TalkSpace are the two most popular online counseling services you can find, but how exactly are they different?
In this article, we’re going to pit BetterHelp vs TalkSpace and see exactly how these online therapy services compare.
Let’s get to it!
I’d also recommend checking out OnlineTherapy.com which is what I personally use and is cheaper than both BetterHelp and Talkspace.
What Is BetterHelp?
Better Help is an online counseling service founded in 2013 by Alon Matas, an entrepreneur who was having trouble fitting therapy into his schedule. Since then, it has blossomed into the #1 most popular online therapy service in the world, matching users with licensed counselors via live chat, video sessions, and phone sessions.
BetterHelp has the most options for talking to your therapist, so you can talk via video, instant message, or phone call depending on what you’re most comfortable with. It also allows you to browse through therapist profiles and find someone who suits you – you can change counselor whenever you want for no extra charge.
BetterHelp’s main features include:
- Talk to therapists via live chat, video call, or phone call
- Mobile and Desktop apps
- 6,000+ licensed online counselors
- Dedicated therapy plans for adults, teens, and couples
Better Help Pros and Cons
Here are some of the upsides and downsides to take into consideration with the BetterHelp service:
- Unlimited messaging and calls with their unlimited plan
- Use your smartphone, laptop, tablet, or PC
- Change therapists whenever you want
- Well-reviewed by 1,000+ people on Trustpilot
- Slow ticket-based customer support system
- The YouTube & BetterHelp controversy of 2018
What Is TalkSpace?
TalkSpace was founded in 2012 by Oren and Roni Frank, an Israeli couple who moved to the US and found that couples therapy completely saved their marriage. Starting out as a simple “text therapy” service, TalkSpace slowly evolved to become the online therapy service it is today with 500,000+ users.
While it might not have all the bells and whistles of BetterHelp, TalkSpace excels due to its specified treatments for large-scale problems. For example, in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, they set out a special COVID-19 anxiety management program for their subscribers at no extra cost.
TalkSpace’s main features include:
- Unlimited texting and 4 x 30-minute live sessions (best plan)
- 3,000+ licensed therapists
- Sign up if you’re 13 or older
- Specific stress management programs
TalkSpace Pros and Cons
TalkSpace may not have as many features as BetterHelp, but that doesn’t necessarily make it worse for you:
- Reasonable therapy allowances
- Access past conversations even if you cancel
- Specialists trained in CBT, psychodynamic therapy, & more
- Not caught up in scandals like BetterHelp!
- Can’t video chat through laptops or PCs
- You can never choose your therapist yourself
TalkSpace and BetterHelp Pricing
All of BetterHelp’s mental health treatment plans include unlimited texting, video sessions, and phone calls with your therapist. The longer you commit for, the cheaper the therapy plan will work out. BetterHelp is billed as a lump sum:
- $80/week if billed weekly ($80 per week)
- $65/week if billed monthly ($260 per month)
- $45/week if billed quarterly ($540 per quarter)
- $35/week if billed annually ($1,280 per year)
If you think you’ll use the service for a long time, it’s best to bill quarterly or annually if you can afford the expense (remember that it comes out all at once!).
TalkSpace is always billed monthly, with different plans depending on the level of online therapy you require:
- $49/week for text, audio, and pre-recorded video messaging ($196 monthly)
- $59/week for text, audio, pre-recorded video messaging and 1 live session per month ($236 monthly)
- $79/week for text, audio, pre-recorded video messaging and 4 live sessions per month ($316 monthly)
When it comes to the price, I think it’s fair to say that BetterHelp wins, especially if you’re willing to pay for the quarter or the whole year upfront.
Not only does it work out cheaper, but you get unlimited live sessions for that price as well, assuming that your online therapist is available.
Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plans
Both services offer unlimited messaging, but when it comes down to it, BetterHelp offers you more features for your money. You get unlimited texts, phone calls, and video live chats with your therapist, assuming that they’re available.
On the other hand, TalkSpace limits your amount of live video chats per month, with the maximum being 4 per month (i.e. 1 per week). While that doesn’t sound as good, it’s perhaps more realistic of the time your therapist can spare.
BetterHelp make it sound like you can call your counsellor up at 3am for a chat, but this is not the case. TalkSpace set clear boundaries on how often you can contact their therapists, so users know what to expect better.
For me, TalkSpace wins that round. Honesty is the best policy!
How Are You Matched with Your Online Therapist?
BetterHelp Matching Process
BetterHelp uses a 25-point mental health questionnaire to assign you to a suitable therapist. If you’re not happy with the therapist you’re assigned, you can request a new one and browse through the profiles of multiple online counsellors, finding one who you think might suit you.
Ultimately, while all therapists are trained to deal with our problems, we might find it easier to talk to someone who has a similar background to us. For example, people seeking online therapy for LGBTQ+ issues often find it easier to speak to an LGBTQ+ therapist because they can better relate to their struggles. BetterHelp makes this process easy.
TalkSpace Matching Process
TalkSpace assigns you to a “matching therapist” when you sign up for their platform. They ask you some questions over messaging and then match you with a specific counselor based on your answers. If you want to change your counselor, you must submit a change request and TalkSpace will eventually reassign you.
With TalkSpace, you don’t get much say in the matter of who you speak to. There’s an attitude of “we know what’s best for you” and you cannot personally cherry-pick a therapist even if you request a change.
I think it’s clear that BetterHelp wins that round!
BetterHelp and TalkSpace Reviews
I don’t like looking at websites’ own testimonials because they’re a little biased, so I turn to TrustPilot reviews as a rule:
Here are some comments from BetterHelp reviews:
“BetterHelp has completely changed my view on therapy, and it is now something I enjoy doing. The flexibility of the platform fits into any schedule, and the therapists are wonderful.”
“The chat function was immensely helpful, especially in the beginning. I felt more secure in doing phone sessions with my counselor after chatting with her for a while.”
Here are some comments from TalkSpace reviews:
“I’m sure the experience is going to largely depend on how well you connect with your therapist. I did not have a good connection with mine as I felt like my experience was simply her side hustle.”
“This app is terrible. It is exorbitantly expensive and while signed up I tried several different therapists. They took a day to respond at minimum and talking over FaceTime is a much higher price. It’s hard to have a conversation when the delay is so long.”
When it comes to customer reviews, it’s safe to say that BetterHelp wins. However, it has a MUCH smaller pool of reviewers, so they may not be representative of most people’s experience with the service.
It’s worth noting that both companies have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and both companies use military-level 256-bit data encryption to protect your private messages and conversations.
Section: What Is the Age Difference Between BetterHelp and TalkSpace Users?
BetterHelp users must be 18 years or older, though parents can create “teenage accounts” for teens. Obviously, some teens may be hesitant about asking their parents for online therapy.
TalkSpace users can be 13 or older, but they will have to provide billing information for payment. It’s unlikely that a 13-year-old will have the financial means to pay for a service like TalkSpace without an adult.
I think TalkSpace wins this round, as it gives under-18s the chance to get online counseling without parental permission if they can afford it.
When it comes to TalkSpace vs BetterHelp, both these companies are a bit crap in the customer support department.
Neither service offers 24/7 support, and neither offers direct phone/email support. As mental health services, you’d think they’d have 24/7 support on hand!
Basically, both use ticket-based support systems.
If you want to get in touch with their team, you need to fill out a form on their website and a member of the team will get back to you in 24 hours or less.
Fill out the contact form during US business hours and you’re more likely to get a speedy reply, but it isn’t guaranteed.
So I guess that’s a draw on this one. Both are kinda terrible.
Section: TalkSpace vs BetterHelp – Standout Features
When it comes to their main differences, here are the things you need to watch out for:
- Unlimited Counseling – BetterHelp and TalkSpace both offer unlimited messaging and chat, but only BetterHelp offers unlimited live video sessions
- Pricing – BetterHelp can be as cheap as $35/week if you pay annually, whereas TalkSpace’s cheapest plan is $49/week and includes limitations
- Matching Criteria: BetterHelp uses a 25-point questionnaire to match you to someone, whereas TalkSpace sends you to a therapist matchmaker who asks you questions via live chat
- Mobile & Desktop: BetterHelp can be used across all platforms, while there are some limitations when using TalkSpace on a laptop or PC
- Changing Therapists: BetterHelp allows you to change therapists whenever you like and cherry-pick them personally, while TalkSpace continues to match on your behalf
- Age Limits: You can be 13+ on both platforms, but BetterHelp requires parental permission and TalkSpace does not
Mental health is very important, so it’s essential you find the right therapist for you, whether that’s via online therapy or more traditional in-person counseling.
Overall, I think that BetterHelp is the best online therapy service. Nonetheless, there are key differences between both services that might appeal to your personal circumstances and preferences.
I recommend you should use BetterHelp if you:
- Want multiple live video sessions per week
- Can save money by paying a lump sum upfront
- Use different devices (laptop, smartphone, PC)
- Want to cherry-pick a therapist who can relate to you
Sign up today at BetterHelp.com if that sounds right for you!
I recommend you should use TalkSpace if you:
- Are happy with few (or zero) live video sessions
- Are 13-17 years old and don’t want parental permission
- Want access to specific stress management programs
- Are put off by BetterHelp’s past controversies
If TalkSpace makes more sense for you, get started today at TalkSpace.com!
Whichever service you decide to use, I hope that you get the mental health treatment you need. Stay safe and don’t be afraid to ask for help!