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Some believe this platform, one of the first companies to provide online therapy, refined the digital therapy industry. Here’s what it offers, plus a hands-on review.
Talkspace at a glance
Talkspace is an online therapy service that connects users to licensed therapists in their state via:
- text messaging
- audio messaging
- video messaging
- live video chats
The company specializes in individual, couples, and teen therapy and also has a psychiatry option to help with medication management. Therapists are available 5 days a week, and you can connect with them via text, audio, or video messaging or during scheduled sessions.
Therapy shouldn’t feel like another box to tick or a teleconference to schedule.
With that pain point in mind, Talkspace was founded in 2012 with the goal of making mental health services more accessible to everyone.
Talkspace has continued to expand its services since the company was founded and now offers:
Keep reading to learn how Talkspace works, how effective the service is, and whether it’s a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Christy Snyder, wellness editor at Healthline, used this service to discuss situational stress and anxieties. She found the signup process to be easy and fast and felt that she was asked appropriate, pointed questions about her mental health history and current status. Her assigned therapist got in touch quickly and was helpful in discussing her situation.
In addition, Christy felt that Talkspace:
- Was “pretty pricey, even compared to using mental health services with insurance.”
- Gives “scheduling freedom.” She says it’s “great that you can have weekly sessions or daily messaging for when a deeper level of support is needed.”
Overall, Christy felt that she:
- “Liked the flexibility of Talkspace, but I think because I am so used to a more traditional model, some of the features were not to my liking — but could certainly work for others.”
- Would recommend the service. “There are multiple options for communicating with your therapist. All of which work for different lifestyles or personality types regarding face-to-face vs. messaging. My only real issue is the cost.”
Benefits of Talkspace
- You have constant access. You can share your thoughts with your therapist any time during the day, no matter where you are, and your therapist will respond at their earliest convenience. Certain plans also allow you to schedule live chats with your therapist for more immediate communication. According to Christy, this is great for “newbies to therapy and those who would like support that’s available daily/frequently.”
- Plans are flexible. Plans start at $69 per week for monthly live sessions and round-the-clock text messages. The service is contract-free so you can cancel at any time.
- Text therapy may offer more comfort. It can help ease the stigma of caring for your mental health. It also may allow for more transparency and vulnerability between you and your therapist.
- There’s no need to commute. Unlike face-to-face therapy, you can chat with your therapist from the comfort of your home using the Talkspace mobile app or your computer.
- Talkspace offers a psychiatry service. Talkspace Psychiatry offers services staffed by psychiatrists and nurse practitioners for those seeking both mental health care and prescription management.
Drawbacks of Talkspace
- Text therapy may not always be practical. Although Talkspace says 80% of its users found the tool to be as effective as traditional therapy, text therapy may not be suitable for every person. It’s important to understand your preferences and lifestyle choices and research what methods may work best for you.
- The live sessions are only 30 minutes. Compared with other in-person and online therapy services, a 30-minute session may feel short and like not enough time to thoroughly cover all of your concerns.
- Talkspace can feel impersonal. Christy mentions, “I got a lot of automated/copy and pasted messages from [the counselor] that I presumed she may have sent to all of her clients.”
- Talkspace has age restrictions. Talkspace is not meant to be used by children, though with parental consent, Talkspace does provide counseling to teens ages 13 to 17 years.
- There’s no sliding scale. While some insurance plans and employee assistance plans may cover Talkspace services, there is no sliding scale or financial aid available through Talkspace.
- Talkspace is not for everyone. Talkspace does not offer legal documentation for court-ordered therapy or disability programs. This may mean Talkspace is not the best option if your school or employer has requested that you receive counseling.
Keep in mind
Talkspace is not a substitute for emergency services. In the event of a mental health emergency — like if you’re thinking about harming yourself or someone else — call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or your local emergency services.
Talkspace features thousands of licensed therapists. Many are trained across multiple areas of expertise. According to Talkspace, the service has helped people with:
Talkspace offers a variety of subscription plans to cater to different budgets and health needs. Some insurance plans may cover the services. You can take the online assessment to help determine your eligibility.
Talkspace also accepts some employee assistance programs and other plans. There are no contracts, so you can cancel your plan anytime.
The three levels for individual subscription plans include:
- Unlimited messaging therapy: $276 a month
- Unlimited text, video, and audio messaging 5 days a week
- Unlimited messaging therapy plus video: $396 a month
- Unlimited text, video, and audio messaging 5 days a week
- Four live 30-minute sessions a month
- Unlimited messaging therapy plus video and workshops: $436 a month
- Unlimited text, video, and audio messaging 5 days a week
- Four live 30-minute sessions a month
- Weekly workshops
The couples therapy plan includes four 30-minute monthly video sessions plus unlimited text, video, and audio messaging in a group room with your partner and therapist. The cost is $109 per week, billed $436 every 4 weeks.
Psychiatry services are offered as an add-on plan and cost $249 for the initial psychiatric evaluation and $125 for follow-up visits.
Does Talkspace offer a free trial?
Talkspace currently doesn’t offer a free trial. However, a free consultation is available with a matching agent to discuss how Talkspace works and the matching process.
Can you switch your Talkspace subscription?
At any time, you can change to a new subscription level or pause your plan. Changes are effective immediately. During the next billing cycle, your account will be credited if you downgrade your plan, or the difference will be charged if you upgrade your plan.
Does Talkspace offer discounts?
Talkspace frequently offers discounts for your first month of service. The discounts are often posted on the homepage for your convenience. Discounts range from around $80 to $200 off.
At the time of writing, Talkspace offers $100 off your first month with the code “SPACE.”
Talkspace works directly with certain insurance companies to offer coverage for mental health services. The company currently accepts the following insurance providers:
- Carelon Behavioral Health
If you don’t see your plan, you can check if you’re covered through a brief questionnaire on Talkspace’s website. For those who are covered, the average copay is around $30 (but could go all the way down to $0, depending on your plan).
If Talkspace doesn’t accept your insurance, you may be able to get services covered through your Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Talkspace partners directly with some companies to offer mental health services to their employees. You’ll need to contact your employer for an EAP code that will give you access to the company’s services at no cost to you.
Talkspace offers an intuitive website and app. To register for Talkspace, you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire and then move through a short matching process to connect you with an appropriate therapist.
To sign up, go to Talkspace’s website or register in the mental health app. On the website, you’ll click on the buttons for the type of service you’re interested in, while in the app, you simply hit get started.
When you sign up for Talkspace, you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire that focuses on you and your life, goals, and preferences.
After you’ve completed the survey, a matching agent helps connect you with the best therapist for you. The agent uses a scripted questionnaire to ensure you’re matched with a therapist who fits your exact needs.
The agent uses scripts to help keep the process smooth and easier. Scripted responses may be used to answer basic questions many people have about the Talkspace platform and process. The responses are used to describe services and provide information about a therapist’s background when you’re selecting a therapist.
After you’ve chosen your therapist, a secure virtual therapy room is created. You can access your Talkspace room on your preferred web browser or Talkspace’s mobile app.
You can begin and pick up conversations from whichever device you choose. Talkspace is compatible with:
- android devices
In your Talkspace room, you can send and reply to messages from your therapist 24/7. You can expect responses five times weekly, as your therapist can view and respond to you throughout the day.
You may have to wait for a reply, however. For example, if you send a message during the middle of the night, you may not hear back until the next day.
So, it’s best to think of Talkspace’s texting feature as a platform that can communicate 24/7, but not a platform where you receive 24/7 therapy.
If you want to add a face-to-face experience through this text therapy platform, Talkspace also offers live video sessions.
You’ll also be able to view in advance what a standard therapy journey looks like through checkpoints, milestones, and progress reports, and you’ll also have opportunities to tweak your plan.
Talkspace’s sign-up platform features several short how-to videos to help you navigate the service.
After you’ve completed the intake form, much like a matchmaking service for dating, several options will be presented to you.
You’ll choose from a number of licensed, accredited, and experienced therapists. If you find that none of your matches fit your needs, you can always ask for more. Additionally, if you begin working with a therapist and feel that they are not a good match, you can easily request to be matched with a new one.
When choosing a therapist, you can view their profile, providing information on their professional experience. Their profile will show you the therapist’s:
- time zone
- professional license number
You can also see their therapeutic approaches, specializations, how long they’ve been practicing, and how long they’ve been with Talkspace.
Some responses from therapists to general or frequently asked questions may be scripted, but your therapist will also respond to your individual and specific needs. Scripted responses can help make the process smoother, as they help provide quick answers to your questions.
Talkspace professionals are licensed and credentialed psychiatrists and therapists offering individual and couples therapy services. The company verifies the professionals’ credentials and completes a background check before hiring.
Professionals must have 3,000-plus hours of clinical experience in their area of expertise. They may have additional training to specialize in certain therapy approaches.
Therapist focus areas and techniques
Talkspace employs a wide range of therapists who specialize in various therapeutic approaches and focus areas. The initial sign-up questionnaire will help match you with a therapist who suits your needs and has experience addressing your specific mental health concerns.
Popular types of therapy offered may include:
- psychodynamic therapy
- behavioral therapy
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- humanistic therapy
You can also find therapists who have experience with a specific focus area or mental health concern, including:
- disordered eating
- family or relationship issues
Talkspace also offers a psychiatry service for people interested in both mental healthcare and prescription management. Psychiatrists and nurse practitioners staff the program.
While Talkspace Psychiatry offers useful services, it’s worth noting that psychiatry professionals are unable to prescribe controlled substances, including:
The professionals are also unable to prescribe lithium.
Talkspace Psychiatry does require an initial evaluation fee of $249, with follow-up visits priced at $125 each.
In addition to chatting online with a therapist, here’s what else you can do through Talkspace:
There’s not a large or conclusive body of research that has established the clinical benefit of text therapy, but some people may still find it helpful.
Some research suggests that online therapy, in general, is about as effective as in-person therapy. It’s important to note that these studies have typically focused on online therapy delivered via videoconferencing, not via a texting service like Talkspace.
One 2022 study reported that telemental health platforms can benefit both younger and older adults under psychiatric treatment for depression. This study proposes that online platforms are not obstacles to receiving adequate mental health care. This may be good news for those concerned that older adults adapt to newer technologies slower than younger adults.
Talkspace is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant.
Talkspace says all communication between the software and the servers, including chat data, is encrypted. The Talkspace app also requires you to enter a password and lets you create a unique password for added security.
If you’d like to remove or modify your personal data including chat histories, you must fill out the appropriate request form and email it along with a copy of your photo ID to the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talkspace also states that it may use data you provide to “conduct clinical and other academic research, internally and with approved research partners and identify summary trends or insights for use in external communications,” noting that direct identifiers like name and contact details will be removed.
You may already be aware of Talkspace controversy after recent concerns from former Talkspace employees, who have made claims detailing unethical marketing practices and data privacy violations from the company, including:
- manipulating reviews
- advertising services in a way intended to trigger consumers into using the service
- using user data and medical records to develop marketing and advertising strategies
However, none of these allegations have been proven.
Overall, customer satisfaction with Talkspace varies greatly. The company currently has a B rating from the Better Business Bureau, with 490 complaints closed in the last 3 years, and 102 complaints closed in the last 12 months at the time of this writing.
Trustpilot currently gives the company 3.1 stars out of 5 with 248 reviews.
Most complaints from Talkspace users here have to do with:
- billing issues
- requests for refunds
- dissatisfaction with the therapists
- the rate of therapists’ replies
Some reviewers say they liked their therapy but did not like the company, citing that contacting customer service is “a nightmare” and takes them a week to several weeks to respond.
While text therapy can be helpful, Talkspace isn’t a perfect fit for everyone.
If you need emergency help, a text therapy platform isn’t the best choice.
Keeping this limitation in mind, deciding whether text therapy is right for you will largely come down to your lifestyle and preferences.
Without the face-to-face experience that comes with traditional therapy, it’s possible to miss out on affirmation and comfort from things like eye contact and a warm smile. Still, some people may prefer the privacy of talking through text rather than face-to-face.
Here are some of the topics and conditions Talkspace may help:
- bipolar disorder
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- stress management
- relationship and family issues
- social anxiety
- experiences affecting the LGBTQIA+ community
Talkspace’s 24/7 access may be a key benefit for those wanting something convenient and flexible. A chat room on your preferred device can help keep your calendar clear and save you time on commuting.
It’s easy to get started with Talkspace. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you on your way:
- Head to the Talkspace website and click on “Get Started” in the top-right corner.
- Choose the type of therapy you need: online therapy, psychiatry, or couples therapy.
- Follow the prompts and answer the assessment questions. You’ll be asked about why you’re looking for therapy and how you’re feeling, among other things.
You can chat with an initial consultation therapist to help you with the process and get you matched with the right mental health care professional. Within about 48 hours, you’ll get information on your personalized match and what the next steps look like.
|• couples therapy
• individual therapy
• Rx management
• sleep therapy
• teen counseling
|plans from $276 a month
|• HIPAA compliant
• all communication between the software and the servers is encrypted
• app requires a password
• can’t delete chat transcripts because they’re considered to be medical records
|• couples therapy
• individual therapy
• teen therapy
|from $60–$90 per week
• can click the “Shred” button next to each message you’ve sent so it won’t appear in your account
• all messages between you and your therapist are secured and encrypted by banking-grade 256-bit encryption
|• individual therapy
• urgent care
|visits cost $109 (master’s level therapist) or $129 (doctoral level therapist)
• private, secure
Is Talkspace therapy legit?
Yes, Talkspace is a legitimate online therapy platform with a large nationwide pool of licensed providers that the company says are credentialed in accordance with the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards.
What is the success rate of Talkspace?
Talkspace states on its website that 80% of Talkspace users have reported that it was as effective or more effective than traditional therapy.
Though more studies are needed, some research on online therapy in general (which usually includes video-conferencing as the medium, not text-based therapy) suggests that online therapy is as helpful as in-person therapy for treating some conditions.
Some Talkspace users have reported frustration on third-party review sites, like Trustpilot, stating dissatisfaction with the platform or the therapists they worked with.
Which one is better Talkspace or BetterHelp?
- and more
BetterHelp does say it offers financial aid options so you may keep that in mind if you find that BetterHelp is the best fit for you.
Why is Talkspace so expensive?
Talkspace plans vary, but pricing starts at around $276 per month. On its website, Talkspace compares its pricing to the cost of in-person therapy sessions, which it says can range from $175-$500 per session.
How do I know Talkspace is confidential?
Talkspace is HIPAA compliant.
According to Talkspace, all communication between the software and the servers, including chat data, is encrypted. However, you’re unable to delete chat transcripts because they’re considered to be medical records.
There are some key pros and cons to consider with Talkspace.
Although the research on online text therapy is limited, it may be a good option if you’re looking for convenient, cost-effective therapy from home but would rather skip the webcam or telephone. And with Talkspace’s flexible plan options, you can choose to add on live sessions on a monthly or weekly basis.
If you’re in immediate danger or need emergency mental health services, call someone you trust, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or your local emergency services instead of relying on a service like Talkspace.