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Between video conferencing for work and staying connected over the phone with friends and family, it can be easy to fall into remote communication fatigue.
Still, making mental health a priority is more important than ever, and therapy shouldn’t feel like another box to tick or teleconference to schedule.
Keep reading to learn how Talkspace works, how effective the service is, and whether it’s a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Talkspace was founded in 2012 and was one of the first companies to provide online therapy. The company helps provide more access to mental health services. Virtual services may provide a more comfortable environment for some people to get help with their mental health.
Talkspace offers multiple payment plans to cater to different budgets and mental health needs. You can live chat through messaging or schedule a video chat with your therapist. Talkspace has continued to expand its services since the company was founded and now offers therapy, online psychiatric evaluation, and medication management.
Talkspace offers an easy-to-use 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 that 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 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.
Talkspace professionals are licensed and credentialed psychiatrists and therapists who offer both individual and couples therapy services. The company verifies the professionals’ credentials and completes a background check before hiring.
Professionals are required to have 3,000-plus hours of clinical experience in their area of expertise and may have additional training to specialize in certain therapy approaches.
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.
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 iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.
In your Talkspace room, you can send and reply to messages from your therapist 24-7. You can expect responses five times a week, 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 with the ability to 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.
If something’s not working for you, you can switch therapists or stop therapy whenever you want.
Talkspace’s sign-up platform features several short how-to videos to help you navigate the service.
Although Talkspace offers great features and a unique set of advantages, it can be hard to decide if this service is right for you.
Here’s a look at some pros and cons of Talkspace.
Keep in mind
Talkspace is not a substitute for emergency services. In the event of a mental health emergency — if you’re thinking about harming yourself or someone else — call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or your local emergency services.
Talkspace features thousands of licensed therapists, with many trained across multiple areas of expertise. According to Talkspace, the service has helped people with:
- eating disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community
- relationships with family or friends
Talkspace also offers a psychiatry service for those interested in both mental health care and prescription management. The program is staffed by psychiatrists and nurse practitioners.
While Talkspace Psychiatry offers useful services, it’s worth noting that the 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 $199, 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 isn’t 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.
A small 2014 study found that participants with depression who were randomly placed into online therapy were still faring well 3 months after therapy ended, while participants who were randomly placed into face-to-face therapy reported worsening symptoms after therapy ended.
A 2015 review of 11 studies reported that computer-based cognitive behavioral therapy sessions were successful at reducing both depression and anxiety symptoms.
Talkspace is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant.
Talkspace says that 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. However, you’re unable to delete chat transcripts, as they’re considered medical records.
It’s worth pointing out 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.
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.
The three levels for individual subscriptions plan include:
- Unlimited messaging therapy plus: includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging 5 days a week
- Unlimited messaging therapy premium: includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging 5 days a week plus one live 30-minute session a month
- Unlimited messaging therapy ultimate: includes unlimited text, video, and audio messaging 5 days a week plus four live 30-minute sessions a month
Plans range from $260 to $396 per month, depending on which plan you choose. There are no contracts, so you can cancel your plan at any time.
The couples therapy plan includes four 30-minute video sessions each month plus unlimited text, video, and audio messaging in a group room with your partner and therapist.
Psychiatry services are offered as an add-on plan and cost $199 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 is currently offering $100 off your first month with the code SPACE.
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 if text therapy is right for you will largely come down to your lifestyle and personal 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
- issues 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.
Both Talkspace and BetterHelp are companies that provide online therapy services. They both offer monthly subscription services and virtual communication with a licensed therapist.
BetterHelp focuses solely on talk therapy for individuals. For couples counseling or therapy for teens, BetterHelp directs people to its sister sites regain.us and teencounseling.com. Talkspace offers couples therapy, individual therapy, teen counseling, psychiatry services, and medication management all on one platform.
Both platforms have similar pricing plans, starting around $65 a week. However, Talkspace may have better payment assistance, as it tends to be accepted by more insurance companies, employee assistance programs, and other organizations.
We consider many factors when reviewing services like Talkspace, including:
- criteria for mental health professionals working with the platform
- a simple sign-up process and ease of use
- customer feedback and company reputation
- pricing and subscription options
- insurance and payment plans
There are some key pros and cons to consider with text therapy.
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.
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.