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We review Talkspace and Betterhelp and share some of our testers experiences with the platform. See how they compare and which one seems better to you.

In an age where virtually every human need can be met through a digital interaction or transaction, it isn’t surprising that online mental health services are gaining popularity. And it makes sense — making mental health a priority means that you should be able to access qualified mental health professionals easily and quickly, no matter where you are.

Two of the better-known telehealth platforms, Talkspace and BetterHelp, both offer online access to therapists for a wide range of mental health services.

If you want to know how they compare, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what each has to offer, what they cost, and what they both do best. We’ll then dive into our employee reviews so you have their experiences and can decide for yourself which one seems better for you.

Both BetterHelp and Talkspace are among the best online therapy platforms that offer mental health support through their website and mobile app. They work in the same way that telehealth or telemedicine do.

We researched and wrote this review of two well-known online therapy platforms by reviewing each platform’s website, independent reviews by patients and therapists, and peer-reviewed research studies that looked at online therapy platforms and methods around the world. Both BetterHelp and Talkspace passed our rigorous vetting process.

Most importantly, we had a few Healthline staff test the platforms for themselves. Parisa Syed, Editor, and Laramy Applekamp, Product Manager, tested BetterHelp for more than a month. Market Editor Christy Snyder tested Talkspace for over a week. We use their quotes and experience throughout the article as we compare Talkspace and BetterHelp.

One of the benefits of online therapy is the lower cost compared with in-person therapy. With that in mind, here’s a cost comparison between BetterHelp and Talkspace.

BetterHelp cost

  • begins at $65 per week for unlimited text, video, or audio messaging and one weekly live session
  • billed monthly (starting at $260 per month)
  • financial aid is available and is dependent on your income and financial burden
  • services are not covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid
  • HSA/FSA are accepted
  • accepts credit and debit cards, as well as Google Pay and PayPal

Talkspace cost

  • $69 per week for daily responses to messaging 5 days per week
  • $99 per week for video and messaging sessions
  • $109 per week for everything Talkspace offers, including weekly workshops
  • possible out-of-pocket cost share for psychiatry services if you have access to Talkspace through health plan provider
  • session-based psychiatry sessions; $299 for initial evaluation and $175 for each follow-up session
  • no sliding scale
  • discount of 10–20% for paying biannually or quarterly
  • covered by some insurance plans
  • benefits available through some employee assistance programs (EAP), colleges, universities, and student organizations

Cost was one of the issues Snyder had with Talkspace. “$69 a week to message a therapist isn’t a lot, but the cost can be up to $165 a week if not more,” she says. “In using traditional/in-person mental health services with my insurance, I have paid anywhere from $50 to $185 per therapy session.”

This cost may be worthwhile if you would like the added benefits like being able to send your therapist unlimited messages. But if you would prefer a once-a-week live session only, you might be able to find a cheaper option.

Both BetterHelp and Talkspace follow a similar process for enrollment. But they differ slightly in how they match you with a therapist.

With both platforms, an initial questionnaire asks about you, your life, goals, and preferences.

Syed shares that signing up for BetterHelp was a simple process. “Filling out the forms and choosing what type of therapist you were looking for was a bit tedious, but it worked out for me,” she says. Applekamp found the process straightforward. It took her about 20 minutes to complete the survey. “I messed up one question,” Laramy notes, “and when I navigated back to change it, the interface instead took me to the beginning of the quiz, and I had to restart.”

Both Applekamp and Syed were matched almost immediately after submitting their questionnaire. “They sent me a message 2 hours after I submitted my request, and I was matched,” Syed said. “I could either choose a different therapist or schedule an appointment with the one they matched me with.”

Talkspace’s intake is processed by a matching agent, who is a licensed therapist. However, scripted responses are part of the interaction from time to time.

Snyder noted that the Talkspace sign-up process was quick and easy. “I felt that the survey asked the right questions about my mental health history and current status without getting long-winded or superfluous,” she says. “The therapist I was matched with was in touch pretty quickly.”

Both services create a secure virtual therapy room. This is where you can leave messages; upload documents, as well as video and audio files; and otherwise interact with your therapist.

Talkspace allows you to see a typical therapy journey upfront. So before you start, you’ll have an idea of the milestones, checkpoints, progress reports, and opportunities to adjust your growth plan.

According to both brands, you can change therapists or stop therapy at any time.

Counselor qualifications

Both Talkspace and BetterHelp offer services with qualified and licensed therapists and counselors who may specialize in one or more areas, such as teen or couples counseling.

Additionally, Talkspace offers psychiatry services, including medical care and prescription medication management from licensed psychiatrists and licensed therapists trained in treating sleep disorders, such as insomnia.

Talkspace offers a wider range of services, including:

  • individual therapy for adults
  • couples therapy
  • therapy for children ages 13 years and older
  • teen therapy
  • sleep therapy
  • psychiatry, with medication management and diagnostic evaluations

BetterHelp also offers similar services but does not provide therapy for children. They bring you to their sister site, Teen Counseling, to offer therapy for teens from ages 13–19 years. With BetterHelp, you can access individual therapy for adults and family therapy.

Communicating with a therapist

Talkspace allows you to choose from three therapist matches, and you can switch therapists if you choose to. The platform allows you to reach your therapist at any time through:

  • text
  • audio messages
  • pictures
  • video messages

And you receive a guaranteed response during weekly business hours.

Similarly, BetterHelp allows you to connect to your therapist anytime during business hours by messaging. BetterHelp does not allow you to choose your therapist, but it does provide more communication options. You can switch between communication platforms as needed, such as:

  • messaging
  • live chatting
  • phone calls
  • video conferencing


In-person licensed therapists and psychiatrists must protect patient privacy and follow a code of conduct regulated by governing boards such as the American Psychological Association and state licensing boards. Online therapists follow the same rules and regulations.

The only difference is that if you have personal information about your appointments on your mobile device (such as a phone or laptop), this may be accessible to someone who has access to them or if you lose your phone or computer.

Both platforms offer blog content that addresses various mental health, wellness, and personal growth topics. Many of the resources are available to the public.

Talkspace’s special features

  • The sign-up platform offers multiple short videos that help explain each step of the process.
  • An online symptom tracker allows you to document your clinical progress.
  • Talkspace offers an interface with Happify, a science-based positive psychology app.
  • Through Talkspace’s EAP programs, you can find resources for financial wellness, legal advice, and work-life planning.
  • Talkspace has also announced a psychiatry service for people needing mental health care and prescription management. Staffed by psychiatrists and nurse practitioners, Talkspace Psychiatry offers an initial evaluation at $299. Follow-up visits are priced at $175 per session

However, it’s important to note that Talkspace Psychiatry professionals can’t prescribe controlled substances such as Adderall and lorazepam.

BetterHelp’s special features

  • You have weekly access to over 20 interactive live group sessions moderated by therapists.
  • BetterHelp offers you the chance to talk with your therapist on the phone, while Talkspace doesn’t offer phone contact, citing security and HIPAA (patient privacy) protocols. (BetterHelp states that all messages exchanged between you and your therapist are confidential. They also use a 256-bit encryption system to keep your information private.)
  • It also operates a sister site, TeenCounseling.com, that allows parents to participate in choosing a therapist for their child. Counseling is confidential, and only your child has access to the therapy room, but your child’s therapist will send you an alert if it’s time for an intervention.
  • BetterHelp has an app as well as a desktop site, which Applekamp used. She found it easy to navigate. Syed says that she preferred the app. “The app itself is pretty straightforward. I like how it has a journaling tab with prompts. It’s also cool how your therapist can provide worksheets for you after a session.”
  • Syed also shares that it’s easy to schedule appointments with your therapist through the app, as it has a user-friendly scheduling tool and calendar.

Online therapy shouldn’t be used in emergency situations

If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis or an emergency situation, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at 988.

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It’s important to remember that therapists are people too, and their environment can also impact their work with patients. This means that employment conditions such as workload, pay, and other factors may affect the quality of care you receive as a patient, whether you see them in person or online.

According to some online sources, including employee and patient reviews, Talkspace therapists may have greater caseloads, meaning that they care for more patients. BetterHelp therapists may receive higher pay, and reviews indicate that therapists have greater satisfaction working with BetterHelp.

Despite this, Syed noticed that her BetterHelp therapist seemed rushed. “My therapist is great, but definitely was not 100% present. She seemed distracted, though she chimed in and said insightful things when it felt right.”

Snyder’s Talkspace therapist was helpful overall, but she sent a lot of automated or copied-and-pasted messages about her availability and other issues. “Those messages were frequent and made me feel a little bit like a number rather than her patient,” Snyder says. “But, I understand if you are serving a large client/patient base that you may have to communicate in a way that is less personal.”

However, individual cases may vary, and the quality of therapist care should not be generalized by which company they work for.



  • Talkspace has a wide range of therapy services, including psychiatry.
  • The matching agent is a licensed therapist, which some people may prefer.
  • Payments made biannually or quarterly receive discounts.


  • Phone contact is not an option for communicating with your therapist.
  • Talkspace psychiatry professionals cannot prescribe controlled substances.
  • There are weekly caps on responses from your therapist.
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  • BetterHelp offers weekly access to over 20 live group sessions moderated by therapists.
  • Phone sessions are available.
  • There are more options for communication.


  • BetterHelp does not offer services for children.
  • Services are not covered by insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.
  • There are no options for choosing your own therapist.
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Looking at customer reviews can be a good way to get a sense of a business or service.


BetterHelp has a stellar online reputation, with an A- rating at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an average rating of 4.03 out of 5 stars with over 570 reviews. Most reviews compliment their platform and providers, but some BetterHelp users complain about being charged even when their therapists are unavailable for sessions.

According to Applekamp’s and Syed’s experiences, BetterHelp is overall positive. Applekamp notes that she will continue to use BetterHelp after her testing period. “I appreciated the questionnaire that went into matching me with a therapist (trying to research an in-person therapist felt very overwhelming, so I appreciated the guesswork being taken out of it).”

Syed enjoyed her therapist and the help she received and recommends this platform for anyone who is new to therapy or who wants to try online therapy.


Talkspace has a B rating at the BBB, but the reviews are pretty dismal. There are just over 100 reviews from Talkspace users, with a 1.1-star rating. Most of the complaints mention customer service issues and problems with the website.

Other Talkspace reviews complain about the app and say that the Talkspace website tends to be buggy, which makes it harder actually to attend your sessions.

Snyder, overall, liked the flexibility Talkspace offers, 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.” She would recommend the service to others as there are “multiple options for communicating with your therapist, all of which work for different lifestyles or personality types.”

Types of service• therapy
• psychiatry
• sleep therapy
• therapy
Patients• older children
• teens
• adults
• couples
• teens (sister site)
• adults
• couples (sister site)
Cost$69–$129 per week$65 per week
Accessibility• video
• audio
• live chat
• send text
• video or voice messages anytime
• messages
• live chat
• phone or video conferencing
Bestif you prefer to choose your therapist or require psychiatry servicesif you prefer messaging or live chat sessions only, want to switch between communication methods, or don’t want to pay extra for live video sessions
Payment• credit or debit card
• may accept some types of employee assistance programs (EAP)
• health benefits
• credit card
• PayPal and Google Pay

Both therapy platforms offer something vital:

  • lower cost
  • convenient access to licensed, experienced mental health professionals

However, there are some key differences between these two brands.

If you need to pay for therapy using your insurance plan, EAP, or benefits provided by a work or student organization, Talkspace may be a better option for you. If you think you might need prescription medications to treat your symptoms, Talkspace Psychiatry offers that option, while BetterHelp does not.

You might also choose Talkspace over BetterHelp if you’d rather choose your therapist than be matched with one.

When it comes to ease and the overall quality of the interactive experience, Talkspace’s platform provides a great dashboard with lots of opportunities to track your progress. During the initial sign-up, you’re paired with a live matching agent during your first interaction, which creates a sense of human contact right from the beginning.

If you need financial aid, BetterHelp offers that opportunity, while Talkspace does not. Also, its basic plan is less expensive than Talkspace’s plan with video conferencing. Another bonus is that BetterHelp allows you to talk with your therapist on the phone, an option that Talkspace doesn’t provide.

Both BetterHelp and Talkspace have apps that allow for easier communication and scheduling. While Talkspace offers users the opportunity to use Happify, a positive psychology app, BetterHelp’s app has a built-in journaling function.

While Talkspace reviews on third-party sites are generally worse than BetterHelp’s user reviews, our testers had a generally positive experience with both platforms.

Product and pricingInsuranceHighlightsWho it’s best for
• some benefits through EAPs
• colleges, universities, and student organizations
offers a psychiatry service and talk therapy with a licensed mental health professionalsuited for people dealing with anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders, and PTSD
services not covered by any insurance plansoffers accredited psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and board-licensed professional counselors specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and parenting and family counseling
covered by some insurance plans by major commercial health plans• a teletherapy and medication management company
• pricing plans also appeal to different users
focuses on helping people dealing who have insomnia, anxiety, and depression
$40–$80/wkdoesn’t accept insurance• therapy sessions are accessed through a user-friendly private online portal
• the portal also offers other resources for mental health outside of your therapy sessions
• best suited to individual therapy
• services ranging from agoraphobia to bipolar disorder and more
doesn’t accept insurance • Regain has high security standards
• all messages with your counselor are secured and encrypted by banking-grade 256-bit encryption
• you can also “shred” messages so they no longer appear in your account
• focuses on relationship and family counseling
• therapists equipped to help with anxiety, depression, grief, anger, addiction, and LGBTQIA+ experiences

It depends on your goals and circumstances. Both platforms match people with licensed, accredited therapists for counseling services, but BetterHelp offers financial aid and costs a little less. Talkspace has a wider range of services, including psychiatry.

No. Insurance companies do not cover BetterHelp’s services. Instead, BetterHelp is designed to offer affordable online therapy as an alternative to in-person visits.

Yes. Talkspace accepts some insurance plans, including:

  • Cigna
  • Optum
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Human

Talkspace users may also get coverage through employers, member organizations, and educational institutions.

BetterHelp and Talkspace are online therapy platforms that match you with a licensed, accredited, and experienced therapist to provide counseling services.

For (typically) less money than in-person counseling, you can send text, audio, or video messages to your therapist and receive responses. Depending on your plan, you may also interact with your therapist through weekly or monthly video counseling sessions.

Talkspace accepts several insurance plans and offers benefits through numerous employee assistance programs and university student organizations. BetterHelp, on the other hand, offers a sliding fee scale for people with limited income.

Syed, Applekamp, and Snyder recommend both BetterHelp and Talkspace based on their hands-on experience with the platforms. While neither platform is perfect, either one can be a convenient and simple way to access mental health services.

If you’re in immediate danger, these platforms aren’t a good place to look for help. They’re also not a primary option for people receiving court-ordered or school- or job-mandated mental health counseling.