Online therapy is making inroads with a public increasingly using digital devices. Though the counseling profession still holds face-to face meetings, too, preferences for one form of mental health input over another exist. Fans of online therapy are having an impact on themselves and the counseling profession. The popularity contest that seems to be going on between BetterHelp and TalkSpace fans, arguably the top two online therapy services on the market, is a case in point.
It’s important to note the extreme difficulty in comparing two services, especially in the online therapy industry. The main reason for this is that the technology and platforms behind both of these companies are virtually the same. Both Betterhelp and Talkspace have leading technology experts who make sure their platforms and features are intuitive and fast. With that said, here are some of the main differences between them.
People Using the Service:
According to online statistics, Betterhelp receives 2.5 million monthly visitors to their site while Talkspace receives around 1 million visits. However, visits are just that – visits. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of these people are using their services. So, we took a closer look at this comparison and came to this conclusion. A while back, it seemed as if Betterhelp was obliterating Talkspace in this regard. That is ever so true even today, as Betterhelp claims that over four million people have signed up with their service while Talkspace claims a mere fraction of that – one million people.
Until recently, Betterhelp was the clear leader in this regard, and it wasn’t even close. They offered counseling options via chat messaging, phone, email, and video, while Talkspace did not have a phone/voice option. Since early 2017, Talkspace has started offering their users audio therapy options with their therapists. One slight note we would like to point out is that video therapy through Talkspace is only available through the mobile app. Speaking of which, both sites offer a free mobile app that works seamlessly throughout use.
All therapists are generally the same. They all have degrees and are trained, licensed professionals. Both companies require their therapists (each employ over 3,000 therapists) to have at least a few thousand hours of experience prior to providing therapy through their platform. Since both Betterhelp and Talkspace use an algorithm to pair you with a therapist (based on questions you answer during the sign up process), it may not be entirely accurate (though for the overwhelming majority of people, it is). You can always request a change, both with Betterhelp and Talkspace, if you don’t like the therapist you were paired with. The big difference here is that Betterhelp lists each individual therapist on their site, enabling you to request a specific therapist. Talkspace does not show their therapists profiles, thus leaving your fate in their hands.
Both Betterhelp and Talkspace are extremely well priced, especially considering the cost of traditional in-office therapy (which can run as much as $400 per session). Betterhelp plans start at $35 per week and can go as high as $70 per week, while Talkspace starts at $196 per month ($49 per week) and can go as high as $316 per month ($79 per week). Keep in mind these are both for unlimited therapy. Online therapy is relatively new, and both service providers realized this. Moreover, having a low entry price is crucial for many people, as there are millions of people who skip out on therapy due to high costs in an office setting. As such, both service providers offer extremely attractive and virtually identical pricing.
Do any type of search for online therapy services and you will see both Betterhelp and Talkspace everywhere. However, Talkspace has really done a fantastic job getting their name out there. And while Betterhelp is no pushover (mentions in WSJ, Fox and BBC), they pale in comparison to what Talkspace has accomplished in the press – both offline and online. From massive media outlets to mid and small sized blogs, along with the recent addition of Michael Phelps as a company spokesperson, Talkspace has received an impressive amount of press.
You would think that both companies have stellar online reputations, but (shockingly) that would be a false assumption. Betterhelp completely dominates Talkspace in this regard. Betterhelp has a 4-star rating on Reviewopedia, Yelp and Glassdoor, while Talkspace has a 3-star (Reviewopedia) and 2-star rating (Yelp and Glassdoor). Betterhelp has a whopping 10,000 online testimonials while Talkspace has none (yes, you read that right). Betterhelp is BBB accredited while Talkspace is not. Betterhelp has over 900,000 Facebook likes while Talkspace has roughly 35,000.
This area pertains to virtually everything else about the services, including confidentiality and privacy, usability, and the therapists’ areas of expertise. Both Betterhelp and Talkspace have top of the line privacy/security measures put in place (SSL encryption, HIPAA, etc.). Both have expert engineers; thus, usability is excellent on both platforms. Moreover, they both employ licensed therapists only, all of whom cover virtually all mental health areas (depression, stress, anxiety, bipolar, grief, marriage counseling, abuse, addiction, and many more).
The most important factors for online therapy use are usability, the communication options, and what areas the therapists can cover. In this regard, it’s a virtual tie between Betterhelp and Talkspace. However, all of the “little things” seem to point in favor of Betterhelp. This includes their online reputation (where Betterhelp dominates), how many people use the Betterhelp service compared to Talkspace, and the ability to personally choose your therapist. Either way though, it seems you can’t go wrong with either service.
Editor’s Note: We have created a more detailed comparison chart for your convenience, which you can view here.
Eric Silver has been helping a close family member learn to cope with depression for nearly twenty years. Over the years, he’s developed a passion for mental health awareness. Mr. Silver has researched and written extensively within the mental health area, specifically in regard to bi-polar, depression, stress, and anxiety issues.