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As mental health awareness continues to spread, online therapy is rapidly gaining traction as a mainstream option for receiving professional counseling. The increased popularity of this industry has given way for several companies to dominate the space, offering customers affordable and convenient options for virtual therapy. Two of the leading providers, who share the majority of the market and have the best reputations are BetterHelp and Talkspace.
These two companies have much in common as they essentially offer the exact same solution. However, one cannot ignore the areas of differentiation that, without a doubt, impact the overall experience they provide their customers. While individual preferences certainly play an important role when it comes to determining which service is better, there are factors which tend to be objective, such as price, value, and convenience.
The detailed comparison below outlines the primary features and selling points of each service, with the intention of helping users navigate these differences, to help them decide between the two services based on their individual needs.
Comparison of BetterHelp and Talkspace
|Average Weekly Price||$65||$65|
|Professional Services||Therapy||Therapy and Psychiatry|
|Works with Insurance|
|Learn More||Learn More|
Both BetterHelp and Talkspace are well-priced as compared to the cost of traditional in-office therapy (which typically starts at $100 per session).
BetterHelp’s therapy plan ranges from $60-$80 per week for unlimited therapy, while Talkspace’s offers multiple plans ranging from $52 to $99. Talkspace offers a 10% discount for customers that commit to a 3-month plan and 20% for those that commit to 6 months. The difference in price between the two companies is negligible, as overall both are considerably more cost-effective than in-office therapy.
All therapists on both platforms are licensed professionals. Since each company uses an algorithm to pair you with a therapist based on your customized questionnaire during the signup process, it is technically possible to be matched up with a therapist with whom you do not have good chemistry. However, you can always request an alternate therapist that better suits you.
Though the number of therapists on each platform can change from day to day, it appears that BetterHelp does have a larger pool of therapists.
Very little can be said about the actual quality differentials of therapists on these platforms, as each of the companies have their own strict standards and guidelines. BetterHelp requires each therapist applicant complete a case study exam by a licensed clinician, as well as undergo a video interview. This 4-5-week rigorous process results in a 15% acceptance rate to join the platform. Talkspace on the other hand, requires all of their therapists to have logged over 3,000 hours of clinical experience in order to join their platform.
Both platforms offer live video sessions as well as communication with therapists via text and audio messaging. Both have mobile apps with favorable ratings.
Security and Confidentiality:
These two companies take immense pride in their ability to provide safety and security to their customers, as well as ensuring the confidentiality of their sensitive personal information throughout their use of the platform.
BetterHelp and Talkspace are both legally bound by US federal and state laws when it comes protection of health information, just as any traditional therapy provider. They are therefore HIPAA certified, and use 256-bit symmetric encryption for every piece of information that you type or say on their platforms.
That being said, Talkspace has received some significant criticism lately regarding the confidentiality of private sessions on their platform. While statements from executives at the company have convincingly disputed these allegations, it does appear that the private session data of their users are not impenetrable as one would expect from a company dealing with such sensitive information.
User Interface and Usability:
BetterHelp and Talkspace both invest heavily in constantly improving the overall user experience of their apps and online platforms. BetterHelp offers a very simple and easy-to-use interface for both desktop and mobile users. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be taken straight to the private chat room with your therapist where you can easily initiate a conversation. Here, you can make requests, ask questions, and schedule future sessions with therapists.
If you don’t want to stay logged in to the platform all the time, you can opt to receive email updates whenever your therapist replies to you or sends a message. Aside from this, it’s very easy to engage with your therapist via video chat or voice call from both desktop and mobile (though of course, you’ll need a microphone and webcam to do so via desktop.)
Talkspace seems to place more focus on its mobile app experience than its website experience. This is due to the fact that its CEO recognized that one of the main challenges in seeking therapy is finding the time in our hectic, modern-day schedules.
The Talkspace app, which is predominantly used by their customers over the desktop version, is available on iOS and Android. It is an easy and intuitive platform to navigate, even for less technically savvy customers.
When searching for online therapy services and you will undoubtedly return both BetterHelp and Talkspace in your results everywhere. However, Talkspace has really done a fantastic job with brand awareness. 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 social media influencers, along with securing Michael Phelps as a company spokesperson, Talkspace has received an impressive amount of press. While being an established brand does not necessarily correlate with quality or customer satisfaction, it certainly does add a level of comfort knowing that you’re working with a well-known company that cannot afford to cut corners and tarnish their hard-earned reputation.
Both Talkspace and BetterHelp are accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), though BetterHelp far surpasses Talkspace when it comes to their online reputations. They have a 4-star average rating on Reviewopedia and Glassdoor, while Talkspace has 3 stars. BetterHelp also has thousands more online reviews than Talkspace, across dozens of websites. This may be the result of having a more talented PR team, but given how much Talkspace invests in media coverage, it’s unlikely.
It’s important to be able to contact customer support if you have a technical issue about the platform, a billing question or would like to discuss your experience.
There is no significant difference between the customer support services that each of the two platforms offer. Both allow you to submit questions or feedback. BetterHelp has an online form while Talkspace has a similar experience through a ticketing system, which is easier to track in your account dashboard.
Both provide online resources which can help work through many of the typical issues one might encounter. BetterHelp has this in the form of an FAQ section whereas Talkspace has a thorough resource they call the knowledgebase, which are only different in their names.
The only noticeable difference is that BetterHelp provides an email address directly on their contact page. It might have been considered an advantage had Talkspace’s ticketing system not been so consistently responsive.
Typically, you’ll receive a response within 24 hours during the week on both platforms – though these times can be much shorter when contacting them during business hours (note: BetterHelp is based in California and Talkspace is based in New York).
Both companies accept the same type of payments, the majority of which are popular credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Neither company is accepting cryptocurrency payments yet.
The most important factors when choosing an online therapy provider are price, usability, communication options, and the experience of their therapists.
The pricing and features of each platform are very similar to another. In addition, both of these providers use trained and licensed therapists that are accepted to the platforms only if they meet strict guidelines and standards, though BetterHelp does seem to have more therapists to choose from.
The two companies enjoy esteemed reputations as far as Internet-based services are concerned, along with being associated with well-respected mental health organizations and recognized personalities.
Two areas where the providers do differ are insurance coverage and access to psychiatrists that can help with prescription medications. Talkspace, as a point of differentiation delivers on both fronts, giving it an edge over BetterHelp.
All things considered, BetterHelp and Talkspace are essentially equal in their ability to provide therapy services online. For those that feel more comfortable with a slightly larger company that’s more technology oriented, BetterHelp is better choice. However, those seeking insurance coverage or access to psychiatrists are better off with Talkspace. If you still find yourself unable to decide between the two, rest assured there is no wrong decision, as they are both fine options.