TalkSpace Review

Last Updated on February 3rd, 2019

If you were to compare all of the leading online counseling services on the market right now, you would automatically assume that TalkSpace is a prime destination for people looking to live better, happier lives. This is no surprise being that TalkSpace has been mentioned in the media more than any other online therapy service, including their largest rival, BetterHelp. CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, Mashable, Yahoo!, The Verge, Business Insider, The Huffington Post – this is just a short list of media coverage TalkSpace has received. Is it because they have raised close to $30 million in funding? Is it because they are excellent at branding their service? Or is it really because they have an all-around terrific service? Let’s take an in-depth look at the TalkSpace service.

Company Profile:

While TalkSpace doesn’t reveal figures, back in June 2016, TechCrunch noted that over 300,000 people use TalkSpace as their online therapy solution. That certainly puts them in the big leagues, and likely in the top 2 spots. So, what makes them so special? Oren Frank, the CEO of TalkSpace, along with his wife Roni, founded TalkSpace back in 2012 when Mr. Frank was in need of therapy. He noticed a huge issue: the entire mental healthcare system is broken. And while the people who work in this field may have good intentions, Mr. Frank realized they don’t have the tools to fix it. So he and his wife started TalkSpace and, along with an incredible team, steadily built up the company to where it stands now. It also helped that Mr. Frank had a ton of experience in the marketing and publicity fields, as he was a blogger in the past for The Huffington Post.

Signing Up:

The very process itself of getting started with therapy can be stressful for many people; adding the technology component to the mix, even for people who are otherwise tech savvy, will just add to this stress. TalkSpace understood this from the start and thus set out to create the most straightforward method for joining their service. When you get to their website, you are greeted by a ‘chat box’ of sorts where you type in your question or comments to a therapist, enter an email address, a password and a nickname. Once you have completed this, you are led to a secured chat room. It is here that you can ask the therapist more questions about online therapy or what you are experiencing. It is important to note that this is just an introductory welcoming to TalkSpace. While you will be chatting with a certified professional, this won’t be your specific counselor. Rather, you will need to answer a few questions from the therapist and pay to use the service, and only then will you be paired with a counselor. However, you can speak with the counselor or ask as many questions as you’d like in this introductory chat room – there is no limit. Additionally, the beauty of TalkSpace is that they use IBM Watson for pairing purposes. IBM Watson is a computer system that uses predictive modeling. Using this system has enabled TalkSpace to see wild success, as the overwhelming majority of the time customers are happy with the therapist they are paired with. If for some reason you are not happy, you can always write in to TalkSpace to request a change.

Usability (Desktop & Mobile):

While TalkSpace delivers a solid online therapy solution, the standout ‘feature’ is certainly its usability. For starters, desktop messaging takes place in the aforementioned chat room. Though the chat room is simplistic and provides good functionality, the TalkSpace mobile app is really what users enjoy. This is because from the beginning, Oren Frank (CEO of TalkSpace) understood the “on the go” nature in today’s world. Thus, his crafty team of developers turned a new technology into a world class platform. The TalkSpace app is available on iOS or Android. When you enter the mobile chat room, it mimics the SMS layout of your smartphone, so there is a familiar feeling with no learning curve whatsoever. You are, of course, able to see prior chat history between you and your counselor. This is helpful because not all of your chats will be in real time. In sum, TalkSpace delivers a chat platform geared toward providing excellent user experience.

Counselor Support & Effectiveness:

TalkSpace paired me with R.J. McNicholl, a LCSW from Illinois. I was disappointed to be matched up with a therapist not located in my area, though I realize that practically it really doesn’t matter where he’s from. R.J. turned out to be great for me as he was insightful and listened to my issues. He provided me with some profound analogies on how to deal with my emotions which, to my honest surprise, shocked me. We’ve all heard the stories about lame, cliche analogies used in therapy sessions, but after speaking with R.J., I must say don’t mock it till you try it!

Additionally, though success can vary, the overall consensus is that online therapy’s effectiveness is top shelf. The main reason is because the sooner you get help, the more effective it is. Scheduling an in-office therapy appointment can take days or weeks. TalkSpace eliminates that wait time since your therapist is always “with you.” Moreover, TalkSpace provides unlimited texting, which means that not every interaction is a transaction. This also helps increase effectiveness because many people view their therapists as professionals doing their job with a focus on money rather than viewing them like people looking to genuinely help the person in need. Since TalkSpace has unlimited text for a fraction of the cost, it’s obviously not about the money; this provides a sense of comfort for people weary of the therapist’s true intentions.

And, for good measure, TalkSpace employs a board of advisors whose job it is to maintain the effectiveness of the service by performing rigorous, periodic testing.

Confidentiality & Privacy:

Like any major company that deals with health records, TalkSpace takes a tight security approach to how they conduct the safekeeping of data. TalkSpace is HIPAA compliant (both their website and mobile app), and they use SSL encryption for protection. Furthermore, TalkSpace enables you to create a unique password for your mobile chat room for an additional layer of security. The only critique some users have is that TalkSpace does not delete your chat history. However, this is because they don’t have access to it (only you and your therapist do), as it’s against federal law.

TalkSpace’s Counselor Qualifications:

All TalkSpace counselors are certified professionals in their respective states and they all hold at least 3,000 hours of hands-on experience. It’s important to mention that not all TalkSpace therapists must be licensed within the United States. Remember, you can always request a change if you don’t like your therapist. Don’t just give up on the service if you aren’t happy with who you were paired with. TalkSpace therapists have all sorts of backgrounds. From PhDs and LMFTs to LPCs and PsyDs (and many more), TalkSpace covers virtually every field in the mental health categories.

Specialties & Areas of Expertise:

As mentioned above, TalkSpace therapists cover every area of mental health. These include, but are not limited to:

  • All Addictions
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Career
  • Chronic Impulsivity
  • Conflict
  • Depression
  • Eating
  • Educational Assessments
  • Family
  • Grief
  • Health
  • Intimacy
  • LGBTQ
  • Life Transitions
  • Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Religion
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sleeping
  • Social Behavior
  • Stress
  • Substance Abuse
  • Trauma & Abuse

Bottom Line:

While TalkSpace provides a robust package of features, its main selling points are accessibility and affordability. In addition to this, TalkSpace has done a fantastic job helping people understand the other various benefits to its service: anonymity, stigma free, simplicity and comfort. With unlimited access to top licensed professionals for a mere $79 per week, it’s no wonder over 300,000 people currently use their online therapy service.

Visit TalkSpace

Talkspace

$79
8.5

Rating

8.5/10

Features

  • All therapists are licensed and background-checked
  • HIPAA compliant
  • User friendly

29 Reviews

  1. Rating

    6.00

    My experience with talkspace was fair.
    – CON: It was very slow to start; it took several days to find a counselor I thought was a good fit. Then a few days into texting with her, she told me she was leaving talkspace! So I had to start that process over, and find a new counselor. I was three weeks into my $316/month subscription, and had gotten nowhere. (And I was in super crisis mode. If you need to talk to someone NOW, do note that it takes a while to get the ball rolling.)
    – CON: I really craved in-person meetings. My plan was unlimited texting + 4x 30 min sessions/month; I found I wasn’t utilizing the texting very often, and the 30 min sessions via smartphone (it’s like FaceTime) weren’t doing it for me. There were lots of awkward silent moments.
    – CON: Price. I think $316/month is too expensive for 2 hours of total talk time.
    – PRO: Convenience. If you have a hard time getting to a counselor (maybe you have small kids and can’t get a sitter, or you live in a rural area, or it’s hard to leave the house) – talkspace is a great option. It’s also really nice to be able to just plop down on your couch and start a session.
    – PRO: If text messaging is your preferred mode of communication, there’s a pretty cheap plan ($49/month) where you can type your woes away, and your therapist gets in touch with you once/week. If nothing else, it’s like journaling, where your diary occasionally talks back with insight and advice.
    – In the end, while I liked my therapist, it wasn’t for me. I ended up leaving after two months to find a local, in-person counselor.

  2. Disappointing experience. The therapist I was matched with gave only very brief, unhelpful comments like “I can see how that would be overwhelming,” and “focus on the positive.” There was no advice given and no opportunity to discuss anything in-depth. It’s supposed to be unlimited texting but that just means you can send as many messages as you want while you wait hours and sometimes days for a pointless response.

  3. In my opinion TalkSpace is a rip-off and I believe they are intentionally misleading people about the service they will receive. The package is called “Unlimited Texting” but what they don’t tell you is the unlimited part only applies to the client, meaning that you can text your therapist as much as you want. But after a couple weeks of only receiving 1-2 short text messages a day 5 days a week from my therapist (I was expecting a lot more), I mentioned that I thought maybe she was too busy to help me. That’s when she explained that the therapists are instructed to only spend 10 minutes a day 5 days a week reading and responding to client messages. So I was receiving very short messages containing really obvious comments like “Focus on the positive.” If I was able to do that without help, I wouldn’t need therapy! I have been in a severe depression for 9 months and I need more help than that!!!

    I can see how TalkSpace would be helpful for people with very mild depression, and I can see that it might be helpful for people with no insurance or people who live in remote locations. But for me, a normal live therapy session would cost me a $20 copay a week, and this is $50 a week. I signed up because I thought the “Unlimited Texting” meant that I would be getting MORE than I would in a normal live session a week. I feel like I got less, and paid more than double.

    In addition, they guide they provide says that by Week 3 you should be setting some goals with your therapist. I asked about that several times and told her I wanted to do that and needed her help with that but she just said it “wasn’t her job to tell me what to do” so no goals were ever set.

    While I liked my therapist and I believe she did the best she could within the confines of 10 minutes a day 5 days a week, after a month I don’t feel I’ve received any helpful advice, I don’t feel even a tiny bit better, and I just can’t justify spending another $200 for nothing.

    I also think that since they advertise a per week price they should charge you by the week instead of making you pay for a whole month up front.

    I also found out that Michael Phelps didn’t even use TalkSpace for his therapy, so I think again they are misleading people, they use him to say how helpful therapy was for him but don’t disclose that he used a traditional therapist rather than TalkSpace!

    Everything about this company is designed to mislead you. I truly feel like that $200 was a COMPLETE waste, and coming up with that $200 was really difficult for me. I really feel like they’re taking advantage of people who really need help.

    1. Sounds like the only thing you get are platitudes like everything will be OK you can get through this. well maybe you can’t. I don’t have any insurance and I desperately need some help but I guess there’s this…it sounds like this isn’t the place for me either.

  4. Rating

    10.00

    I am dealing with BPD. It’s not pretty. My family and friends have all abandoned me. I was and continue to feel in the dumps. My only “light at the end of the tunnel” is my therapist (Vivian) through Talkspace. She has helped me not only pick up what’s left of my life and offers hope every day, but also helps me manage my BPD. I have so much to work on but I’m in constant contact with Vivian every single day. It’s been less than two weeks so far and I have nothing bad to say about Vivian or the Talkspace service.

    1. Hi Sherry. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. This was a fake review added to the E-counseling site by a hacker, and we are adding a security protocol to the site because it has been under multiple attacks recently. The post has since been removed.

  5. Rating

    2.00

    Was charged for the first month a week before I was given 3 options for therapist. Was told the subscription wouldn’t begin until I chose a therapist. Wrong. Yes, I received a discount but for one less week. Also, of the 3 options I was given, 2 people in their 20s with only a few years experience (am in my 60s, retired and have been in therapy before for major life events). So I chose the 3rd person who was older with more exprience (and potentially could relate with). Wrong. I got to hear about his/her (to remain anonymous) personal issues. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

    1. Similar problem here…. paid for my initial subscription and got completely ignored by my assigned therapist. I ended my subscription…. but then I just received ANOTHER charged to my account despite my cancellation request and now no one is answering the listed GOOGLE number….. I literally NEVER got service and despite me canceling my account, they continue to make charges….. I’m already talking to my lawyer regarding the matter.

  6. Only coming here that I knew my Talkspace therapist didn’t make fun of me: they will answer me once a day, 5 days a week. With that money I can do pretty much valuable things: go backpacking, buy something for my loved one, give it to a homeless… Anyway, I lost that small amount of money, which is twice the price of the old laptop I am using, for nothing… and ended up downloading a free meditation app on App Store. I dont understand the existence of these platforms, to make us more stressful and confused?

  7. Rating

    1.10

    I signed up and was assinged a therapist. She said she answers her clients once a day, M-F. I wrote to her my issues but she would only reply with one or two sentences and most of the time it didn’t have anything to do with what I wrote. It seemed like she didn’t even read what I wrote. TalkSpace has an option to switch therapist, which I did. I felt heard by the new therapist but she kept referring to her Church and the love of Jesus. She encouraged me to join a Church and get involved. I told her I’m not a religious person and wasn’t interested. The whole ordeal was a waste of my time and money.

  8. Rating

    7.50

    The unlimited messaging therapy is a gimmick. However, video therapy is the real deal. Honestly, Talkspace should just get rid of text therapy, or at least not advertise it so much. It’s not all that helpful. It’s essentially delayed communication with a therapist. By the time they get back to you, you’re already dealing with another issue. With video, you get an uninterrupted session with your therapist. This is REALLY helpful. I have seen similar review with Betterhelp and other major online therapy services. There’s definitely something not right about texting a therapist unless you’re a corporate CEO with literally zero time on your hands. I’ll summarize it like this: for what they advertise, Talkspace sucks. However, there are amazing parts of their service like video and voice chat (preferably video though). This can really help you with any mental health issue.

  9. Rating

    5.00

    I used Talkspace for couples counseling. I started off seeing my virtual therapist by myself. It was nothing short of excellent. My therapist was very supportive and helpful; gave me tips on how to become a better me. However, as soon as my wife joined, *&%$ hit the fan. It not only didn’t work for us but it kind of back fired on our relationship. I am hesitant to put the blame solely on our Talkspace therapist but she certainly had something to do with it.

  10. Rating

    3.00

    Is there really a difference between Talkspace, Betterhelp and all the other online therapy companies? I feel like this industry is one big sham, looking to prey on people with mental health issues. I signed up for an account, had to wait more than 48 hours until I received a reply, and when I did it wasn’t helpful at all. To be clear, I was patient. I gave it a week, then I quit. Don’t waste your time with online therapy. It’s not all that helpful.

    1. Rating

      10.00

      Just because online therapy didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it won’t work for others. How can you make that generalization? I have half a dozen close family members AND friends who use online therapy either through Talkspace or Betterhelp. All of them have been using online therapy anywhere from a month to close to a YEAR now. They have all had positive experiences. So what are you talking about? Also, I’m smart enough to realize that just because they had positive experiences doesn’t mean everyone will. Therapy is an individual thing. It also takes time until you find a therapist you can truly connect with. Don’t generalize and bring down an industry that can literally help millions of people!

        1. Hi Ashley,

          We heavily vet every review that comes through. One of our missions is to try and protect people who are interested in online therapy. We have several methods in place to check and see if a review is legitimate or not. We have removed fake reviews in the past (they generally don’t even pass our systems check in the first place) and we are not hesitant to do so. While anything is possible, it is *highly unlikely* that Talkspace pays people to post fake reviews on the E-counseling website and that somehow they make it through our security protocols.

          All the best,

          Eric

      1. Just as you have your opinion so does he – that’s what these reviews are about. This was his personal opinion and experience. He has the right to express it. You don’t need to police people’s reviews.

  11. Rating

    9.00

    Not quite sure why Talkspace is rated at #4 here on E-counseling.com. In my honest opinion, they are definitely top 3 and by my rating top 2. I know Betterhelp has a bigger name but honestly Talkspace is great for me. It feels genuine – not only the sessions with my therapist but also their company culture. Talkspace goes above and beyond to make me feel comfortable. So far this has been a very pleasant experience.

  12. Rating

    10.00

    I am a veteran living with pretty serious ptsd. as we all know the government doesnt really care about people like me. I have thought about suicide god knows how much. I have spoken to the nspl even more. then I heard about online therapy and Talkspace. people were telling me that its not a solution for my problems. even the therapy websites said if I’m suicidal I should speak to the nspl. but maybe they dont think right?! could it be that my suicidal thoughts were a result of my ptsd? of course that was the reason. if I fix my ptsd I probably fix my issues. also I had nothing to lose. cant afford office therapy no way no how. and my situation couldnt get worse. but i could afford $32 a week so I tried talkspace. it also happens to be that talkspace has a special section on their site for veterans like me. that was what pushed me to join. I am not really technology advanced but I dont need to be with talkspace. i set up a webcam and now I have sessions with my therapist weekly in addition to texting with her. I am far from being okay but I have already seen improvements beyond anything I could have imagined. years of living like this seems impossible to overcome. its not true, you can do it.

  13. Rating

    2.00

    I signed up for this company on Friday 6/9/17 and it is now Wednesday. I still have not been matched to a therapist. I was supposed to get 3 to choose from Friday but that did not happen, then Sunday after I filed a complaint, I got two to choose from but neither where what I needed help with so I did not choose any. It was not fast or helpful in any way. I have asked for my money back. I do NOT recommend this site for help.

  14. Rating

    10.00

    Talkspace has been the single more important service in my life. Not Amazon. Not Netflix. Talkspace. I work in a hospital making apprx. $42,000/year after tax. I don’t have $200 to shell out on therapy in office PER SESSION. Talkspace enabled me to pay a bit less than that PER MONTH for unlimited therapy. Yes, in all honesty it’s not exactly like face to face therapy. But with video sessions it can be. And when you supplement that with chat and phone therapy, it turns out to be a great solution. The program is also very intuitive as is the case with their app too. It looks like a typical SMS layout…very very good. The price + the easy to use program + the multiple therapy options = a happy customer. I have been with them for 7.5 weeks now and I feel like I no longer need AA.

  15. Rating

    2.00

    BEWARE: Talkspace will take your money and you won’t even get proper care!!!! They will charge you while the therapist will just send you short messages like “hey i havent heard from you in a while is everything okay.” Then when you reply “I don’t want to use this service anymore” you will be charged because hey, you replied! That apparently counts as therapy, who knew??? STAY AWAY!

  16. Rating

    2.00

    I had no issue with response times from my therapist, but we weren’t a good match. I looked into how to change, and apparently you have to work that arrangement with your therapist. Unpleasant, but okay, fine. (I can see how this might be really hard for some people.) He then didn’t respond to me for 10 days and then told me to do something that isn’t an option in my profile. I emailed support 4 days ago and asked for assistance and I didn’t even get a response. I’ve read bad things about Talkspace as a company, but I tried it anyway but should have looked elsewhere.

  17. Rating

    8.00

    in the beginning, i did not expect talkspace to be helpful. but for a few dollars a week i couldnt resist, so i went for it. for anyone reading this just know: therapy is a process, not an exact science so *give it time* to work. i ended up using talkspace for 4 months. overall? i saw improvements in my quality of life and state of mental health but nothing over the top. its hard to describe in a review but basically talkspace helped me a bit more than my initial expectations. my online therapist helped like any therapist would or should…just dont expect it to be *the* go to solution.

  18. Rating

    10.00

    For all the love I have seen showered on talk space I was reluctant. I have had several bad experiences with companies who get a lot of exposure. For me they end up being a dud. Online therapy is new and in my mind there would be many downsides. Also, I currently go to therapy in a traditional setting which in my opinion is the best form of therapy you can get. I was surprised though to see that talk space therapists make a strong effort. I guess after all they are therapists so they are just doing their job, maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. I still prefer my in office appointments but talk space is a fantastic compliment/addition to that.

  19. Rating

    8.00

    the signup process was long and drawn out but I guess that’s how talkspace was really able to pair me with David – my unbelievable talkspace therapist. Aside from the signup process, 5 stars all around.

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