Is Betterhelp Or Talkspace Better?(A Comprehensive Guide)

This article will explore the question of whether Betterhelp or Talkspace is better by examining their services, features, policies and payment models. The article will also highlight the differences between the two in order to help the audience develop a better understanding of which of the two seems better. Lastly, the article will also introduce both companies that operate as large mental health platforms online.

Is Betterhelp Or Talkspace Better?

When it comes to Betterhelp or Talkspace, both platforms have their pros and cons. However, both platforms provide mental health counseling services online at affordable rates to people across the globe. They aim to make therapy an accessible and effective resource for many.

The article will compare the two platforms on the following:

  • Services
  • Payment Model
  • Registration Process
  • The Service Providers
  • Added Features
  • Pros & Cons

Before we take a look at each of the areas outlined above, let us introduce both Betterhelp and Talkspace to the audience.

What Is Betterhelp – A Platform For Therapists & Clients

Betterhelp is one of the largest online platforms that provides multiple services for all types of people who are suffering from mental health problems and require counseling. 

Members and clients do not have to go anywhere but can sit at home and avail a multitude of services that are affiliated with this online platform. Hence they avoid traveling, save time and can avail services keeping in mind their limitations caused by their mental health problems; sometimes people are not in the condition to go outside the house for therapy or counseling, they need services at home!

With around 1700 licensed professionals onboard, more than 900,000 clients and having conducted at least 70 million sessions online, it would be insufficient to say it is just one of those online platforms that provide mental health services! The best thing about Betterhelp is that it is available to all people regardless of their background and ensures people can choose the medium of communication that is most appropriate for them such as chatting, calls or video sessions with their counselors.

Talkspace – An Online Mental Health Giant

Talkspace is another online mental health platform that provides counseling services, psychiatric treatment and drug management services to all types of individuals, couples and teens. It is a platform that operates by providing text therapy services; it does provide other services such as video and audio sessions but they are higher priced and people use this platform mostly for receiving therapy through texting.

It provides services to people from all over the world and employs a large number of service providers who have various types of certifications. All of them, however, must have at least 3 years of experience and be recognized by their state and licensed by them.

Just like Betterhelp, they offer 24/7 services in terms of messaging your service provider from the comfort of your home. You do not have to make the hassle of going to the doctor’s appointment but sit at home and talk to your counselor. 

We will now compare both platforms on the areas highlighted in the previous section of the article.

Services – Betterhelp Vs Talkspace

When it comes to services, Betterhelp has more affordable options as well as variety. Talkspace is a platform that is more text friendly.

Here are the services that Betterhelp offers:

  • Chatrooms: These are open 24/7 and you can drop a message any time you feel like doing so. However, your counselor will only get back to you once they have the time or chance to. Usually people like dropping questions they want opinions on from their counselor and don’t mind waiting a bit.
  • Live Chatting Sessions: here you can chat with your counselor in real time and there really is no limit on the number of messages exchanged or time spent talking here. It depends on the needs of the client and the nature of the problem.
  • Live Phone Calls: Kind of like Skype this platform has their own system set up where you can have audio sessions with your service provider. It does not show your contact details to the counselor for reasons of privacy and in case the counselor and counselee become direct. 
  • Video Sessions: clients who are more comfortable or want a more personalized experience can also opt for video sessions. Like other mediums of interaction, there is no limit on these although people mostly hold the opinion that 1 or 2 sessions per week are sufficient.

On the other hand, Talkspace gives the same options but in a more restricted version:

  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus: Includes text, audio and video messaging with the therapist responding daily 5 days a week
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium: Includes text, audio and video messaging with the therapist responding daily 5 days a week and one live session per month for 30 minutes only.
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate: Includes text, audio and video messaging with the therapist responding daily 5 days a week and 4 live sessions per month for 30 minutes each.
  • Couples Therapy:  Includes text, audio and video messaging with the therapist responding daily 5 days a week and 4 live sessions per month for 30 minutes each.
  • Teens Therapy: For teenagers between 13-17 years of age, Includes text, audio and video messaging with the therapist responding daily 5 days a week.

As you can see, Betterhelp gives more room for clients to determine what type of medium which is usually in real time, to speak to their therapist. Also, it does not limit the number of sessions; Talkspace on the other hand does.

Betterhelp & Talkspace – Payment Models

Betterhelp is overall more affordable when it comes to it’s options especially for video and audio sessions. However, Talkspace, in terms of chatting, is a more convenient option for clients.

We will take a look at the payment models these platforms offer.

Betterhelp – An Unlimited Monthly Subscription Model

Betterhelp offers a subscription model within which you can avail unlimited services. You can check out the schedule of your therapist or leave him or her a message – of course for live video and audio sessions you will need to plan ahead and make sure your service provider is free.

Here are the various subscription models the online giant provides:

  • Weekly Plan: It costs $80/week where you subscribe to their services for a week only and can avail whatever and how many sessions you need. In case you subscribe every week, you will have to pay $320 at the end of the month.
  • Monthly Plan: It costs a total of $260 per month which breaks down to $60/week. The client is billed monthly as well – this is pretty straightforward
  • Quarterly Plan: This plan costs a total of $540 but the weekly costs breaks down into $45 a week only because of the longer subscription availed by the client. At the end of the each month the client must pay $180
  • Annual Plan: For clients who need long term services, they can pay $1820 which results in only $35 per week which is extremely cheap. At the end of each month the client is liable to pay $140 only which is the cheapest option.

Like their services and think they are affordable? Why wait when you can sign up today at Betterhelp by clicking here.

Talkspace – A More Complex Subscription Model

Talkspace also provides a subscription model but it has some conditions. Every package allows unlimited messaging on text, audio and video but none or limited live sessions. Furthermore, it is divided on a monthly, quarterly or biannual basis.

Here is the company’s payment model they offer to clients:

  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus: It is offered at $260 monthly, $708 quarterly and $1248 biannually.
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium: It is offered at $316 monthly, $852 quarterly and $1512 biannually.
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate:It is offered at $396 monthly, $1068 quarterly, $1896 biannually.
  • Couples Therapy: It is offered at $396 monthly and $1068 quarterly. It is not offered biannually.
  • Teens Therapy: It is offered at $260 monthly only. 
  • Each video session requested will cost an extra $65

As you can see, Betterhelp gives more leverage to clients to determine their packages according to their needs. However, Talkspace also provides discounts for availing its quarterly and biannual plans! There are also EAP benefits that are available here. Other benefits can be gained if you are currently a student enrolled at school, college or university.

Insurance Vs Financial Aid

Here both platforms clash; Betterhelp discourages insurance while Talkspace gives clients the option to use insurance health plans to finance their costs resulting from their services.

Betterhelp discourages the use of insurance for a number of reasons such as:

  • Health insurance plans have partial or limited coverage so it really isn’t useful. Most of the time they do not fully cover the costs and one ends up doing much paperwork to get very little benefit. On top of that you need to finance the insurance as well somehow.
  • In the case that your health insurance plan covers all costs of the services, the co-pay of insurance may be higher than the entire cost of Betterhelp’s services – this is due to the generally low cost services of Betterhelp due to it’s online nature and ease of accessibility for all. So, it is better not to avail insurance because you may end up paying way more to get the insurance compared to the actual costs of the services.
  • Clients at Betterhelp may not be able to use insurance because insurance companies often require that the diagnosis of a patient and their future treatment plans are sent to them. However, at Betterhelp service providers are not allowed to diagnose patients for a number of reasons. The service providers are also not allowed to prescribe drugs. As said before, insurance companies require some sort of documentation or proof that a person is indeed eligible for insurance.

However, Betterhelp offers the option of receiving financial aid in case someone is not able to avail their services.

While applying for membership, people can opt for this option and increase their chances of getting this benefit. In the initial questionnaire the company asks you to fill out that gathers basic information on you – especially so they can match you with the ideal counselor – you can better represent your financial position here too because they ask whether you are employed or not. It also asks if you currently have any financial difficulties. This is a good way to increase your chances of getting the financial aid they offer.

When you proceed to the section where they ask for payment details, look for the option of ‘Apply For Financial Aid’ and click on it. This will ask you further questions about your income and ability to pay for the services. They will then provide financial relief to you that can cause your counseling fees to drop from $280 to as low as $216 based on your location, financial position and income.

Talkspace on the other hand has partnered with various organizations so that it can allow for the use of insurance. If you visit their website you will see that they are FSA and HSA approved hence they are eligible for their health insurance plans.

What Is HSA?

The Health Savings Account (HSA) is an initiative, pre-tax, that allows you to reduce the overall expenses associated with your health care costs. It allows you to save up pre tax money to pay for qualified medical services that may include dental and vision services as well. It is also expanding to cover female hygiene products too especially because of growing demand. 

This account can be used to pay for deductibles, co pays, co insurance and other expenses but does not generally cover premiums. It also allows you to contribute to an HSA if you have a High Deductible Health Plan – nonetheless you can always use funds from an HSA to pay for your expenses.

What Is FSA?

It is a healthcare pre-tax benefit which is used to pay for medical related costs such as the treatment itself or any costs incurred – costs that are not covered by other plans or insurance and are basically out of the pocket in nature. It helps you save your money and use it wisely in your priority areas.

It has many benefits. As a member, you can save upto an average of 30% on eligible health care expenses. You also gain access to the full amount if you apply for the FSAFEDS plan on the first day. Furthermore, through this same plan, if you don’t use all of your money you can carry over an estimated $550 to the next year – you don’t lose what you did not spend!

Registration Process: Talkspace Against Betterhelp

In this section we will look at how one can sign up for the services of each of the platforms.

Betterhelp 

The process to sign up with Betterhelp involves 5 steps:

  • Visit Website: Click here to visit their website! You need to inform them if you are opting for individual therapy, couple therapy or teen therapy.
  • Intake Form: You will be required to fill out a questionnaire that has numerous questions pertaining to your health, income, counseling needs and preferences as well as mental health.
  • Assignment: You will be assigned a counselor on the basis of your responses.
  • Payment Details: Betterhelp accepts payment through credit card or paypal and you will need to provide your real information here to sign up.
  • Start Your Counseling: After the registration process you can start your sessions with your service provider immediately.

Talkspace

The process to register at Talkspace is slightly different:

Visit the Website: Click here to visit their website. You need to provide some basic details as usual such as your email address, name and last name. You need to choose a  unique username.

Consultation: Once you are logged into your account you will be taken to a private online room where you will be paired with a consulting therapist. They will explain what Talkspace can do for you and discuss what subscription options they have and what services can be provided according to the potential clients needs.

Get Started: Once you are ready to start availing services, you will be paired up with your service provider and once the payment details are provided, your services will begin.

Talkspace compared to Betterhekp provides a more customized registration process that will explain to you what exactly you will be getting from Talkspace in terms of services as well as how your needs will be met. Furthermore, unlike Betterhelp, they allow you to choose a service provider.

The Service Providers – Choice Vs Assigned

We will discuss the service providers who are working at Betterhelp and Talkspace!

Qualification

In this matter, both platforms have the same criteria when it comes to allowing service providers to work on their platform. The following requirements need to be met:

  • A License: You have to be an accredited psychologist (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC).
  • Qualification: The service provider needs to have a Master’s degree or Doctorate in their profession
  • State Recognition: As a service provider operating from a certain area, you must have completed certain training and exams and hence be certified by your state.
  • Experience: Every service provider must possess at least 3 years of experience and 1000 hours of hands on experience.

How Are They Assigned?

When it comes to Talkspace, you actually choose your own service provider based on your preferences, needs and the profile of the counselor or therapist. This service suits many individuals as they prefer to choose their own service provider instead of being assigned one.

Betterhelp, on the other hand, assigns a therapist to you based on your responses in the intake form. This is achieved by the help of an algorithm the website uses to match clients with suitable counselors. However, not every time is the perfect match made and eventually the client will want to change the counselor.

Changing a counselor is possible on both platforms and the client may want to do so because of reasons such as:

  • Inappropriate Behavior
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of Interest
  • No Compatibility
  • Prefer Another Counselor

How To Change Your Counselor – Betterhelp

You can change your counselor by following these steps:

  • Press Change Counselor: While logged into your account, look for the option that says ‘Change Counselor’.  This redirects you to another page that shows a number of options that you can choose from; basically it shows you profiles of new counselors available for having sessions with you.
  • The Options: You will only be shown the profiles of 6 counselors on this new page however their profile will be more detailed. For example, they will show you at what times a counselor is usually available. Again, you can refresh the page and see new options.
  • Choose The Best One: Keeping in mind your preferences, schedules and the profile of the counselors available, choose the one that suits you the best. You will then be matched with that counselor and you can start your sessions.

How To Change Your Provider – Talkspace

  • Log into your account at www.talkspace.com.
  • Click on your username located on the top left corner of the screen.
  • Scroll down & Manage Subscription.
  • Click on Change Your Provider.
  • Review your matches and Select a provider.
  • If you’re not happy with the options presented, click Get Matched Again.
  • Click Continue to confirm your match.

Talkspace – One Step Ahead

The service providers at Talkspace are also allowed to prescribe drugs and carry out various psychiatric services. It is hence at an advantage compared to Betterhelp because Betterhelp does not allow service providers to either diagnose or prescribe medicines to clients. The most they can do is help clients manage their drug usage.

However, it’s important to note that Talkspace Psychiatry providers can’t prescribe controlled substances such as:

  • Adderall
  • Ativan
  • Concerta
  • Librium
  • Klonopin
  • Ritalin
  • Xanax
  • lithium and others

Added Features

Here we will take a look at whether the following features are available at both platforms or not:

  • Refunds
  • Digital Worksheets
  • Anonymity
  • Happify
  • Short Guide Videos
  • Group Therapy
  • Sister Sites
  • Smart Provider Matching

Refunds – Offered By Both

Yes Betterhelp and Talkspace give out refunds to clients who request it after taking into account their case and determining if it meets the criteria for being granted a refund. The purpose of the refund is to ensure client satisfaction and provide compensation in case the client faces any sort of inconvenience. 

There are a number of reasons as to why a client could demand a refund such as:

  • Poor Experience With Counselor
  • Issues With Counseling Sessions
  • Unable To Avail Services
  • Not Satisfied With Services

Do Betterhelp and Talkspace always offer a refund? Do they compensate clients in other ways too? Yes they do. Every case has its own significance and based on its details, the company may not always choose to provide a refund. 

Instead of a refund, the platform may provide:

  • A New Counselor: this may happen if the client claims their experience with the counselor was not satisfactory. In this case the issue is not with the services but with a service provider hence they will provide a more suitable option to the client.
  • Extend Subscription: In the case a client is not happy with the time they got or were unable to use the services during their subscription package and this is true – Betterhelp obviously has records – the company will extend the subscription period without any extra costs.

Digital Worksheets – Offered By Both

Enough talk! Let’s get down to some serious business. Betterhelp and Talkspace realize that mental health services are not all about chit chat; you need to actually do something to make things better in your life.

At both platforms there are numerous worksheets that can be assigned to clients based on their needs and mental health condition. It helps them practically apply what they are being told to do. It also helps them stay consistent in their sessions and stay in touch with their counselors.

Many people are going through serious mental disorders; they feel alone and vulnerable and just knowing they have something to do or someone is waiting for them to submit a certain piece of work really helps them get through the tough times in life.

Anonymity – Offered By Both

Betterhelp and Talkspace have created a platform where people can get the help they need without revealing who they are to anyone – even their own counselor! Pretty neat right? This provides so many people the comfort level and privacy they need to open up about their problems without fearing getting judged or labeled or their information leaking out.

It is simple – people availing services at Betterhelp and Talkspace just need to sign up with a nickname they can choose for themselves and hence can keep their true identity to themselves.

Happify – Talkspace Exclusive

It is an app that is provided by Talkspace only! It aims at creating more happiness in your internal and external experiences by providing you with articles, tracks, games and meditations. This is part of the experience at Talkspace where the company aims to help clients acquire a better quality life and improve their well being.

Short Guide Videos – Talkspace Exclusive

To help people sign up the platform provides short tutorials in the form of videos to guide people on the registration process.

This reduces the hassle involved in scrolling through the website or being unsure of how many steps are left till the registration process is completed. Furthermore, it helps individuals prepare for the process. For example, while singing up, Talkspace requires clients to have a session with a consultation therapist who guides them on the available services and which ones would suit them according to their needs.

Group Therapy – Betterhelp Exclusive

As a member of Betterhelp, you can join multiple group sessions which are led by experts; you can also participate in these actively as they are interactive sessions and help bring together people who share things in common.

The benefit of such sessions is that it allows people to open up when they see others are also going through the same problems. Others in these sessions can be a source of inspiration and help encourage people to invest more in their lives by applying what they learn at therapy.

Also, these groups are sort of like support groups because a person realizes that they are not alone.

Sister Sites – Betterhelp Exclusive

Betterhelp offers services for everyone whether you are an individual suffering alone or a couple in need of counseling to save your relationship. The site also offers counseling for people from minority groups such as the LGBTQ community. It also provides counseling for younger children. 

However, the platform has dedicated other sister sites that specialize in such services. For example, Betterhelp operates Teencounseling.com that allows children to get the counseling they need. It is a fairly simple process where the parents choose the appropriate counselor for their child however the parents cannot be part of the therapy session. In case the parents are required in the session they are sent an alert.

Smart Provider Matching – Betterhelp Exclusive

At Betterhelp people have a lot of options compared to your usual experience at the clinic; the options at a physical clinic or counseling facility are limited because you need to choose someone from a pool of limited options. Sometimes you end up being assigned to a counselor who you don’t get along with or have eye to eye with. 

Betterhelp makes an extra effort; they not only have an extensive pool of experts to pair you up with but they give you the liberty to choose and also help out. They have a matching system that determines which counselor will suit your needs the most keeping in mind your demographics, personality and background as well as mental health needs.

Pros & Cons

So let’s sum up some of the pros and cons of the two mental health companies we discussed in prior sections of the articles!

Betterhelp

Pros

  • Subscription costs included unlimited live sessions
  • Offers financial assistance to those who deserve or need it
  • Customized sessions – chat, audio or video sessions
  • Unlimited sessions – Frequency & Time
  • Digital Worksheets

Cons

  • Does not accept insurance
  • Robotic matching system with counselor
  • No Free Trial

Talkspace

Pros

  • You can choose your own therapist
  • Responses are timely and personal
  • Offers psychiatric services
  • Medicines prescribed and diagnoses made

Cons

  • Getting started with your therapist may take a while
  • Live video sessions are limited & costly
  • Subscription packages are fixed

Conclusion

This article compared Betterhelp and Talkspace – two online mental health giants – on a number of criteria and explained whether one service performed better or not. It also introduced the companies to the audience and explained any special features they have. Furthermore, the article summed up the pros and cons of each platform to help the audience review the conclusions that were made throughout the article.

References

https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Talkspace/reviews?ftopic=paybenefits

https://help.talkspace.com/hc/en-us/articles/360041531131-How-much-does-Talkspace-cost-

https://www.talkspace.com/join-our-network/therapist#questions

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