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2023 Pricing and Plans for BetterHelp: An Overview of Reviews
Talkspace: A Comprehensive Review of the Largest Online Therapy Platform in 2023
Talkspace boasts an impressive network of more than 30,000 licensed therapists throughout the United States, earning our recognition as the top online therapy program for exceptional customer experience. With its affordability and accessibility, Talkspace is an ideal option for individuals seeking quality therapy but may not have insurance, face mobility constraints, have a busy schedule, or reside in areas with limited access to local therapists.
However, is Talkspace the best online therapy provider when compared to other companies? Our team decided to investigate. We signed up, searched for a therapist based on personal preferences, scrutinized the billing practices, compared the platform with other teletherapy services, and read through customer feedback to highlight both the strengths and limitations of Talkspace.
In this review, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Talkspace to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
Why You Can Rely on Our Talkspace Review
At our publication, we strive to present our readers with honest and reliable recommendations on products and services that can positively impact their lives. We have devoted extensive time and effort into researching the online therapy market and have conducted a comprehensive review of Talkspace. You can trust our review because we have meticulously performed the following actions:
- Conducted independent and ongoing research into the online therapy industry
- Mystery shopped each of the online therapy brands to better understand their services and processes
- Engaged in surveys with over 200 Talkspace customers and former customers to obtain first-hand feedback
- Held two focus groups to gain insights into the effectiveness of online therapy from the perspective of real individuals
- Reached out to Talkspace’s customer service team to assess their responsiveness and answer any questions we had
- Consulted with six leading psychologists and psychiatrists to gain expert insights into the efficacy of Talkspace’s services
- Signed up as customers of online therapy providers ourselves to experience the services firsthand
- Reviewed academic research to better understand the effectiveness of online therapy compared to traditional in-person therapy
- Read through hundreds of verified customer reviews from reputable third-party sources such as the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot.
Through this thorough investigation, we present you with a comprehensive and trustworthy review of Talkspace.
Talkspace Online Therapy: Pros and Cons
As with any service, there are advantages and disadvantages to Talkspace’s online therapy platform. Here are some pros and cons to consider before signing up:
- The platform boasts a vast network of over 30,000 licensed therapists, providing individuals with access to a wide range of professionals.
- Before subscribing, users can preview the software and therapist match to ensure that they feel comfortable and satisfied with the service.
- Communication with therapists is available through the user-friendly mobile app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
- Financial aid is available for those who qualify, making therapy accessible to individuals who may not have the means to pay for traditional in-person sessions.
- Users are not bound by long-term contracts and can cancel their subscription at any time.
- Upfront pricing is provided, giving users complete transparency regarding the cost of services.
- Talkspace does not currently accept insurance, which may be a disadvantage for individuals seeking insurance-covered therapy.
- Talkspace also does not accept Medicare or Medicaid, limiting the options for those seeking government-funded healthcare.
- While therapists on the platform are licensed and experienced, they are not authorized to diagnose mental health conditions.
- Unlike some other online therapy platforms, Talkspace does not provide access to an MD for prescription needs.
Overall, these pros and cons should be considered when determining if Talkspace is the right fit for an individual’s unique needs and preferences.
How BetterHelp Works: A Comprehensive Overview
BetterHelp is a popular online counseling platform that provides remote teletherapy sessions with licensed therapists. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
BetterHelp is accessible through its website or mobile app, allowing users to schedule appointments, manage their accounts, and contact customer service.
BetterHelp’s weekly subscription includes one live chat, phone, or video session per week, and unlimited messaging. The session length can range from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the user’s needs and the therapist’s availability. Users can also switch between session formats based on their mental health needs.
Duration of Therapy
The duration of therapy on BetterHelp varies based on the user’s budget, mental health needs, and lifestyle. Our April 2022 survey of 1,000 online therapy users found that 38% of BetterHelp customers used the service for four to eight months, while 24% used it for eight to 12 months. Meanwhile, 23% used it for four months or less, and 15% used it for at least one year.
BetterHelp offers teletherapy sessions via live video, phone, or chat. Users can choose the format that works best for them and switch between them based on their mental health needs.
Overall, BetterHelp provides a convenient and affordable option for those seeking mental health counseling or therapy for a diagnosed mental health disorder. With its extensive network of licensed therapists and flexible session formats, BetterHelp is an excellent choice for people who want to receive therapy in the comfort of their own homes.
Unlimited Messaging and Live Chat with BetterHelp Online Therapy
BetterHelp online therapy offers several communication options for individuals seeking mental health support. In this article, we will explore two of these options: unlimited messaging and live chat. We will also discuss what to expect when scheduling a phone session with your BetterHelp counselor.
Unlike live video, messaging is not a real-time form of communication on BetterHelp’s online therapy platform. Instead, it works like email. This means that your BetterHelp counselor may not respond right away. According to our reviews team’s online therapy survey, only 50 percent of BetterHelp users received a response within a day. Of the rest, 17 percent received responses within a few days, 25 percent received responses within a week, and 8 percent said it regularly took more than a week for their therapist to respond. However, your therapist will work with you to establish when and how often they will reply to messages.
You will receive an email notification when your counselor sends you a message. Messaging can be a convenient feature between live video, phone, or chat sessions when you have a quick question or need to check in with your therapist. It also creates an ongoing conversation you can reference at any time.
If you are concerned about your privacy, BetterHelp allows you to “shred” messages you send to your therapist. Once shredded, the message will no longer be visible in your account. However, please note that you cannot delete messages from your therapist.
The live chat feature on BetterHelp’s online therapy platform is similar to text messaging. You will be in a private, secure online therapy room with your BetterHelp counselor, and you’ll both be able to type questions and responses. Live chat can be a good option for users who prefer text over live video or phone sessions, especially if they are concerned about privacy.
Plus, you can always go back and read over the conversation, since the chat session will remain in the therapy room until you cancel your subscription.
If you choose to speak with your therapist over the phone, you will log in to your therapy room at your scheduled time. Once logged in, your therapist will prompt you to start the phone session, and the system will request your phone number. The system will dial your number, and once you answer, it will connect you with your therapist to start the phone session. BetterHelp will not share your phone number with your therapist.
In summary, BetterHelp offers multiple communication options, including unlimited messaging, live chat, and phone sessions. Each of these options has its benefits, and the choice ultimately depends on the individual’s preferences and needs. Whatever your choice, BetterHelp provides a safe and secure online therapy platform for individuals seeking mental health support.
Live Video Sessions
If you’re looking for an experience that’s similar to an in-person counseling session, a live video appointment may be the closest thing. You can schedule a video therapy session with your therapist, just like you would for chat or phone sessions. During the appointment, you and your therapist will meet via video in your online counseling room. According to our reviews team’s online therapy survey, 66 percent of BetterHelp members used the video therapy option, making it the most popular option after live chat.
In addition to one-on-one therapy, BetterHelp users can also join group sessions known as Groupinars. These are therapist-led educational seminars on a variety of mental health topics. Once you become a member, you will have access to a calendar that displays the upcoming sessions and topics for the week, which can include communication skill-building, identifying unhealthy behaviors, and building resiliency, among others. The chat function is available during Groupinars, so you can ask questions at any time. Therapists will answer questions either live or during a Q&A session at the end. Every Groupinar is recorded and available to registrants for one week after it’s hosted.
Comparing BetterHelp to Other Online Therapy Options
When it comes to choosing an online therapy service, cost, insurance, services, and age range are important factors to consider. Here’s a comparison of BetterHelp with some other popular online therapy options:
BetterHelp offers video, phone, text, and unlimited messaging services for adults 18 years and older. The cost ranges from $60-$90 per week* and insurance is not accepted. Please note that the cost may be higher based on your preferences, location, and therapy availability.
Talkspace provides video, text, and unlimited messaging services, as well as live workshops for individuals aged 13 years and older. The cost ranges from $69-$109 per week, and Talkspace accepts insurance.
Calmerry offers video and unlimited messaging services for adults 18 years and older. The cost ranges from $57-$90 per week, and insurance is not accepted.
ReGain Counseling provides video, phone, text, and unlimited messaging services for adults 18 years and older at a cost of $60-$90 per week*. Insurance is not accepted.
Pride Counseling offers video, phone, text, and unlimited messaging services for adults 18 years and older at a cost of $60-$90 per week*. Insurance is not accepted.
Teen Counseling provides video, phone, text, and unlimited messaging services for individuals aged 13-19 years at a cost of $60-$90 per week*. Insurance is not accepted.
In conclusion, when considering the cost, insurance acceptance, services, and age range, it’s important to research and compare online therapy options to find the best fit for your mental health needs.
BetterHelp was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and investor Alan Matas after he struggled to find accessible and affordable professional therapy. Unfortunately, many people with unmet mental health needs don’t receive treatment due to financial barriers, with 46 percent of people facing this issue, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (PDF).
Since its inception, BetterHelp has been focused on providing convenient, discreet, and affordable online mental health care for all. Today, it has expanded to include specialty sites dedicated to helping specific audiences. ReGain offers counseling for couples, Teen Counseling offers counseling for teens ages 13 to 19, and Pride Counseling offers counseling for LGBTQ+ individuals.
What Is BetterHelp’s Enrollment Process?
BetterHelp’s enrollment process is straightforward and user-friendly. It starts with a short questionnaire that takes an average of seven minutes to complete. During the enrollment process, you can identify your areas of concern and provide input on lifestyle factors such as sleep habits, diet, stress, and energy levels, as well as whether you’re experiencing depression or anxiety.
You can also specify what you’re looking for in a counselor, such as a therapist experienced in trauma or grief, LGBTQ+ matters, anxiety, or depression. Additionally, during the enrollment process, you can choose between individual, couples, or teen counseling.
If you select couples therapy, BetterHelp will direct you to its specialty site ReGain, a mental health platform for couples therapy. Likewise, if you select teen therapy, you will be directed to Teen Counseling, a mental health platform for teens ages 13 to 19. Both Teen Counseling and ReGain are operated by BetterHelp.
Matching with a BetterHelp Counselor
BetterHelp provides a convenient and accessible online therapy platform, and one of its key features is its counselor matching process. Users have the option to indicate their preferences for a therapist of a specific age, gender, or someone who identifies as LGBTQ+. BetterHelp then utilizes an algorithm to match you with a therapist and will send you an email once you’ve been matched.
According to its FAQ page, the matching process can take a few hours or a few days depending on therapist availability. One advantage of the service is that your subscription won’t begin until you are matched with a therapist and click the Subscribe button indicating that you want to start therapy. You don’t need to input any payment information until you have been matched with a therapist.
If you are not satisfied with the therapist matched to you, you can request to change counselors by selecting the Change Therapist option on your profile page.
Using the Find a Therapist Feature
BetterHelp also provides a Find a Therapist feature on their website. Users can search for therapists in their area and browse through potential therapists’ names, bios, credentials, and experience. This feature may be useful for those who prefer a more personal approach to choosing a therapist.
Types of Online Counseling Services Offered by BetterHelp
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that offers a variety of counseling services to individuals seeking mental health support. Unlike other online therapy services that focus on one particular style of counseling, BetterHelp relies on its counselors to determine the best modality for each client’s needs.
Common Treatment Methods
BetterHelp’s licensed counselors have specialized training in various types of counseling. Some of the more common treatment methods include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness therapy
- Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
- Solution-focused therapy
- Trauma-focused therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Motivational interviewing
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Client-centered therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Family therapy
Specialties of BetterHelp Counselors
BetterHelp matches clients with licensed counselors based on individual needs. BetterHelp’s counselors have a broad range of specialties, including:
- Relationship issues
- LGBTQ+ matters
- Anger management
- Eating issues
- Family conflict
- Sleep difficulties
- Career difficulties
- Coping with life changes
- Intimacy-related issues
With BetterHelp, clients can receive confidential and convenient mental health support from licensed therapists who specialize in their unique needs.
BetterHelp’s Ability to Prescribe and Diagnose
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that offers counseling services for various mental health concerns. While the platform has many benefits, it also has limitations. In this section, we’ll answer some common questions about BetterHelp’s ability to prescribe medication and diagnose mental health conditions.
Can BetterHelp Prescribe Medication?
No, BetterHelp therapists cannot prescribe medication. Although BetterHelp employs mental health professionals with master’s and doctorate degrees, only psychiatrists, who hold medical degrees, can prescribe medication. If you require online therapy that can prescribe medication, you may want to consider services offered by Talkspace or Brightside.
Can BetterHelp Diagnose Mental Health Conditions?
No, BetterHelp therapists do not diagnose mental health conditions. Even though BetterHelp therapists are licensed mental health professionals with advanced degrees who are permitted to diagnose, BetterHelp does not authorize diagnosing through its platform. Instead, BetterHelp’s therapists provide counseling services to help you better understand and cope with your mental health concerns. If you are seeking a diagnosis, you should speak to a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist in person.
BetterHelp Pricing and Financial Assistance
How Much Does BetterHelp Cost?
BetterHelp offers online counseling subscriptions that range from $240 to $360 per month. However, the exact cost of your subscription will depend on factors such as your location, therapist availability in your state, and the preferences you select. You must pay upfront for your first four weeks, and then you will be billed monthly thereafter. Payments can be made using credit card or PayPal on a recurring basis.
Does BetterHelp Take Insurance?
BetterHelp does not accept private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. However, you can download an itemized invoice to submit claims to your insurance provider for reimbursement. The amount you can be reimbursed will vary depending on your insurance coverage. Before signing up for BetterHelp, call the number on the back of your insurance card to determine if your health plan covers online mental health services. If you are looking for a therapy option that accepts insurance, consider alternatives like Talkspace or Brightside.
BetterHelp Financial Aid
If the cost of a BetterHelp subscription is too high, you can apply for financial aid. BetterHelp offers reduced rates or financial assistance to those who qualify, including students, veterans, and individuals on government-subsidized programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). BetterHelp will prompt you to check your eligibility for financial aid before making your payment.
The financial aid form can only be accessed by subscribers and will require information about your employment status, monthly income, military status, and the number of dependents you have. After submitting the form, you will be shown the price you can expect to pay, including any discounts. The discount will apply to the next three months, after which you can reapply for financial aid. BetterHelp will send an email reminder when it’s time to reapply, and you can reapply as early as seven days before your financial aid expires.
How BetterHelp Protects Your Privacy and Confidentiality
BetterHelp is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its users. Here’s what you need to know about how BetterHelp safeguards your information:
Encryption and Data Protection
BetterHelp uses 256-bit encryption to protect all communications between users and their therapists. This level of security is the same as what banks use to protect their customers’ financial data. BetterHelp’s databases are also encrypted and scrambled, ensuring that user data remains unreadable and unusable even in the event of a data breach.
Data-Sharing with Third Parties
Consumer Reports revealed that both BetterHelp and Talkspace shared anonymized user data with Facebook. In response, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden sent letters to both companies requesting details on their data-sharing practices and how they protect user information.
BetterHelp has since clarified its privacy and data policies with our reviews team and addressed the letters sent by the senators. The company no longer works with Mixpanel or any other external analytics company. While BetterHelp still works with Facebook, it does not receive payment from any third-party advertiser, including Facebook, for data.
Adjusting Your Privacy Settings
You have the ability to adjust your privacy settings at any time. This allows you to control what information is shared and with whom.
BetterHelp takes privacy and confidentiality seriously and uses advanced encryption methods to safeguard user data. While the company has faced scrutiny over its data-sharing practices, it has taken steps to address concerns and ensure that user information remains protected.
Expertise of BetterHelp Therapists
BetterHelp therapists are highly qualified professionals who are licensed, accredited, and have at least three years of experience with a minimum of 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. The team consists of licensed psychologists (PsyD, PhD), clinical social workers (LCSW, LMSW), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), licensed mental health counselors (LMHC, LCMHC), and licensed professional counselors (LPC).
BetterHelp counselors are required to hold a master’s degree or doctorate in their field and must be certified by their state’s professional board. The platform provides comprehensive information on its therapists, including their credentials, licensing information, and years of experience.
BetterHelp Customer Service
BetterHelp has a variety of communication channels to help address any questions or concerns related to your account. You can email your concerns to [email protected], fill out a form on their website, or call their customer service line at 888-688-9296.
If you are unsatisfied with your BetterHelp experience, you may be eligible for compensation. To begin the refund process, you can write to [email protected] and explain your situation, including why you aren’t satisfied and how much compensation you need. If accepted, BetterHelp will ask you to call a representative at 888-688-9296. Refunds are granted on a case-by-case basis.
If you want to cancel your BetterHelp membership, log in to your account, navigate to the menu, select “My Account,” click “Payment Settings,” and then select “Quit Therapy.” BetterHelp will send you a confirmation email once your account is canceled. It is important to cancel your membership before the next billing cycle to avoid being charged. If you have prepaid for appointments that you haven’t used, you can contact BetterHelp customer service to see if you are eligible for a refund.
If you need to pause your BetterHelp membership because you are going on vacation, are too busy, or for any other reason, you can contact BetterHelp’s Member Success team. Provide them with the dates you will be unavailable, and they will extend your membership accordingly. If you are unsure of your exact dates, you can temporarily cancel your membership and resume therapy when you are ready.
Getting Help in Emergency Situations
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or in danger of harming yourself or others, waiting for an online therapy appointment may not be safe or appropriate. It is important to seek immediate help from emergency services or other professional resources.
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or others. If you are having suicidal thoughts or are in a crisis, you can call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. This service provides free, confidential support 24/7.
Another resource you can turn to is the SAMHSA National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline provides free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information services for individuals struggling with mental or substance abuse disorders.
It is important to note that online therapy platforms, including BetterHelp, are not suitable for emergency situations. If you are experiencing a crisis or feel unsafe, please contact emergency services or professional resources immediately.