Betterhelp vs. Talkspace: which online therapy is right for you?

Five years ago I had a career in video conferencing; I spent most of my days painting a picture of a world where we would all connect, virtually. There were some people that had already bought into this vision, but most days, it was an uphill battle. Meanwhile, in my personal life, I had just begun seeing a therapist. At the time, going to therapy wasn’t exactly unique, but it wasn’t something that was openly talked about. Therapy felt like it was reserved for people who “really needed it”.

Today, we are doing nearly everything virtually (even if it was a forced transition) and it seems like everyone I know has at least tried virtual therapy, thanks to a couple of market leaders in the space: Talkspace & Betterhelp.
Both of these companies offer a direct virtual connection to a therapist, but the two services take different approaches to therapy, and at different price points.

I researched Talkspace and Betterhelps’, offerings, pricing, and onboarding methods.

Therapy is a very personal experience and what some find appealing may be a huge turnoff for others.Here I’ve broken the key factors down to help you decide which is the better option for you.

Betterhelp vs talkspace comparison table

First impressions

Talkspace has a slick website. They’ve done a good job of simplifying the home page so that all there is to do is sign up or learn more via their FAQs. The look is modern and it feels like a standard tech-company website. The FAQs do a good job of addressing common questions and if you check out the footer, at the bottom of the page, you can discover links to some of their more specific programs. 

Betterhelp shows a lot more information up-front. They feature photos of therapists and a live ticker showing how many sessions clients have had on Betterhelp. You get a feel for what the experience of using their platform will be like through their detailed screenshots. On one hand, I liked the extra information, but, I found myself more interested in looking at all that was there, than signing up.

The onboarding survey


I select “Get matched now!” and I’m placed into what looks like a chat window (but is actually an automated survey). Each survey question comes up in a chat bubble and I’m given a few options to select as my answer. The questions are basic: Am I over 13 years old? Do I know that this isn’t an appropriate resource if I’m in a life-threatening situation? What brought me to Talkspace? How confident am I that therapy can help me? What’s my preferred gender of my therapist? The whole survey took me about 3 minutes to get through.

Screenshot of Talkspace onboarding survey
Screenshot of Talkspace onboarding


The Betterhelp survey felt much more thorough. The questions were straightforward. I was asked my age, gender, sexual orientation, whether I had been in therapy before and my health state. Then we got into the mental health questions: Had I been feeling down or depressed? Did I have trouble concentrating? Had I experienced changes in appetite? And for each of these things, what was the extent in which they affected my ability to function? I was asked whether I drank alcohol, my financial status, (this part comes in later), anxiety levels, any history of plans for suicide. The survey took me about 5 minutes to get through.

Betterhelp sign up survey
Betterhelp sign up survey
Betterhelp survey financial status


The Talkspace home page and onboarding survey are incredibly simple and are clearly optimised for conversion. I took the survey a few times and noticed that I was brought through different flows based on the answers I gave. Any time I expressed any sort of doubt in the platform or in online therapy, I was provided resources to show efficacy of the medium, before being steered back toward signing up. There was surprisingly little asked about the state of my mental health.
Betterhelp on the other hand didn’t waste any time on warming me up or convincing me that I was in the right place. The questions were serious and in-depth and more in-line with what you might answer in a doctor’s office or signing up for traditional psychotherapy.
For people casually kicking around the idea of talking to a therapist for the first time, Talkspace is a much easier pill to swallow. They keep it light and make finding a therapist feel like just another simple task. For people who have already been in therapy or are struggling with more intense mental health symptoms, Betterhelp may put you at ease with the thoroughness of their survey.

Getting matched

At the end of my Talkspace survey, I was immediately matched with 3 potential therapists. Each one had a bio and headshot and 2 of 3 therapists had a video introduction. I LOVED the videos. Given that you aren’t going to have an opportunity to interview your therapist before working with them on Talkspace, the video feature gives you a good sense of who is on the other side of the keyboard. I could select a therapist from there, or, If I didn’t like any of the first three therapists that I was matched with, I could choose to get rematched. I rematched 2 more times*, by the third round, I was no longer being shown matches that fit my gender preference.
 *I rematched for research purposes. I really liked one of the first options I was given, and would have chosen her if I was actually signing up.
When you finish the Betterhelp survey, you are shown a message saying that you will receive your match within 24 hours. Mine came through via email, in 10 minutes. The email invited me into a private chat room on Betterhelp where there was a welcome message waiting for me from my therapist. I was surprised to have already received a message, given that I hadn’t entered any credit card information. If I didn’t like the therapist I was matched with, I found it was easy to request a rematch.
Talkspace allowed me to choose my own therapist from a shortlist of matches and I really loved the video feature. That said, I had given Betterhelp so much information during the survey that I felt okay with them choosing for me.


Primary offering
asynchronous chat (text, video, or audio) with a therapist.
live sessions with a therapist, once a week.
The two platforms have overlap (you can upgrade to add live sessions on Talkspace, and you can message your therapist on Betterhelp) but the primary offerings can give you an idea of what might suit you better. 


Chat response time:
Both services have the option to send a message to your therapist anytime. 
Talkspace –
daily response, 5 days a week (days depend on your therapist’s schedule).
Betterhelp –
frequency of response is up to you and your therapist.


Accessing live video 
Talkspace – Live video sessions available on IOS or Android apps (for applicable plans)
Betterhelp – Live video sessions on mobile and desktop


À la carte session pricing
Both Talkspace and Betterhelp offer à la carte 30 minute sessions as an add-on. 
Talkspace –
$65 per additional 30 minute session
Betterhelp –

$25 per additional 30 minute session

Prescription medication

Therapists on Talkspace or Betterhelp are not qualified to write a prescription (only Psychiatrists and Physicians are legally allowed to write prescriptions). However, Talkspace offers a separate plan, not listed on their homepage, for sessions with a psychiatrist, qualified to virtually prescribe medication. More info here.


Therapist credentials

All therapists are licensed. In order to become a Talkspace therapist, candidates must have their credentials confirmed, and complete a collaborative online class on practicing therapy online (class takes 10 days to 4 weeks).

All Therapists are licensed and must have practiced therapy for at least 3 years. In order to become a Betterhelp therapist candidates must have their credentials confirmed, as well as complete a 4-5 week evaluation process.


Direct cost comparison

See the table above for a cost breakdown by plan. 

When you directly compare services for dollars, Talkspace is the more expensive option of the two. However, there is some complexity to the pricing.
Talkspace provides a discount for up-front billing vs. pay-as-you-go and Betterhelp offers a sliding-scale model dependent on income.
Let’s break down the most direct comparison together:
Service: Weekly talk therapy with asynchronous chat (Betterhelp’s primary offering vs. Talkspace Ultimate)
Talkspace pay as you go: $99 per week
Talkspace billed every 3 months: $89 per week
Talkspace billed biannually: $79 per week
Betterhelp: $40-70 per week, sliding-scale
*When I selected unemployed with financial concerns on one of my entry surveys, I was offered a plan at $45 per week

Takeaway: For weekly therapy sessions and messaging with your therapist, Betterhelp’s highest price ($70) is still lower than Talkspace’s lowest price( ($79).


Betterhelp vs. Talkspace, what is the right online therapy for you?

It really depends on what you are looking for.
If what you want are live virtual therapy sessions, Betterhelp is not only the less expensive option, but it also appears to be more geared towards those of us who are struggling with a mental health issue like anxiety or depression.
If you are looking for virtual therapy but you don’t have the ability or desire to talk live, then the basic Talkspace option may be the best plan for you.
Personally, if I was interested in live video sessions, I would opt for Betterhelp because they are the less expensive option and their therapists are at least as qualified as Talkspace’s.
Ultimately, how you go about therapy is a personal personal decision and the fact that you are investing this time in yourself and your wellness is something to be proud of. Choose what feels good for you right now. Any step towards supporting your mental health is a step in the right direction.


As an affiliate of both Betterhelp and Talkspace, I may receive commission from any links clicked in this post.

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