Talkspace Online Therapy Review

Delivers quality therapy, medication management, and accepts insurance

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Talkspace logo

Whether you’re new to therapy or you’re just looking for mental health care that fits your busy schedule, Talkspace might be the online service you’re looking for. It offers a variety of subscription plans and individual, teen, and couples therapy, as well as psychiatry, all while accepting health insurance. Plus, there are a variety of ways to connect with your therapist.

VERYWELL MIND's 2021 ONLINE THERAPY AWARDS
  • Best Accessibility
  • Pros & Cons
  • Key Facts
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Convenient, flexible online sessions

  • Multiple subscription plans available

  • Offers numerous ways to contact your therapist

  • Provides individual therapy, couples, and teen therapy

  • Medication management services available

  • Quick therapist matching process

  • High user satisfaction

  • Accepts health insurance plans

  • All sessions with licensed, well-qualified therapists

  • Easy to switch therapists if needed

  • Website features additional mental health resources

  • Serves all 50 states

  • Has an easy-to-navigate app

Cons
  • Additional resources are difficult to navigate

  • Chooses therapists for you

  • Group or family therapy not available

  • Exact pricing for each plan not clear until sign-up


  • Most affordable plan is messaging-only

  • Text therapy is not always effective

  • Therapist’s texts may feel vague or impersonal

  • No sliding scale options

Key Facts
Price
$276 - $516 monthly
Is Insurance Accepted?
Yes
Type Of Therapy
Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling
Communication Options
Audio, Live Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video Chat
HIPAA Compliant?
N/A
Is There an App?
Yes
Get $100 off your first month using promo code VERYWELL100. SIGN UP NOW
Why Trust Us
55
Companies reviewed
5,775
Total users surveyed
350
Data points analyzed
We surveyed 105 users from each online therapy company and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we tested the services ourselves, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and evaluated our results with the help of three licensed therapists.

Ask anyone on the street to name some online therapy companies, and chances are they’ll name Talkspace—and for good reason. Over the last decade or so, the company has become a household name thanks to star-studded advertising campaigns, as it pursued its goal to make it easier for Americans to access virtual mental health care through messaging, live chat, audio, and live video sessions. 

But just because a company is well-known, doesn’t mean it is the best. Has it maintained its reputation for quality care, even as more and more online therapy companies start offering similar services? Has it been able to withstand the increase in demand post-2020-lockdowns? In order to find out, we not only heavily researched Talkspace, but we also surveyed 105 users and interviewed four therapists employed at the company. I also signed up for one of their subscription plans in order to test the service and get a sense of how therapy takes place. Read on to find out more about the process of signing up and using Talkspace to receive mental health care.

What Is Talkspace?

Founded in 2012, Talkspace was one of the first online therapy companies on the scene, after its founders, Oren and Roni Frank, started attending therapy as a couple. After experiencing positive results from therapy, the Franks created a platform to make therapy more accessible to others. Her personal success with therapy inspired Roni Frank to pursue a degree in psychology. It was during her degree that Frank said she “realized that the mental health system in America is completely broken.”

In creating Talkspace, Roni Frank sought to make therapy services more affordable and accessible. Since then, it has grown into one of the largest online therapy providers, serving over 1 million people since it was founded.

What Services Does Talkspace Offer?

As of September 2022, Talkspace offers the following services:

  • Individual therapy
  • Couples therapy
  • Teen counseling
  • Psychiatry and medication management

It does not offer group or family therapy. 

Therapy sessions can be conducted via asynchronous messaging, live chat, audio message, phone call, or live video session—and this communication can happen via the web portal on the website or through the Talkspace app. 

Live sessions are 45 minutes—an increase from 30 minutes the last time we reviewed the company in 2021—and are scheduled roughly week to week.

Psychiatry and medication management services are add-on services that many of its competitors, notably BetterHelp, lack. If you think medication is right for you, you can schedule a session with licensed psychiatrists and nurse practitioners and receive a prescription. Users pay per session for Talkspace psychiatry, and sessions range from 20 to 90 minutes depending on user needs. Talkspace providers can prescribe any mental health medication with the exception of controlled substances, such as benzodiazepines like Xanax and sedative-hypnotics like Ambien. Medications can be picked up at your local pharmacy.

Who Is Talkspace For?

Talkspace is helpful for those seeking individual therapy for:

  • Depression
  • Relationships
  • Anxiety
  • Parenting stress
  • OCD
  • Trauma
  • Grief
  • Substance abuse
  • Chronic illness
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger management
  • Childhood abuse

If you are seeking couples therapy through Talkspace, some issues therapists treat on the platform include infidelity, premarital counseling, discernment counseling, communication skills, parenting disagreements, and conflict-resolution skills.

Therapy approaches that Talkspace therapists use include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
  • Exposure Therapy
  • Grief Counseling
  • Humanistic Therapy
  • Somatic Therapy

How Much Does Talkspace Cost?

The cost of therapy at Talkspace varies depending on which subscription plan you choose and where you live. 

Talkspace currently offers three therapy plans for individual and teen therapy:

  • The Messaging Therapy plan, which includes unlimited messaging with guaranteed therapist responses five days a week and starts at $69/week
  • The Live Therapy plan, which includes four live therapy sessions a month via live chat, phone, or video call and starts at $99/week
  • The Live + Messaging Therapy plan, which includes both messaging and four live sessions and starts at $129/week

When I completed the short assessment for couples therapy, the only available plan was Couples Therapy + 4 Live Sessions, which includes unlimited messaging with guaranteed therapist responses five days a week as well as four live therapy sessions per month, and starts at $109/week.

Live therapy involves four therapy sessions with the option of live chat, phone call, or video. These sessions are 45 minutes long. Messaging involves unlimited text messaging with your therapist and guaranteed responses five days a week.

Though the pricing is listed per week on the website, you’re actually billed every month. It is also worth noting that the per week prices at Talkspace may be higher than the cost of therapy at some other online therapy companies, such as BetterHelp (whose prices range from $60 to $90 per week), but it is lower than standard out–of-pocket private practice rates. Still, it might be inaccessible for the average user; that is, unless you have insurance (more on that below.) According to the United States Census Bureau, the median household annual income was $67,521 in 2021. The average disposable income per American is $18,644 a year, or $1553 each month. A subscription to BetterHelp would cost 20% of that.

58% of the users we surveyed called Talkspace very affordable or affordable. 

While the prices of teen and LGBTQIA+ plans are the same as individual services, signing up for Talkspace through their Veterans page allows you to access a 30% discount for the first three months with coupon code “MTSUPPORT.”

Psychiatry services through Talkspace are not included in the three subscription plans and are instead treated as an add-on service that you sign up for separately or in addition to your talk therapy plan. The prices are as follows:

  • The initial psychiatric evaluation costs $249 per session and lasts between 20 to 90 minutes.
  • Follow-up appointments with your online provider are $125 each. 

These prices do not include the cost of the medication, which is billed separately.

Does Talkspace Take Insurance?

Unlike some of its biggest competitors, including BetterHelp, Talkspace does accept health insurance, which can offset the overall out-of-pocket cost of therapy for users. 

It’s also pretty easy to search and check if it accepts your plan during sign-up by entering your member ID.

That being said, a quick scroll through the list of its accepted plans does show that a large number of the health insurance plans are either through employers or are employer-sponsored plans. In 2021, an estimated 155 million people in the US received benefits through an employer-sponsored plan. This may be one of the reasons why only 57% of survey respondents said they were using their insurance benefits to cover costs of therapy on Talkspace.

Does Talkspace Offer Discounts?

If you’re on the fence about trying Talkspace, the company typically offers promotional codes for new users. In fact, Verywell Mind readers can get their own discount.

There are also usually discounts found in a navy blue banner at the top of the homepage.

Navigating the Talkspace Website and App

When you visit the Talkspace website for the first time, you’ll find a straightforward homepage that outlines how the platform works, as well as what the company states are the benefits of using its service.

Talkspace Homepage

Talkspace Homepage

Below that, you’ll find important frequently asked questions, as well as short testimonials from users and a sampling of the awards or recognitions the company has received. While all this information is helpful—and more detailed than some competitors, such as BetterHelp—the main function of the page is clear: it wants you to sign up. 

That said, if you venture off the home page, you will find a wide range of informational resources—though these pages are sometimes hard to find due to the site’s overall strange set-up.

For example, I noticed the footer of the homepage contains additional pages that would otherwise be difficult to find because they are not included in the navigation menu up top. This struck me as strange, especially as a vast amount of information is tucked away down there.

You can find, for instance, links to pages with detailed information about the types of services Talkspace provides, including pages devoted specifically to its services for treating teens, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and veterans.

Talkspace

Talkspace

You’ll also find pages on insurance coverage and free mental health tests in this header that can help diagnose anxiety, depression, OCD, social anxiety, postpartum depression, and five other common diagnoses. 

It is worth noting that one of our editors took one of these free assessments, which was fairly straightforward. It consisted of 20 multiple choice questions—though you had to give the company your email address in order to receive your response. 

Links to the Talkspace blog, as well as informational articles about common diagnoses and its mental health library, are also located in the footer, as are links to its social media pages. Talkspace has nearly 50,000 Facebook followers and 154,000 Instagram followers, yet little to no engagement on these pages. The comments instead include customer service complaints with no response from the company.

Does Talkspace Have an App?

The app is streamlined in allowing users to sign up or access their private portal. Talkspace’s additional resources, such as its blog or mental health conditions library, are not available within the app.

 How Do You Sign Up for Therapy at Talkspace?

Signing up for Talkspace is a pretty simple process; it only took me about five to 10 minutes to complete.

To begin, you can click one of the many teal buttons inviting you to “Get Started” or click on the type of therapy you’re interested in on the homepage. 

Once you do, you’ll be asked what service you are looking for: online therapy, couples therapy, psychiatry, or teen counseling.

Talkspace Review Getting Started

Talkspace

Once you select your answer, you’ll be asked a series of questions about why you’re looking for help, what your current sleep habits and physical health are like, and a few personal questions, such as what gender you identify with, where you live, and what your date of birth is. You’ll also be asked how you plan to pay.

Talkspace Review Getting Startes

Talkspace

You’ll need to complete this questionnaire all in one sitting—it will not save your answers if you close the page for any reason. But there are only eight questions so it shouldn’t take you long to complete. 

The last question will ask you how you plan to pay for your services—whether you choose an insurance plan or the option to pay out-of-pocket. Then, you will be directed to a page that prompts you to choose your subscription plan and “Secure your Match.”

The company’s promo codes will be immediately applied if it is your first time signing up for Talkspace.

 After entering payment or insurance information, you are asked to complete emergency contact information, provide your phone number, and verify your email. The website then directs you to your private user portal as you wait to be matched with a therapist. The Talkspace website claims that it will send you three choices of therapists after you submit your information, but I was only sent one choice.

Talkspace states you will be matched with a therapist within 48 hours. For me, it took less than an hour for Talkspace to match me, which impressed me. If you sign up online, matching is an automatic process that the platform completes after you enter payment information. The company will email you when the process is done and, if you’ve opted into notifications, you will receive a notification from your mobile app. After you receive notification that you are matched with your therapist, you are able to view their photo and a short bio detailing their qualifications and professional experience. While therapists’ bios are available prior to signing up, you are still not able to choose your initial therapist. 

It is worth noting that, when seeking couples therapy, Talkspace provides you with a list of recommended therapists to choose from, rather than the personalized match you receive when signing up for individual services. 

Personally, I was not satisfied with the therapist matches I received. My initial therapist seemed disingenuous–even during video sessions. My second therapist was focused on administrative tasks and scheduling while text messaging back and forth. Despite this, 83% of our surveyed users reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their therapist. That being said, nine percent of users switched therapists within Talkspace and forty-three percent of users said they tried 2-3 therapists. 

While you do provide your payment information, you aren’t charged for your Talkspace membership until after your therapist selection process is complete.

How Do Therapy Sessions Work at Talkspace?

Once you’re signed up and matched with your therapist, you’ll have access to your private portal, which is where you’ll be able to message your therapist or schedule live sessions, depending on your chosen plan. You can use your private portal on both the website and the app.

Messaging Your Therapist

If you have a plan that includes texting, you can message your therapist at any time in the private portal. Since I signed up for the Live Therapy + Messaging Plan, I could message my therapist as soon as we were matched. The company says that therapists are guaranteed to respond to you five days a week—but when they will respond is based on their schedule. In other words, if you message your therapist at 9am, you might not hear back from them until 4pm. 

In addition to text messages, you can leave audio messages that are shorter than five minutes. One of the therapists I tried always typed out messages while a different therapist of mine solely sent audio messages.

When using asynchronous messaging, my therapists often took 12 hours to respond on both weekends and weekdays. Their responses appeared as if they were following a script. In the response, the therapist identified the concerns I had shared and introduced her formulaic message by writing, “I will be sending an introductory message momentarily”.

I wrote a message to my therapist that included three large paragraphs. My therapist did not address the content within that message and instead pointed me toward the next scheduled live session.

That being said, users appeared engaged with their Talkspace sessions because, of those we surveyed, 42% said they were likely or very likely to be seeing the same therapist in a year from now. Additionally, 15% of users made their decision about services based on whether the therapist was available by text.

 It is necessary to note, though, that even though Talkspace offers a messaging-only plan, we do not consider it to be akin to traditional psychotherapy—even if your therapist is very responsive. It’s more like an email or text exchange and it’s difficult for your therapist to gauge and respond to your reactions without being able to see or at least hear you.

This is why we opted not to test this service alone and I signed up for the Therapy + Messaging plan. While some users may find the messaging feature helpful—especially if they have unpredictable schedules—we do not recommend that service to readers unless it is used in conjunction with and as a complement to the phone and video sessions it offers.

Live Sessions

If you sign up for the live therapy or live therapy and messaging plan (as I did), you’ll be able to schedule your live sessions directly from your web or app portal. 

Both plans that include live sessions essentially give you four credits, which you use to schedule up to 4 sessions a month. Each credit refers to the cost of one therapy session. You can schedule as many sessions as you want in one week as well as skip a week so long as you utilize the four sessions per month.

One nice benefit that stood out to me is that you can schedule up to four sessions at a time–no need to schedule week by week, which is incredibly convenient. BetterHelp, a competitor of Talkspace, does not have this option. All you have to do is pick your day, time, type of session (video, phone, or live chat) and submit—and then your therapist will confirm once those sessions are booked. I appreciated how much this scheduling system prioritizes the needs of the therapy seeker and helps make committing to therapy just a little easier.

“Scheduling four sessions at a time more closely resembles traditional in-person therapy, where you have a set, continuous date and time,” explains Hannah Owens, subject matter expert, and LMSW. “This supports the therapeutic relationship by providing a reliable schedule that the patient can count on and not requiring any of the session time to be used to discuss logistics.”

Video Sessions

Live video sessions are held directly in your portal. To join the session, you just log in and wait for your therapist. The therapist will initiate the video call, and you can accept it when you are ready. 

When I initially began my video session, I noticed the video was lagging, and the audio made a crackling noise. The audio and video quality remained the same during my full session; though, the video was not blurry. I felt distracted by the technical issues. 

My therapist kept repeating the same things throughout the session. Instead of guiding the conversation, my therapist waited for me to bring up topics. They frequently used “mmhms” to respond to me and appeared to be looking off-screen for the majority of the time.

Despite this experience, 32% of users felt that Talkspace’s therapists were more qualified than therapists at other companies, and 86% of users felt that the quality of Talkspace’s therapists was excellent, very good, or good.

Audio Sessions

You can also schedule an audio session, which is, in essence, a phone call with your therapist. And in practice, it functions in much the same way as the video session because once again, the call takes place through the portal. Similar to the video sessions, the therapist initiates the call and you will accept it when you are ready. And when I tested out an audio session, I found the sound just as staticky as it was in my live video session—so the audio quality doesn’t improve without video.

Of course, as with any phone call, you can’t see your therapist in this type of session—which I felt made it difficult to relate with my therapist. However, this might be a good option for users who do not have access to a working camera or who feel uncomfortable seeing themselves in video calls.

Live Chat Sessions

Live chat sessions are a new offering for Talkspace. The company just added it in 2022—it was not available the last time we reviewed its services. And it’s easy to see the appeal of this type of session: You can essentially have a therapy session in a room full of people so long as others are not focusing on your screen. 

This prioritizes the convenience and schedule of the user—and might help make therapy feel more accessible, especially to people who worry about being overheard by family members or other people nearby or who simply find it easier to articulate their feelings in written form. For example, I imagine this might be a popular feature with parents watching children or people who can only squeeze in their session over a workplace lunch break.  

Live chats begin in the same messaging spot as asynchronous chats, but a timer will appear indicating how much time is left in the session.

Still, when I tried a live chat session, I did find it difficult. My assigned therapist frequently used audio messages to communicate, which made it difficult to create a flow in conversation because I had to stop to play the message before I could respond. While the audio did not have quality issues, it made the session feel shorter because I was having to move back and forth between texting and audio. 

Couples Therapy

Couples can utilize the same account to attend couples therapy. For this service, users can attend four live sessions per month through chat, audio, or video. Each individual has equal access to the private portal and asynchronous chat.

Teen Therapy

Teen therapy services are similar to individual services, but you must upload a video of your parent or guardian approving of you using Talkspace. Live messaging, live phone/audio calls, and live video are available as session options, and the pricing is the same as for individual services.

Medication Management/Psychiatry

Talkspace is one of the few online therapy companies that offers medication management, though as we noted above, this service is treated as a separate service from talk therapy.

This service involves a psychiatrist meeting with you virtually to prescribe psychotropic medications. Talkspace does not prescribe controlled substances, such as Xanax or Valium.

Of the users we surveyed, 46% rated their psychiatry services as excellent. The company serves a need of those who face obstacles in receiving mental health medication, like antidepressants, anti-psychotics, and mood stabilizers. “There is often limited representation and availability among psychiatrists,” explains our subject matter expert and LCSW Nic Hardy. “As such, Talkspace has filled an important gap in consumer needs.”

What Happens If I Miss a Session at Talkspace?

It’s worth noting that you have to cancel your appointment at least 24 hours before your session. 

If you miss your appointment—or give notice less than 24 before—you will lose one credit for one of the 4 sessions that come with your plan.

Switching Therapists at Talkspace

If you’re unhappy with your assigned therapist for any reason, you can easily switch at any time—and you don’t have to tell them.

That said, the process of figuring out how to actually switch isn’t easy. I had to sift through the website and eventually Googled the answer before I actually figured out how to go about doing it. But in the end, there are two ways to switch:

  • Method one: At the end of each of your live sessions, the portal will ask you to review your therapist by giving them a star rating. If you give a one or two-star review, the platform will ask you if you would like to switch providers. Say yes, and it will initiate the switching process. 
  • Method two: If you do not feel comfortable leaving a negative review or want to change for another reason, you can click on your username on the top left corner of the website or the app. Next, click Payment and plan and on that page, you should see an option to “Change provider.”

Both methods ultimately trigger the same switching process, which begins with a short questionnaire.

This questionnaire will ask you about your experiences so far, your reasoning for switching providers, and what you want the next therapist to focus on. Then, you will receive three therapist options to choose from—or if you don’t like any of them, the option to see three more options. 

Since effective therapy requires clients to find the right therapist for their needs and personality, it makes sense that you might try multiple therapists before finding the best fit. Of the users we surveyed who said they no longer see the same therapist, nine percent said they switched to a new therapist within Talkspace who they liked better. Fourteen percent said they switched to in-person services.  

By allowing users to read the profiles and choose their next therapist, Talkspace aids the process of finding the best fit.

Each therapist's profile includes a list of the services they provide (messaging, live chat, phone/audio, and video) towards the top of the page. Quick facts located on the right-hand side of the screen include how long they’ve worked with Talkspace, how many total years in practice, and any additional spoken languages. In addition to their selected treatment approach and specialties, users can read a short narrative bio from the therapist.

Pausing or Canceling Talkspace

If you aren’t happy with the therapy you’re receiving (or you need to cancel for another reason), you can cancel pretty easily and without issue. You can also pause your subscription for up 30 days or switch plans.

All you need to do is click your username to access your account. Then, click Payment and plan. On this page, you’ll find options to pause therapy, change plans, or stop your subscription renewal.

If you opt to cancel your subscription renewal (i.e. cancel your plan), the company will prompt you to answer a survey about your experience with your current provider. It will then try to convince you to stay by offering you a number of different options.

First, it will offer you a $150 discount for your next monthly renewal. Then, it will also give you the option to pause your subscription for 30 days, switch providers, or switch to a lower-fee maintenance plan with guaranteed responses only once a week.

This maintenance plan is not advertised anywhere else on Talkspace. It costs $49 per month and allows you to message your therapist one day a week—and it appears you can only sign up for it when you try to leave another plan. 

If you decline all these options, it will ask you why you’re leaving—then finally give you your confirmation that your plan has been canceled. I was surprised by how many steps there are before your subscription can be officially canceled.

Even after canceling, your subscription plan will continue until the end of your billing period.

Quality of Care and User Satisfaction

Talkspace, as well as several other online therapy companies, have recently received media attention for how overworked—and underpaid—its therapists can be. Therapists who work for online therapy platforms generally carry higher caseloads than therapists in private practice offering in-person services. And according to Indeed, Talkspace therapists make 49% below the national annual average for mental health providers. If you scan through employee reviews on Indeed, you’ll find numerous past employees discussing the technical difficulties they ran into, as well as the low pay they received. 

This is a problem: when a therapist is overworked, their ability to provide you with personalized care can suffer. This quality of care can also suffer if a therapist is generally dissatisfied with their pay or working conditions. 

We reached out to Talkspace, via our company questionnaire, and asked about this issue. Talkspace reported to us that it pays its therapists comparably to the average market rate, and a company representative stated its “Quality Management Team regularly reviews client feedback and therapist ratings to ensure that clinical services are delivered appropriately. Quality Support team meets with a therapist or prescriber which is valuable, as they have the opportunity to gain insight into their feedback and work constructively to enhance their skills and insight into the client experience.”

I felt like my therapist was distracted during live sessions, especially phone sessions. It appeared she could not remember what I mentioned in previous sessions.

That being said, of the users we surveyed, eighty-three percent reported they were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience using Talkspace.

I also interviewed four therapists who work at Talkspace, and some were fans of the company’s mission to make therapy more accessible. For example, licensed clinical social worker Elizabeth Keohan has been a Talkspace provider for over three years and told me how much she likes the ease with which the platform connects therapy seekers with providers.  

“It’s been so refreshing to work in a space that fosters immediate accessibility for clients who crave a modern integrated platform,” she says, “instead of the usual route, where clients typically endure a frustrating scheduling process first, often waiting weeks or months for an appointment.”

This is true. According to a study by the National Council for Behavioral Health and the Cohen Veterans Network, 38% of Americans have waited longer than one week to begin mental health services, and 46% of Americans have had to or know someone who had to drive over an hour round-trip to access mental health care. But at Talkspace, you can get access to a provider within a day or two after signing up. This can be a huge benefit to users in therapy deserts, or areas where there are few or no accessible mental health professionals.

This is also a huge benefit if you have been struggling for a while with your depression or anxiety, have recently experienced a loss, or are living with PTSD, as was the case for many of the users we surveyed.  55% of surveyed users said they joined Talkspace seeking treatment for their anxiety, while 45% said they were here for help with their depression and 30% said they needed help managing their stress. 

According to the company questionnaire, “All Talkspace providers are licensed, verified, and background-checked. Providers are required to have 3,000-plus hours of clinical experience and may have additional training to specialize in certain therapy approaches”.

That being said, Talkspace, like all online therapy, is not appropriate for every population, says clinical psychologist and subject matter expert for this project, Amy Marschall.  For example, she says, it is not suitable for those struggling with suicidal ideation or dissociation. It may also not be suitable for people with psychotic disorders, unstable mood disorders, or severe PTSD, as these conditions may require more involved or in-person treatment.

Privacy Policies

Online therapy companies have also received a lot of attention in recent years due to various privacy concerns surrounding how these companies use, share, or protect the sensitive personal information of its users.  Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Ron Wyden wrote letters to Talkspace and BetterHelp in June 2022 regarding their privacy policies and collection of personal data.

“When a mental health service provider is owned by stakeholders, questions around the company’s primary interest will come under scrutiny,” explains psychotherapist and subject matter expert for this project Nic Hardy. “[So] with regard to Talkspace, there have been concerns on how they use private information to target their consumer base, and ethical considerations around ‘Big Data.’” 

If you read through Talkspace’s Privacy Policy, as we did, you will of course find a lot of legal jargon, but the company has clearly tried to break down some of its policies so that users can understand what they’re signing up for and how their information is stored, used, and protected. For instance, it provides easy-to-read tables for the types of personal data collected and how the company collects it, as well as what it does with the data. Some examples of this include providing users with treatment information, processing insurance claims, providing announcements–including for marketing purposes, and “creating anonymized and/or aggregated data to improve and deliver our Services.”

It’s important to note Talkspace does follow all HIPAA laws and encrypts user data. The company clarifies that “All chat data on our servers, as well as all communication that happens between our software and the servers, is encrypted”.

Although its HIPAA compliance is directly stated in its Privacy Policy, it is worth considering and questioning how Talkspace protects, or fails to protect, its users’ data.

Talkspace vs. Its Competitors

Talkspace stands out among its competitors in providing personalized and affordable talk therapy and psychiatry services. Eighty-three percent of Talkspace users were satisfied or very satisfied with the services provided, whereas BetterHelp’s satisfaction average amongst users was considerably lower at 77%. A higher percentage of users also rated Talkspace’s medication management services as excellent in comparison with companies like Amwell and Cerebral.

Even though its website leaves room for improvement, the sign-up process is straightforward and simple. According to user survey results, Talkspace’s easy-to-navigate website is on par with its competitors. In fact, 53% of users surveyed said Talkspace was much better than its competitors – the highest percentage in this category among 55 other companies.

Final Verdict

Talkspace strives to increase access and affordability to mental health services. By prioritizing a streamlined process, an easy-to-use platform, and tiered pricing options, the company is impactful in its mission. While the quality of therapy sessions may leave room for improvement, other factors might come into play, such as low provider pay and large caseloads.

Of the users we surveyed, 83% said they were likely or very likely to recommend the company to a friend. It appears that users understand what the company is trying to accomplish and can overlook its shortcomings while still receiving effective mental health support.

Methodology

To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 55 companies and surveyed 105 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and its users’ experiences.

Specifically, we evaluated each company on the following factors: website usability, the sign-up and therapist matching processes, therapist qualifications, types of therapy offered, the service's quality of care, client-therapist communication options, session length, subscription offerings, client privacy protections, average cost and value for money, whether it accepts insurance, how easy it is to change therapists, overall user satisfaction, and the likelihood that clients would recommend them.

We also signed up for the companies in order to get a sense of how this process worked, how easy to use the platform is, and how therapy takes place at the company. Then, we worked with three subject matter experts to get their expert analysis on how suited this company is to provide quality care to therapy seekers.  Read our full methodology here.

7 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Talkspace. "Talkspace Announces CEO Transition Plan."

  2. Talkspace. "Psychiatry."

  3. Talkspace. "What is a “Psych Evaluation?"

  4. KFF. "2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey."

  5. Talkspace. "How do I change providers?"

  6. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing. "Study Reveals Lack of Access as Root Cause for Mental Health Crisis in America."

  7. Elizabeth Warren. "Warren, Booker, Wyden Call on Mental Health Apps to Provide Answers on Data Privacy and Sharing Practices that May Put Patients’ Data at Risk of Exploitation."

By Riley Blanton
For over six years, Riley Blanton has written stories about mental health, women’s rights, as well as pregnancy and postpartum. She is passionate about maternal mental health and founded the site, Postpartum Brain, to educate and encourage people about perinatal mental health. Riley’s articles are published in verticals like Healthline, Motherly, and more. Read more of her work on perinatal mental health here.

Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

Learn about our editorial process
and
Hannah Owens
Hannah Owens

Hannah Owens is the Mental Health/General Health Editor for performance marketing at Verywell. She is a licensed social worker with clinical experience in community mental health.

Learn about our editorial process