Talkspace Review

Easily speak to a licensed therapist from your phone, tablet, or computer

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4.2

Talkspace

Talkspace

Talkspace

Bottom Line

If you have a busy schedule and value convenience, Talkspace is a great online therapy option that offers individual, couples, and teen therapy, as well as psychiatry.

Pros
  • Multiple monthly subscription plans available

  • Multiple convenient communication options available

  • Medication management services available

  • Counseling available for teens 

  • Couples therapy available

  • Good platform security 

  • All therapists are licensed

  • You can pick your therapist from recommended suggestions

Cons
  • No group therapy available

  • Surveyed user satisfaction rating lower than average

  • Additional psychiatric services can get expensive

  • No therapist bios posted on the website

  • Messaging-only plan not enough to address serious mental health issues

4.2

Talkspace

Talkspace

Talkspace

Founded in 2012, Talkspace was one of the first online therapy companies to hit the market. Headquartered in New York City, the company’s goal was to break down the stigma of getting help for mental health and make that help more accessible to everyone. As a result, it offers clients easy access to an expert therapist of their choice through messaging and live video sessions. To keep things affordable, they provide a variety of different subscription plans with tiered pricing depending on your needs. 

Fast forward to today and Talkspace is now one of the most well-known online therapy companies, with celebrities such as Michael Phelps and Demi Lovato frequently appearing in their TV commercials. It has also expanded its services a great deal over the last nine years and now offers psychiatric evaluation services, medication management, couples therapy, and teen therapy.

To fairly and thoroughly review Talkspace against its competitors, we surveyed 100 current users from 33 different online therapy platforms in order to gain insight into their experiences. We also sent a questionnaire directly to each company to get more detailed information about their offerings. 


These surveys and questionnaires allowed us to directly compare offerings, quality of service, and client satisfaction across companies. Here’s how Talkspace stacks up against its online therapy competition.

First Impressions and Sign-Up Process

In many ways, Talkspace sets the bar with its website. It’s modern, updated, and laid out in a simple, easy-to-read format. There is not a lot of text on each page, which keeps the site visually appealing and keeps the focus on getting you to sign up, beginning with a short demonstration video.

Talkspace Homepage

Talkspace Homepage

There is a short FAQs section on each page that answers many of the questions a potential client might have. In addition, the website features a short demonstration video, which describes the Talkspace app and the services available.

Most of the therapy tools and interactions happen on the app instead of through the website. The app allows users to access the platform from any mobile device, adding to the convenience. Having said this, the website could be more informative. The starting prices for subscription and medication management services are listed, but nothing past that. There could be more information given about couples therapy prices and the scale of cost, from minimum services to what the costs are for more frequent interactions.

Sixty-nine percent of the users surveyed reported that they either had a very good or excellent experience signing up for Talkspace, which is surprisingly below average compared to other companies we reviewed.

We aren’t entirely sure why users rated the signup process so low in our surveys because on its surface, signing up for Talkspace is pretty simple. You click on one of the many “get started” prompts scattered around the website, fill out a short intake form, tell the company where you live, and wait for a verification email to be sent to you. From there, you can download the app or continue your signup online. Pick your subscription plan, pay, then choose your therapist from some algorithm-based suggestions derived from your goals and preferences. 

It is possible that some users may have had issues with downloading the app or felt like the intake process was much less personal than the process at other smaller companies where you chat with a person about what you’re looking for from a therapist. It’s also not entirely clear when you’re signing up how to make sure you sign up for couples therapy rather than individual therapy—or how you add medication management.

Once you’re signed up, you should hear from your therapist within 48 hours, unless your therapist is scheduled for days off. 


Of the users we surveyed: 

  • Twenty-three percent said they heard from their therapist within the same day.
  • Forty-two percent said they heard from their therapist within two days.
  • Twenty-five percent said they heard from their therapist within the same week.

Cost

Talkspace offers multiple subscription plan options, and if you look at its most basic plan, which involves text-based therapy only, it is very affordable. But the plans go up in price from there and the plan that involves weekly live sessions is more expensive than Betterhelp’s plan, which includes weekly sessions on default. 

Still, on average, Talkspace’s talk therapy subscriptions are more affordable than private practice and are about average compared to the other companies we reviewed. 

If you add psychiatric services, however, the price could quickly become close to private practice costs if your insurance plan is not in-network with Talkspace. 

Perhaps this is why only 59 percent of the users said Talkspace’s cost was either very good or excellent—a number that is significantly lower than average compared to the other online therapy companies we reviewed. 

What Subscription Plans Does Talkspace Offer?

Talkspace offers users a variety of different talk-therapy subscription options, which range in price from $260 to $400 per month, depending on what plan you choose and your location. You aren’t given the exact price until checkout.

The three main subscriptions available are:

  • The Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus Plan: This is the most affordable plan and it includes text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist but no live sessions. 
  • The Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium Plan: This plan includes text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist, plus one 30-minute live video session per month.
  • The Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate Plan: This plan includes text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist, plus four 30-minute live video sessions per month.

Any unused live sessions do not roll over to the next month. You either use them within the month or lose them. 

You can also sign up for couple’s therapy, which also includes four 30-minute live video sessions per month and text, video, and audio messaging with your therapist in a group room with your partner. 

Talkspace also offers counseling plans for teens ages 13-17, as well as psychiatric services.

Psychiatric services are not included in the talk therapy plans, however, as with other companies, such as Cerebral, you pay for them in addition to your therapy plan, which can make things expensive. The charges are:

  • $199 for an initial psychiatric evaluation
  • $125 for every follow-up visit

Is There a Free Trial?

There is no free trial offered at Talkspace, but you can have a free consultation with an intake coordinator who can answer questions about services and help you get started.

Does Talkspace Accept Insurance?

Talkspace is one of the few subscription-based online therapy services that accept certain insurance plans. You can check your eligibility on their website.

Fifty-eight percent of the Talkspace users we surveyed said health insurance helped them pay for their subscription; the average out-of-pocket cost was $150.

Talkspace also accepts some company’s Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

Can You Change Your Subscription?

You can upgrade, downgrade, change, or freeze your subscription at any time through your client portal or the app. Subscription changes are effective immediately even if they are changed mid-month. If you upgrade, the increased difference is billed during the next billing cycle. If you downgrade, the difference is credited to your account during the next billing cycle. 

Are There Discounts Available?

Talkspace frequently offers discounts ranging from $80-$200 off your first month when you sign up. These discounts are usually posted on the homepage.

Ease of Use

Talkspace is a pretty easy platform to use, with an easy interface online and in-app, as well as a variety of communication methods available for communicating with your therapist. Eighty-one percent of the users we surveyed said the platform was very good or excellent in terms of ease of use.

You can communicate with your therapist in the following ways:

  • 24/7 online messaging 
  • Audio messaging
  • Phone call
  • Video conferencing

Once you are matched with your therapist, you will have access to your own room where you can message or leave an audio message of up to five minutes in length for your therapist. While these messages are not live-chats, you are guaranteed a response from your therapist at least once a day, five days per week. Your therapist’s work schedule is posted on their profile, which will give you an idea of what days they will respond on. The length and depth of their response depend on the therapist. Of the users we surveyed, 89 percent said the online chat messaging at Talkspace was excellent or very good.

Seventy-three percent of surveyed users reported that the speed at which they heard a response from the therapist was either very good or excellent.

If your subscription includes live sessions, you can easily schedule them with your therapist on your client portal page online or in the app. If your plan doesn’t include live sessions—or you want additional sessions—you can also purchase live sessions for a fee. Once they’re paid for, you can schedule it online or in-app as well. 

Ninety percent of users we surveyed said their live video call sessions were excellent or very good, though only 70% said the video quality was very good or excellent. 

If you do not like the therapist you’re currently working with, you can change at any time. Just click the button in your account portal online or in-app, and the system will immediately help you find new therapist matches by asking you questions about your goals and showing you different therapist bios. Seventy-seven percent of the users we surveyed said the switching process was easy or very easy. 

It is easy to add psychiatric appointments to your subscription online. You can schedule your initial visit online or through the app. It’s worth noting, however, that the wait time to get a psychiatric appointment is a bit longer than the wait time to connect with your therapist. You might have to wait three to five days before you connect with a psychiatrist.

Therapists' Qualifications and Quality of Care

When it came to choosing Talkspace, 79 percent of people we surveyed said that the staff’s qualifications and expertise played a significant role in their decision to sign up. 

Eighty-six percent said they found the therapists’ qualifications to be either very good or excellent. 

According to the questionnaire we sent the company, the staff is made up entirely of licensed and credential therapists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and couples therapists. All of them are required to have over 3000 hours of clinical experience in their field. The company told us that all Talkspace therapists are “required to hold the highest level of licensure in their respective fields such as social work or psychology” and that “each therapist undergoes a credentialing process, provided by a third party, to ensure their license is in good standing.”

Ninety-seven percent of surveyed users said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the therapist options available. 

There is no comprehensive library of therapist bios on the Talkspace website that you can search through, so it is unclear exactly how many therapists and medical professionals are employed by Talkspace. However, it is one of the largest online therapy companies in operation today so it is safe to assume that their staff numbers in the thousands. From the bios we were able to find, the staff appears to be diverse and include therapists with a range of different specialized training. 

That said, it does seem like most users need to try a few therapists before finding one they want to work with in the long run. According to our survey:

  • Forty-three percent of users reported seeing two different therapists.
  • Twenty-nine percent reported seeing three therapists. 
  • Twelve percent reported seeing four or more therapists.

In a larger company like Talkspace, high employee turnover is always a risk, which means that it is possible that your therapist could leave the company, forcing you to work with someone new whether you want to or not. When answering our questionnaire, Talkspace did not give us an average time frame as to how long therapists generally work for the company. 

Types of Therapy Offered

Talkspace started as a talk therapy-focused company, but it has expanded in order to offer couples counseling, teen counseling, and psychiatry. 

According to the questionnaire response given by Talkspace, the topics commonly addressed in therapy include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Trauma
  • ADHD 
  • Bipolar 
  • Stress management 
  • Relationship Issues 
  • Addiction 
  • LGBTQ issues 
  • Parenting
  •  Family
  • Social anxiety
  • Bullying 
  • Spiritual/faith issues
  • Business growth

It’s worth noting though that the sessions are only 30 minutes, which could make it difficult to go in-depth on more difficult topics. 

The techniques and style of therapy used will depend on the individual therapist, but some common therapy types offered include CBT, DBT, psychodynamic therapy, and mindfulness. There are no worksheets or homework assignments. 

For its psychiatry and medication management services, Talkspace employs psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners who will determine if medication is necessary for your treatment. Remember, though, that while antidepressants can be prescribed virtually, some types of medication legally cannot be, such as controlled substances like Xanax and certain sleeping pills. 

Also, note that group sessions and family sessions are not available through Talkspace. 

Privacy Policies

Talkspace takes user privacy seriously. It uses its own platform to store your private information and data, and according to the company's privacy policy, firewall barriers and digital certifications ensure the security of online sessions and personal information. All data is encrypted and anonymized to prevent information theft from hackers. Talkspace follows all HIPAA compliance laws and states that all employees are trained in information protection protocols as well. 

In our questionnaire, Talkspace indicated that special information security measures are in place to ensure that messages between a client and therapist are only read by the client and therapist. Information will only be shared only if there is an emergency or the law requires it. 

If a client wishes to obtain a copy of their diagnosis or records, they can either request a copy from their therapist or look at the progress tracker located on the platform. 

Though Talkspace allows you to use a nickname, they do collect personal information about you when you sign up, in case of an emergency. The company also requests the name and phone number of an emergency contact.  

Online therapy is not suitable for emergency situations, crisis situations, or for those who are suicidal. However, there is little specific detail on the website about the protocol that therapists use if they think you are in danger, though your therapist will likely discuss this when you begin meeting.

Overall Client Satisfaction

Sixty-nine percent of the users we surveyed said the services they received through Talkspace were either very good or excellent and 65 percent said the value for money was very good or excellent for the money spent. Based percentages were much lower than what users said about Talkspace’s competitors, suggesting that not everyone is satisfied with the company.

Eighty-eight percent told us it was very likely or likely they’d still be seeing a Talkspace therapist 12 months from now. However, according to our survey:

  • Twenty-three percent of these users had been clients for three to six months.
  • Forty-four percent have been clients for six to 12 months.
  • Twenty-one percent have been clients for one to two years.

Seventy-six percent who had used other online therapy services said that Talkspace was better or much better than their previous online service. 

Only one percent had been with the company for two to five years—which is much lower than average when compared to other companies, suggesting that many clients stop using Talkspace after a year, and most are done within two years. It is possible that these clients go to another company to find more in-depth therapy, but it is also possible that they also found what they needed and felt comfortable ending therapy.

Ninety-three percent of surveyed users reported that they were either likely or very likely to recommend someone like them to Talkspace.

Is Talkspace Right For You?

Talkspace may work for you if:

  • You have a busy schedule.
  • You have a demanding job.
  • You prefer to text over make phone calls.
  • You have mild to moderate anxiety or depression.
  • You want both talk therapy and access to a psychiatrist.
  • You need medication management.
  • You’re a college student.
  • You’re part of the LGBTQ+.
  • You need couples therapy.
  • You’re a teenager.

Talkspace is one of the best-known online therapy companies because it offers a range of convenient and accessible mental health services. It is designed to suit many different people’s mental health needs by offering therapy, couples counseling, and medication management for depression, anxiety, stress, and relationship issues.

It’s relatively affordable, thanks to its many plans; it’s easy to use; and it has a large, diverse staff of licensed therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, and nurses, increasing the chances you’ll find someone you want to work with. 

Talkspace is a good option for teenagers, college students, people who work unconventional schedules, or parents who don’t have a lot of time for live therapy.  It’s also a good choice for people who prefer to write about (or text) how they’re feeling. 

However, not all plans involve live sessions and even if you do choose a plan with live sessions, those meetings are only 30 minutes long, which might not be a good choice for you if you want to do in-depth therapy work or if you live with complex PTSD, severe depression, active addiction issues, or active eating disorders. 

Talkspace is also not designed to be an emergency service. People struggling with suicidal thoughts, who are in crisis, or need inpatient care are not suitable for this service. People with psychotic disorders or a history of psychosis are also not a good fit. 

Talkspace vs. Betterhelp

Talkspace and Betterhelp are both large companies with the goal of making therapy more convenient, affordable, and accessible to a wide audience. Through monthly subscriptions, both companies allow you to do communicate virtually with a therapist through messaging, audio, phone, or live video.  Both have well-designed and easy-to-navigate websites.

Betterhelp focuses exclusively on talk therapy, directing potential clients interested in more specialized therapy, such as couples counseling, teen counseling, Christian therapy, or LGBTQ+ counseling to its sister sites. It also does not offer psychiatry or medication management services. 

Talkspace stands out because it offers couples therapy, teen counseling, psychiatry, and medication management as an all-in-one service. 

Both companies have a large staff of licensed therapists with specialized training and ask potential clients to fill out an intake questionnaire to help match you to a therapist. However, Betterhelp matches you to your therapist exclusively based on this questionnaire, while Talkspace makes suggestions but you get to make the ultimate decision on who you want to work with. Eighty-eight percent of Talkspace users reported that they were either likely or very likely to still be seeing a therapist within the company a year from now, compared to 84 percent at Betterhelp. 

Both companies do make it easy to switch therapists at any time, and they offer good customer support. That said, because of their size, the sign-up process and customer service might feel less personalized or individualized than it does at some of the smaller companies we've reviewed. 

The prices for therapy at Talkspace and Betterhelp are both about average when compared against all 33 companies we reviewed, though when it comes to value for money, Betterhelp has an edge. 

  • Betterhelp only offers one subscription plan, which ranges in price from $240 to $360 per month based on your location and therapist match, but this plan offers you both unlimited messaging with your therapist and weekly sessions of 30 or 45 minutes. 
  • Talkspace, meanwhile, offers a variety of different subscription plans ranging from $260 to $400 in price, but only the most expensive plan offers weekly live sessions. Talkspace’s live video sessions are also only 30 minutes long, making in-depth therapy work more difficult. 

And while Talkspace does offer psychiatric services, these services cost extra, which means that it is easy to spend over $500 a month out-of-pocket. 

However, to help offset the costs, Talkspace does accept some health insurance plans, as well as EAPs. Betterhelp does not, though it will provide a receipt for reimbursement if you ask for one. 

Both companies take great care in protecting client data and private information, using data encryption, banking grade security for payment information, and regular safety testing protocols. Both are HIPAA compliant. 

Of the users we surveyed, 69% of Talkspace users were either very good or excellent, while 72% of Betterhelp users said the same. However, 93% of Talkspace clients said they were either likely or very likely to refer someone to the company, whereas only 91% of Betterhelp clients said the same. 

Meanwhile, of those users who had tried other therapy services, only 76% of Talkspace users said it was much better or better compared to 79% at Betterhelp. 

Final Verdict

Talkspace set out to combat the stigma of getting help for mental health by making therapy affordable and accessible to everyone—and in many ways, it has accomplished that goal. The company offers a very comprehensive service: You can get individual talk therapy, couples therapy, teen counseling, psychiatric help, and medication management. The service is easy to use and it offers a variety of different plans to keep prices affordable for a wide range of people, though it’s important to note that most of their prices are pretty average when compared to some of the other companies we reviewed. In addition, because live sessions are short (only 30 minutes), Talkspace might not be the best choice for you if you live with complex PTSD, an active eating disorder or addiction, or need more in-depth, personalized therapy. 

Methodology

 Our methodology for evaluating online therapy companies is comprehensive and data-driven. To fairly and accurately review the best online therapy programs, we sent questionnaires to 28 companies and surveyed 100 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and their users’ experiences.

 Specifically, we evaluated each company on:

  • Website usability
  • Sign-up process 
  • Therapist qualifications 
  • Types of therapy offered
  • Quality of care
  • Client-therapist communication options, 
  • Session length
  • Subscription offerings 
  • Client privacy protections 
  • Cost and value for money
  • Whether they take insurance
  • Average out-of-pocket costs
  • Therapist assignment process
  • How easy it is to change therapists
  • Overall user satisfaction
  • Likelihood clients would recommend them

Specs

  • Product Name Talkspace
  • Year Founded 2012
  • Insurance Accepted? Yes
  • Price $260-$400 per month; $125-$199 for psychiatric services
  • HIPAA Compliant Yes
  • Platforms Messaging, texting, audio, live video
  • Payment Options Major credit cards
  • App Available? (Y/N) Yes
Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health associate 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.

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