Print Posted on 05/14/2017 in Online Counseling

BetterHelp vs TalkSpace: A Former Therapists' In-Depth Review with Ratings (Part 2)

BetterHelp vs TalkSpace: A Former Therapists' In-Depth Review with Ratings (Part 2)

This article is the conclusion of our series comparing the pros and cons of online counseling through the BetterHelp and TalkSpace platforms. To see part one, Click Here. In our prior article, we reviewed the basics of what these platforms offer and the general intake/assessment process. Here, we will explore with more depth the process of therapy, the termination process, and the overall experience of which platform this author felt was more beneficial to reach goals and come to a place of feeling better.

* OpenCounseling has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though OpenCounseling may earn commissions based on you following affiliate links.


There’s no doubt about it – just like traditional, face-to-face therapy, online counseling requires a bit of vulnerability on the part of the client. In the past few weeks of communicating with my therapists on both of the online platforms reviewed, there were moments where I felt a lack of motivation to respond to a message or postponed my response out of fear of what the answer my show about myself or my situation. Therein lies one of the biggest hurdles to effective online counseling – much of the onus of engagement stems from your motivation to participate, and it’s much easier to avoid doing so when therapy is being delivered via asynchronous messages.

Both of these platforms, and the therapists who helped me, wouldn’t let me get off that easily. A day of missed messages would result in a slew of emails from my therapists, who communicated clearly the desire to connect and the encouragement for me to engage. In the moments where exploring the truth of my problem felt too overwhelming to dive into, I forced myself to rebuild that communication, and was met with empathy, understanding, and grace. That’s the beauty of online counseling – by working only with licensed practitioners, I knew I was in the hands of professionals who had the experience and caring to help me through those tougher days.

For my particular issue, asynchronous counseling worked extremely well. Instead of intensive assessment and guided behavioral counseling, I was met with daily check ins, practical suggestions and activities to implement between communications, and the opportunity to give feedback. When something didn’t work, I felt safe to share that with my counselors, and they quickly adjusted their approach as needed. When I felt things were going well, they gave me both text and audio based encouragement that provided the motivation to keep going.

To this end, online counseling seems like it would be extremely effective for situationally-based intervention. My issue, one of a relationship struggle that had been festering for some time, led to concrete discussions around the decision I would make and ways I could cope with that choice. The benefits of this could easily apply to similar issues – the loss of a loved one, an unexpected life transition, a struggle to choose between two paths.

Where I see online counseling as perhaps less helpful would be for cases in which serious or chronic mental health concerns – untreated bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc. – due to the barrier that the non-face-to-face format creates. For these conditions and others, clients typically require a much higher degree of trust and a more formalized structure of treatment. When dealing with this kind of diagnosis, the tendency to avoid change is so much more internalized, and unless a client is highly motivated, online counseling may not be the most appropriate venue to seek help.

So which service would I recommend? I’m happy to say that my experience, from assessment, treatment, and termination, was an extremely positive one. Although I didn’t need to, both services offer a change in therapists upon request, and as long as the online format works for you, feel assured that you can be linked to someone you connect with on a deep level. Best yet, when you feel ready to end therapy, both services offer an easy contract termination. While I only engaged in services for about a month before I felt like I’d received what I needed, you can work with your counselor for as long as you need. And when you are ready to walk away, neither site will make this painful for you.

When we consider the variety of options out there for therapy, know that online counseling can be a fantastic choice, especially if you are capable of engaging regularly with your therapist. That is on you, so be prepared to dedicate time each day to communicating and applying the lessons you’ve learned to your own issue. BetterHelp and TalkSpace have both provided all of us an opportunity to get better on our own terms – if you think the time is right, reach out and start diving into what will make your life more fulfilled.

Our Pick

Web Experience
Mobile Experience
Sign-Up Process
Messaging (not real-time) Experience
Real-Time Interaction Experience
$35/week, which include one free 20-minute call per month.

Extra calls at $29 per 20 minutes
$32/week for 1 therapist check-in per day

$39/week for 2 therapist check-ins per day

$49/week for 2 therapist check-ins per day + 1 Live Session/month
Trial Period

Refund if not satisfied in trial period

No Trial Period or Refund



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