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January 27, 2023

A Comprehensive Review of Talkspace: Is Online Therapy Right for You?

For example, the latest Netflix hit documentary “Stutz” features a vulnerable discussion between Jonah Hill and his therapist, Phil Stutz.

With so much awareness about the importance of mental health, and so much common knowledge these days about mindfulness, it’s become easier than ever for anyone to have easy access to online therapy.

In this article we’re going to be reviewing Talkspace, a popular platform for online therapy with over 2 million users.

Talkspace Review $276-$436 Per Month (Without Insurance)
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What is Talkspace?

Talkspace is an online service that offers a range of subscription plans and therapy services for individuals, teens, and couples.

Not only are these services accepted by most health insurers, but there are also various methods of connecting to your therapist.

Whether you’re new to therapy or simply looking for a convenient option to talk, Talkspace might be the answer.

Talkspace Backstory:

Roni and Oren Frank started Talkspace in 2012 in Manhattan. They were inspired to create a new program to make therapeutic help available to everyone and anyone.

Their initiative began by providing group therapy services with licensed therapists.

They eventually introduced a free message option with audio recording and the possibility of scheduling live video meetings.

Because Talkspace was one of the first online therapy providers with a mobile app and messaging, they became popular for adolescents aged 13-19 with their Talkspace for Teens program.

In 2018 they added individual and partners’ therapy to their therapy program Talkspace for Teens, as well as counseling for psychiatrists about medications.

Third Party Reviews

Talkspace has mostly positive reviews, however, Talkspace has negative reviews and has made misleading claims too.

  • Over 20K reviews on Android and IOS with ~4.5/5 average rating
  • Hundreds of negative reviews on Reddit, Trustpilot, and BBB

Our opinion is that while the negative reviews are rightfully upsetting, there are still relatively few negative reviews in comparison to generally positive reviews.

Hence why we recommend Talkspace but recommend you only try 1 month to begin.

It’s best suited for people new to therapy or have more commonly presenting issues, like anxiety or depression.

From the reviewer’s experience working with eating disorders, it does not feel appropriate to recommend Talkspace for eating disorders or other diseases with high mortality rates.

Talkspace App Android and IOS Reviews

4.4 / 5 average rating from 5,770 reviews in early 2023
Talkspace in Google Play Store
4.7 / 6 average rating from 14,300 reviews in early 2023
Talkspace in Apple Store

Negative Online Reviews

Talkspace Reddit Reviews

Other Online Reviews

Despite the negative reviews, according to a survey of 105 Talkspace users:

“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.”

How does Talkspace work?

Overview:

  1. To get started with Talkspace, you need to first sign up through their website. Talkspace can also be downloaded using the Talkspace app, which allows users to set up appointments and messages in a single location.
  2. After providing basic information like your contact details, age, and gender, you can select a plan that’s suited to your needs. Talkspace also offers a ‘Match Program’ which helps you find the right therapist based on relevant factors such as levels of anxiety or behavior patterns.
  3. Once you’ve chosen a plan and chosen a therapist through the Match Program, you can start working with them via text messages or by scheduling live video calls.
  4. The cost per user varies depending on the services you sign up for and how frequently you will want to have your sessions.

Sign up Process

  1. If you’re looking to join, all you have to do is head on over to the website or download and open up their mental health app.
  2. Create an account and get started by clicking the relevant buttons for your service of choice (on the website) or pressing ‘get started’ in-app. You must enter your nickname, password, or email address.
  3. Once you complete the initial assessment, you’ll be directed to a private chat room with an artificial intelligence robot or licensed clinical social worker.
  4. This conversation is vital in connecting you to the right counselor so that every one of their needs are met. Through this live session, therapists will explain how Talkspace works and give insight into each plan available for individual’s needs.
  5. Finally, you will be asked to select an appropriate payment method for securing the services – either insurance or out-of-pocket.
  6. You then will reach a page where your subscription plan is chosen and “Secure your Match” becomes available.
  7. In case of it being your first experience with Talkspace, promotional codes would automatically apply here.
  8. Once this step is done, moving forward requires providing emergency contact information as well as phone number & email verification details before you may match with your therapist.

Any Talkspace signup discount or free trial?

When signing up for Talkspace, users may be eligible to receive discounts off their first month’s subscription. These offers can range from $80 to $200 and can often be found on the homepage.

What Kinds of Therapy Does Talkspace Offer?

Talkspace provides access to a diverse range of licensed clinicians from the United States and Canada.

Through an initial sign-up questionnaire, users can be matched with a therapist that suits their needs and has experience addressing their specific mental health concerns.

Various kinds of counseling are offered for various mental health concerns, including:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • anger management
  • depression
  • family conflict
  • parenting
  • LGBTQIA+ matters
  • eating disorders
  • trauma
  • grief
  • insomnia

The popular types of therapy and counseling for these problems include psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Choosing a therapist

After signing up to Talkspace, the automated matching system will typically take up to 48 hours to find a suitable therapist for users.

Once matched and notified via email and/or mobile app, users have access to view the therapist’s profile photo and bio detailing qualifications and professional experience.

When seeking couples therapy, Talkspace provides users with a list of recommended therapists to choose from instead of an individual match.

Are Talkspace therapists legit?

According to Talkspace’s public hiring requirements Talkspace:

  • A LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, or PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Individual professional malpractice liability insurance policy
  • Submission of a fully completed, signed CAQH application
  • Individual NPI number
  • Reliable internet connection
  • Completed background check

Here’s what other Talkspace reviews get wrong

Please note many Talkspace reviews state Talkspace therapists are required to have 3,000 hours of training. Yet from Talkspace’s own website, they do not require 3,000 hours.

Talkspace offers a wide range of credentials and experience levels among its therapists with an average of nine years’ worth.

However, there are no stated minimum requirements for contact hours or years of experience, meaning some matches may have up to one year or less counseling experience.

There may also be associate licensees working towards independent licensure, although they must have a master’s degree.

How Do Therapists on Talkspace Get Paid?

The business pays therapists on the platform through fees paid for therapy services by its customers. Talkspace has a variety of deals with insurance companies as well, which pay for Talkspace therapists.

How Much Does Talkspace Cost?

Messaging Therapy

$65.00

PER WEEK

  • Text, Video and Audio Messaging

  • Guaranteed Daily Responses 5 Days / Week

Messaging Therapy Premium

$79.00

PER WEEK

  • Text, Video and Audio Messaging

  • Guaranteed Daily Responses 5 Days / Week

  • 1 Live Call Per Month - 30 Mins

LiveTalk
Therapy Ultimate

$99.00

PER WEEK

  • Text, Video and Audio Messaging

  • Guaranteed Daily Responses 5 Days / Week

  • 4 Live Calls Per Month - 30 Mins

Talkspace offers a variety of subscription plans for its therapy services, ranging from $276 – $436 per month.

However, Talkspace psychiatry is not part of the subscription plan; instead you pay per session based upon your location and the availability of therapists in your state.

While you may meet virtually, Talkspace is still legally required to provide online therapists licensed within your area to provide care and therefore prices might vary slightly from what is stated on the website.

When deciding on a payment plan, you have the option of using insurance.

Talkspace works with numerous health plans in the United States and will require your details when signing up so that they can verify if your policy is eligible.

Choosing to pay on a monthly, quarterly or biannual basis will reduce the cost per month. Furthermore, opting for insurance also cuts down payment costs significantly.

Plan Rates

  • Messaging Therapy costs $276 per month, $744 per quarter, or $1,320 biannually.
  • Video Plus Messaging Therapy is priced at $396 per month, $1,068 per quarter, or $1,896 biannually.
  • Video Plus Messaging Plus Workshops come with a price tag of $436 per month, $1,176 quarterly, or $2,088 biannually.
  • Couples Therapy has a fee of $436 per month for both people or $1,188 per quarter.
  • Teenagers aged 13 to 17 have access to the same three therapy plans as adults (with parent/guardian consent).
  • Talkspace Psychiatry includes an initial evaluation for $249 and follow-up sessions for $125 each.

Can I easily cancel or get a refund?

To cancel your subscription renewal, you need only click your username to access your account, then select Payment and plan.

After opting to cancel your plan, Talkspace will offer a $150 discount for your next monthly renewal; you may also have the option to pause your subscription for 30 days, switch providers, or choose a lower-fee $49 maintenance plan with guaranteed responses only once a week (not advertised elsewhere).

If all options are declined, it will ask why before finally giving final confirmation that the plan has been canceled.

Unfortunately, refunds for the subscription plan are not available prior to renewal. And even after you choose to cancel your subscription, it will remain active until your current billing period concludes.

This is the most common complaint online – not being available to get refunds.

You may want to consider signing up for a shorter initial time period to test out.

Does Talkspace Accept Insurance?

Talkspace offers access to psychiatrists and professional counselors, but whether your insurance plan covers this service depends on the specific therapy plan.

Talkspace does not accept Medicare or Medicaid, however they do work with many other insurance providers and have EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs) which can provide benefits packages including subsidizing medication management sessions.

Providers collaborating with Pfizer, Cigna, Gatorcare & Optum also offer access to psychiatry services.

How Long are Talkspace sessions?

Talkspace offers a variety of therapeutic options, such as live video and phone sessions, and selected doctors offer instant chat and email. Those undergoing a treatment program will have an introduction of 10 minutes and then regular sessions of approximately 45 minutes.

Psychiatric Consultation on Talkspace

Talkspace was the first online medical service to offer medication prescriptions, enabling users to virtually book visits with a psychiatrist to help with their medications.

The prescribers are experienced psychiatrists or neurologists who can provide specialized medical care but are not allowed to offer any form of therapy.

Overall, however, Talkspace’s psychiatrists have a variety of qualifications and experience levels, including nurse practitioners who are authorized to prescribe medication but not trained with the same board certifications as medical doctors.

All Talkspace prescribers cannot prescribe controlled substances; instead, patients can consult a psychiatrist for an assessment regarding addiction-related problems without being provided with prescription medications.

Can Talkspace prescribe medication?

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 over the counter medications.

Can Talkspace Therapists Diagnose and Then Prescribe Xanax?

Talkspace provides users access to medication prescription and medication management services through their psychiatry package.

Upon subscription, the user is matched with nurse practitioners or psychitriasts who can then recommend the needed medications for them to obtain from their local pharmacy.

However, Talkspace does not dispense certain substances such as benzodiazepines like xanax, alprazolam, as well as stimulants for ADHD like amphetamines/dextro-amphetamines (Adderall).

Medication Management & Tracker with Talkspace

In addition to medication prescriptions, Talkspace also gives users access to a medication management tracker available via phone and email.

Keeping track of a patient’s progress helps determine how a patient approaches treatment.

It also offers an exercise program tailored to everyday issues such as stress and conflict, which can be completed and recorded for the therapist’s review.

Talkspace Misleading Marketing Examples

There are instances of misleading marketing regarding Talkspace Messaging. However, we would like to emphasize that overall Talkspace Messaging is a high quality service.

The most misleading marketing in question comes from the discrepancy around messaging availability.

This can be most clearly seen in the Talkspace pricing description for their messaging service which has “Guaranteed Daily Responses 5 Days / Week”. Obviously you cannot guarantee daily responses only 5 days per week.

However in other areas of their website, Talkspace in their Unlimited Messaging Therapy says “Post and reply to messages in your room 24/7 — no need to wait to get something off your mind. Your therapist will see your messages and can respond to you throughout the day”.

Y, we found another section of Talkspace (written for their therapists, not the customer/client) which said “Please be available to clients at least 5 days of the week.”

In other words, Talkspace is slightly misleading in their services.

They are saying you can message any time, which implies everyday, but then to the therapists they are saying 5 days a week.

However, we don’t want to tarnish Talkspace Messaging service either, as they are still providing a messaging service 5 days per week.

Furthermore, the other online competitors and service providers are not any better, for the most part.

Overall, the counselors’ response times are comparable to those of other platforms too.

Users may often anticipate hearing back from their counselor four to six hours after sending a message.

So there you have it, 5 days a week.

In other words, you might be stuck on the weekends, but it’s still a whole lot better than having to wait an entire week which is typical for traditional talk forms of therapy.

Finally, Talkspace also claims it’s therapist quality is higher than what it’s public hiring documents would suggest (see below).

Talkspace Privacy Policy

Talkspace is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant and encrypts communications between the software and the servers, including chat data. It requires a password to be entered upon signup and enables users to create a unique one for added security.

However, it does not allow the deletion of chat transcripts as they are stored as official medical records. The privacy policy states that non-identifying and aggregate information may be used for research, trend analysis, website design and marketing purposes.

Moreover, when switching providers, users can opt to withhold their chat history from the new provider but not delete it completely.

Recent accusations from former employees include manipulating Talkspace reviews, advertising services in a way that encourages customers into using their service as well as deploying user data for marketing campaigns; however none of these claims have been proven yet.

Talkspace Legal and Financial Info

Teletherapy company Talkspace is facing a class action lawsuit alleging it misled investors about the company’s financials in the run-up to its merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Talkspace denies any wrong doing.

In more positive news, according to Talkspace investor statements, “As of December 2021, over 2 million people have used Talkspace, and 69 million lives were covered for Talkspace through insurance and employee assistance programs or other network behavioral health paid benefit programs”.

Is Talkspace a Legit Platform for Therapy?

Overall, Talkspace is a trusted online therapeutic service that has been in operation since 2012. It provides professional counseling services to its users with the help of licensed therapists who have some degree of experience.

No large corporation is perfect, and the benefits conveyed by Talkspace particularly in making therapy more available far outweigh the valid concerns regarding misleading communications, frustrating refunds, and other issues.

Talkspace Review: The Verdict

TalkSpace is an innovative company with a mission to increase access to and affordability of mental health services.

To make this accessible, TalkSpace provides a streamlined process, an easy-to-use platform and flexible, tiered pricing options, allowing individuals the opportunity to receive treatments tailored to their needs.

While research on online text therapy is limited it may be a good option if you’re looking for convenient, lower cost therapy approaches from the convenience of your, or if you would simply like to skip the webcam part.

However, the quality of therapy sessions may leave room for improvement, and other factors might come into play too, such as refunds being a common customer complaint and a few misleading statements about their services.

An overwhelming majority of users surveyed (83%) reported they would confidently suggest the company to a friend. This indicates that customers can recognize its purpose and to acknowledge Talkspace’s flaws while still benefiting from the mental health assistance provided by it.

If you are in urgent peril or require immediate mental health services, dial someone dependable, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or your regional emergency services instead of relying on a service like Talkspace.

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