Are you considering trying Talkspace but aren’t quite sure?
We at Online Mental Health Reviews have purchased and gone through the Talkspace therapy experience, so we’re qualified to share a review about this increasingly popular online therapy platform.
After thorough analysis, our Online Mental Health Reviews conclusion is that Talkspace is an overall high-quality, affordable online therapy service best for people new to therapy, who have insurance, and who are less worried about data safekeeping.
How did we arrive at this conclusion? In this article, we’ll be breaking down our thought process:
We’ll walk you through our Talkspace experience and answer common questions related to insurance, how to use Talkspace, and other frequently asked questions. In addition, we’ll include third-party reviews, Reddit comments, science papers, tables, and much more!
It all starts when you signup for Talkspace!
You can see our entire video playlist documenting our experience with Talkspace therapy! The first video starts from step 1 down below where we create an account and pay, receive therapy, all the way down to ultimately getting a refund:
Key Talkspace Review Takeaways
- According to Bloomberg1, Talkspace is available to 40 million Americans through health insurance or employee assistance programs, making Talkspace one of the most accessible and affordable online therapy services.
- Talkspace therapy is quality – We had a connected, impactful, and heart-warming conversation with a female African-American therapist.
Weaknesses of Talkspace
- Talkspace is the subject of several lawsuits, doesn’t provide strong data protection, and there are numerous complaints from customers not being able to get refunds (however, we were able to get a refund fairly easily using the strategy outlined in the video below – see section “Discounts”).
- Talkspace claims to make therapy affordable, but in reality, costs are similar to normal therapy (which is why we recommend insurance or EAP coverage)
Who is Talkspace For?
- If you have health insurance or work for an employer who provides mental health benefits, you likely qualify to receive Talkspace therapy services for free or reduced costs.
- If you are new to therapy
Who Is Talkspace Not For?
- If your insurance or company does not cover Talkspace (there are plenty of cheap or free online therapy options if you are financially strapped)
- If you are very concerned about data protection
Our Online Mental Health Review Opinion Summary
Talkspace is an overall high-quality online therapy service best for people new to therapy and who have insurance.
Third Party Reviews
Pricing / Insurance
Talkspace is best if you’re new to therapy, have insurance, and looking for online convenience for mild to moderate mental health struggles.
Get $100 off your first month with code SPACE at Talkspace.com.
- No commuting with flexible online sessions from home
- Multiple subscription plans available
- Quick signup with user-friendly platform and app
- Constant access with round-the-clock text messages and live chats available
- You can choose your therapist from three options, allowing you to somewhat customize your experience
- Serves all 50 states
- You can switch therapists whenever you want at no extra cost.
- Has an easy-to-navigate app
- High user satisfaction
- Flexible plans, accepted by most health insurers and contract-free
- The service can connect you with a psychiatrist who can evaluate you and prescribe medication that you can pick up from your local pharmacy
- Provides individual therapy, couples, and teen therapy
- All sessions with well-qualified therapists
- The platform encrypts your conversations and offers a password-secured login system to keep your data private.
- Providers and AI algorithm choose 3 therapists for you
- No group or family counseling sessions
- Exact pricing only revealed upon sign-up
- Most affordable plan is messaging-only
- Text therapy may not be suitable for everyone as it may feel impersonal due to automated messages
- No sliding scale or financial aid options available
- Medicare and Medicaid do not cover services
- Live sessions are only 30 minutes long and must be purchased with higher-priced plans
- Overall best suited for cases of anxiety or depression
- If cancelled within the month, Talkspace will still charge the subscriber for the entire month
- AI analysis may be done on conversations with your therapist
- Chat history cannot be deleted
- Some misleading claims
Now we’ve given you our overall thoughts about Talkspace, in the rest of this article we’ll dive into the details of how we arrived at these conclusions.
We’ll start by answering basic questions about Talkspace and continue getting deeper into sub-topics as you continue reading.
Please leave a comment with your questions, if we missed a Talkspace detail you’d like us to explore more, or your experience with Talkspace if you’ve tried.
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 (40 million Americans1), but there are also various methods of connecting to your therapist, such as by mobile app via Android or Apple app stores.
Whether you’re new to therapy or simply looking for a convenient option to talk, Talkspace might be the answer.
Roni and Oren Frank, wife, and husband, 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 couples therapy to their therapy program Talkspace for Teens, as well as counseling for psychiatrists about medications.
Talkspace has a mixture of positive and negative reviews from people who’ve used their services.
On the positive side, Talkspace has over 20,000 ratings from the Android and Apple app stores with a 4.5/5 average score. Talkspace also receives a 4/5 from G2 with 8 comprehensive customer reviews.
On the negative side, Talkspace has hundreds of negative reviews on Reddit, Trustpilot, and the Better Business Bureau:
- On Reddit, one person says “For anyone seeking serious therapy, avoid this fraudulent scam”. For more, comments critical of Talkspace from Reddit, see our online therapy Reddit comments post here.
- On Trustpilot, Talkspace gets a 1.2/5 average rating from 124 reviews.
- The Better Business Bureau gives Talkspace 1.08/5 from 89 reviews.
These negative comments are alarming, and we highly suggest you read them before making a purchasing decision.
For example, one theme in these negative comments is Talkspace’s poor customer service (different than stellar therapist communications). We experienced this slow, email-only customer service as well and know these complaints are valid.
our overall experience with Talkspace is positive
Our therapy conversation was vulnerable and real, which we recorded and shared for you to listen to and to see for yourself if Talkspace therapy is for you.
Nonetheless, these negative comments have impacted our overall evaluation of Talkspace, namely, that you should be using insurance to pay for Talkspace.
Yet, it’s also important to remember that while there are a few hundred negative reviews, there are also many more positive reviews.
20,000 reviews on the Android and Apple app stores (average 4.5/5 rating) is nothing to scoff at and puts other negative comments in a different perspective.
Plus, at the end of the day, the Talkspace insurance overage is simply amazing, and those cost savings (if you have insurance) are incredibly valuable for many people.
Finally, our experience using Talkspace was very positive. We easily used the service, had a quality conversation, and even got a refund without any hassle – although their customer service was slow.
We hope this helps you understand our overall conclusion:
Talkspace is an overall high-quality, affordable online therapy service best for people new to therapy, and who have insurance.
Let’s continue diving deeper into Talkspace!
How does Talkspace work?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The cost per user varies depending on the services you sign up for and how frequently you will want to have your sessions.
$276 to $436
Yes - Many insurance providers
Types of Therapy
Many different types
Provides Education and Tools
Included With every plan
Live video, audio, and messaging
Change therapists anytime
Includes many insurance coverages
Sign up Process
We found the overall Talkspace experience to be seamless, load fast, and intuitive to use.
Talkspace is a clean, fast-loading design that quickly moves you through the process. Their user interface and quick signup process are one of the main reasons why we recommend Talkspace for people new to therapy. It’s easy to use!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- This conversation is vital in connecting you to the right counselor so that every one of their needs is met.
- Finally, you will be asked to select an appropriate payment method for securing the services – either insurance or out-of-pocket.
- You then will reach a page where your subscription plan is chosen and “Secure your Match” becomes available.
- In case it is your first experience with Talkspace, promotional codes would automatically apply here.
- 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.
Our team thought the sign-up process was straightforward.
Initially, we thought the onboarding assessments were too short, but it appears that each questionnaire is backed by research, which helped us to feel more at peace knowing the symptoms were being adequately screened for.
How Much Does Talkspace Cost?
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 on 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.
Only Messaging Therapy
Video + Messaging Therapy
Video + Messaging Workshop
- 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.
- Talkspace for 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.
Does Talkspace Accept Insurance?
Yes – Talkspace accepts insurance. One of the reasons we wanted to cover Talkspace was because of their extensive insurance coverage (40 million Americans qualify).
However, Talkspace without insurance is going to be out of budget for many people.
The bottom line is that while Talkspace claims to offer a cheaper therapy alternative to in-person therapy, you can actually find sliding-scale and other low-cost therapy options.
This is why we recommend Talkspace primarily for people who have insurance or EAP coverage.
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.
40 million Americans have access to Talkspace insurance coverage, and many more through their company’s EAP programs, which can provide benefits packages including subsidizing therapy and medication management sessions.
Talkspace does not accept Medicare or Medicaid, or crypto, and no longer accepts gift cards.
Use this link to use the Talkspace Tool which will calculate if Talkspace takes your insurance coverage.
You may also watch this video below for more about determining if your insurance covers Talkspace:
more info about insurance Talkspace Accepts:
- Insurances Talkspace Accepts – Covers 40 Million Americans
Any Talkspace discount or free trial?
When signing up for Talkspace, users may be eligible to receive discounts on their first month’s subscription.
- The current discount is $100 off your first month of therapy with code “SPACE”.
- These offers can range from $80 to $200 and are found on the homepage.
- Choosing to pay on a quarterly, or biannual basis will reduce the cost per month.
- Quarterly = 10% discount on monthly subscription
- Bi-annual = 20% off the monthly subscription
- If you try to cancel your account, Talkspace will first offer you $150 off your next month’s payment if you choose to continue instead
- Talkspace does not offer a free trial
Cost Of Every Talkspace Payment Plan Option
ONLINE THERAPY - MESSAGING
$276.00 / Month
ONLINE THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING
$396.00 / Month
ONLINE THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING + WORKSHOPS
$436.00 / Month
TEEN THERAPY - MESSAGING
$276.00 / Month
TEEN THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING
$396.00 / Month
TEEN THERAPY - VIDEO + MESSAGING + WORKSHOPS
$436.00 / Month
$365.00 / Month
$249.00 / Initial Evaluation
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:
- anger management
- family conflict
- LGBTQIA+ matters
- eating disorders
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 for Talkspace, the automated matching system says it will take 1-3 days and hours to find a suitable therapist for users.
However, the Talkspace algorithm matched us with a therapist in a matter of hours.
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.
Switching your Talkspace therapist
Changing your Talkspace therapist is quick and easy. Here is a quick video where we document the process:
Are Talkspace therapists legit?
According to Talkspace’s public hiring requirements Talkspace:
- An LCSW, LMFT, LPCC, or Ph.D. 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
We found many therapists on Talkspace who had over 20 years of experience, as well as new therapists with only 1 year of experience.
Listen to Talkspace Therapy Session – Hear For Yourself
At Online Mental Health Reviews, we aim to provide the most useful data to help you make a decision, and we lead by example.
You may listen to a Talkspace therapy session below. All information is anonymous, including the therapist, as we worked as a secret shopper for purpose of this review.
How Long are Talkspace sessions?
Talkspace therapy sessions are 30 minutes long.
Normally we prefer longer therapy sessions, especially when working with trauma. However, if you are new to therapy then you’ll probably be working on more common concerns such as anxiety or depression.
While 30 minutes is a drawback, this informs our recommendation that Talkspace is best for people new to therapy.
Not only is their sign-up and user-interface smooth, but the 30-minute Talkspace time frame, unfortunately, limits what mental health concerns for which Talkspace therapy is actually appropriate.
Can I Freeze or Pause My Talkspace Therapy?
You may freeze or pause your Talkspace therapy sessions for 7 days. If you try to cancel, Talkspace will offer you a longer 30-day free or pause.
For each day you pause or freeze your Talkspace therapy, the automatic renewal billing date changes accordingly, so if you pause for 3 days your account subscription will be renewed 3 days later as well.
Can I easily cancel My Talkspace Subscription?
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.
Overall, canceling your Talkspace subscription is easy.
How can I get a Talkspace refund?
Unfortunately, refunds for the subscription plan are not available before renewal (usually). 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 period to test out the Talkspace experience given that refunds are normally not available.
We were able to secure a refund using the steps in this video (find a gender/problem combination that they allow you to select but don’t have):
Does Talkspace Offer Any Financial Aid?
Talkspace does not offer financial aid.
What About Psychiatry 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 offer 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 Prescribe Xanax or Adderall?
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 psychiatrists 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, 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 Review – Customer Support
There are a few ways to get in touch with Talkspace if you want to. Here are some things you can do:
- Talkspace does not have a phone line and does not offer phone support. For any questions not answered in Talkspace Help Center, email email@example.com.
- You can go to the Talkspace website and click on the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page. This will take you to a form where you can fill in your information and send a message to their support team.
- You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are a therapist or have employment-related questions, you can email email@example.com
If you are having a mental health emergency, you need to get help right away. Talkspace suggests calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or using one of the other resources on their website.
Please know that Talkspace does not offer emergency or crisis counseling. If you need help right away, please call an emergency service or a qualified healthcare provider.
Our Experience with Talkspace Customer Support
From what we’ve seen, Talkspace therapists answer quickly, usually within a few hours.
However, Talkspace customer service takes 1-3 days between email responses making Talkspace a poor option for customer phone support.
Overall while Talkdoes does offer quality and comprehensive services, Talkspace customer support is not up to par with their other offerings.
Talkspace claims they are Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant and encrypts communications between the software and the servers, including chat data.
For example, Talkspace requires a password to be entered upon signup and enables users to create a unique one for added security.
Please note HIPPA does not allow the deletion of chat transcripts as they are stored as official medical records.
Talkspace gathers and aggregates user information
According to Consumer Reports – Digital Lab2:
- Does the app name any of the companies they share your data with?
○ No – (4 of 7 apps: 7 Cups, BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Youper)
○ No – (4 of 7 apps: BetterHelp, Sanity & Self, Talkspace, Wysa, and Youper)
○ No – (4 of 7 apps: 7 Cups, BetterHelp, Sanity & Self, Talkspace)
- Can you delete your data easily, right from the app?
○ No – (3 of 7 apps: 7 Cups, Sanity & Self, Wysa, and Talkspace)
- Does the app ask permission before using your data for research?
○ No – (4 of 7 apps: 7 Cups, MindDoc, Sanity & Self, Talkspace, Wysa)
- Can you opt out of data research projects?
○ No – (3 of 7 apps: 7cups, MindDoc, and Talkspace)
In other words, Talkspace claims to not give any of your information to third parties. However, Consumer Reports details that Talkspace does provide user info to data projects at least, and possibly other companies as well (unknown which companies).
This is why we not only recommend Talkspace for people who 1) are new to therapy and 2) have insurance or EAP coverage – but who are also not worried about data privacy.
For example, the younger generation versus the older generation typically views data privacy in opposite ways.
Older people, on average lean towards a higher preference for data protection. Younger people, perhaps because of their familiarity with the internet as a cultural norm, tend to not be as worried about data privacy.
Talkspace Legal and Financial Info
The Talkspace digital healthcare company (TALKW) is being looked into for possible breaches of fiduciary duty3:
- The focus of the investigation is on whether or not the officers and/or directors of the company broke their duties to the company’s shareholders by overestimating the value of accounts.
- Concerns have also been raised about how Talkspace handles data privacy. Talkspace has been accused of several ethically questionable practices, including data-mining patients’ private conversations with therapists and not adequately respecting client privacy.
- The company has also faced criticism for its labor practices and efficacy, with some therapists questioning whether they can meet their legal and ethical obligations without full and immediate access to a client’s information.
- In addition, former employees have alleged that Talkspace made burner phones available for fake reviews, which raises concerns about the company’s commitment to transparency and honesty.
Even though these investigations are still going on, it’s important to know that Talkspace is still helping its clients with online therapy and is fighting these accusations in court.
Is Talkspace a Legit Platform for Therapy?
Overall, Talkspace is a trusted online therapeutic service that has been in operation since 2012.
- Talkspace connects you with licensed therapists from the comfort of your device, making it easy to fit therapy into your busy schedule.
- With over 1 million users, Talkspace is one of the #1 rated online therapy services.
- Talkspace offers a variety of therapy options, including messaging, video sessions, and live chat.
- The company is committed to providing high-quality care and employs only licensed therapists who have undergone rigorous training and certification.
- Talkspace is available in all 50 states and accepts most major insurance plans.
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 – in our opinion.
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.
However other factors might come into play too, such as refunds being a common customer complaint and ethical allegations ranging from data privacy to overworking their therapists.
Nonetheless, 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 acknowledge Talkspace’s flaws while still benefiting from the mental health assistance provided by it.
We hope you understand our thought process behind our conclusion:
Talkspace is an overall high-quality, affordable online therapy service best for people new to therapy and who have insurance and who are not too worried about data privacy.
If you are in urgent peril or require immediate mental health services the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or your regional emergency services instead of relying on a service like Talkspace.
- Bloomberg Business. (2020, August 10). Talkspace Expands Affordable Mental Health Care Offering for 40 Million Americans via Insurance Coverage. Bloomberg. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2020-08-10/talkspace-expands-affordable-mental-health-care-offering-for-40-million-americans-via-insurance-coverage
- Mental Health Apps – 2-Page Brief. (n.d.). In https://advocacy.consumerreports.org. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://advocacy.consumerreports.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/cr_mentalhealth_2page.pdf
- Therapy app Talkspace accused of ethically questionable practices. (2016, December 20). MobiHealthNews. https://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/therapy-app-talkspace-accused-ethically-questionable-practices
More Talkspace Review Resources
- We Bought Talkspace (Video) – Here’s Our Complete Review
- Why Michael Phelps Says, “Talkspace Saved My Life”
- Insurances Talkspace Accepts – Covers 40 Million Americans
- Talkspace Cost Breakdown – What We Paid
- The Public and Private Talkspace Discounts We Found
- Talkspace Phone Number (?)
- Talkspace Company Financial Info
- The Salary of Talkspace Therapists
- How To Cancel Your Talkspace Subscription
- The Talkspace App Is Popular!
- Talkspace Versus Calmerry
- Talkspace Versus Brightside
- Talkspace Versus Sesame Care