TalkSpace vs. BetterHelp

I’ve been reading up on the new way to therapy which is right on your mobile device. Sometimes you don’t have time to sit down at the therapist office. Other times, a text message will-not-do and you just need to be in the same room with your therapist.

For the many times when a text conversation will do, these new services do come in handy. These new technologies help make therapy accessible to everyone including the millions around the world with issues like anxiety, stress, depression and many others. The cost of this services is way more affordable and you don’t have to deal with the stigma of looking for help.

Sometimes people don’t have time to sit down at the therapist office. There is an app for that... Click To Tweet

I started doing some research into some of the apps that facilitate this type of service. I’ve compiled a list and some thoughts, so here I go:

To kick off the list I will talk about “Talkspace”

Probably the biggest in the market at the moment of this writing, claiming they have over 500K peeps on their platform. Talkspace offers a mobile and web platform that promises to get you talking to one of their 1000 therapists real-time in no time.

Based on my experience the signup process was frictionless and the conversation started right away. Once you create your account and start a conversation, there is a form you have to fill out. Some kind of assessment. Pretty basic stuff, you’d also have to do this if you were visiting a therapist office.

Then the matching takes place. I think it’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to find your match but rather the person you are talking to finds the right therapist for you after asking you a series of qualifying questions. From that point on, the service is as much as you would expect. Within a day you are matched with a therapist and you basically can start typing your problems away or sending audio and video messages.

Cost is affordable starting at $32/week for unlimited texting, video and audio calling. There are a few concerns about the privacy policy of the website. It is very extensive and covers lots info which may make it a bit confusing to the end user. One important thing is that they are HIPAA compliant.

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Now let’s talk about “BetterHelp”

The promise is to provide people with access to quality professional help when they are facing life’s challenges so they can be happier. With BetterHelp, the assessment was done right away and I wasn’t in a real time chat as I was with Talkspace, but rather interacting with their website/app. While the questionnaire was pretty much the same as the one given by Talkspace, it felt a bit impersonal. The first interaction with Talkspace felt almost like walking up to the counter and announcing myself at the therapist office. Anyways, this isn’t a big deal but I obsess a bit over user experience. With over 2000 therapists on board, you can be sure they’ll find the right match for you. In the case of BetterHelp users are sometimes matched with 2 therapists.

I started chatting with one of my therapists and quickly decided she wasn’t the right match for me. I also realized most of this conversations weren’t going to be in real-time as sometimes I had to wait for a while before a response came back. When you aren’t chatting real-time, it’s hard to keep the flow of the conversation going, as you miss out on a lot of the non-verbal communication you’d have with in-person therapy. However, as things progressed, I realized that having the time in between conversations gave me the chance to think about my therapist’s comments. Even at one time, it allowed me to see my tendency to ruminate a lot when dealing with my anxiety and stress issues.

Cost: you can sign up, get matched, and start talking to your counselor all for free. If you decide to continue with their services, the cost is a flat fee of $35/week for unlimited counseling, which includes speaking to your counselor as much as you need.

Final Thoughts…

Both apps have really good user experience and are accessible on web and mobile. In terms of the therapy, having the ability to chat throughout the day turned out to be fantastic as it gives me the chance to address issues as they come up. Also, the fact that sometimes the conversations weren’t real time, gave me the time to really think about my therapist comments and let them sink in and really process them. A conventional 1-hour therapy session doesn’t give me the possibility of many micro-sessions during my day.

However, and this a big, however, there may be times when being in the same room with your therapist would help tremendously, especially when dealing with very deep rooted issues. For me, having someone available on chat is just a huge convenience at a relatively low cost.