Is Talkspace worth it, or is online therapy a scam? In this Talkspace review, I’ll walk you through my shocking experience with this major teletherapy company and answer all of the questions you have about the service. After a month of putting their platform and therapists to the test, here are my honest thoughts about Talkspace…
Talkspace is not worth it at the price they charge for the service. In fact, Talkspace is one of the most expensive online therapy companies despite providing lower quality customer service and lower paid therapists than their competitors. While the service itself is legitimate, it’s one of the worst values available for a teletherapy company.
If this sounds a bit harsh, just wait until you read about my experience with the company. Spoiler alert: They forced me to be a real karen.
But before getting into that, let’s answer a few of the most common questions asked about Talkspace.
Is Talkspace Real Therapy?
Talkspace is real therapy in the sense that the providers are all licensed therapists or psychiatrists. Talkspace therapists won’t, however, give you an official diagnosis online. Where things really get complicated is whether or not you’d consider online therapy, or teletherapy, to be as legitimate as traditional in-person therapy.
While online therapy like Talkspace isn’t quite as effective as traditional therapy, it can still be a good option for some. Users find that online therapy can be an effective way to gain some introspection, heal past traumas, and grow as a person; however, some important key elements of patient-therapist interaction may be lost over the digital format.
In a perfect world where budget is not an issue, a combination of traditional therapy sessions and teletherapy would probably be ideal.
If you’re still on the fence, this article can help you decide if online therapy is right for you.
Is Talkspace Actually Good?
Talkspace was not a good therapy service in my experience.
Here are the reasons why I say this:
- The cost of Talkspace is much higher than competitors with no real advantages.
- Being matched with a provider took far too long both times I tried it; this wastes valuable (expensive) days of your subscription.
- Therapists are paid less here than elsewhere. Probably for this reason, their disinterest in keeping appointments is evident and felt by the consumer.
- Their customer service was absolutely atrocious and (in my opinion) unethical.
With that said, it wasn’t all terrible. When I actually got to meet with and speak to a therapist, he was a kind and helpful person. I actually liked my therapist and probably could have benefited from seeing him regularly for a longer period of time.
Unfortunately, my other issues with Talkspace, such as their pricing, policies, and customer service, got in the way. After my first month was up, I felt unwilling to give them any more of my hard-earned money.
What’s that, you say? You’re dying to know why this Talkspace review is so negative?
Don’t worry, I’m about to explain each issue in detail.
Is Talkspace too Expensive?
Talkspace is way too expensive for what they deliver. Online therapy is often thought of as a “cheaper alternative” to traditional therapy; but if you’re looking to save money, this is not the place to do so. Talkspace seems to be considerably more expensive than competitor teletherapy services.
Talkspace plans range from $69/week to $129/week, depending on your needs.
The $69/week plan is for messaging therapy only. This includes text, video, and audio messaging throughout the week. While the price may sound good to some, Talkspace only guarantees a text response from your therapist five days out of the week. Of these days, you might only receive two texts back in a 24-hour period. That means you’d be paying about $6.90 per text. Yikes.
The $99/week plan forgoes the messaging for four live therapy sessions per month. This comes out to about $25 per 45-minute session. Frankly, this wouldn’t be a terrible deal if most competitors weren’t offering four sessions plus texting for less. This plan also gives up the biggest selling point of teletherapy: the ability to text your therapist when you need them most.
The $129/week plan bundles the live therapy sessions and messaging from the previous plans together at a discount. While it’s packaged at a premium price, this is really the “standard” service offered by most teletherapy companies. For all this, you’d be paying about $516/month.
For medication, you’ll need to speak with a Talkspace psychiatrist at an additional cost. For comparison, take a look at what some of the other teletherapy companies are charging.
My biggest gripe with their pricing is… where is my money going?
Talkspace has a reputation for not paying their therapists as well as other companies. And my lackluster experience with their customer service department suggests their budget’s thin there as well. I’m not opposed to paying more when I get more in return, but I just did not feel the value added for my money spent.
How Long do Talkspace Matches Take?
Both of my Talkspace matches took four days. Each “match” provides you with three potential providers based on your preferences. You can either choose one of the three, or request to see more.
It took me two tries to find a good match, which accounts for eight days total being lost of my subscription – a value of nearly $150.
The matching process does have some nice features like being able to choose the gender, specialty, and general age of your provider. Unfortunately, I got the impression that their matching agents were short-staffed or only working a few days per week. Four days is entirely too long to match customers with a provider.
How Much Does Talkspace Pay its Therapists?
Talkspace pays its therapists about $20 per hour. This is significantly less than the $30 per hour rate being paid to therapists by competitor companies like Betterhelp. According to Indeed, the average Talkspace therapist is averaging around $29,779 per year – 44% below the U.S. national average.
This information is important because the mood and attitude of the therapist will be felt by the consumer. With Talkspace, the following situation unfolded for me, twice:
- I match with a new therapist
- Their first availability is at least a full week out
- I wait all week to meet the therapist (expensive subscription days being wasted)
- Shortly before the day of the session, the therapist reschedules or cancels
I certainly understand that these things happen. The patient, however, is not always going to be able to accommodate last-minute reschedules. In my case, work and personal obligations consistently got in the way of the therapists’ alternative availabilities.
With traditional therapy, this may not be as big of an issue. With a subscription model, this eats into the valuable, and expensive, days I've paid for this service.
All this to say: The cavalier attitude I sensed from my Talkspace therapists about keeping appointments probably stems from them feeling underpaid or underappreciated.
Does Talkspace Have Good Customer Service?
Talkspace has the worst customer service of the major teletherapy companies. With both a Trustpilot score and BBB score hovering around 1 star out of 5, it’s safe to say that most users' Talkspace reviews are negative.
While I’ve done my best to keep this Talkspace review as factual and non-biased as possible, you’ve probably detected my tone of disapproval by now. This is because, after a month of dealing with Talkspace’s long matching periods and last-minute provider cancellations, I had only actually gotten one therapy session in my whole first month!
Before my first month’s subscription expired, I reached out to Talkspace’s customer service to ask if they could grant a few weeks extension so I could fully experience the service. I was told that an extension would be impossible, but that as long as I scheduled future sessions while my account was active, I could still use my session credits beyond my subscription expiration date. I considered this solution to be fair… unfortunately, it was inaccurate information.
When my next session finally came in the second month, the platform had me locked out. Contrary to what the customer service agent had told me, I couldn’t use my session credits on these pre-booked sessions once my Talkspace subscription expired. I reached back out to customer service about what happened and a new agent confirmed that I wouldn’t be able to use the credits. She did not, however, offer a solution. I sent her a screenshot of the conflicting information the other agent provided, but I didn’t receive another response.
Now, I’m not one to be a “Karen,” but at this point I’m pretty annoyed. I just paid an entire month ($516 value) to – basically – meet a therapist one time. No part of this could be considered good for my mental health. Naturally, I’m feeling pretty entitled to a refund.
Unfortunately, getting a refund from Talkspace was like pulling teeth. Because my support tickets were being closed without acknowledgement or resolution, I had to submit a handful of them. Honestly, it felt like once I mentioned the word “refund” I wound up in the “ignore and delete” folder.
To their credit, Talkspace did eventually grant me a refund after about two months. However, had I not been annoyingly and aggressively persistent, I’m sure I never would’ve seen my money again.
So… No, Talkspace does not provide good customer service.
How Often do Talkspace Therapists Respond?
Talkspace claims that therapists should respond to texts at least five out of seven days of the week. This is actually pretty reasonable, considering the fact that therapists have personal lives too. The volume and frequency of responses you get will probably vary depending on your provider. If you feel your current provider isn’t texting you back or responding frequently enough, feel free to switch providers until you’re matched with one who fits your needs.
How do I Get the Most Out of Talkspace?
To get the most out of Talkspace, make sure you find and match with a provider you really get along with. You should probably commit to at least a few months to really give therapy a chance to work for you.
While my Talkspace review is negative, it’s possible that some of these issues may have worked themselves out over a longer period of time. If I have one good thing to say in this Talkspace review, it's that I actually liked my second therapist and could imagine benefitting from additional sessions with him.
Can Talkspace Prescribe Medicine?
Talkspace can prescribe medicine at an additional cost. For Talkspace to provide you with medication, you’ll need to meet with a psychiatrist online for an initial evaluation costing $249. After this, any follow-up appointments will cost $125.
Is Talkspace Worth it? Plus, Some Alternatives to Talkspace
Overall, this Talkspace review is not one that found Talkspace to be worth it. However, I wouldn’t write off online therapy as a whole. Below is a chart showing some alternatives to Talkspace. If we missed any competitors of Talkspace that you really love, be sure to comment below and let us know!
Live Video Chats
Accepts Certain Insurance
Psychiatric/Medication Option Available
(Initial $250 + $125 for Follow-up Appointments)
$360 (Discounts Possible)