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Talkspace is one of several online platforms designed as an alternative to traditional therapy. It allows you to speak with a licensed therapist from the comfort of your home, but does it work?
Before signing up for an online therapy service, you may want to compare it to regular in-person therapy. In the following article, we compare Talkspace and traditional therapy to help you decide which option works best for your needs.
Talkspace vs. Traditional Therapy Comparison Table
|Price||Starts at $65 per week||$60 to $120 per session|
|Age Range||13 and older||Any age|
What Is Talkspace?
Talkspace offers online therapy via text messaging, video chat, and phone conversations. You can access the platform through a web browser or the Talkspace mobile app. It connects you with licensed therapists in your state for virtual therapy sessions. Depending on the plan that you choose, you can arrange weekly sessions with your therapist.
Talkspace is a recognizable, trusted brand in the telehealth industry. Since its launch in 2012, the company has helped close to 70 million people receive mental health services.
How Does Talkspace Work?
Talkspace allows you to communicate with your therapist whenever you feel the need to share your thoughts or receive feedback. You can message your therapist using text, video, or audio.
Talkspace has three plans for you to choose from:
- Unlimited messaging
- Unlimited messaging premium
- LiveTalk therapy
The basic unlimited messaging plan costs $65 per week and allows you to message your therapist five days per week. The premium plan adds one live session and costs $79 per month. The LiveTalk Therapy Ultimate plan costs $99 per week and includes four 45-minute sessions.
What Is Traditional Therapy?
Traditional therapy includes face-to-face therapy sessions with a local therapist. Instead of communicating via text or video chat, you meet in person at your therapist’s office.
Therapy is a type of treatment intended to help people with emotional distress and various mental health issues. Most states have strict requirements when it comes to licensing and certifications for therapists. Only qualified individuals can offer their services as licensed therapists. Without the necessary qualifications, one may offer counseling services.
A licensed therapist is trained to provide specific types of treatment, such as psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, and cognitive therapy.
How Does Traditional Therapy Work?
Using traditional therapy requires you to find a therapist, which can be confusing. The difficulty of finding a local therapist is one of the reasons why so many people have tried Talkspace and other online therapy platforms.
Common sources for finding local therapy include referrals, online directories, and health insurance companies. Your insurer may have a list of therapists that accept your insurance.
After finding a therapist, you make an appointment and schedule recurring therapy sessions. It’s common to arrange weekly sessions. However, the frequency may depend on your schedule, budget, and type of treatment.
Traditional therapy covers a wide range of therapeutic methods. Some of the approaches used include cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, and integrative therapy. You may also find therapists that offer dialectical behavior therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and other specialized forms of therapy not available through online platforms.
You are unlikely to communicate with your therapist outside of your therapy sessions. Most therapists only permit texting for emergencies.
Some therapists may also recommend the use of prescription medications and refer you to a psychiatrist. If prescription medications are required, you must see a psychiatrist. Your health insurance may also cover a monthly psychiatry appointment and a portion of your prescriptions.
Why Choose Talkspace?
Talkspace is a good choice for those that want 24/7 access to a licensed mental health professional. You can text your therapist any time of the day or night and expect a prompt response.
Unlimited text messaging is included in each Talkspace plan. However, a traditional therapist is unlikely to appreciate frequent text messages. If you prefer texting and video chatting compared to meeting in person, Talkspace may be the better fit.
Talkspace is also more convenient. Along with texting your therapist at any time, you can arrange live video sessions from home. You can speak with your therapist without leaving the house, which is useful for those that cannot travel.
Talkspace also eliminates the hassle of trying to find a qualified therapist that matches your preferences. The platform uses an assessment to better understand what you want in therapy services and pair you with a licensed therapist.
Why Choose Traditional Therapy?
Traditional therapy makes sense for those that feel more comfortable discussing their issues face-to-face. You may find it easier to articulate your thoughts and express yourself when sitting across from a real person.
Traditional therapy is also necessary for treating severe mental health issues. Online therapy alone may not provide the treatment needed to address severe conditions such as schizophrenia and personality disorders.
In-person therapy also provides access to a wider range of treatments. For example, animal-assisted therapy or art therapy is difficult to complete remotely.
Talkspace vs. Traditional Therapy – The Initial Process
Talkspace has a streamlined process for connecting you with a licensed therapist. You simply need to complete a short assessment via online chat. A consulting therapist walks you through the process of how Talkspace works.
You can then choose a plan that suits your budget. The platform uses its algorithms to search its database of therapists in your state and find a match. If you accept the match, you can arrange an initial conversation with your new therapist.
The initial process for arranging traditional therapy may involve more steps. You may want to start your search for a therapist using resources from your health insurance provider. Insurers often provide lists of licensed professionals within their network. The in-network mental health professionals are more likely to accept your insurance.
You can also use referrals or the internet to find local therapists. You may also want to search for a therapist that specializes in specific treatments or mental health issues, such as a group therapist or a therapist that specializes in treating trauma.
After finding a therapist, you typically schedule an initial session before committing to recurring sessions. The therapist uses the first session to get to know you and your issues better. You can use the session to decide if the therapist is the right fit.
If you choose to continue seeing the therapist, you may schedule recurring sessions each week, bi-weekly, or monthly. Instead of dealing with this process, you may prefer the simplicity of Talkspace.
Talkspace vs. Traditional Therapy – What’s the Difference?
Some of the main differences between Talkspace and traditional therapy include the following:
The cost of online therapy and traditional therapy can vary depending on insurance and whether it is accepted by your therapist. Online therapy may also be more convenient and available to those in remote areas. However, traditional therapy offers access to more treatment options and a wider range of specializations.
Talkspace may offer a more affordable alternative to traditional therapy. The text-based plan starts at about $65 per week, which is much lower than the average cost of an in-person therapy session. The typical face-to-face therapy session costs about $120.
Insurance plans may cover some or all the costs of therapy. Some insurance companies cover a certain number of outpatient mental health appointments each year, which includes both therapy and psychiatry sessions.
You may only need to pay a copay for your sessions if the therapist accepts your insurance. Talkspace makes it a little easier to find a therapist that will take your insurance.
Ease of Use/Convenience
Talkspace is more convenient for most people. You do not need to leave your house, which is beneficial for those that suffer from disabilities. You may also feel more comfortable at home.
There is no commute when using Talkspace. You can set up your live sessions for a time that works best for you, making it easier to fit into your schedule. You also have the freedom to text your therapist any time of the day or night, which is something that is typically frowned upon with traditional therapy.
Talkspace is available to anyone aged 13 and older in the United States with an internet connection. Therapists and other mental health professionals are also more abundant in large cities and urban areas compared to rural parts of the country. Individuals in rural areas may need to drive a considerable distance to visit the nearest licensed therapist.
While Talkspace is available everywhere, traditional therapy offers the potential for a wider range of treatments. Certain types of therapy are not available online. Talkspace has individual, remote therapy. If you need more hands-on approaches, such as exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, you need to search for a local therapist.
Talkspace vs. Traditional Therapy – Pros and Cons
Here is a quick overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of Talkspace and traditional therapy.
- Therapy from the comfort of your home
- Easily find a therapist that meets your needs
- May cost less compared to traditional therapy
- Some regions have a limited selection of therapists
Traditional Therapy Pros
- Not everyone enjoys communicating via text and video chat
- You are more likely to stick with local therapy
- You may find more therapists in certain regions
Traditional Therapy Cons
- Not all therapists accept insurance
- You may not enjoy traveling to your therapy sessions
Talkspace vs. Traditional Therapy – How to Choose the Right Option
One of the first considerations is the type of therapy you require. Talkspace offers access to licensed therapists around the country. Many of the therapists that join Talkspace have specializations and experience treating specific mental health issues.
Of course, Talkspace is just one of many platforms that provides access to remote therapy. In our review of BetterHelp vs. Talkspace, we compare another leading source for online therapy. If the option you choose does not meet your needs, you can always try another.
Try traditional therapy if you prefer working with people in person instead of remotely. Some people may not enjoy trying to communicate their feelings and thoughts using text messages and video chats.
Visiting a local therapist may also help increase your accountability. After meeting with a therapist in person, you may feel committed to following through with your treatment and scheduling recurring sessions. You are less likely to give up on your therapy after building a connection with your therapist, which is often easier when you meet face-to-face.
Some regions also offer access to more local therapists. Not all therapists sign up for Talkspace and other online therapy platforms. Some therapists are only available for in-person sessions, which gives you more options when it comes to your treatment.
Unfortunately, many therapists do not accept insurance. You may spend a little more on traditional therapy compared to signing up for Talkspace.
Only about 20% of therapists accept insurance. The average price of a therapy session is about $120. If you visit your therapist weekly, you may spend up to $480 on traditional therapy. However, the cost varies, and some therapists may accept your insurance.
Along with cost, you should think about convenience. If you do not want to drive or travel to a local office, you may prefer using Talkspace. You can talk with a therapist via text messages or video chats without setting foot outside.
Traditional therapy and online therapy can help people cope with depression and overcome other mental health issues, such as anxiety and aggression. Talkspace is one of the top choices when it comes to online therapy and may offer a suitable alternative to traditional mental health services.
Yet, online therapy is not for everyone. Some people may feel more comfortable meeting face-to-face with a local therapist. You may need in-person interaction to communicate more effectively.
Traditional therapy is also necessary for treating severe mental health issues. Talkspace and other online therapy platforms are best suited for addressing anxiety, depression, and stress. Online therapy can provide reassurance, support, and tools for coping with depression and anxiety.
If you have a serious mental health concern, start searching for a local therapist for face-to-face therapy sessions. Emergency helplines are also available. For more minor mental health problems, give Talkspace a try. It is often cheap, convenient, and effective.