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Betterhelp vs ReGain vs Talkspace Reviews
Megan Foley

Betterhelp vs Regain vs Talkspace: Which Virtual Therapy App Is Best?

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Whether you need help managing new stress, or have been battling anxiety for years, therapy is an invaluable tool. It may surprise you how much a single session can help you cope and change behavior patterns behind your symptoms.

 

That said, finding quality in-person therapy is tough. Whether it’s your hectic schedule, tight budget, or COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, face-to-face therapy can seem out of reach for many. But luckily in the age of Zoom, new affordable virtual therapy services have made it much more accessible than ever before.

 

Online therapy apps like BetterHelp, ReGain, and Talkspace have become exceedingly popular by offering the convenience, flexibility, and cost-efficiency that traditional therapists lack. With virtual access to a counselor, you can get help on your schedule, typically for a lot less than in-person psychiatry.

 

But it’s natural to be skeptical of online therapy: Is the quality of care really on par? How do they match patients to therapists? do you have to subscribe or can you pay as you go? In this article, we’ll explore the three leading online therapy apps — BetterHelp, ReGain vs Talkspace vs Cerebral — and answer these questions once and for all.

 

We’ll start with an overview of online therapy (aka teletherapy), but if you’re in a hurry to compare BetterHelp vs ReGain vs Talkspace, click here to skip to our comparison chart to quickly see which online therapy is right for you.

Valuing mental health: Why is online access to licensed therapists important?

Did you know that approximately one in five adults in the United States struggle with mental illness? That adds up to millions of people, many of whom don’t seek out treatment. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety disorders, have a weighty impact on daily living and can influence a person’s mood, feelings, thinking, and behaviors. 

 

Despite its prevalence today, it’s hard to value mental health in the same way that you value physical health. When you have a physical health problem, like a broken bone, the need to get it evaluated by a medical professional is undeniable. After all, how is that broken bone going to heal if you don’t get it treated?

 

Mental health concerns, however, can be harder to recognize, and the urgency to seek help is much less than suffering from any sort of physical pain. But, the same principle applies — to overcome mental health struggles, treatment is key.

Who can benefit most from online mental health services?

counseling and therapy

Caring for your mental health can enrich every aspect of your life, regardless of your current state. Mental illness typically impacts a person’s productivity and the way they behave in relation to others, often placing strain on their personal and professional lives. Even if you’re not struggling with severe mental illness, therapy can help anyone manage their individual stressors more effectively.

 

From your approach to relationships to making progress towards career goals, investing in mental health treatment pays huge dividends in more ways than one. Everyone’s talking about self-care these days, and placing a higher value on mental health is one big way to make yourself a priority, which is likely to improve your life from every angle. Thus anyone and everyone are technically good candidates for online therapy.

Why are online therapy apps so popular?

Sure, online therapy may not be able to 100% replicate real-life face-to-face connection. But, online counseling actually offers its own set of benefits, many of which are well-suited to the modern therapy-goer. These include:

1. Greater Affordability

Online counseling is generally a lot less expensive than in-person therapy. With traditional, face-to-face therapy, you’ll likely pay a high hourly fee or a copay, if your insurance covers mental health care. This cost can run anywhere from $20 to $250 per session, depending on the therapist and the type of therapy. Couples counseling, for instance, generally tends to cost more.

 

With online therapy, you’ll generally pay a weekly or monthly subscription cost. With the ability to instant message your counselor at any time, as often as you want, this model affords patients more frequent access to their counselor for a lower price, which is a win win for you.

 

2. More Convenient

One of the biggest barriers keeping people from going to therapy is availability. Today’s fast pace of life doesn’t always accommodate regular self-care in the form of therapy.

 

Between work, family, and social commitments, mental health care can all too easily fade into the background. But online therapy apps offer anytime accessibility, allowing you to talk to your counselor on your own schedule. Most online therapy apps have a chat room that you can use to message your counselor 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling sessions ahead of time. As an online therapy subscriber, if you need help, you can get it right away.

 

3. More Personalized

Also, with instant messaging, online therapy gives you the chance to find the right amount of communication with your counselor. Some patients prefer short, frequent conversations, completing short check-ins throughout the week. Others may opt instead to speak just a few times a month, diving into longer, more extensive conversations at a less frequent pace. When it comes to therapy, one size certainly doesn’t fit all, and online platforms give you the flexibility to discover what works for you without locking yourself into a regular schedule.

 

4. Greater Accessibility 

The COVID-19 pandemic has most of us cooped up at home as we follow social distancing guidelines. Similarly to medical care providers using telemedicine to keep in touch with patients, online therapy is a super-convenient method for keeping up your mental health efforts at home.

 

Online therapy apps make it possible to receive professional counseling without setting foot outside. So, you can work on your mental health as you keep yourself and your community safe during this difficult time.

The Benefits of Online Text-Based Therapy

online therapy text

Most online therapy platforms give you access to a chatroom with your counselor. Here, you’ll send instant messages whenever you need help, 24/7, and your counselor will reply within a reasonable amount of time. 

 

This therapy method hinges on written, not spoken, responses. While plenty of people prefer to voice their concerns, hashing out a therapy session in writing actually has its perks. 

 

For one, when you type out a statement or response, you have to think it through clearly and coherently. It takes more effort to type than to talk, so you may find that your written responses are more thoughtful and complete than your spoken ones. This is especially helpful in couples counseling, as it can prevent impulsive (and often hurtful) outbursts that tend to be counterproductive.

 

With text-based therapy, you can also avoid distractions and interruptions by replying at a time that works for you. Rather than squeezing the conversation with your counselor into a set block of time, you can keep the conversation going. This can help you dive deeper into your thoughts and feelings for even greater revelations and self-understanding. If you like science, check out this recent study Talkspace published on the effectiveness of text-based therapy.

 

One important thing to remember regardless of the communication medium between you and your therapist: be honest. It may be easier for you to sugar-coat how you’re really feeling over text than during a live conversation, but don’t. The point of therapy is to create a safe space for honesty and self-exploration. If you lie to your therapist, the only person that suffers is you.

Online therapy apps vs face-to-face

From a convenience and cost standpoint, online therapy beats in-person 100% of the time. But, many people fear that they’d miss out on the intrinsic value of face-to-face human connection with virtual therapy apps. I mean, we all have an image of traditional talk therapy in our heads, and it usually doesn’t involve talking to a screen!

 

But excitingly, studies are showing that online therapy is indeed effective. Considering patient satisfaction as well as therapist efficiency, this is great news for online therapy platforms like Talkspace, Cerebral, ReGain, and BetterHelp.

 

Of course, the fact still remains that online therapy lacks real, human-to-human interaction. And it’s true, face-to-face contact just can’t be replicated, no matter how hard digital platforms try. But if your schedule, budget, and overall lifestyle jive with virtual therapy platforms, you can feel confident in their validity as a mental health treatment. Especially if the alternative is no counseling at all.

Online therapy “ghosting”: It’s a real issue

Ghosting: it’s not just for dating apps. Online counselors often get ghosted, too.

When you talk to your counselor in a chatroom, rather than face-to-face, it’s all too easy to ghost them (just like all the randos you matched with on Tinder last month). We get it — it’s hard to implement new habits, and spending time in therapy is an entirely new experience for many people. Plus, without ever having met your counselor in person, it’s hard to build a connection with them right off the bat and feel like you owe them a prompt response.

 

If you’re looking to try online therapy for the first time, it’s worth emphasizing that ghosting your therapist should be avoided. By sticking with your counselor, even when the conversation gets uncomfortable, you’ll give yourself the chance to make strides in your mental health. And that’s what we’re all here hoping for, right?

 

If you’re an incurably bad texter, you can also use phone or video sessions with your counselor to hold yourself more accountable. We’d recommend scheduling these virtual appointments with your counselor when you first sign up for an online therapy app. Then, once you build a relationship with your counselor, try an instant message therapy session to see if it can work for you.

BetterHelp vs Talkspace vs Regain vs Cerebral: What’s the best online therapy app for you?

BetterHelp vs ReGain vs Talkspace vs Cerebral: Top Online Therapy Apps

 
 
 
 
Counselor credentialsState qualified and certified, minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours on hands-on experienceState qualified and certified, minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours on hands-on experienceFully licensed in state of operation, more than 3,000 hours of clinical experienceFully licensed with training in evidence-based therapeutic practices and a graduate degree from an accredited institution.
Available for couples?✅ ✅ ✅ 
Available for teens?✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ 
Types of therapyMessaging, live chatting, phone sessions, and video conferencingMessaging, live chatting, phone sessions, and video conferencingMessaging, live chatting, and video conferencingWeekly video/phone sessions and text therapy
Price range$40 to $70 per week$40 to $70 per week$48 to $99 per week, $65 per additional video session$25/week (paid  monthly at $99)
Website

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Now that you have a sense of how these three online teletherapy apps stack up, let’s dive into the nuances of each to help you decide which to try.

Review of BetterHelp Online Therapy App

Source: BetterHelp

BetterHelp aims to make high-quality counseling convenient and affordable for everyone. As one of the largest e-counseling platforms around, BetterHelp offers the benefits of a wide pool of counselors and research-backed results. 

 

What credentials do BetterHelp counselors have?

The counselors at BetterHelp are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), and board licensed professional counselors (LPC). To be a counselor on BetterHelp, you must be qualified and certified by the professional board in their state of operation, on top of finishing the required courses, exams, training, and practice hours. To tack onto those requirements, all BetterHelp counselors have a minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. 

 

To further assure the quality of their counselors, BetterHelp has applicants finish a case study exam and a video interview. The acceptance rate for BetterHelp counselor applicants is just 15%, so you can trust that they’re employing only the best. To check a counselor’s qualifications for yourself, you can easily view full licensing information on the platform. 

 

What type of counseling does BetterHelp offer?

 

Source: BetterHelp

 

At BetterHelp, you can select from three main types of counseling:

  • Individual
  • Couples
  • Teen

 

By selecting one of these categories, you’ll be directed to counselors with the appropriate training for your needs. You also can receive BetterHelp counseling in four different ways:

  • SMS messaging
  • live chat
  • phone sessions
  • video conferencing.

 

Messaging requires the least commitment from you. You can send a message at any time (the messaging room is open 24/7), and your counselor will typically respond within a few hours. You’ll get an email notification when you get a response. 

 

 

Live chat sessions need to be scheduled ahead of time, but you’ll receive instant responses from your counselor. Phone and video sessions must be pre-scheduled as well and provide the closest alternative to in-person counseling sessions. 

 

 

BetterHelp’s Virtual Therapy Interface

BetterHelp’s interface is clear, streamlined, and easy to navigate. We like that the platform is equally well-designed for both mobile and desktop, and you’ll enter directly into the chatroom with your counselor once you sign in. The BetterHelp app can be used for counseling on-the-go, but you can also simply log into your account through the website

 

How much does BetterHelp cost?

BetterHelp users are billed monthly, with counseling costs varying from $40 to $70 per week. Unfortunately, these costs typically aren’t covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.

 

How long does it take to match with a BetterHelp counselor?

It usually takes 24 hours to get matched with a counselor on BetterHelp, however, the wait can be a bit longer if you have more specific qualification criteria. Their matching algorithm is really advanced, but just as with all virtual therapy platforms, patients with advanced cases or suicidal tendencies likely will be advised to find an in-person therapist instead.

 

Review of ReGain's therapy app

Source: ReGain

ReGain is an online counseling platform for relationship concerns. It’s a sister site for BetterHelp, so it offers a similar user experience, but with a focus on relationship concerns. If you’re looking to increase trust and communication in your relationship, but are in need of a convenient therapy option, ReGain could work for you. 

 

What credentials do ReGain Counselors have?

Counselors hired by ReGain are licensed and accredited psychologists (PhD/PsyD), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC or LPCC). All of the mental health professionals on this platform have a Masters or Doctoral Degree in their field. 

 

ReGain counselors are certified in their state, having completed the required education, exams, training, and practice hours. Counselors differ in their specialty and background, but each has a minimum of 3 years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. The counselors on ReGain also have a focus in relationship counseling to help both individuals and couples on the platform.

 

What type of counseling does ReGain offer?

ReGain’s main focus is couples counseling, and it calls itself an “online relationship counseling platform”. While Regain does offer counseling for individuals, the therapy remains dedicated to relationship concerns, with the initial questionnaire asking about benefits including “understand my partner better” and “prevent separation or divorce”.

 

With Regain, you and your partner can share an account for couples therapy. With this setup, you’ll both be able to access the same chatroom with your counselor. Either one of you can also request individual counseling at any time. 

 

Note that with ReGain, 3-way live sessions, either by phone or video, aren’t available at this time. So, for couples to have a phone or video session with a counselor, they’ll have to be in the same room. This is mainly an issue for long-distance couples who can’t consistently be together physically.

 

ReGain’s couples therapy interface

You can access ReGain from any device, either through their website or mobile app. The straightforward interface features an online chatroom that you and your counselor can access, as well as your partner / spouse, if you so choose. The chatroom is easy to use for both two-way and three-way chats.

 

How much does Regain cost?

ReGain counseling costs between $40 to $70 per week and is billed monthly, just like at BetterHelp. Similarly, insurance usually doesn’t cover this expense, but there may be some exceptions.

 

 

ReGain counselor response time

The response times when you chat with a counselor on ReGain can be longer than those of other online therapy platforms. Many users have had to wait a day or longer to receive a response from their therapist in the chatroom. That’s because couples counseling is a specialized counseling that’s a bit harder to match for given lower supply of relationship counselors.

 

Source: ReGain

Review of Talkspace Virtual Therapy

Source: Talkspace

You may recognize Talkspace for its endorsement from celebrity Olympian Michael Phelps, which undoubtedly spread the word about this online therapy platform. With Unlimited Messaging Therapy and a thorough counselor matching process, Talkspace definitely has an innovative approach to therapy and increasing access to quality counseling. Let’s learn more about the types of counseling Talkspace can provide.

 

What credentials do Talkspace counselors have?

All TalkSpace counselors are fully licensed and have more than 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Therapists with specialty training, including training in cognitive behavioral therapy, existential-humanistic therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychodynamic, and mindfulness, are also available on Talkspace.

 

What type of counseling does Talkspace’s offer?

Talkspace offers the following types of counseling:

 

  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy: This therapy model is unscheduled, keeping a message room between you and your counselor open. Your therapist will respond daily, 5 days per week.
  • Talkspace for Teens: Talkspace offers specialized therapy for younger folks 13+.
  • Couples Therapy: Couples counseling is also available on the Talkspace platform.

 

Talkspace’s Virtual Therapy Interface

One of the key focuses of Talkspace is convenience and accessibility. Talkspace wants to help people who wouldn’t otherwise seek therapy due to the time commitment involved, and this focus is clear in their interface. The app, rather than the website, is advanced and updated, We think that the platform is currently best-suited to mobile use, which is great news for those utilizing the Unlimited Messaging Therapy option.

 

The Talkspace app features a private chatroom with your counselor, in which you can send text, audio, or video messages at any time. Your therapist is readily available to talk in the chatroom for 5 days per week. A progress-tracking feature is also available in the app, providing helpful information about your symptoms over time. You can also use the tracking function to set therapy goals and check your progress towards them.

 

 

How much does Talkspace cost?

  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Plus
    • Includes text, video, and audio messaging.
      • Billed Monthly: $260
      • Billed Quarterly: $708 every three months
      • Billed Biannually: $1248 every six months
      • Learn more
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Premium
    • Includes text, video, and audio messaging.
    • 1 live, 30-minute session per month (30 minutes each)
      • Billed Monthly: $316
      • Billed Quarterly: $852 every three months
      • Billed Biannually: $1512 every six months
      • Test text therapy today
  • Unlimited Messaging Therapy Ultimate
    • Includes text, video, and audio messaging.
    • 4 live, 30-minute sessions per month (30 minutes each)
      • Billed Monthly: $396
      • Billed Quarterly: $1068 every three months
      • Billed Biannually: $1896 every six months
      • Give it a shot
  • Talkspace Couples Therapy
    • Includes text, video, and audio messaging.
  • Talkspace Teens Therapy (for ages 13 – 17)
    • Includes text, video, and audio messaging.

 

You can add live, 30-minute video sessions to your plan for $65 each.

 

Can I use my health insurance for online therapy from Talkspace?

Unlike BetterHelp and ReGain, which admit that their services aren’t generally covered by insurance, Talkspace has partnered with several U.S. health plans to cover online therapy for employees via employee assistance programs (EAP) and behavioral health benefits. Eligibility varies, and not everyone will be covered, but we appreciate Talkspace’s efforts in fitting therapy within health care plans for some users.

 

Talkspace app

Source: Talkspace

 

Talkspace’s Therapist Matching Process

To get started, you’ll have an initial consultation with a Matching Agent. This consultation is free, and you’ll talk to the agent about your therapy needs. Using the information that you provide, the agent will identify therapists that could be a good match for you based on experience and training.

 

The user-therapist matching process is a key selling point for Talkspace, and it certainly makes them stand out. With a skilled Matching Agent to help you find a therapist to suit your requirements, you don’t have to sift through endless profiles or pick a therapist at random. For many, finding a quality therapist is the biggest barrier to getting help, so it’s smart of  Talkspace to drastically improve this experience.

And get exclusive discounts!

Online Therapy App Reviews: What do users say about Talkspace, BetterHelp, and ReGain?

To get a sense of what users really think about Betterhelp, Talkspace and ReGain, we scoured the web for reviews from genuine subscribers. It seems like there are more online reviews for Betterhelp vs Talkspace, but we did find quite a few for Regain. Here’s what the online reviewers had to say:

BetterHelp Reviews: What are customers saying?

BetterHelp Review
BetterHelp Review 2
(Source: Trustpilot)
(Source: Reddit)

While BetterHelp users acknowledge that the service isn’t a replacement for face-to-face therapy, they appreciate the fast response times from counselors, as well as the easy-to-use interface.

ReGain Reviews: What are customers saying?

ReGain Reviews
ReGain Reviews 2
(Source: The App Store)

Similarly to BetterHelp users, ReGain subscribers appreciate the convenient, flexible platform for hectic schedules.

Talkspace Reviews: What are customers saying?

Talkspace Reviews
(Source: Reddit)
Talkspace Reviews 2
Talkspace Reviews 3
(Source: The App Store)

Going by user reviews, TalkSpace is a solid alternative to in-person therapy when you’re too busy for face-to-face appointments or have less extensive therapy needs.

The Verdict: BetterHelp vs Talkspace vs ReGain - Which is right for you?

Online counseling platforms are great for people who need more flexibility than traditional in-person therapists have to offer. Specifically, if you have long or irregular working hours, travel often, or are in a transitional period before finding a long-term therapist, teletherapy could be ideal.

 

Online therapy apps are also an amazing way to ease into therapy, especially for anyone who’s always wanted to talk to a professional but just couldn’t justify the expense.

 

Between BetterHelpTalkspace and ReGain, which virtual therapy provider do we think is best? That’s a really close call. All three platforms offer similar features, with ReGain being the clear choice for couples therapy.

 

Overall, we recommend BetterHelp as the best all-around option. With a simple, easy to understand subscription and a comprehensive matching process to ensure you get a quality counselor for your needs without a ton of trial and error, BetterHelp provides an excellent patient experience for anyone seeking help.

 

Are you an online counseling patient? What’s worked and what hasn’t quite lived up to the hype? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.


Improve your mental health in the most convenient and affordable way with an online therapy at Talkspace.com!

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