Online therapy became hugely popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are no signs it will fall out of favor anytime soon. But how can consumers know if online therapy is right for them? It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making any decision, and this article will provide everything consumers need to know before diving in. For more information, Health.com compared Talkspace and BetterHelp, two leading online therapy firms, to give consumers an idea of what to look for when choosing an online therapist.
Chat vs. live sessions
Whether talking about BetterHelp, Talkspace or another online therapy firm, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages. One of the first things consumers should realize about online therapy is the fact that most firms offering services provide online chat as the first line of treatment.
Most firms offer multiple packages to choose from, and the cheapest package often only includes chat. Consumers looking for live therapy sessions should review each package from multiple providers to ensure that they select one that offers live sessions. Different packages offer different amounts of live therapy sessions per month.
Cost is usually a factor for consumers who are paying for online therapy out of their own pockets, but it might be less of a concern for those who have insurance that covers therapy. Patients should find out if their insurance plan covers counseling and, if it does, whether online therapy is covered and which providers are in their network.
Some online therapy providers take insurance, while others do not. For example, Talkspace takes some insurance plans, but BetterHelp does not. Thus, it may not be a surprise that Talkspace is a bit more expensive than BetterHelp. However, for those who must pay out of pocket, BetterHelp also offers financial assistance for patients in need, sometimes knocking as much as 40% off the price of therapy.
Consumers may find it helpful to read multiple reviews on any online therapy providers they are considering. These reviews will uncover the finer details that make each company unique. For example, BetterHelp provides optional group therapy sessions on a weekly basis, while Talkspace does not.
Additionally, Talkspace offers psychiatry services, which means patients can receive a diagnosis and medication if needed. On the other hand, BetterHelp does not. The two companies also differ in their onboarding processes. Patients who choose BetterHelp must complete a questionnaire to be paired with a therapist, while Talkspace patients speak with a therapist about their needs and goals and are then offered three therapists for them to choose from.
Consumers have many things to consider when deciding whether online therapy is right for them. It’s important to look at multiple service providers when trying to choose a company to work with.