BetterHelp Vs Talkspace & Regain

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Author: Alicia Butler

BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Regain are three online therapy providers. All three companies offer live sessions and hire actual licensed and certified mental health professionals. 

The biggest difference between these platforms and face-to-face therapists? The setting. Online therapy utilizes text, audio, and video sessions to help patients find their happy thoughts — no matter where they live, their budget, or health insurance status.

The best part of online therapy is that you don’t need to commute to a therapist’s office to get help. 

Are Online Therapists Legit?

Online therapy platforms are (for the most part) as legit as local, in-person therapists. These licensed therapists often work with clients face-to-face in addition to online. 

Really, the only difference is the virtual setting.

In some cases, online therapists need more experience than in-person therapists since most online platforms require a minimum of 2,000 hours to even be considered. 

If you’re worried about the legitimacy of an online therapist, we recommend going with a nationally-recognized company. These organizations are more likely to have high-end security features and website and mobile app encryption. 

They’re HIPAA compliant and accept credit card payments.

Benefits of Online Therapy

  • No need to travel to appointments
  • Make appointments at convenient times
  • You don’t need health insurance
  • Kick mental health stigmas to the curb
  • Get access to high-quality therapists
  • It’s safer during COVID-19

No Need to Travel to Appointments

Possibly one of the most attractive benefits of online and virtual therapy is that you don’t need to leave your couch for your appointment. This benefit is important for several reasons:

  • You’re more likely to ‘show up’ for an appointment if there’s no commute
  • If you’re too depressed to leave the house, you’re less likely to cancel
  • Get access to awesome therapists no matter your locale
  • Schedule appointments at convenient times 

Make Appointments at Convenient Times

Since you don’t need to travel to an appointment (nor does your therapist), you can schedule appointments for any time you see white space on your calendar. 

Some patients choose to schedule therapy appointments during lunch breaks, before or after work, or even during their commute (though, we don’t always recommend that last one!).

Busy parents can schedule an appointment during a playdate or after the kids go to bed. As long as you have solid wifi or cell phone connection and a little privacy, you can make an appointment.

Online therapy is also ideal for people who travel a lot and might not be able to make in-person appointments.

You Don’t Need Health Insurance

Telemental health isn’t just convenient for patients; it’s also super convenient for therapists, too! They don’t need to spend money on a brick-and-mortar location, a receptionist, or utilities.

They can even take appointments from their couch!

Since online therapists save money on those expenses, some of the savings get passed on to the patient. Online therapists don’t charge as much as in-person therapists, so you don’t need health insurance to afford therapy (though many online therapists do bill health insurance).

Kick Mental Health Stigmas to the Curb

It’s only recently (let’s be honest, since The Sopranos aired) that therapy was considered cool. Many of us grew up in a society that taught us to have a stiff upper lip or deal with our problems ourselves.

And it’s hard to suddenly feel OK about therapy if we haven’t had the warm and cozies about it in the past. 

Seeing an online therapist can be easier for patients that are worried about mental health stigmas. Online appointments feel more anonymous sometimes than in-person ones, and they often remove the fear of being ‘made’ or running into someone you know in real life.

Get Access to High-Quality Therapists

Not all great therapists live in the middle of nowhere. In fact, they tend to gravitate toward urban areas where it’s easier to find patients. 

If you live in a very rural area, it can be difficult to get access to a quality in-person therapist. 

Many online therapists are licensed in several states. Even if you live in rural Maine, you can see a therapist located in Bangor or Bar Harbor. Online therapy doesn’t limit you to your geographic location. 

It’s Safer During COVID-19

So many therapists started offering online appointments after their offices shut down due to COVID-19. 

And now that many states are up and running again? Many of those therapists are still seeing patients virtually. 

No matter if you’re already seeing a therapist or just looking for one, we recommend taking those virtual appointments. You can chat freely from the comfort of your own home — no mask required.

Is Online Therapy for You?

We happen to love online therapy. But we get that this type of therapy isn’t for everybody. 

Therapy is super personal. The relationship you have with your therapist is one of the most intimate ones you’ll ever have.

Some patients really want in-person communication or worry about privacy in their homes during an appointment. But we think the world would be a happier place for most people if those that couldn’t travel to an in-person appointment would try online therapy.

Online therapy is for you if you don’t:

  • Want to travel or commute for therapy
  • Have health insurance 
  • Make enough money to afford traditional therapy
  • Feel comfortable seeing a therapist during a pandemic
  • Have time to make appointments outside of your home
  • Feel ready to commit to in-person therapy once or twice a week
  • Have availability to see a therapist during traditional business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Know if therapy is for you 
  • Feel comfortable seeing a therapist in person because you’re worried about social stigmas

Text-Based Therapy Vs. Online Therapy and In-Person Therapy

Just like with in-person therapy, there are various types of teletherapy: live video, audio, or message therapy; and text-based therapy. All have their pros and cons, and one type of therapy might jive with one patient and turn off another completely.

Counselors can offer the same services they would in person online, including couples therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy. They can tackle mental health issues on one counseling platform.

Whether you need a family therapist or one that specializes in trauma or LGBTQ issues, you can find one online.

In-Person Therapy

In-person therapy is the type of counseling we’re probably all the most familiar with. You make an appointment with a therapist (usually one that’s in-network with your health insurance provider) and show up to the appointment at the therapist’s office.

Your insurance is billed, and you (usually) pay a copay. Stay with the same therapist as long as you like, or switch to another one if it’s a bad fit.

In-person therapists often use a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy, analysis, and coaching (though therapists use their own techniques and methods).

Live Online Therapy

One of the most common types of online therapy is live therapy. This type of therapy is similar to in-person therapy. The only difference between live online therapy and in-person therapy is that the appointment takes place online instead of in an office.

Many therapists decided to offer online or virtual services to patients that couldn’t cancel appointments during the pandemic.

Companies like Talkspace, Regain, and BetterHelp also offer live online counseling services. These therapists don’t take in-person appointments at all and are trained specifically to help patients through online portals. 

They also often meld live therapy sessions with text-based messaging therapy.

Text-Based Therapy

Text-based therapy is a relatively new form of therapy. It combines the benefits of therapy with texting — and it’s possibly one of the healthiest activities you can do on your smartphone!

Instead of chatting with a therapist in real-time, you simply send a text message, audio message, or video message to your therapist when you want to talk about your problems.

Most companies that provide this service offer unlimited texts, audio messaging, or video messaging. Your therapist will respond by text, audio, or video (usually once or twice a day on weekdays).

The benefit of unlimited messaging is the ability to get your thoughts down or out whenever you’re ready. 

In face-to-face therapy, patients need to wait until their scheduled appointment to communicate weekly woes. It’s easy to forget talking points by the time your bum hits the couch.

Downsides to unlimited messaging therapy include:

  • Inability to chat in real-time with therapists
  • Sometimes allowing your thoughts to marinate before getting them out is a good therapy approach
  • Therapists may not always have ‘insight gold’ in each message

One of the biggest bonuses of messaging therapy is the price. It’s usually a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy.

BetterHelp Vs Talkspace and Regain

Plenty of companies offer online therapy these days, yet three stand out of the pack: BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Regain. 

BetterHelp Vs Talkspace

Talkspace was one of the first major online therapy platforms, and its therapists have learned a lot since 2012.

Talkspace offers both online therapy live sessions and unlimited messaging. The biggest difference between offerings? The price. You’ll pay about $50 more per month to get one live 30-minute session per week (in addition to unlimited messaging therapy).

Talkspace also offers psychiatry services (a separate fee and platform).

BetterHelp offers similar services and pricing (though this platform’s services are geared toward live chats instead of messaging therapy).

Talkspace requires all therapists to have at least 3,000 hours of clinical experience to apply to work on the platform, while BetterHelp only requires therapists to have 2,000 hours of relevant experience.

BetterHelp also requires therapists to have been active for at least three years before qualifying to work on the platform.

Talkspace Pricing

Online Therapy: $316.00/month

Unlimited Talk Therapy (Messaging/Chat): $260.00/month

BetterHelp Pricing

Online Therapy: $70/week

Unlimited Talk Therapy (Messaging/Chat): $40/week


BetterHelp Vs Regain

If you’re trying to decide between BetterHelp and Regain, we’ve got good news for you: Regain is owned by the folks at BetterHelp! This means you can count on working with certified, licensed therapists on both sites.

The only difference? Regain specializes in relationship counseling, meaning it's for individuals that would like help with their relationships, families that need live video chat sessions, and couples that need online therapy services.

Regain offers video chat, phone sessions, and text messaging therapy. 

BetterHelp Pricing

Online Therapy: $70/week

Unlimited Talk Therapy (Messaging/Chat): $40/week

Regain Pricing

Online Therapy: $70/week

Unlimited Talk Therapy (Messaging/Chat): $40/week

Talkspace Vs Regain

Talkspace and Regain offer extremely similar services. Both platforms hire licensed and board-certified therapists that use unlimited text messaging and live voice and video sessions to help patients in a variety of mediums.

Again, the biggest difference between the two (as is between Regain and BetterHelp) is that Regain specializes in relationship counseling, while Talkspace doesn’t have one specialty.

The upside to Talkspace is that it has such a huge network of providers. You can find pretty much any provider you need on Talkspace’s platform. Counselors that specialize in relationships, sex, finances, trauma, grief, depression, and mental disorders can all be found on this platform.

Yet, if you really want to work on relationships specifically, you might want to head to the platform that’s known for working with relationship experts. 

Talkspace Pricing

Online Therapy: $316.00/month

Unlimited Talk Therapy (Messaging/Chat): $260.00/month

Regain Pricing

Online Therapy: $70/week

Unlimited Talk Therapy (Messaging/Chat): $40/week


BetterHelp Vs Regain and Talkspace: What We Think

We’re just going to go ahead and say it: we love all three of these telemental healthcare companies. All three provide high-quality services, and we’re confident that we can trust the counselors on each one.

The biggest difference between the three? The services they offer.

If you’re looking for mostly unlimited messaging services, we’d recommend Talkspace in a heartbeat. Want to chat with a therapist in real-time? Go with BetterHelp. And if you need some serious relationship advice? Opt for Regain. 

Alicia Butler

Since 2011 Alicia has worked as a travel, health, and wellness writer & editor contributing to widely read digital publications such as The Spruce, The Balance and The Spruce Pets, VeryWell, and TripSavvy. Alicia is a marketing expert, entrepreneur, and avid traveler!