Talkspace on the Rise: A Deep Dive Review of Talkspace

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Researchers agree that mental health concerns plague millions of Americans. Information from a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and cited in a Washington Post article stated that “nearly one in five U.S. adults had some form of mental illness in 2016, and almost half of those adults lacked access to routine treatment.” According to this article, “young adults, in particular, lacked access to treatment: Only 35 percent of adults 18 to 25 get treatment for mental illness.” While the statistics detailing the pervasiveness of mental illness are quite alarming, the low rates of treatment are, in fact, breathtaking. What keeps struggling individuals from seeking effective therapy? Money? Distance? Time? Stigma? In reality, all of these forces have created a tidal wave of inadequate care for individuals whose lives could drastically improve with quality support. Talkspace hopes to provide this sort of life-giving support to its growing ranks of clients.

In its ongoing march towards excellence, online therapy provider Talkspace continues to turn heads and make a tremendous impact in the therapeutic community. Expanding its client base by tapping into the lives of those who prefer digital engagement to face-to-face contact, Talkspace brings exceptional value and excellent care to individuals who were once resistant to seeking quality counseling services. Bolstered by the endorsement of athletes like Michael Phelps, who used the service in his battle with depression, Talkspace provides a safe venue for conversation and deeper therapeutic work. Indeed, safety has become a key theme among Talkspace users.

Talkspace’s 2,000+ committed and effective therapists engage in their important work with impeccable credentials and experience. With the addition of a psychiatry component, Talkspace intends to offer its clients a trove of services and treatments that are available whenever clients need them. Daniel Cooper of Engadget, believes that Talkspace is a game-changer in an industry that’s not known for innovation. “Time-poor folks who struggle to carve out a couple of hours each week to journey to a clinic can still get the help they need,” says Cooper. “Plus, it’s cheaper: An hour-long session in the real world could cost hundreds of dollars and may require wrangling with your insurance provider.”

The reality is this: Whether dealing with depression, assault, anxiety, or general life stressors, many people are not quite ready to walk through the doors of a traditional therapist’s office. Indeed, Talkspace affords a less stressful venue for conversation when a client is not ready to make the plunge and walk into an office in town. With a handheld device providing a remote connection between therapist and client, the healing can get underway immediately. “It’s like a confession,” says Dr. Iris Reitzes, who serves on Talkspace’s advisory board and recently discussed the benefits of the service with Teen Vogue. “You can write to someone who will understand what you’re going through and help you release pain from your body and mind.” For Reitzes, a licensed therapist and marriage and family counselor, Talkspace gives her and her clients opportunities to dig into troubling issues without having to step into uncomfortable venues. “Unlike traditional, face-to-face therapy,” she says, “online therapy doesn’t require you to look someone else in the eyes as you revisit memories of trauma.”

Erin

For New York City’s Erin Bodwin, interface with a Talkspace therapist was timely and deeply appreciated. She wrote an article for Business Insider about her experience. “I began my first therapy session at 7:41 in the middle of a crowd near Manhattan’s bustling Union Square Park. I was on my way to the subway when my phone buzzed with a new text. ‘Hi Erin, it’s nice to meet you,’ it read. ‘Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself? I’m glad you are here.’ I was glad too, even though I wasn’t sure why.” Connected with an intake specialist right away, Erin was guided through a robust intake procedure that helped her connect with a therapist who was compatible with Erin’s personality and individual needs. While recognizing that this efficient intake approach may be off-putting to some, Bodwin believes it was exactly what she needed. “To make sure she picked someone who’d be a good fit, she asked if there were any specific things I wanted her to consider. I mentioned that I’d been having panic attacks occasionally ever since I was a kid. While that was appealing to me (spending hours scouring the internet for doctors that take my insurance and seem like a good fit based on their photo and one-line bio isn’t my idea of a relaxing evening) it might not be to some.”

Erin was also appreciative of the pricing of Talkspace as compared to many of the brick-and-mortar options available throughout the therapeutic landscape. For millennials, especially, a competitive price point is often the difference between receiving appropriate therapy and foregoing the care. “In comparison to traditional therapy,” says Erin, “which is sometimes covered by insurance and can range anywhere from $20 to $250 per session (sessions are usually once a week and last about 45 minutes), Talkspace costs $25 per week.”

Within a day of beginning her Talkspace intake with a specialist, Erin was partnered with a therapist named Nicole. Immediately, Erin was impressed with Nicole’s credentials. “Opening the app, I saw I’d been introduced to my primary therapist, Nicole Amesbury, MS, LMHC. A little googling told me what these letters meant. Nicole is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, which (at least in New York state) means she has a Master’s degree, spent at least 1,500 hours of working with patients, and passed the licensing exam, at minimum.” Using her iPhone and computer-based app, Erin engaged Nicole right away, doing her best to articulate joys, struggles, and deep concerns. Admittedly, Erin was concerned that she was saying too much at first. Here’s what she said about the experience: “Occasionally while I was writing, I would feel myself getting worried about what Nicole would think when she read my message. I’d had the same feelings in traditional therapy – Did I say the right thing? Was that TMI? Will she think I’m totally off my rocker? Since we were texting and not sitting in a room together, I couldn’t look into her eyes for reassurance. Instead, I’d have to sit with my text and wait.”

Before long, relief replaced the anxiety, as the therapeutic relationship between Erin and Nicole blossomed. Because of timely, on-point insights, Erin recognized that her therapist was truly listening to her story and providing appropriate feedback. Articulating her vacillation between emotional highs and lows – with little in between – Erin received helpful tools from Nicole to help her navigate the peaks and valleys. “She said feelings were like the symbols that light up on the dash of a car when something needs your attention.” Nicole also reiterated to her client that “we need feelings to live,” as they make us aware of information that may impact us from internal and external sources. Although Erin seeks help from a traditional therapist from time to time, she enjoys the convenience and rapport of her therapeutic relationship with Nicole.

Steven

During his fall 2016 battle with depression, Steven stumbled across a Talkspace add in a periodical. While not fully convinced that the service would help him combat his issues, Steven believed that Talkspace provided a novel approach to therapy that could potentially attract a diverse, colorful clientele. Last year, he wrote an article about his experience for USA Today. “I didn’t know much about these apps,” said Steven, “but I was definitely attracted by the Talkspace marketing pitch, which promised ‘Unlimited Messaging Therapy™– affordable, confidential, and anonymous therapy at the touch of a button.’ I could text a message to my therapist ‘anytime and anywhere,’ with all exchanges ‘100% safe and secure.’” With a few taps of his thumbs, Steven joined a cadre of individuals engaging in Talkspace therapy, that, at the time, numbered over 500,000 and now is over one million.

Steven, who always has concerns about the security of his data, wondered if Talkspace had the capacity to protect his therapeutic engagements as well as his identifiable personal information. Connecting with Oren Frank, Talkspace cofounder, Steven encountered a “straight shooter” who didn’t gloss over the inherent risks of engaging online platforms, while at the same time assuring Steven that Talkspace was a safe venue for therapy. Frank told Steven that “the company goes to ‘great lengths to make sure that Talkspace is as secure as is presently technologically possible’ and that the service has never had a security breach, [although] ‘no system is impenetrable.’”

During his research, Steven found that Talkspace shared information like almost all digital venues, but in a manner that fully protected client information. “I did review Talkspace’s privacy policy,” said Steven. “The app also collects a ton of data – both personal and treatment information – including all texts between you and the therapist… This data is regularly shared with advertisers and media, but it is ‘de-identified,’ meaning my data – for instance, the medications I take, my diagnosis – are not tied to my name. That’s a relief.”

Steven believes that Talkspace offers invaluable services to a segment of the population who aren’t ready to seek the variety of therapies that have the client in a face-to-face relationship with a provider. Talkspace’s inherent accessibility is its greatest feature. Receiving good support in real-time is a significant benefit for many. In time, Talkspace will hone its skillset, providing even better support to its growing cadre of clients.

Claire”

For Claire Walkes-Thomas of Ask Men, concerns about intimacy led to an initial interaction with the Talkspace app. Claire quickly realized that the app afforded its users unbridled privacy. “What this app does really well is to allow users to access qualified therapists from their home, their desk, their bathrooms, or in any situation which might be stressful, multiple times a day,” says Claire. “It also combats the awkwardness people may feel when attending an appointment, as it’s all online and completely discreet.” After quickly working through the intake process, Claire and her partner chose a pairing with Talkspace therapist Alysha, who helps her clients learn that perceived underperformance in the bedroom is deeper than who should initiate intimacy. For Claire especially, the interaction with Alysha led to an exploration of the feelings, patterns, and origin stories that impact what happens before and during libido.

As the therapeutic relationship grew through regular interactions between the therapist and her clients, Claire learned that her intimacy struggles were rooted in a much older and pervasive fear. Noting that Claire, like all people, needed to feel like she belonged to a tribe, Alysha helped Claire confront her fears while also helping Claire’s partner sustain a healthy, supportive presence for his mate. “I started to realize that this was about more than just my confidence,” writes Claire. “It has to do with the fear of rejection, and also the common issue of mismatched libidos, which affects many couples. It’s rare to find a partner who has exactly the same sex drive as you, at exactly the same time as you. Alysha helped me realize that I need to be OK initiating sex and accepting the possibility of the answer being no.” Claire also appreciated that her partner was encouraged to fully participate in the conversation and Claire’s healing.

Claire continues to connect with her Talkspace therapist as needed, but also understands that her personal insight and behavioral patterns have improved mightily. The Talkspace experience has also helped Claire develop a stronger connection with her partner.

Thoughts from Open Counseling

While reviews from clients are always the gold standard in determining the efficacy of therapists and therapeutic providers, outfits like Open Counseling can offer consumers a more robust, independent view of companies like Talkspace.

In an initial assessment of online providers like Talkspace, a therapist offered a review on behalf of Open Counseling. “While online counseling isn’t for everyone, it is generally less expensive than paying out-of-pocket for traditional therapy. It also offers greater anonymity and very flexible scheduling.” The independent therapist, who directly interacted with a Talkspace therapist, felt that Talkspace’s free, 10-minute initial conversation with a therapist helped build connection from the beginning of the relationship. “Talkspace offers both a free, 10-minute live video meeting with the therapist upon starting and the option to record and listen to audio messages,” notes the reviewer. “This helped me create a strong bond with the therapist, even if we’ve only met once, as I’ve felt more able to connect to that person and hear their voice from time to time.”

The reviewer also noted that the intake process with Talkspace was robust. As the provider goes to great lengths to connect clients with appropriate providers, the intake process is quite intensive. Affirming that the intake process is always coordinated by a licensed mental health provider, the reviewer stated that “you’ll be linked to live chat with a therapist who will ask questions, screen your responses, and guide you through the sign-up process.” Indeed, we all want therapists who understand who we are and where we are coming from. Talkspace is ensuring that this happens.

In a pressure cooker world, it’s no surprise that rates of mental illness are staggering. The good news? Talkspace is making great therapy accessible and affordable. As our dependence on digital interfaces continues to rise, our reliance on therapies that meet us where we are will rise too. Talkspace works for a growing group of satisfied individuals, couples, and families. The proof is in the client response.

We all need a shoulder on which we can feel secure and an ear which can hear us and then talk to us back and tell us that all is well. Talkspace is an online platform for therapy and counseling for mental health and relationships. Founded in 2012, they have saved many marriages and many minds from destruction and separations. Oren and Roni Frank are the architects of the Talkspace mobile app, and continue to support mental health and awareness on a global scale.

Psychotherapy is really important, but doesn’t necessarily get the proper attention in today’s modern world. As much as people and couples need it to save their relationships, they are unaware of the importance of the role psychotherapy can play in their lives. TalkSpace provides easy access to this therapy that may not be otherwise available to those people.

Licensed therapists from different regions have been brought on board this popular application to provide care. They analyze and provide the best possible practical solutions all through your mobile phone. But Talkspace is also available through a Desktop PC chat based system. If needed, video calls and phone calls can also be provided by the therapists through this platform. This affords them another dynamic, to help foster the same type of patient and therapist relationship you would expect from any other type of psychotherapy.

TalkSpace has observed a tremendous increase in the people approaching them with time and felt the need for this website because of increasing mental behavior problems in today’s generation. They are also taking part in fundraising in different programs that support mental and psychological health and focuses on improving the way the psychotherapy is provided to the people, including their latest fundraising round which saw the company bring in $50 million to aid those seeking help.

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