When You’re Not Sure What To Say to Your Online Therapist

woman sunglasses texting frowning confused

Therapy can be super awkward. And necessarily so if you’re discussing difficult material. Even if you are talkative and gregarious, you might not know what to say during certain parts of your therapeutic journey. This can be even more of a challenge during online texting therapy because you don’t get your therapist’s visual cues that might prompt you to say something more on a topic.

To help you continue therapy without hesitation when you’re feeling stuck, shy, or just don’t know what to discuss, we created this guide for communicating with therapists online. Use it as a reference whenever you draw a blank or aren’t sure what to say.

Starting the Conversation With Your Therapist

Your therapist will most likely ask several questions to get the ball rolling. Nonetheless, there will be times during the beginning of therapy when you might need to start the conversation. If you can’t think of anything, try one or more of the following: Continue reading When You’re Not Sure What To Say to Your Online Therapist

The History of Online Therapy

rotary phone smartphone

Online therapy has many definitions. Depending on which one you use, its history has a different beginning.

Most of the people who have catalogued the history of online therapy use broader definitions. Some historians believe it began during the 1972 International Conference on Computers when Stanford and UCLA staff used linked computers to demonstrate a psychotherapy session. This wasn’t a real psychotherapy session with a licensed therapist and — unlike the modern internet — was limited to that small network of computers. It did, however, at least demonstrate the idea of online therapy.

If you include therapy via the phone as part of online therapy, the history starts even earlier. Records of the first private call between a psychotherapist and client are lost in confidentiality. Nonetheless, it is clear people were using the phone to provide mental health support as early as the 1960s. Continue reading The History of Online Therapy

Online Therapy is a Godsend For Busy Parents

mom smartphone daughter drawing

Parenthood can be difficult whatever your life circumstances are, but these days, parents seem more over-extended than ever, and stressed to their maximum capacities.

As a result, mental health issues among parents are common. We know that about 1 in 7 mothers are at risk of postpartum depression (and that a growing number of fathers are as well). If untreated, PPD can last for months, or even years. But even beyond the earliest phase of parenthood, mental health disorders abound. Many parents I know battle loneliness, depression, anxiety, and off-the-charts stress and exhaustion.

Very few, however, seek help for these problems.

For most parents, the idea of going to a therapy session for treatment of something like anxiety or depression feels like an impossibility. I know it did for me, for many years. A lifelong anxiety sufferer, I’d been in therapy for 10 years before I became a parent. My anxiety was relatively under control, and when I experienced a brief bout of postpartum anxiety when my first child was born, I brushed it off, thinking it was the usual “just me being anxious.” Continue reading Online Therapy is a Godsend For Busy Parents

7 Ways to Deal with Cyberbullying

woman cyberbullying cartoon

Bullying isn’t new, but the way people go about it has changed. What was once reserved for the schoolyard now occurs at home or at work via social media. In fact, cyberbullying affects adults as much as children. A 2012 study from the University of Nottingham and the University of Sheffield found that eight out of ten of the 320 adults surveyed across three different universities had been victims of cyberbullying in the last six months. About a quarter reported feeling humiliated, ignored, or being the subject of online gossip at least once a week.

Rude comments or bullying in general can make one feel hurt, sad, or angry, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, or self-esteem issues. When the rude comments or bullying are online — when people are looking at social media at home or at work — it can be even worse because it is happening in a place where they should feel safe. It can happen when they are around people important to them such as their children.

The written word is sometimes worse than the spoken word due to its permanency, and it can feel impossible to escape bullying. People see the comments every time they return to a page. Unlike in-person bullying, the bullies who makes the rude comments online cannot see how their victims react. They may go further with their bullying then if they were actually able to see the victim’s physical reaction. Continue reading 7 Ways to Deal with Cyberbullying

Talkspace Online Therapy is The #1 Tool for Divorced Men

divorced dad with son on park bench

After a 25 year marriage, to the woman who I thought was the love of my life, I am now divorced and single. I know lots of men who say that divorce is the best thing that’s ever happened to them. For me that’s not the case.

While the idea of a 50% divorce rate has embedded itself in our imagination — it’s a difficult number to pin down, but it’s actually been declining since its height in 1980 — divorce remains a life-altering change that brings tremendous stress and anxiety. You’d think there’d be more support for those of us facing such a common experience. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Statistically, divorced men face a number of scary statistics:

  • Higher incidence of depression
  • 250% higher mortality rate
  • 39% higher suicide rate
  • 10X more likely to undergo psychiatric care

Divorce is still in many ways stigmatized in our society. As newlyweds we don’t imagine a marriage’s end, but even those of us whose marriage is in the process of breaking up don’t necessarily think of how to protect our mental health. There seem to be more resources for women, groups focused on providing emotional support and community. For us men, suffering in silence is the norm. We tough it out and power through. Or so we think. Continue reading Talkspace Online Therapy is The #1 Tool for Divorced Men

Talkspace Online Therapy is The #1 Tool for Single Moms

single mom holding daughter field

I was going to have my dream wedding, marry my dream man, and live happily ever after. Unfortunately adult reality does not always align with childhood dreams. My own parents divorced when I was 11. I remember how difficult it was for me to understand that they didn’t love one another any more, that my love for them both wasn’t enough. I was powerless to bring them back together. Those feelings haunted me far into my teens.

In the US, 83% of single parents are mothers. For us single mothers, solo parenting can often be joyous, but it also brings tremendous stress and anxiety.

You’d think there’d be more support for such a common experience, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Statistically, we face a number of scary statistics:

Single parenthood is still in many ways stigmatized in our society. Not every single mother imagined parenting by herself, but even those of us who did, didn’t necessarily think of how to protect our mental health. While there are some resources for us, groups focused on providing emotional support and community, many still suffer in silence. Many are afraid to ask for help. Continue reading Talkspace Online Therapy is The #1 Tool for Single Moms

How I Overcame Depression And Traveled To My Bucket List Destinations

depressed man traveling head in hand

I always wanted to travel. In college I attended information sessions in stuffy rooms and echoing lecture halls, for at least five different study abroad programs. I dutifully filled out the paperwork, scheduled doctor’s appointments, even met with the other folks I’d be spending time abroad with. It was exciting. But something always held me back.

My depression.

When it came time to actually book the flight, things started to break down. To picture myself trying to make a tight connection, rebook a flight, overcome jet lag, suffer homesickness, not able to speak the language? It was paralyzing. I felt myself spinning into that familiar, desperate cycle of blaming myself for not being able to do the things I dreamed of and not being able to do the things I dreamed of because of my depression. Each application deadline — Prague, London, Paris, Cádiz, Perth — that passed would send me back to bed, missing classes, ignoring friends, and feeling miserable. Continue reading How I Overcame Depression And Traveled To My Bucket List Destinations

Online Therapy is The #1 Tool for Divorced Men

divorced dad with son on park bench

After a 25 year marriage, to the woman who I thought was the love of my life, I am now divorced and single. I know lots of men who say that divorce is the best thing that’s ever happened to them. For me that’s not the case.

While the idea of a 50% divorce rate has embedded itself in our imagination — it’s a difficult number to pin down, but it’s actually been declining since its height in 1980 — divorce remains a life-altering change that brings tremendous stress and anxiety. You’d think there’d be more support for those of us facing such a common experience. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Statistically, divorced men face a number of scary statistics:

  • Higher incidence of depression
  • 250% higher mortality rate
  • 39% higher suicide rate
  • 10X more likely to undergo psychiatric care

Divorce is still in many ways stigmatized in our society. As newlyweds we don’t imagine a marriage’s end, but even those of us whose marriage is in the process of breaking up don’t necessarily think of how to protect our mental health. There seem to be more resources for women, groups focused on providing emotional support and community. For us men, suffering in silence is the norm. We tough it out and power through. Or so we think.

Divorce is actually even harder on men than we realize. Some of this unfairness may obviously be of our own making. We’re less likely to ask for help, reach out to our support network, or just to talk about our struggles. But this doesn’t mean we don’t face similar challenges to those faced by women. While two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women, we’re often blamed. We also face significant financial burdens after divorce and are less likely to receive custody of children. All of this without the emotional support systems available to women.

However, there’s a new tool that’s helping men like us work through these emotional challenges, reclaim our mental health, and live more fulfilled post-divorce lives.

The #1 Tool for Divorced Men is Online Therapy

One of the reasons that we’re less likely to seek help after divorce involves the stigma surrounding mental illness. It’s time for that to change. When you go through the heartbreaking loss of family, stability, even friends from something as traumatic and acrimonious as divorce, there will be mental health repercussions. You will grieve. You will feel depressed. You might feel anxious, alone, or panicked.

Online therapy is the for the way we live today — that is, for every kind of life. Even, and especially, when our lives change radically and suddenly from what we’ve known before.

Online Therapy is Affordable

For many of us, a divorce represents a significant financial loss. The average cost of a divorce is $15,500, with those going to trial spending nearly $20,000. And that’s solely accounting for the cost of lawyers, not financial settlement. The average divorce also takes 10.7 months — a long time to be dealing with unsettled emotional turmoil. For those of us going through a divorce, a therapist’s bill would likely be the last thing that we’d look to add to our budget.

Luckily online therapy is a fraction of the cost of brick-and-mortar therapy. When you go from being the breadwinner to eating bread over the sink for dinner, that’s something to be excited about.

Online Therapy is Convenient

During and after divorce your schedule may be unpredictable. You might have alternating custody days or you may be commuting to pick up or see your children. There may be meetings with lawyers and court dates. You probably don’t need another weekly appointment to add to your schedule.

With online therapy you’ll never miss an appointment because there aren’t appointments. You can message your therapist on your schedule, 24/7. Anxious over a meeting with lawyers or depressed over an unfavorable judgment? Just Message your therapist. Worried about the impact on your children? Message your therapist. Your therapist will get back to you twice a day with helpful tactics and strategies on navigating these uncharted emotional waters. There’s also the option for video chat, if you prefer a more personal interaction with your therapist.

Online Therapy Is Anonymous

For many of us the stigma of mental health issues already feels overwhelming. Add the increased scrutiny of our personal life during divorce proceedings to the mix and you can understand the hesitancy to announce mental health struggles to the world. Many of us worry about our mental health status being used against us in court.

Online therapy allows clients anonymous access to therapy. You’ll never get caught unexpectedly in a parking lot or seen in a waiting room. You can even use a pseudonym with your therapist.

Online Therapy Is Going to Help

Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective by countless studies and in certain cases more effective, than traditional therapy.

Divorce is hard. It impacts us more significantly than is acknowledged by our culture. Divorce might not have been your choice or your plan. But it doesn’t mean your life comes to a stop. It’s important to utilize the tools at our disposal to ease our suffering, help us live a happier, more productive lives, open to new possibilities for connection. Do it for a better relationship with your children and more fulfilling future romantic partnerships. Your online therapist will help get you back to on track and living the life you want. Online therapy is the #1 Tool for us to emerge from divorce better than before.

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Talkspace Therapists Weigh in on Data-Driven Therapy

hand smartphone data app

The verdict is in: Therapy is becoming more data-driven. Because of advancements in psychology metrics and the gradual spread of feedback-informed treatment [FIT], an increasing number of therapists are relying on data to improve their performance and clinical outcomes. There is already evidence that using data can decrease the number of clients who leave therapy or see a deterioration in their mental health.

But with some advances in a field comes resistance, criticism, anxiety, skepticism, division, and debate. The majority of in-person therapists do not use FIT or any formal system of data in their work. Some believe data has no place in something as artful, personal, and private as therapy. Every client and therapeutic relationship is different, so therapists are often not confident in the ability of data to account for this variance.

At Talkspace we are at the forefront of data-driven and online therapy. We frequently survey clients and use the anonymous feedback to work with their therapists to improve the quality of treatment. Nonetheless, we understand the perspectives of therapists who are weary of big data’s role in therapy.

To start a positive and productive dialogue about the role of data in therapy, we sent our therapists this article about data-driven therapy. We asked them to read and respond with comments and constructive criticisms regarding the use of data and FIT in therapy. Continue reading Talkspace Therapists Weigh in on Data-Driven Therapy

Traveling with Depression: How I Should Have Prepared

woman backpack mountain

Mental health can be a journey. Journeying while struggling with mental health challenges, however, can be almost impossible.

In 2015 I traveled to Puno, Peru, to work on a research project as a part of my graduate degree in international public health. Before enrolling in the degree program, I had spent the better part of the previous two years traveling and living abroad in some capacity and was excited to have the opportunity to travel as a part of my career.

As my departure date to Peru creeped closer, I started seeing a therapist at the university health center to talk about concerns I had about traveling. I had experienced acute depression that year for the first time and was nervous it would creep back in while I was in a low-resource setting abroad. My in-person therapist told me many students feel this way before completing fieldwork abroad and I would be fine to push through.

I didn’t want my fears around my mental health to stop me from traveling. I wanted to be “strong.” So off I flew to Puno. Continue reading Traveling with Depression: How I Should Have Prepared