How a Legendary Psychiatrist Became a Supporter of Text Therapy

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Even the most wise and open-minded professionals in the world sometimes have a skeptical or critical perception of new developments in their field. Several years ago Talkspace co-founders Oren and Roni Frank reached out to renowned psychiatrist Irvin Yalom to discuss their texting therapy platform and invite Yalom to become an official clinical advisor. His initial reaction to the new medium was not positive.

Yalom contributed to the approach of existential psychotherapy and was a pioneer in group therapy. As a therapist and professor, he spent decades working with clients in-person. He wrote “Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy,” a book that chronicled some of his traditional counseling sessions with patients who were grappling with issues of existence and death.

Far from a technology enthusiast or early adopter, Yalom had been resistant to forms of therapy that were not strictly in-person, including phone and video-based sessions. In his memoir, “Becoming Myself,” he admitted to being judgmental and priggish when one of his colleagues mentioned she had been practicing teletherapy. Continue reading How a Legendary Psychiatrist Became a Supporter of Text Therapy

How Online Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Goals

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John was having trouble managing his impulses. Whether it was blurting out vulgar language during a dinner with his girlfriend’s parents or crossing a line and insulting his boss in the middle of a meeting, he was constantly getting in trouble. To advance in his career and maintain a healthy relationship, he needed to change. Eventually he decided to set a goal: control what was coming out of his mouth.

This strategy failed miserably. John realized that the goal was vague and there was no one to help him reach it. It did not seem fair to burden his girlfriend and co-workers with his behavior. He needed the help of a neutral party but wasn’t sure where to find one.

One of the biggest benefits of therapy is working with a professional you are paying to help set goals that are realistic and measurable. A therapist keeps clients accountable and pushes them to pursue what they want. Continue reading How Online Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Goals

The Experience of In-Person Versus Online Therapy

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The majority of clients at Talkspace are trying therapy for the first time. With only online therapy as a frame of reference, they can’t draw comparisons to in-person treatment. This fact demonstrates, however, that online therapy removes barriers — high cost and inconvenience — that typically deter people from seeking professional mental health support.

Nonetheless, many users have extensive experience inside a therapist’s office. Some commuted to weekly therapy sessions for years before switching to online therapy. Others have continued their in-person treatment and used Talkspace as a complimentary service.

To illustrate what it is like to navigate the differences between in-person and online therapy, we surveyed our clients who had been open about their experiences with both. Here is what they taught us: Continue reading The Experience of In-Person Versus Online Therapy

Talkspace Customer Support: When Mental Health Is On the Line

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In most companies, customer support is relatively simple and the stakes are low. The goal is to resolve issues that may arise with a product or service. Customer support representatives receive “tickets” that contain technical issues or complaints from customers. The reps respond and solve the problem. When necessary, they forward the ticket to another employee or “escalate” the issue by involving supervisors.

Even when there is a persistent technical problem or an upset customer, not much is truly on the line. Customers may be irritated if they need to wait a few extra days on a shipment or refund, but they’re OK.

Now imagine if a ticket could contain anything from anxiety to depression. The Talkspace customer support team works with these sensitive issues every day. Continue reading Talkspace Customer Support: When Mental Health Is On the Line

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

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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

Therapist Tips for How to Feel Better When Life Gets Tough

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When life is challenging, we reflexively ask ourselves, “How can I feel better — fast?” At Talkspace many people connect with one of our therapists when they are going through a crisis and need someone to throw them a line. To offer some collective therapeutic wisdom, we asked therapists which pieces of advice they tend to give to clients who are going through a rough time.

Sometimes suffering gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, other people, and the world. That knowledge will ultimately help you make better choices and perhaps avoid situations that cause stress or heartbreak.

“When you know better, you do better,” said Talkspace therapist Chandricka Mose. “Look at the experience and take away the lesson you were meant to learn.” Continue reading Therapist Tips for How to Feel Better When Life Gets Tough

3 Therapists Open Up About Why They Work for Talkspace

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Psychotherapists are sometimes skeptical about online therapy. Some of the concerns stem from the medium itself. They imagine that it’s difficult to build relationships online, that the lack of body language limits its effectiveness, that tone and nuance are lost in communication. Other concerns center around hours of availability, fear about managing emergencies, or about licensing restrictions.

The vast majority of therapists, however, are interested in embracing new technologies — tools that help them be more data-driven, more available, and better able to track client progress. They’re passionate about how technology can empower their practice, but worry about using it in a safe way that doesn’t endanger their clients’ privacy or expose them to undue liability, as communicating via SMS, email, or Skype does.

Talkspace is one of the technologies helping therapists reach new clients — a HIPAA certified platform that provides a more convenient therapy experience for clients and therapists, one that employs banking-grade encryption and is fully compliant with state licensing regulations. Talkspace also has strict protocols in place to handle emergency situations, including an on-staff Crisis Intervention Expert, continual client risk assessments, and a secure on-platform tool to capture emergency contact information. Talkspace therapists typically set their own flexible hours and reply to clients twice daily on business days. Continue reading 3 Therapists Open Up About Why They Work for Talkspace

The Weirdest Place I’ve Ever Talked To My Therapist

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At Talkspace we have spent plenty of time talking about how you can sign up and text a therapist from anywhere. But what exactly does that look like?

To paint a more vivid picture of how people are using Talkspace, we reached out to our clients and asked them to send us details on interesting and unusual places where they have texted their therapist. They showed us that “anywhere” really can mean anywhere.

Here are some of the places and situations they shared:

At Work

via GIPHY

It can be difficult to leave work to meet a therapist in an office. Most traditional therapists only work during business hours. Many employees do not work in environments that promote openness regarding mental health and therapy, so they are afraid to ask for time off to commute to a therapist’s office.

Texting a therapist during breaks at work allows employees to avoid these issues. It can be especially useful if they are texting about something work-related, perhaps an important issue they might forget about if they had to wait until after work. Continue reading The Weirdest Place I’ve Ever Talked To My Therapist

Online Therapy is a Godsend For Busy Parents

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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

Talkspace Online Therapy is The #1 Tool for Divorced Men

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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