a convenient way to access therapists online through text messages, audio messages as well as picture and video messages. It’s counseling for how we live today
Service Costs: 3 Standard Levels of Pricing
- 1. $49/week (includes unlimited texting, video and audio messaging – therapists responds daily
- 2. $59/week (include unlimited texting, video and audio messaging, therapist responds daily and 1 live session per month (30 min)
- 3. $79/week (includes unlimited texting, video and audio messaging, therapist responds daily and 4 live monthly sessions (30 min each)
Maximize Additional Savings: Commit to 3 months, save 10% or 6 months and save 20%
Comparable Options: BetterHelp, Faithful Counseling, ReGain and Breakthrough
Who Can Access Services: Services are provided to anyone internationally (billing currency is in U.S dollars)
Types of Counseling Services: Addictions, Grief, Depression, Family, Marriage, Health, LGBTQ, Stress, Career, Intimacy, Conflict, Anxiety, Anger etc…
Finding a counselor can be a daunting challenge and with the lack of mental health service providers we could be on a waitlist for weeks or even months. How does that help us when we need someone to talk to now?? It doesn’t.
When we are in a vulnerable place and need to talk to someone we should be able to access services sooner than later. Now we can.
HOW DID ONLINE THERAPY COME ABOUT?
was developed in 2012 by Oren and Roni Frank. It became evident to Mr. Frank at that time that there was a lack of mental health service providers when he infact needed counseling services and struggled to find a therapist. Oren and Roni set out to change the way services could be accessed and as of June 2016, there were approx. 300,000.00 people accessing online therapy (e-therapy). The selling points being accessibility and affordability.
GETTING STARTED WITH ONLINE THERAPY, IT COULDN’T BE EASIER
If a person is not comfortable using technology they may shy away from accessing online services and this was considered during the development stages. When I went to the Talkspace website, it couldn’t have been more simplified and easy to walk through.
When you enter their site you see a box that says “Try Talkspace Now”
When the box is clicked you are prompted to log in with existing credentials or start a new account (in most cases if you’re reading this you’d be starting a new account).
You’ll be prompted to set up an account by entering an email, password, and nickname, once this has been completed you will be placed into a confidential chat room where there will be a certified therapist whom you can ask as many questions as you’d like about Talkspace services to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
After payment options and selections are discussed at that time you are matched with a therapist to start your interactions.
Honestly for someone who might be a little apprehensive about using technology the developers have simplified it for everyone.
DESKTOP OR MOBILE USAGE; YOU DECIDE WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU
You have the option of communicating via desktop or through your mobile device.
Desktop sessions take place in a chatroom (simplified with good functionality)
App is available for iOS or Android. When entering chatrooms through your mobile app it mimics SMS layout, the look and feel are the same as if looking at a desktop. There is no additional learning curve to accessing the services through your mobile app, which is very handy if you’re accessing services on the go.
Communication with therapists takes place through text, audio or video messages and is not in real-time. When a message is sent to the therapist an immediate response will not likely occur. The therapist will respond once they receive the message.
When I initially heard that the services weren’t in real-time (unless your package included a one – four 30 min sessions monthly) I thought, “ What good is that, if I’m paying money I want an immediate response” but then I got to thinking, Therapists can respond multiple times per day 5 days/week, which in essence is like having them with you all the time without having to schedule an appointment, after thinking about it, I actually liked the concept.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY THERAPIST IS QUALIFIED?
If you’re like most people you want to know that your therapist is actually qualified to provide the professional services you’re paying for. When you’re accessing counseling online how are you to really know if your counselor is actually licensed or qualified?
Talkspace employs certified professionals in every state and they must have 3000 hours of hands-on experience providing counseling supports. It’s important to note that not all therapists must be licensed within the U.S. I’d recommending asking your therapist about their credentials and if you prefer someone who is licensed you can request a therapist change. Therapists who are employed with Talkspace have obtained PHD’s (Post Graduate Doctoral Degree), LMFT’s (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), LPC’s (Licensed Professional Counselors) and PsyD’s (doctor of psychology).
PRIVACY PROTECTION; IS THERE MORE A RISK OF CONFIDENTIALITY BREACH?
When we access services online we’re essentially opening ourselves up to additional options where a breach of confidentiality can occur (such as hackers). There is always an added risk when accessing services through technology. The technology used by Talkspace is HIPAA compliant in order to ensure your safety is protected and all chat data is encrypted on their servers. When accessing the services through your mobile device you are prompted to enter your password and also allows you to enter a passcode as well for added protection when logging on to the site.
The chat history between you or your therapist is never deleted and this can be accessed every time you re-connect. This causes concern among some individuals as it can be seen as information being stored and potentially accessed if hacked. Talkspace cannot legally delete the chat history because under federal law they don’t actually have access to it.
Some view the chat history on a positive note as they have something to reference back to when communicating with their therapist.
ACCOUNTABILITY; HOW DO WE KNOW THE SERVICES BEING PROVIDED WORK?
employs a board of advisors whose job it is to maintain the effectiveness of the service by performing vigorous periodic testing. But it will be up to each person individually to research the options whether online counseling is for them.
E-THERAPY BOTTOM LINE
We’ll all have different expectations when accessing online counseling services, and Let’s face it, we aren’t going to click with every therapist we have which can be a waste of time and money without other options. I love the fact that you can request to change your therapist if you aren’t happy with the one you were initially assigned.
Your therapist isn’t in real-time and you may have to wait for a response if you need to talk which can be unappealing to many people, but Let’s face it, whenever you’re accessing a counseling service it’s rare you can walk into an office and get immediate services (unless you’re in a crisis situation which if that’s the case, this is not the service for you). It usually entails scheduling an appointment for a later date. The concept of e-therapy is basically the same accept you don’t have to leave your home and schedule an appointment you are awaiting a response from the therapist online. This is the convenience that online services provide. Therapists provide multiple responses to you throughout the day 5 days per week.
What I’m not overly thrilled with about is the live sessions only being accessible through a mobile device. For me personally, I’d prefer to have complete my sessions on a larger screen for better visibility but for other’s that may not be an issue.
Talkspace doesn’t accept insurance claims, and many health insurance providers do not consider online therapy a service that is covered. It’s always best to check with your insurance provider first. If your insurance provider does cover this type of service, you’ll have to pay out of pocket first and submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Leave me a comment and you know how you feel about accessing counseling services online
- Therapists can respond multiple times per day 5 days/week
- Communication can be done via desktop or through your mobile device
- An immediate response will likely not occur
- There is always an added risk when accessing services through technology