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|Founders||Oren Frank |
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Oren Frank (CEO) |
Dr. Irvin D. Yalom (Advisor)
|Services||Online therapy |
Unlimited Messaging Therapy
Talkspace is an online and mobile therapy company based in New York City. It was founded by Oren and Roni Frank in 2012. Talkspace users have access to licensed therapists through the website or mobile app on iOS and Android.
Talkspace is advised by Irvin D. Yalom, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford University, and Dr. Andrew Sekel, Ph.D. Linda Sacco, LCSW, Ph.D, was hired on in 2016 as the Vice President of Behavioral Health. In 2018, Talkspace hired Neil Leibowitz, MD, JD, as its Chief Medical Officer.
The company was conceived after a transformative experience in couples therapy that saved their marriage. The results of psychotherapy were so meaningful for Roni Frank that, wanting to share it with others, she chose to pursue a master’s degree in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
Talkspace began as a group therapy platform, but has evolved to a company offering online psychotherapy from licensed therapists. Talkspace introduced Unlimited Messaging Therapy in 2014, providing users unlimited text messaging with a therapist on the Talkspace website or mobile app. Clients and therapists can also send audio and video messages on the platform.
In February 2015, the therapy platform was expanded to include couples therapy, and in September 2015 Talkspace launched “Social Media Dependency Therapy,” a 12-week program that addresses mental health issues related to social media use. As of July 2016, users and licensed therapists can use real-time voice and video calls during therapy sessions for its Unlimited Messaging Therapy™ and LiveTalk Online Therapy™ programs. Talkspace's Live Video programs are powered by Agora.io, a provider of HIPAA compliant video services.
Talkspace provides psychotherapy via smartphone, tablet, or desktop where anyone (over the age of 18) can get help from a licensed therapist without traveling to a brick and mortar office for care. The app is available on iPhone and Android. Based on initial information provided, clients are paired with a psychotherapist by an intake specialist or can select one from several suggested by a matching algorithm. Therapeutic approaches offered by therapists include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based treatment options. Talkspace has grown to include over 500,000 clients. The platform includes over 1,000 therapists.
The platform works via unlimited texting where therapists respond once or twice per day, depending on the plan, and conversations are seamless across devices. The platform uses banking-grade encryption to maintain client confidentiality and protect privacy. The same privacy rules governing clients’ confidentiality and protection exist as in brick and mortar therapy. All therapists are licensed and screening involves background-checks, technical training, and clinical interviews.
Similar to brick and mortar therapy, clients work with their therapist in a structured environment to set goals and work through mental health and life challenges. Goals are continually assessed and clients play an active role in their therapeutic journey by providing feedback to their therapist.
Talkspace is also HIPAA BAA compliant. It was audited to determine if the quality, design, and operating effectiveness of the controls put in place to meet the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and HITECH.
Talkspace has been noted for serving individuals and providing increased access to those with mobility issues as well as those who are non-verbal, and to those with young children. Additionally, Talkspace has been noted for providing care to those in rural areas, and for those with mental health issues when traveling or spending time abroad.
The reaction to Talkspace has been positive including users stating that, "Our text and video conversations were much-needed mental-health pit stops—a convenient, constructive alternative to Valium." Another user has stated that, “I’m feeling my anxiety start to settle down in a way that it hasn’t in years — probably since I was last in therapy. I’m also feeling a new sense of hope about my life, and that the things that were festering inside of me — the worries that were starting to creep into all aspects of my life again — are finally going to be addressed again.”
2016 US presidential election
In addition to reporting on a nationwide uptick in demand for psychotherapy, Talkspace saw requests for therapy appointments triple in the wake of the 2016 election, with increases seen across demographic groups, but were particularly high for minorities. According to a study conducted in partnership with HealthMap researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital, a quarter of Talkspace users polled reported feeling “very stressed.”
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