Talkspace

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Talkspace
TypePrivate
IndustryPsychotherapy
Founded2012
FoundersOren Frank
Roni Frank
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Oren Frank (CEO)
Dr. Irvin D. Yalom (Advisor)
ServicesOnline therapy
Unlimited Messaging Therapy
Websitewww.talkspace.com

Talkspace is an online and mobile therapy company based in New York City. It was founded by Oren and Roni Frank in 2012.[1] Talkspace users have access to licensed therapists through the website or mobile app on iOS and Android.[2][3]

History[edit]

Talkspace was founded in 2012 by Roni and Oren Frank.[4] The company was conceived after a transformative experience in couples therapy that saved their marriage.[5] 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.[6]

Talkspace began as a group therapy platform, but has evolved to a company offering online psychotherapy from licensed therapists.[7] Talkspace introduced Unlimited Messaging Therapy in 2014, providing users text messaging with a therapist on the Talkspace website or mobile app.[8] Clients and therapists can also send audio and video messages on the platform or schedule live video sessions.[9][10]

In February 2015, the therapy platform was expanded to include couples therapy.[11] As of July 2016, real-time voice and video calls are available during therapy sessions.[12]

In May 2015, Talkspace raised $9.5 million from Spark Capital and SoftBank.[13] In June 2016, the company raised $15 million from Norwest Venture Partners.[14]

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 presidential election, with increases seen across demographic groups, but were particularly high for minorities.[15] 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.”[16] In 2018, Talkspace hired Neil Leibowitz, MD, JD, as its Chief Medical Officer.[17]

In September 2017, the company raised $31 million from a Series C round led by Qumra Capital.[18] In August 2019, the company raised $50 million Series D funding and entered into a partnership with Optum.[19]

Talkspace saw a significant uptick in demand for psychotherapy during the COVID-19 pandemic, attributed to both the increased emotional toll of the pandemic and the restrictions put in place on people's physical movements.[20][21] The company offered a free month of online therapy services to medical workers during the pandemic.[22]

In May 2020, Cigna added Talkspace virtual therapy services to the company's telehealth offerings.[23]

Product[edit]

Talkspace provides psychotherapy via smartphone, tablet, or desktop where users over the age of 13 can get help from a licensed therapist.[23][24] Talkspace is a monthly subscriptions service with prices starting at US$260 per month.[20] The platform allows users to communicate with their therapist via video, audio, and text messaging.[25] Depending on the plan, users may also have access to a number of 30-minute video conference session per month.[26]

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.[27] Therapeutic approaches offered by therapists include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based treatment options.[28] Talkspace has grown to include over 1.5 million clients and includes therapists in all 50 states.[29][30] The company uses machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to analyze anonymized transcripts of therapy sessions in order to improve services.[31]

Talkspace is also HIPAA BAA compliant and uses encryption to maintain client confidentiality.[32] All therapists are licensed and screening involves background-checks, technical training, and clinical interviews.[33]

Criticism[edit]

Talkspace has made questionable claims about its effectiveness,[34] compromised user privacy,[35] posted fake reviews to improve its rating in an app store,[35] and uses freelance therapists of uncertain qualifications.[36]

Psychologist Todd Essig has criticized Talkspace in four different articles for conflicting business and clinical interests,[34] making scientific claims about its effectiveness,[37] violating patient confidentiality,[38] and other issues.[39] In December, 2016, it was reported that Talkspace used faulty psychological practices, psychologists of uncertain qualifications, and a lack of regard for patient safety and confidentiality.[36]

In 2018, the Psychotherapy Action Network (a therapist's advocacy organization) wrote a letter to the American Psychological Association and Michael Phelps calling attention to alleged concerns with the product. In response to the letter, the APA updated their policies to bar Talkspace from exhibiting at their conferences.[40] Talkspace later filed a $40 million defamation lawsuit against the Psychotherapy Action Network. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2020.[41]

In April 2020, The New York Times published an article where they cited Talkspace employees had read transcripts from therapy sessions and that employees were instructed by the company to post fake app store reviews using burner phones.[35] The piece also detailed the experiences of Ricardo Lori, an employee that used the service, who was persuaded by a Talkspace executive to anonymously share his therapy chat logs for a company presentation but Lori soon discovered his identity was revealed.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Furhlinger, Josh. All-You-Can-Text Therapy Services Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  2. ^ Brodwin, Erin. "I spent 7 amazing days with a therapist who only knew me via text message". Business Insider.
  3. ^ Garun, Natt. "Talkspace now lets you send audio and video messages to your e-therapist". The Next Web.
  4. ^ O'Brien, Sara Ashley (2015-05-12). "Text therapy startup raises $9.5 million". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  5. ^ "Couples therapy — yeah, there's an app for that too". VentureBeat. 2015-02-12. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  6. ^ "Texting Your Therapist and Other Anonymous and Easy Ways to Get Help". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  7. ^ "Adweek's Digital Hot List: 2017's Buzziest Apps, Gadgets, Startups and More". Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  8. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Unlimited Messaging Therapy Startup Talkspace Raises $2.5M From Spark Capital And Softbank | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  9. ^ Crook, Jordan. "Talkspace Therapy-By-Text Service Launches Asynchronous Audio, Video Messaging | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  10. ^ "The Pros and Cons of Using Online Therapy App 'Talkspace'".
  11. ^ "Now You and That Special Someone Can Get Couples' Therapy Straight Through Your iPhone". Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  12. ^ Lim, Jason. "Agora.io Is Poised To Dominate Real-Time Voice And Video Apps". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  13. ^ Sara Ashley O'Brien. "Text therapy startup raises $9.5 million". CNN. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  14. ^ Brian Gormley. "Talkspace Collects $15M for Online Therapy Services". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  15. ^ News, Jenny Gold, Kaiser Health. "'Post-election stress disorder' strikes on both sides". CNN. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  16. ^ "In the Therapist's Office, Trump Becomes a Hot Topic". Bloomberg.com. 2017-02-09. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  17. ^ Farr, Christina (2018-04-11). "Online therapy start-up Talkspace hires a chief medical officer from UnitedHealth". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  18. ^ "Online therapy co Talkspace raises $31m".
  19. ^ "Talkspace Review". Online Therapy. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  20. ^ a b Rebecca Heilweil. "Feeling anxious about coronavirus? There's an app for that". Vox. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  21. ^ John D. Stoll. "s Tele-Counseling During Coronavirus Booms, a Therapist Seeks Respite". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  22. ^ Samantha Brodsky. "Free Therapy and Mental Health Services You Can Access During the Coronavirus Outbreak". Pop Sugar. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  23. ^ a b Bruce Japsen. "Cigna Expands Mental Health Network With Talkspace's Virtual Therapy". Forbes. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  24. ^ Brooke DiPalma. "How a 'cultural shift' is making way for a therapy tool promoted by Michael Phelps". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  25. ^ "I spent 7 amazing days with a therapist who only knew me via text message". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  26. ^ "How much does Talkspace cost?". Talkspace - FAQs. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  27. ^ Chapin, Angelina (2016-07-09). "Text therapy: once my therapist sent me an emoji, I knew it was game over". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  28. ^ "Dawn of the Text-Message Therapist". Motherboard. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  29. ^ "The Power Of Purpose: TalkSpace Donates Over One Hundred Years Of Free Therapy To Medical Workers". Retrieved 2020-08-16.
  30. ^ Crook, Jordan. "Talkspace online therapy platform raises $15 million Series B | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  31. ^ Cynthia Koons. "Talkspace Wants to Build a Better Therapist With AI Listening In". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  32. ^ "TalkSpace Review | Online Therapy Reviews | E-counseling.com". E-Counseling.com. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  33. ^ "Dawn of the Text-Message Therapist". Motherboard. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  34. ^ a b Essig, Todd (June 29, 2015). "Talkspace Argues With Talkspace: Conflicting Messages And Clinical Risk". Forbes. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  35. ^ a b c Hill, Kashmir; Krolik, Aaron (2020-08-07). "At Talkspace, Start-Up Culture Collides With Mental Health Concerns". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  36. ^ a b Ferguson, Cat (19 December 2016). "BREAKDOWN Inside the messy world of anonymous therapy app Talkspace". The Verge. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  37. ^ Essig, Todd (December 14, 2015). "Talkspace Tarnishes Promise Of Telehealth With Extravagant Claims". Forbes. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  38. ^ Essig, Todd (August 18, 2016). "Talkspace Reveals Clients' Email, Violating Clinical Confidentiality". Forbes. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  39. ^ Essig, Todd (June 29, 2015). "Should Buyers Beware? Hidden Risks In Talkspace's Text-Only Therapy". Forbes. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  40. ^ a b Hill, Kashmir; Krolik, Aaron (2020-08-07). "At Talkspace, Start-Up Culture Collides With Mental Health Concerns". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-25.
  41. ^ "Groop Internet Platform Inc. v. Psychotherapy Action Network, Civil Action No. 19-1854 (BAH) | Casetext Search + Citator". casetext.com. Retrieved 2020-09-25.