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Talkspace Brings 24/7 Therapy to Your Smartphone

Feeling addicted to your phone? Don’t worry: there’s an app for that.

Well, not if you’re technically “addicted.” But if you have a dependency, look no further than Talkspace, an app with over 200 therapists on the roster serving text-based therapy. According to this article, the $399 12-week plans encompass 3 phases: first you identify behaviors, second you assess thinking patterns, and three you create management strategies. You can also opt for the $25 per week plan, which gives you access to your therapist 24 hours a day. It currently has 150,000 registered users.

Talkspace’s website says, “Yes, we’re using technology to solve problems created by similar technology. Call it poetic justice.” But the reason for using smartphones and social media to address smartphone and social media dependency goes a bit deeper than that soundbite.

Co-founder Roni Frank told IBT that using a smartphone to text with your therapist gets around three issues that most deter people from seeking help: cost, access, and stigma. Head of clinical development at Talkspace told IBT, “If you can’t meet your client where they are in the world, you can’t help someone. We need to meet them where they are, however they feel comfortable.”

That rationale makes a lot of sense. If you’re trying to solve the problem of anyone’s dependency on social media, telling them to go cold turkey and talk about it won’t exactly seem appealing. Instead, using the medium that is the issue to slowly change the way that medium affects the users’ life will address the problem slowly and from within.

The approach becomes especially clear when you consider the demographic. Teens, who tend to have a more common dependency on social media, are much more likely to use a service like Talkspace since it imitates the way they interact with most other endeavors in their life. It also allows for greater flexibility and seamless integration, as well as a lower risk of public embarrassment.

New additions to the app include couples’ therapy and online public forums, where members can use the community to discuss issues like parenthood challenges or relationship questions. And if the 150,000 registered users weren’t enough to prove its power, consider the fact that it was funded three years ago for $13 million.

Is social media and your smartphone really the place for breakthrough therapy? I think ten years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone—user or therapist—who would say yes. But if social media and tech are indeed changing the way we interact with and understand the world, then perhaps our traditional modes of therapy might need to pivot to meet those changes. 

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