Talkspace App Reviewed
Updated: May 22, 2019
Author = Anthony Davian
It should come as no surprise that Anthony Davian would review the Talkspace app and ask Jonathan Levy LCSW for insight into an app like this. For those of you unfamiliar with the app, it advertises itself as an all in one therapy app and its commercials feature olympic champion Michels phelps.
While I applaud Michael Phelps for bringing attention to people struggling with mental health issues, reports circulated online that Michael Phelps does not use the app. If true, I feel this is very misleading and should be disclosed either way. However, this does NOT discount the bravery of Michael Phelps admitting to his struggles with anxiety and depression. He has brought a lot of much needed attention to mental health issues and is only helping to reduce/eliminate the stigma. For this, I can not applaud him more.
As for the app. The user interface is very intuitive and makes on boarding a breeze. This is a must as far as I am concerned because people who are not extremely tech savvy become anxious, nervous, etc. when incorporating new technologies into their lives. The focus on making this app very easy alleviates much of that stress in my opinion (I actually has a few people try the on boarding process and they all found it a breeze, although I must admit that my sample size is small).
While the on boarding process is very easy I found the service to actually be very average. Therapists often times respond with short platitudes like “focus on the positive” and “I can see how that could be overwhelming.” Combine this with the lack of personal touch and I quickly came to the realization that this is not for me.
The personal connection one develops with a therapist is a large determining factor of success. To me, a good therapist creates a safe space in their office. Walking into the safe space allows one to open up and share very personal matters. No matter what Talkspace implements there is really no way to replicate the idea of a safe space or create the warm personal connection generated by therapists like Jonathan Levy LCSW.
On the topic of safe places. The underlying promise of technology is to make things easier on people. With a young family at home, it can be extremely difficult to find a “safe” quiet place to utilize the app to its fullest. Some people may dislike commuting to their therapists office, but at least once you arrive it is quiet and calm and allows one to focus on the therapy without distractions. The atmosphere at a good therapist is hard to replicate and even more so in the ultra connected world we live in today.
When I surveyed therapists like Jonathan Levy LCSW their thoughts on the app were skeptical to say the least. One positive aspect most agreed upon is that often times the success of mental health services has a lot to do with the timing. The sooner someone can get help the better their chances of getting better and working through a difficult time. The app undeniably succeeds in this regard. Often times it can take several weeks before a traditional therapist can see you. The value of Talkspace in bridging that gap is like nothing else.
In closing, one may find the real value of an app like Talkspace is bridging the gap of time between therapist visits. Many like getting something off their chest in real time and this app is perfect for situations like that. Talkspace allows those in immediate need of mental health services the ability to access those services and that is the real power of this app. That power is so substantial in that it has the potential to save lives.