Talking With Talkspace

In February of last year I started therapy with the service Talkspace, and guys- it’s changed my life. Literally! My life was one way before therapy and completely different after. Talkspace has been the therapy I have needed for years, but only recently been able to manage.  I’ve been putting off this blog for some time because it feels so important, but if I don’t share this with someone soon I think I may burst.

First I want to tell you that this blog has not been solicited or supported in any way by Talkspace. This might read like a bit of an advertisement because I love it so much, but it isn’t. It’s a review of my experience with Talkspace and my therapist Amy, and the incredibly positive experience I’ve had over the last year.

I first heard of Talkspace in November 2015, through a friend of mine who is a licensed therapist. Lux was three months old and I was doing really well, but I was still struggling with the aftermath of my antenatal depression. I also knew that my mental health could nose dive at any moment; I wanted to have support and a plan for that inevitable drop. So I reached out to Jenny, and asked if she had any advice. She pointed me to Talkspace, and suggested Dr. Amy Cirbus, the therapist I still “see.”

Finding a Therapist

When you first sign up for Talkspace, you have a couple of options. You can take a survey that asks you specific questions about your mental health, what you want to focus on, or what your most important need is with therapy. It also connects you with a therapist suited to your individual needs. Jenny knew a bit about me and what I needed from therapy so she pointed straight to A., but this questionnaire could have connected me to someone who would also have met my needs. If you have a specific therapist in mind like I did, great. If you don’t, the company will connect you. This is such a blessing.

When I tried to find therapy in Tulsa my options were limited. The therapist I wanted to see didn’t take my insurance, and the one I found who would was an older man. There is absolutely nothing wrong with male therapists, but the mental health issues I needed the most help with were, and are, intrinsically tied with motherhood and femininity. I wanted a therapist that could relate to me not only as a therapist, but as a woman and mother. Choosing Talkspace over traditional in-person therapy gave me this option. Your therapist is connected to you based on your needs, not your circumstances.

How It Works

Once you’ve chosen your therapist, Talkspace works almost like private social media. You connect with them through the app or website and converse in a few different ways:

·       A private chat room- where you can message your therapist at any time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve messaged Amy in the middle of the night. She doesn’t usually respond to me in the middle of the night, but she does always respond within a few hours. This has been so helpful for me, because I can often describe my feelings and what is happening in my mind much better in the moment than I can at an in-person appointment days or even weeks later. I feel like I am more honest with her than I have been with doctors in person, and that makes my therapy more effective.

·       Voice messages- these go through the private chat room as well, but instead of texts they are recordings. The only complaint I have about this feature is that the recordings max out at 5 minutes, so there are usually 3-4 messages that end with me saying “I’ve run out of time, brb!” This doesn’t stop me from using the feature by any means, it’s just a tiny bit annoying.

·       Pictures- this feature is probably just for fun, but I absolutely love it. I’ve been able to share pictures of my girls, pictures of things I’ve made, old journal entries, etc. It’s a really nice little bonus.

·       Video conferences- I have never actually done one of these, as they are not included in the plan I pay for.

Speaking of payment- how does that work?

Something to note about Talkspace is that they DO NOT TAKE INSURANCE.

However- I find that to be a relief, honestly. Dealing with my insurance company with anything is infuriating. And I get far more use from Talkspace than I would traditional therapy. For $128/month I Can have unlimited conversations with my therapist. Rather than having an appointment once a week, for $60 a pop with my copay, I can message Amy any time I like. We usually talk 2 to 3 times a week. Sometimes only once a week; sometimes not at all. Whatever I have the time for and need is what I get.

Compared to traditional therapy, in which I would have maybe one hour each week, at $60 per appointment, this is a much better deal. 4 x $60 = $240 a month vs $128 a month. For me, this is a no brainer. Receiving therapy or treatment of any kind “without” insurance can sound scary, but in my case it has been the best choice by far.

And I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how much more convenient chatting via Talkspace is for me verses a weekly appointment. I’d be dragging the girls along with me to most of them and lets be real- it’s hard enough to think with two toddlers out in public, let alone try to tell someone about the way you think and bring up all kinds of difficult stuff.

I’ve been with Amy for almost a year now, with no plan of ending my therapy. She has been an irreplaceable shoulder for me to lean on, and a non-judgmental ear for me to whine to. She has given me tools that have brought me back from severe anxiety attacks, and been such a comfort. I am learning from her, but I am also learning about myself in ways I couldn’t have without therapy. I am so grateful to have this resource in my pocket.

I’d like to talk more about therapy and how it has helped me this year, but for now I’m going to leave you with this- my glowing review of Talkspace. Are you in therapy? If so, what kind? If you have any questions about Talkspace, please let me know. It’s something I’d be absolutely thrilled to share with you.

Until next time!