There has been a boom recently in mental health services being provided online. Talkspace is one of the major leaders in the innovation in psychiatric care. With plans as low as $32 a week, they use the internet to bring mental health help to people who didn’t have either the money or the time for conventional therapy. This new version of old-fashioned talk therapy is poised to go mainstream with Talkspace leading the way. Talkspace has recently signed a contract with Magellan Health. Magellan Health is a major player in the insurance industry covering 1 in every 10 Americans. Soon a large part of the United States will have access to easy and affordable mental health care.
With the new version of psychiatric care poised to go mainstream, some have questioned the efficacy of online therapy compared to conventional therapy. According to Scott Christnelly, who is in charge of overseeing therapist performance at Talkspace and a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, treating people online brings it back to the basics of relationship. “The job became more about paper and chart compliance and less about the healing relationships I formed with clients.” Switching to Talkspace brought the focus back to the client. Other professionals agree, and are signing up to work for these services cutting out the middleman and working directly with their clients.
There are difficulties with using technology for treatment though. Mainly, the lack of ability to read nonverbal cues. This may be a positive on the side of the patient, forcing them to wait for a response to what they said and not looking for visual confirmation of approval. Building confidence and creating a better ability to speak their mind.
Talkspace and other companies like it are in a unique position. They are reaching people that would normally not receive psychiatric care. An extensive study of postwar veterans showed that there were 25% fewer hospitalizations thanks to long-distance therapy. So, services like this will be here to stay because they are filling a need not met by conventional resource.