Talkspace.com — Review
Talkspace.com is a website where you sign up and get therapy with a licensed(?) therapist via asynchronous chat. You pay a weekly fee and you get to send text/chat messages to a therapist and they provide formal, clinical therapy to you.
I tried this service and immediately I noticed I was at first getting cut-and-pasted replies...I felt like I was in a Comcast tech support session. But after 3 hours, I did get a real person finally reply to me, which was nice. But then, I suddenly realized that our chat "session" may not be entirely private. Since all therapy sessions take place directly within the talkspace.com website, I had this sinking feeling that my confidentiality was not protected.
SO I immediately read the "privacy statement" of Talkspace and guess what? All of your intimate details, INCLUDING YOUR ENTIRE THERAPY SESSION is "saved" in a remote database not controlled by the therapist. I believe this could possibly be in direct violation of licensing laws or HIPPA (I'm not sure, I'm not a lawyer, so someone can clarify this).
I actually had shared intimate details about my personal life to my therapist there, and then I realized that Talkspace.com has the full ability to review my entire therapy session.
"Talkspace is a "DBA" used by Groop Internet Platform Inc. who runs the site and keeps the Data...Generally, we will only use your information within our company. "
So my private, intimate details of my clinical therapy session is now subject to being "used" witihn their company. So how many people are in their company? Who is Talkspace.com? Where are they located? Sadly, I have no idea...they don't give us this information on their website (that I could find)
On their website there is no 'about us" link, no names, no address, no phone numbers of anyone about the company. So the people running "talkspace.com" are keeping themselves nameless. WHo knows how many people are behind the scenes, and yet they all have access to your full therapy session. I find this troubling to say the least.
Do you want some IT guy being able to read all about your personal problems? It reminds me of actual reported incidents of TSA agents looking at photos of naked people going through body scanners and laughing amongst themselves.
I refuse to use a service that has therapy sessions within their own chat channels that are not HIPPA certified and who reserve the right to read it if they want to. Absolutely not.
"We only provide data to our partners, if any, after we have removed your name and any other personally identifying information from it, or have combined it with other people's data in a way that it no longer personally identifies you"
What does this tell you? This means that workers in their company who are not therapists will comb through your personal data to strip out your personal identifying information before they send it away to their "partners". Let me ask you a question: how could someone redact your name from something unless they FIRST READ IT? DO you really want non-therapists and IT workers reading about your marriage problems so they can scrutinize all your personal life to make sure they take out your name and address?
This isn't clincal therapy to me. This is more like "social media". When you go to a therapist in person, I assure you, your information is far more private than it will be at talkspace.com...at least from what I am reading regarding their own privacy policies.
Needless to say, I terminated my therapy session. I will not go back.
Furthermore, therapists are not always licensed to perform therapy to clients out of state...these laws differ by state and I see no mention on Talkspace that any given therapist is properly licensed to provide formal therapy to me when I reside out of state to that therapist. For example, in some states verbal consent may be required before a therapist can give ethical online therapy to a client out of state, and yet 100% of Talkspace (as far as I can tell) is chat only.
Lastly, I find the whole concept of reducing therapy to a 'subscription' model of texting to be inferior to in person counseling, but that is just my opinion. Professional therapy to me is not an Internet forum, but that is what it all feels like.