It’s “therapy for the way we live today.” The commercial caught my attention as I listened to the early morning news a few months ago. The advertisement was for Talkspace, an online and mobile therapy company, which offers the opportunity for individuals to get therapy without going to an office. The commercial and their website states that over 500,000 individuals have used it. And according to experts, the company is worth over $28 million.
The website states that you can “start feeling better with Talkspace, a therapy and counseling app that gives you the most convenient, affordable, and discrete way to deal with depression, anxiety, stress, chronic illness and more.” And you can get all of this for plans that start at only $32 a week. By the way, you can get the “Ultimate” (that’s what they call it) Talkspace program for $99 a week.
The program appears to go something like this: You’re bothered by something. You need help with dealing with it. So you text or email your Talkspace therapist with the problem. Your therapist will respond back one to two times a day, or more often depending on how much you are willing to pay. Problem solved.
Looking for the perfect gift for someone? How about the gift of online therapy? As their website states, “Give the gift of happiness. Offering someone a path to a happier life is more valuable than any material gift. Send your friend or family member a Talkspace gift card.” A happiness gift card. It’s what we all need.
One of the types of therapy promoted by Talkspace is Social Media Dependency Therapy. It’s therapy for those obsessed with Facebook, Twitter, etc. You know, those folks who are constantly checking their phones or mobile devices. (That’s what you call them now.) So, Talkspace wants you to use your mobile device to get therapy help because you are obsessed with your mobile device. Hey, like they said, it’s the way we live today.
In other words, (this is also on the website) “Having a bad day and looking to vent? Message your therapist. Feeling anxious before a big meeting or interview? Chat about it with your therapist. Stress of work getting to you? Shoot your therapist a message.”
But maybe the solution might not be as simple as a text to your therapist on Talkspace. Maybe it is a part of the problem. An article in Forbes.com warns, “Text-only therapy is just another brick in the digital wall we are building between each other. It is a practice that risks increasing alienation and loneliness.” And it could end up being used instead of needed face to face therapy and counseling.
I’m trying to remember what we did before the internet, email and texting. What would we do if we were facing a difficult situation? Where would we go for guidance and direction? What would we do if we were just having a bad day?
Okay, I think you know where I am heading. What would we do? We could possibly speak directly to our Creator through a method called prayer. We could receive guidance and comfort, not via text or email, but from His Word, the Bible. We might possibly have face to face counsel, guidance and comfort from Godly people at our Creator’s house, called the church.
But, most of the time, that way is not quick and easy. Most of the time that way requires discipline and dedication. Often, the answers do not come quickly, and will be God-centered, not self-centered. That way is not too popular in today’s culture of immediate self-gratification. A $32 a week draft off your credit card to Talkspace is a much easier and quicker way to handle your problems.
So maybe Talkspace is “therapy for the way we live today.” And ultimately, that may be the real problem – the way we live today.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at email@example.com.