It has been quite the journey to better health. Frankly, I’ve had ups and downs all this year. I’m finally at a point where I am able to talk about what’s going on without getting emotional or spiraling out of control. Only a few days ago I’ve decided enough is enough. I’m tired of being sad. Period. Medication can only do so much; I need to put in the work myself. By myself. This may be a bit of a lengthy read, but I’m hoping by sharing this experience I can help someone else.
I had been researching online therapy during April and mid-May I made my decision to choose Talkspace for my care. I ultimately went with this option as they were the only provider that offered a discount with my health insurance. Sadly, the methods of which Talkspace is run was not what I was expecting, nor was it very clear up-front. So, I am here to give you a first hand account of my experience with this service over 3 weeks.
How Talkspace Works + Cost
Upon signing up for an online account (they also have a handy app), I was given a small health questionnaire to better match me with available therapists. Towards the end, I was presented with a selection of therapists. I like the fact that I could see a photo of the therapists and read a small bio about them, their years in the field and their expertise in certain care fields. I selected my therapist and moved on to the care plan and payment options.
Talkspace offers three service options at varying price points. You may opt for:
- Text Based Service – You communicate with your therapist via a secured chat room only.
- Text + (1) Video/Audio Session – You communicate with your therapist via a secured chat room with the allowance of one video or phone call session a month.
- Text + Video Session – You communicate with your therapist via a secured chat room with the allowance of one video session per week.
These options vary from a monthly plan cost between $260-400 a month. Since I was trying this service and didn’t want to invest too much at once, I opted for one month of Text Based Service. After my health insurance discount my first month was $180 USD, with the agreement that my next month’s fee would be regular price at $260 USD.
Once payment was complete, I gained immediate access to the secure chat room for my therapist and I. This is pretty much when things fell through for me.
I was met with a short questionnaire that would be given back to my therapist, along with a lot of formal health paperwork with questions about any medication I was taking and emergency contact info. The usual stuff you’d fill out at an in-person doctor’s visit. The therapist entered the chat room with a lengthy message about the run-down of things. It read to me like an automated message that she would send to introduce herself to all of her patients. Ok, I can understand that. After all, I don’t imagine I’m her only patient! The therapist I chose was specialized in several areas; mainly grief counseling-something I desperately need.
I introduced myself as well and gave her information about myself, my life, and why I was seeking help. Over the course of three (3) weeks I dived deeper into my issues, pushing myself to open up to this complete stranger so I could get the health care I needed. I received a lot of radio silence and automated messages that didn’t feel personalized to my questions or situation at all. 🙁 I had to repeat questions in order to get a direct response. Ultimately I was fed up with the lack of exchange (or help) and asked for more information on how this process is supposed to work.
Talkspace professionals are supposed to respond to messages a minimum of 2x per day. You are allowed to share within your chat room 24/7, however. This was not what I expected, but nonetheless I went with it. The problem arose when I would not receive any response for days and when I did receive one, it was not helpful, informative, didn’t answer any questions I had, and did not feel personalized to my situation. The person on the other end clearly did not care about providing the help they claimed to give. Despite this, I still wanted to give this service my best effort. I planned to complete the 1 month; after all I did pay for this. The last straw for me was right before Memorial Day weekend.
After having nothing but vague responses and silence on the therapist’s end, I receive an automated message stating that my therapist was taking time off for several days and would not be online to respond. I was furious! The therapist basically ghosted me without notice. This was the last straw for me and I immediately contact Customer Service for a refund; explaining my situation. It was shortly after my contact with Customer Service did the therapist personally log on to explain her absence. She stated that she had not been feeling well that week and was taking time off. I consider myself to be a kind and understanding person; we all have bad days or get sick. However, I was not afforded the opportunity to sympathies with her due to her unprofessional manner!
I never responded back.
Talkspace Customer Service + Refund
The short of it is, is that my experience with Talkspace Customer Service was just as automated and impersonal as my time spent trying to communicate with the therapist 🙁 Upon e-mailing them, I immediately received an automated response. I was informed that a customer service agent would ONLY reach out to me if my concerns did not fall under the criteria of ending my subscription, requesting a refund or both. It was a real insult to injury to not be able to speak to ONE person who gave a damn! In the automated message were steps to end my subscription and request a refund.. The Refund Wizard is literally what they called it.
In clicking the available links I was taken to a series of questions about why I wanted to cancel my service. Through out this process, several attempts were made to keep me as a paying customer. They even offered to lower my rate from $45/week to $13/week! What a desperate attempt! At this rate, your therapist was only obligated to respond ONCE PER WEEK. At this point, I am flabbergasted and appalled at this so-called Mental Health Online Program; basically stealing people’s money with nothing in return.
I’d hate to think this is everyone’s experience. The option to choose a new therapist is always available, but after this I didn’t want to risk spending more money to have the same outcome. Within 2-3 business days I received my refund of $135 USD. No apologies or reaching-out from Talkspace’s end to see what the issue was and definitely no regards sent from the therapist.
In my previous mental health posts, I talked about how I was taking steps to better myself. Having online therapy was supposed to solidify the positive changes I had already started making. However, all it did was take me several steps backward in my journey. Imagine, having to pay someone to listen to you. Someone who is supposed to give advice and guidance in your most vulnerable and emotionally damaged state…and you receive nothing. It really twisted me for a while. I felt more alone than ever; like my Mom was the only person on this planet to really care about me and now she’s gone forever.
Now, I am back at ground zero.
I’m not sharing this because I want anyone to feel sorry for me. I’m sharing this because I want people to know their not alone, even though it may feel like it. I haven’t given up on therapy. I have friends and family who have said it really helped them. I just need to find the right avenue for me.