Talkspace vs. The Journal That Talks Back
Sometimes you’re facing an immediate crisis, and you need a therapy appointment right this very minute. Other times, you need therapy that works on your own complex schedule — and dropping everything in your busy life just to make time for a midday session just isn’t going to cut it. And still other times you don’t actually feel comfortable opening up to your therapist in person, so you stow away your real concerns, letting them fester.
As it turns out, there are lots of different reasons why traditional therapy might not work for people. If you’re one of those people who needs an alternative to in-person therapy sessions, one of two different online mental health platforms — Talkspace or The Journal That Talks Back™ — may be right for you.
Both involve online support through different means, some of which include journaling, counseling and coaching. Both also provide near-24/7 service to clients, offering options to those who can’t make time for traditional therapy. At the same time, there’s key differences between each platform that might push you to choose one instead of the other. Let’s look at what these services have to offer (while also noting their drawbacks and challenges).
What is Talkspace?
According to their mission statement, Talkspace wants to “make therapy more available and affordable.” The online, app-driven therapy program gives users access to mental health counselors who are trained to support the emotional, spiritual and mental health of their clients. Much like traditional therapy, Talkspace creates environments where clients can open up, share and work through personal troubles to live happier, healthier lives.
How does Talkspace work?
Talkspace is designed as both a web-based service and an on-the-go app. Clients are given “rooms” through which they can connect with their therapists 24/7 to talk. We should note that this doesn’t mean your therapist is going to answer right away — if they’re asleep or otherwise preoccupied, you might have to wait a while before receiving a response. Despite this, the fact that Talkspace is an on-the-go app does make it more convenient than a once-a-week scheduled appointment with a therapist.
Talkspace sessions can be conducted through a variety of means. You can either text your counselor, send and receive audio messages, or engage in video calls. All of these methods are two-way transactions, meaning your counselor will respond in kind to your preferred means of communication. It should be mentioned that communication methods are broken down by the payment plan you choose — Plus (or standard) members aren’t able to engage in live sessions with therapists, whereas Premium members gain one live session per month, and Ultimate members are granted four live sessions each month.
Talkspace counselors are trained to talk about relationship problems, internal conflict, substance abuse, financial worries, self-esteem issues, work stress and more. Sessions will begin with your therapist getting to know you — and then they’ll move deeper into what drives your fears and challenges by uncovering parts of your past that you’ve had trouble understanding or confronting. In short: it’s traditional therapy, but online.
One thing you should know about Talkspace before you consider investing further: they’ve been in some hot water before. Their therapists have previously written an open letter to the company saying that they’re consistently overbooked and understaffed, and that their payment isn’t up to par with industry standards. The company has also equated its text messaging system to the same kind of professional help given by in-person therapists, which isn’t studied, and can’t be verified.
How much does Talkspace cost?
It’s difficult to find an exact cost when it comes to the price of Talkspace — their reference articles don’t list any standard monthly or annual fees. Some insurance providers do cover Talkspace, however, which is worth investigating if you have reliable health insurance. One estimate roughly charted Talkspace at about USD $129 a week, although exact figures vary widely depending on your individual circumstances and the plan you choose.
What is The Journal That Talks Back™?
While much different than Talkspace, The Journal That Talks Back™ is another type of personalized help and coaching resource. The Journal That Talks Back™ offers affordable, accessible and unlimited journaling and coaching through a user-friendly app that connects young professionals and post-secondary students with certified coach responders.
These responders help coach-ees manage their mental health, romantic relationships, career goals, personal and professional challenges, educational goals, family relationships and more. Through a comprehensive online journaling program, The Journal That Talks Back™ hopes to help young people connect better to themselves and the world through a sustained, 24/7 coaching experience.
How does The Journal That Talks Back™ work?
The Journal That Talks Back™ works a little differently from most other online help apps. First, it should be noted that The Journal That Talks Back™ isn’t really a “therapy” program — instead of connecting with mental health professionals or therapists, users are paired with a certified coaching responder.
Certified coaching responders can certainly help with mental health issues, but they’re more universal than that. Instead of therapists, think of them as life coaches who can help with much more than just your mental health. Should you sign up, you’ll be tasked with responding to journaling prompts that your coach will then read, assess and respond to.
This is the main difference between The Journal That Talks Back™ and Talkspace: the former involves intensive journaling and responding to prompts, and the latter primarily involves text-based conversations between clients and therapists.
While The Journal That Talks Back™ app can certainly improve your mental health outlook, it’s mainly meant for people who need life coaching, not therapy. Whereas therapy is a reactionary process primarily rooted in addressing mental health concerns and helping participants uncover old patterns from past experiences, coaching takes a more action-oriented approach. Users are encouraged to critically examine their own beliefs and work with coaches to come up with goals that they can track progress against and, eventually, achieve.
Unlike Talkspace, The Journal That Talks Back™ doesn’t pair you with your coach through text messaging. Instead, you’re paired using a consultation that involves a preliminary conversation about your goals and needs. After that, you’ll get your personalized coach who will read, understand and respond to your journals. The benefits to this process are, of course, the fact that you’ll get a more personalized coaching experience. However, if you’re looking for therapy help based on a specific mental health condition, The Journal That Talks Back™ probably isn’t right for you.
How much does The Journal That Talks Back™ cost?
The Journal That Talks Back™ costs a flat rate of USD $200 a month. While it’s still a significant investment to consider, that’s far less than the upwards of $400-500 that Talkspace costs before factoring in insurance. Of course, you should always go with the resource that’s going to be the most helpful to you, rather than the one that’s cheapest — even if that means foregoing apps entirely for in-person therapy.
Hopefully this article’s helped you make some decisions about what kind of therapy or coaching resource is right for you. If you want to learn more about our service, The Journal That Talks Back™, you can check us out here.
Take a look at how The Journal That Talks Back™ stacks up against BetterHelp.