The virtual therapy company Talkspace is one of a handful of start-ups that has been growing rapidly as other businesses consolidate in a tough market. Neil Leibowitz, the psychologist who serves as the company’s Chief Medical Officer, sees the moment as an opportunity to be an evangelist for therapy. People could use a bit of help right now and he wants to present people with easy ways to find it.
Talkspace is uniquely positioned to grow during this crisis and you’re offering specific programs to ensure that happens. What’s the program that you’re recommending to first-time users coming to your platform because of the coronavirus pandemic?
Therapists can do what is a brief two-to-three-week program to help people deal with the anxiety related to the virus. It’s a structured treatment that has its roots in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which may not be common to most people but which is really helpful for dealing with a lot of the stress. It incorporates a lot of techniques such as deep breathing and stress reduction that are more concrete and can help them adjust to the anxiety. The benefit is that can work pretty quickly and decrease someone’s stress to a level where they can focus on other problems that might have arisen and makes the much more manageable.
Lots of folks want to try therapy. Fewer do. How can people overcome the barrier to entry?
Go in with an open mind. A lot of people are seeking treatment for the first time. That can be intimidating. They’re wondering What do I say? What do I do? How do I communicate? What do I tell someone? There is no wrong answer. It’s more about being willing to open up. Especially for men, this is a place where they can be vulnerable. The value of seeking therapy is that it allows you to let your guard down in a space that’s safe confidential, and comfortable.