English Speaking Therapists in Barcelona

Large Online Therapy Platforms: What You Should Know

Large Online Therapy Platforms: What You Should Know

Read this article from Bloomberg and then run from large online therapy platforms: they are mining your data!

In the midst of the pandemic, more people are turning to online therapy to deal with anxiety, depression, and relationship strife. Talkspace, which hired gold medal Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as a spokesman, says web traffic doubled in just three months.

The New York-based company is a pioneer in the online therapy business, which links patients with a licensed counselor by video chat and text, encouraging them to open up in the privacy of their own home.

While the details of most in-person sessions never leave the room, Talkspace says it’s trying something different to advance the field of talk therapy and give itself a competitive advantage. It’s using tools such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze transcripts of therapy sessions, which have been scrubbed of any identifying data. The company hopes its sophisticated algorithms can pick up on trends in a patient’s behavior and speech patterns that can lead to better treatment options or provide early warning signs.

“It’s pretty surprising that we use language in a very similar manner when we deteriorate,” says Oren Frank, a former advertising executive who founded Talkspace with his wife, Roni. The company says 1.5 million people have used the app so far.

Talkspace raised $50 million from investors last year to fund, among other things, software tools to identify what makes therapy successful and provide better feedback for counselors. The company says this aspect of the business is clearly disclosed in privacy terms, which state that Talkspace uses “non-identifying and aggregate information” in research and trend analysis. The way Talkspace handles the transcripts also complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which governs confidentiality and information-sharing in health care, the company says.

The mental health community is in the early stages of understanding if machine learning software can be used to inform treatment, and some of the early research has shown the limitations of technology. “Human language is complex, and context matters so much,” says Dr. John Torous, director of digital psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaco

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