Famed swimmer Michael Phelps announced his partnership with text therapy app Talkspace in May of 2018. The intent of the partnership is to promote therapy options for people who may not know what options they have, and to encourage people to seek therapy who may be need some encouragement to do so. Phelps has himself suffered from depression and anxiety in his life, even during his time as a successful professional athlete. He wants to showcase himself as someone who, as an athlete, would not be perceived as the type of person to seek therapy. But with Phelps saying that he found strength from therapy and from opening up about his feelings, he wants other people to know that seeking therapy is a strong thing to do for self-care.
Talkspace, which provides an on-the-go therapy app for people who can’t or don’t want to seek, or afford, traditional therapy. Both Talkspace and Phelps want to help each other get their messages out, both seeking to dissolve the stigma cloud surrounding mental illnesses. Using the Talkspace name and platform to help Phelps get his story to the public, and using Phelps’ name to help promote Talkspace, the partnership seems like a natural fit.
Talkspace was founded in 2012 and is based in New York City. Founders Oren and Roni Frank wanted to make counselling more affordable and convenient using the connectivity of modern technology. They offer a variety of financial tiers for their services, all of them at a lower cost than the average therapy visit. They us licensed therapists that the clients can choose from, just as a traditional therapy office allows. The average client of Talkspace gets to text their therapist at their leisure, with set response times 1-2 a day, for five days each week.
Talkspace has a “get to know your therapist” blog on their website, which profiles the therapists they employ and the qualifications and experience each one has. They use a matching system to help their clients find the right therapist, but the client maintains control by being able to select a new therapist anytime.