Hi everyone. And welcome to this week's episode of the Online Roadmap Podcast. WVU Online's own podcast series. Today, we are joined by Liz Kelly and Liz is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist with Talkspace. So thanks for joining us today.
Thanks, Amber, I'm really excited to be here and talk about all things, mental health and therapy and Talkspace with you.
Awesome. Thank you so much. So if you would, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do with Talkspace? Sure. So I'm a licensed clinical social worker and I'm a therapist and I've been in the mental health field for. Over 1,000 over 10 years now. And I specialize in grief and loss and depression and anxiety.
I'd like transitions. So I work with my clients with a lot of, a lot of different issues. I've worked for Talkspace for coming up on three years and it's really been a lot of fun. I love the intersection of mental health and technology. So I've really enjoyed being with Talkspace and, you know, on. On the side, I've got two little kids and I like to go hiking.
And so I try to try to practice what I preach with what I talk to my clients. I'm always talking to my clients about work-life balance. I try to do the same thing too and be outside as much as possible. That's awesome. Yeah. So important to have that balance. I know that's something that I feel like working from home.
I struggled with a little bit. Right. So thanks for that insight. So WVU is pretty new to Talkspace. So can you tell us a little bit more about Talkspace and who is eligible to use? Definitely. So top space works with teens and adults, and it's an online mental health platform. And the way that we work with clients, it's a little bit different than traditional therapy.
So when you think of traditional therapy, that's usually. Someone going into the therapy therapist office maybe once a week or once every couple of weeks for a 15-minute session. And, you know, that's, that's it mobile Talkspace is a little bit different to Talkspace. When you sign up for Talkspace, you go online you give a little bit of information about yourself and then you're given a few options for therapists and you'll be matched with a therapist, a licensed in your state that specializes in.
In the services that you need. So for example, if you say, you know, I'm, I live in West Virginia and I'm struggling with depression, you would be matched with a therapist in West Virginia who specializes in working with depression. And the nice thing about Talkspace is that you know, one of the things I love as a therapist is I get to work with my clients in a few different ways.
So on Talkspace, you can message your therapist anytime you want. You can either write them a message. You can leave them an audio message, which is kind of like leaving a voicemail. You can also leave them a short video. If you want, you can share pictures, you can necessary other things with them. So everybody has access to a chat room and then you can also have live video sessions with your therapist as well.
So I believe that your students get. Two 30-minute live video sessions a month, which is, which is a great, great benefit to have. But what I love about Talkspace is that in addition to the live video sessions, I have to interact with my clients throughout the week. So, you know, if someone is working on accomplishing a certain goal, I can check in with them during the week and see how things are going.
Or if someone is experiencing having a really hard time, like, let's say it's like too late. On a Saturday and you're having a really tough time. You can send a message to your therapist. So I, I do want to say that just that our, that therapists aren't available 24 7, but you're absolutely able to message them anytime you want.
For example, you know, that this morning I checked in and responded to messages for my clients. So some of my clients had left me messages from say like 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM, 10:00 PM. And so this morning, At 8:00 AM when I checked in that's when I responded to their messages, but I didn't, there was checking five days a week to respond.
Did you have any questions about, about how we interact with clients, but I love the intersection of the technology and the ability to talk to my clients on a daily basis. Yeah, that's great. And that our students are able to even just message and then get a response back during those working days too.
So that's good to know what other, what other thing about that technology piece that I'm really excited about is that. When I have a session with a client, let's say we're talking about a specific topic. Like maybe we're talking about establishing healthy boundaries or sort of communication. I can share resources with my clients really easily.
So I, you know, after the live video session, I can say, Hey, you know, why don't you check out this article? You know about this topic, or I wanted to share you this meme on different ways to manage anxiety or this infographic. So I talked to me, it makes it really easy for me to share resources with my clients.
I think that's a really nice benefit as well. Oh, absolutely. That's awesome. That's a really great benefit for our students. So I know that you mentioned that our students get two 30-minute sessions. I think you said a month. So how has that cost covered? Is it covered? Are those covered by WVU or do your clients have to pay additional costs for the session?
That's a great question. There's no hostile students, so basically sign up for the program and it's covered as a benefit through being okay, perfect. Then that's great for our students. So they get to two kinds of free sessions a month, right. That they can log in and work with a coach. So that's nice mental health as, as we know, has been a growing concern and not just on campus, but I feel like with everything going on, right.
Just in the world. So, we wanted to know specifically how Talkspace can help fill some of the voids expressed by our student body and mainly concerning like adequate access for, for all. And he kind of covered this, but can you go a little bit further into detail with that? That's a great question right now, there's a really high demand for mental health services, which, you know, on one hand, I'm really happy that the stigma around mental health is decreasing.
No more people are realizing that this is, is something that's helpful and it's necessary. And more people are deciding for themselves. Like, yes, Can I want to use mental. I want them to have services. I want to be in therapy. The problem that we're facing right now is that there, it can be difficult accessing services because many places right now have waiting lists, or it can be really hard to find a therapist.
And for example, if you're feeling depressed or anxious, you know, it can be hard to even know where to start. So, you know, where do I, where do I find a therapist? How do I go about getting right? One, what questions do I ask? So top space streamlines the process. Basically you go to Talkspace, you put in some, you put information about yourself, and then once you put in that information, you're given a choice of three different therapists and you get to read a short bio, find out a little bit about them and then pick the one that you feel would be the best match for you.
So it really takes a lot of the late work out of the process. It's just, it's, it's a very easy way to. And to get help. Very cool. And you kind of answered my next question about the picture therapists. So our students, it's pretty easy then, right? They just go on to lots of questions and then there, are they matched to these therapists based on their needs or is there a certain way that it kind of gives them the three options?
Yeah, you can, if you prefer a therapist, that's a particular gender, you can specify that you can indicate, you know, what you're struggling with, whether that's like anxiety or grief or depression or disordered eating, whatever the case might be. And then you'll be matched with a therapist that specializes.
In that area or has experience in that area. I think it's good to see, you know, a photograph of your, of your therapist, read a little bit about their approach. And then out of the, and then out of the three choices you're given your, you get to pick one. Those folks to be matched with. But I also wanted to mention too, that sometimes, sometimes you work with a therapist, and they may not be the right fit for you.
So Talkspace also makes it fairly easy to change to someone else. If you feel like perhaps your initial therapist, isn't the right match, you know, that's perfectly okay. You can, you can give somebody else a try. So, or, or you can, you can be matched with someone else if you feel like your initial match.
That's great to know too. Liz, how would a student go about requesting that change if they needed to do. They can actually do it in their account settings. So, you know, one thing as a therapist, I always ask my clients for feedback. So I always encourage my clients to tell me if they, you know, what they like about our work together.
They don't like. So, so maybe if you are considering switching to a different place, I would maybe think about, you know, bringing with their current therapists, maybe bringing up what you're looking for, maybe bringing up with what they bring up, what you're not happy with. And then maybe in perhaps your current therapist can talk, talk things through and, and help tailor their approach to what you're looking for.
But if you feel like it's just not the right approach, then you know, the option is in your account settings to try out someone. Yeah, that's definitely good to know too. So our students are really comfortable with who they're talking to and their purchases are taking. And I think that's great. Just makes our students feel more like their needs are met.
Right. So that's great. So I know that our students can do a live video introduction with their coaches and that really, you know, allows them to meet their therapist in real time. It's not all included too, within the WVU plan. Yes. So every client that comes to top space is given a 10-minute intro video session.
And so this is just a chance to meet your therapists. Find out what they're like. Maybe talk a little bit about what you'd like to get out of therapy. And so anyone who signs up for Talkspace has given a 10-minute intro video session. And then at that point you could even talk about scheduling your next live video session or how you want to proceed from there.
Very cool. I love the live video chats. I mean, I even enjoy working from him now, just like our zoom meetings. It gives me time to get to, to see people and actually get to know them. So I love that feature with you guys. So can you explain to me, I know you said like depression, anxiety, like, are there different types of therapy that a student can choose from with toxic?
And different therapists will typically put in their bio biography about they'll talk a little bit about their approach. So clients don't get to specifically choose the type of therapist or the type of therapy that they're looking for. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy is a really common one.
Psychodynamic there's, you know, different, different approaches, but that's a, a really great question to ask your therapist, even during the intro session is to say, you know, What is your training? You know, how do you, what is your approach to therapy? What sort of interventions do you use? And your therapist should be able to speak on, on how they provide therapy for, you know, for example, I take a pretty holistic approach with my clients.
I like to assess my client's lifestyle. Find out if they're sleeping. Okay. Eating. Getting some movement getting outside. So I assess my client's lifestyle. I also use cognitive behavioral therapy, which is how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected. I'm also very informed by mindfulness and about using mindfulness strategies to reduce stress.
And I'm also informed why acceptance and commitment therapy, which is about. You know, recognizing that we all have like helpful thoughts, but it's about, you know, choosing which thoughts we want to follow. And it also about identifying what values we hold dear and using those values to make decisions and to inform our actions going forward.
So I love talking to my clients about their values. So anyway, that was my very long way of explaining that different therapists have different approaches. And that's definitely something you want to ask about, ask what their training is in ask what their specialties are and ask what you can expect.
You know, I also specialize in grief and loss. So oftentimes I'm looking at therapy through the lens of, of loss and you know, losses sometimes much greater than bigger than, than the death of someone close to you. It cannot, the loss can also be like the loss of. You know, the loss of you know, when you go to college, all of a sudden you're kind of losing that connection to your hometown or you're losing your life.
You had as a high school student, or, you know, for example, when you graduate from college, you're all of a sudden, you know, that's, that's a loss as well. So there's still that process of, of adjusting salads. It's always, always good to, to find out from your therapist, how they, how they view therapy, how they view their approach.
Yeah, for sure. For sure. And as you're, when, when a student is picking their, their therapist or when they get the three options, they get to be the profiles then. Correct. So that maybe that therapy options would those be available? There are no, it's better just to talk to the therapist. So some of that information may be in, in the therapist, bio, but a lot of the more detailed information about the therapist's training and their approach to therapy, that would be something that I would ask during the intro session.
Okay. That's great to know. Thank you. Thank you for that. So some of our students say, I know we work predominantly with the online student populations. So for online students, some of them may be international students. So For students who may not have English as a first language, is that an issue? Are they able to connect with a coach or how, how does that work?
They should be able to, we do have therapists that speak more than one language, and that is something that someone can request. If they're looking for a therapist who speaks a specific language. So that's definitely a possibility. Okay. Great. Great. I just have a few more questions. So it was noted that 80% of students found Talkspace to be effective or more effective than traditional therapy.
Do you have any insight as to why you think that might be? Definitely the reason why I think Talkspace is more effective than traditional therapy, particularly for students is that you don't have to save everything up for your once-a-week therapy appointment, you know, for example, You know, it's a random Tuesday and you're having a really hard day or you're feeling upset because you didn't do as well on an exam that you expected or you're having issues with your roommate.
Now you can send your therapist a message right then and say like, this is what I'm going through. And that therapist will likely respond. If not that day, they'll definitely respond the next day. You'll you should you'll get a message pretty quickly. When I like about top spaces that we can, I can problem solve with my clients a little bit more in the moment, you know, they're not saving everything up for their therapy appointment, you know, and I also can encourage my clients throughout the week to, you know, some, if I have a client that's struggling with.
Creating new habits or they're trying to reduce the time they spend procrastinating. I can check in during the week and say, you know, how's it going? You know, what's going well, it's not going so well. And you know, sometimes it's not a long message. It's just kind of a check in to say like, Hey, you know, how are you doing?
What's going on? And, and, you know, and I, and I can provide a little bit of accountability and support throughout the week, and then not as opposed to just once a week or once every couple of. That's good to hear. I mean, I like that the students can send those messages to you and, you know, kind of when whatever the situation is going on is happening.
I liked what you said there about having to save it until your therapy session. I think that's a huge benefit of Talkspace is that either. Are able to respond quickly and really kind of in real time with the students, you know, what the interactions and checkup more frequently. So I really appreciated that answer.
And I think our students will, as. I also really appreciate, I appreciate the fact that just the, just writing out what you're going through can be therapeutic in and of itself. So sometimes when my clients are writing out what they're experiencing, what they're feeling, you know, that that process becomes therapeutic to just so it's almost like the chat room on top space becomes a little bit like.
A journal or a little bit like an ongoing clinical conversation. So some of my clients can go back and reread what they've written. They can go back and revisit resources that I've sent. And they can really see progress along the way too. So, so I love the fact that, that the chat room can even serve as, as a journal as well.
And as an interventionists, Yeah. Yeah. That's nice. I mean, it's like, sometimes if you feel like you can't tell anybody, you just need to get it out and you can type it out, send it, and then it's just like getting it out of your head for that moment. Right. So, so that's awesome. That's awesome. So some of our students are, you know, our personnel may go through crisis situations.
So my next question is, does Talkspace handle those types of emergencies or how do they handle those types of emergencies? So in terms of mental health crisis, you know, for example, if, if you are not, if you're experiencing suicidal thoughts or you know, thoughts of self-harm top space is, is not a weird, not a crisis center, so that's not what we're set up to be.
But there are. So in that case, if, if you, if someone isn't a mental health crisis, there are hotlines and things available that can, can help you 24 hours a day. But Talkspace is not really set up to. You know, to handle an immediate crisis. So if, if someone was really a danger of, of self-harm, I would definitely suggest the suicide hotline or to contact emergency services or your local emergency room.
Because he, you know, my concern when, when someone's. You know, having thoughts of self-harm or having suicidal ideation. And if those thoughts are very serious and there's a plan and you know, I want that person to stay safe and I want that person to get support as quickly as possible. And even though the therapist or the house space are very responsive and we're very consistent in, in returning messages we're not always available 24 7.
So, so even though, you know, you do have access to your therapists throughout the week on a regular basis, you know, we, we are not a crisis center. Yeah, that's good to know. That's very good to know. Of course. Sorry, it didn't want to live to know that the death, of course though, you know, you, aren't having really, you know, difficult thoughts, you know, when somebody is going through really hard things you know, having thoughts of suicide, it is something that's not uncommon and, you know, and, and there's a difference between active, suicidal ideation and passive suicidal ideation.
Sometimes people have thoughts of like, I just don't want to be here. What is it, you know, what is this all about? I just wished I wouldn't wake up. You know, that would be bad. I would consider to be more passive, suicidal ideation and, and those, you know, those types of thoughts you absolutely want to take seriously.
And, and that's a great thing to talk to your therapist. But if you're having an active, suicidal thoughts, which is a little bit immediate, where perhaps you have a plan, you have the intense you know, that's a situation where you, you want to make sure you get, get help right away. And I liked that.
So we, our website is HIPAA compliant, which, you know, means your health information is protected. The only exception to confidentiality would, would be if there was ever a safety concern. But other than that, Everything you talk to your therapist is, is completely confidential and stays between you and your therapist.
Awesome. Awesome. Any final thoughts or advice or things that you would like to tell our students about Talkspace or, or what you do or how they can best utilize the center? Sure. One thing I would like to mention is that you don't have to wait for things to get really bad before you participate in therapy.
I mean, there'll be, can be helpful even if things are going pretty well. It's just, if you have goals you're working on and you want some support, if you want to. You know, figure out how to communicate better or improve your relationships or get an outside perspective and a perspective that's outside of your friends and your family therapy can be a really great place for that.
So, you know, so I don't want people to think that they have to, things have to be really, really terrible before they seek therapy. You know, if you. That, you know, there's some things in your life you want to work on. Therapy is a great option to get some support. That's great advice, definitely great advice.
And I appreciate all of the information you gave us today. Liz, I think this is really great for our students to know about, like I said, we are newer to Talkspace at the university, so all of this information is awesome for them to be able to listen to and, and kind of even just meet you in person so that you might be at.
For some of our students. So thank you so much for, for joining us today. I really, really appreciate it. Thanks. And having me, this was really fun and I'm, I'm so excited that there's going to be some of your students on Talkspace. It's really exciting. Yeah. Thank you so much. And everyone, we will see you all on our next episode of the Online Roadmap Podcast and have a good day.