Online Therapy Apps

Online Therapy Apps

Curt and Katie chat about online platforms that hire clinicians to provide therapy through their apps. We look at how companies like Talkspace and BetterHelp operate related to their workforce, customer data use, and effective client care. We look at the potential for increased mental health access. We also talk about the risks as well as ethical and legal concerns that clinicians may face if they choose to provide services through these apps.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The different telehealth platforms that hire therapists
  • The boundary and privacy issues identified at Talkspace from a NY Times article
  • The use of customer data
  • Clinical efficacy
  • Risk and liability issues related to incorporating Artificial Intelligence into treatment
  • How the platforms work on the clinician side, how clinician gets paid
  • The packages that clients get on word limits, etc. where they may have to renew early to continue treatment
  • The potential clinical issues with how therapists get paid in these apps
  • What is incentivized for therapists on these platforms
  • The boon to mental health access and treatment flexibility from these apps, including text, phone, and video (synchronous and asynchronous communication)
  • The caution about these apps growing beyond their capacity to serve clients
  • The types of clients who are good candidates for these platforms
  • The concern about clients being anonymous to their therapists
  • Managing escalating risk without sufficient information
  • “Counselor” versus “Counseling” services, which provides some cover related to requirements for therapy services and for employee concerns
  • The potential for practicing across state lines
  • The Talkspace memo about practicing across state lines and the app paying for legal fees
  • The legal and ethical risks for practicing across state lines, no matter the help from Talkspace
  • Rating manipulation – false reviews

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Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below might be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

Talk Space NY Times Article

Reddit Thread: Therapy Platforms

Reddit Thread: Better Help, Talk Space, Lyra

Psychotherapy Notes: Artificial intelligence isn’t ready to do therapy (yet) [Updated]

YouTube Video on BetterHelp from The Situational Therapist

Talkspace Memo: Practicing Across State Lines

Relevant Episodes:

Toxic Work Environments

Making Access More Affordable

Who Gets to Have Therapy?

Therapy of Tomorrow

Connect with us!

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapists Group

Get Notified About Therapy Reimagined 2021

Our consultation services:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, former CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at:

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also Past President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at:

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

Stay in Touch:

Our Facebook Group – The Modern Therapist’s Group


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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