As if feeding, entertaining and educating weren’t enough, earlier today Northside Festival added “solving existential ennui” to the list. Now you can duck into an inflatable plastic dome for the talking (or rather, messaging) cure.
“Anybody can stop by, come inside and get on an iPad to talk with one of our therapists to see how it all works,” explained Christy Paul, director of training and personnel at Talkspace.
The service, founded in 2012, offers its users a unique counseling experience, explained Paul. “Anyone needing counseling for any reason — anxiety, depression, relationship issues — can access Talkspace through our website, where they’ll be directed to a private room with unlimited access to their very own therapist through our subscription plan.”
Unlimited counseling is $99/month, but Paul invited us into the igloo for a free trial.
“The therapist logs on about two times a day,” said Paul, as we awaited a response to our grammatically challenged question.
“Typically, by the end of the day, you’ll have a response. There’s also the option to do a back-and-forth exchange via text or video, if you’d prefer.”
Following a brief wait, a reply appeared on the iPad, cueing an immediate sense of relief. Noting this, Paul explained how this immediacy of response is integral to the Talkspace experience.
“With the online asynchronous feature of Talkspace, if you don’t have anything to talk to your therapist about, you don’t need to talk to them. But if you are going through something at a specific moment in time, you can write to your therapist immediately and know that by the end of the day, you’ll have a response.”
Although not intended as a replacement for “face-to-face therapy,” Talkspace offers its users reduced “cost barriers,” “less stigma” thanks to the platform’s anonymity, a record of sessions, and perhaps most appealing, noted Paul, convenience. “Some people don’t want to get up, get dressed, go into an office and talk to somebody. This is like going into an office but you don’t have to actually go to one.”
The igloo will be set up opposite the “Green Label Live” stage through the duration of the Northside Festival.