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Dr. Neil Leibowitz | Talkspace

In this episode, Michael introduces Dr. Neil Leibowitz, a psychiatrist, attorney, and the chief medical officer at Talkspace Online Therapy. Talkspace is a technology company whose aim is to expand access to mental healthcare. Dr. Leibowitz has an impressive educational and professional background and spent a good deal of time working with larger healthcare organizations. Through his experience, Dr. Leibowitz ultimately concluded that the smaller companies doing interesting things were the ones that would truly change the game, which is why he was drawn to Talkspace. When it comes to access to care, Dr. Leibowitz made the surprising discovery that even those with insurance struggle to get care when they need it. With high co-pays, deductibles, and luck-of-the-draw when it comes to doctors, inaccessibility does extend even to those with good coverage. What’s more, when it comes to effective therapy, it’s critical to find a therapist who “fits,” as opposed to one randomly selected in the provider network.


Talkspace was created with accessibility and affordability at the forefront and makes it possible for users to be matched with licensed professionals based on their personal needs and preferences. Best of all, if the “bond” isn’t there, users can switch therapists – no hassle. A key feature of Talkspace is messaging therapy: where the user messages their therapist and receives timely responses without needing to travel or schedule an appointment. People get access to their provider on their terms and can even record symptoms – like an anxiety attack – to send to their therapist for feedback. The Talkspace intake is quick and painless, and treatment is measured with the use of tracking tools. Over time, progress is tracked so the therapist and patient can measure improvement. Talkspace then ranks the therapist’s work based on these results so that therapists who rank higher can help more people.


The research shows that messaging therapy works, and the Talkspace platform provides access to therapy for those who otherwise wouldn’t have gone to an office due to the fear of stigma, budget, or even plain hassle. They’ve created a great work environment for therapists and have worked hard to create a fluid, positive consumer experience. They get rich, granular feedback from clients and use that input and NPS (Net Promoter Score) data to constantly improve. Talkspace drives engagement through education and awareness, and they market therapy in a destigmatized way. They often work through employers to reach their employees and provide an easy, effective and affordable solution for all. 


With more frequent communication, therapy can be much more effective. Talkspace has created a new modality for therapy that provides the possibility for speedier results in the most comfortable setting – home. Talkspace is reconstructing mental healthcare and making it more possible and accessible than ever before. 


Here’s a glance at what we discuss in this episode: 

  • 00:45 – Introducing Dr. Neil Leibowitz, his background, and his current work
  • [02:50] – Why he was drawn to Talkspace
  • [04:00] – Prevention, stigma, access and the reasons people don’t get care
  • [07:45] – Identifying who is a “fit” in healthcare and finding a “match”
  • [08:50] – The Talkspace product and model
  • [11:15] – Messaging therapy and why it’s the therapy of the future
  • [13:30] – The process to begin with Talkspace
  • [16:00] – How therapists are selected and ranked based on data-driven results 
  • [18:00] – How patients are assessed now and improvements in the future
  • [21:10] – Why therapists are attracted to Talkspace
  • [23:40] – Dr. Leibowitz’s response to skepticism of the efficacy of tech-spaced therapy
  • [25:00] – The studies they have conducted to prove the effectiveness of Talkspace
  • [26:20] – How Talkspace has created a great workplace and consumer experience
  • [32:40] – The complaints Talkspace has received and how they destigmatize therapy
  • [36:05] – What Talkspace does to drive engagement and spread their message
  • [38:15] – Why they go through the employer and how long they’ve been in business 
  • [39:30] – Who Talkspace is for and what will create better outcomes



Talkspace Website – 

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About the Host, Michael Menerey

Michael Menerey is a Senior Vice President and Benefits Consultant with one of the largest Employee Benefits Brokerage & Consulting firms in the country. He is a partner in the Employee Benefits Practice and works in the Los Angeles office.

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