This is how application therapy couples are supposed to save relationships
Dating apps are booming. On the other hand, many couples try to avoid couples therapy. Dear founder Katharina Wäschenbach wants to change this with the help of a teleclinical application. Her bad experiences with going to the therapist were crucial.
“I first treated couples when I was in my early 20s and unfortunately I was not so convinced,” Katharina Wäschenbach said in an interview with Gründerszene. He could not speak openly and felt pressured.
That may have been the reason for the 35-year-old wanting to do better and create the Dearest teleclinic. The consultation hours are done exclusively through an app, so that the couples can avoid the trip to the doctor’s office.
According to Wäschenbach, several hundred couples are being treated for Dearest. In the first step, users go through the so-called matching process. They describe their problems in a free initial consultation and are then assigned to one of the eight therapists currently employed.
Sessions do not have to be in pairs. You can also take advantage of the treatment offer as an individual or alone to get support for appointments or to be able to recognize old relationship patterns.
Couples prefer to let their relationship fall apart
“Couples often wait until it ‘s really too late before going for treatment,” says Dearest founder. This is mainly due to the fact that therapeutic help is still available in many places – those who need treatment are weak or even mentally ill. Some people are afraid to be labeled with these traits.
Therefore, the 35-year-old would like to make couples’ treatment more affordable, allowing, among other things, the flexible use of time guidance. If users can not work for several weeks, they should be able to come back without problems. In addition, the startup wants to reduce the waiting time to a minimum.
“With Dearest, we want to offer everyone the opportunity to benefit from relationship coaching,” explains the founder. The start-up offers coaching from 99 euros per hour. Couple treatments, for example, often start at just 120 euros, says Wäschenbach. Sessions with Dearest are conducted exclusively online, which fits in perfectly with the self-defined target group between the ages of 25 and the mid-30s, according to the trained couple therapist.
More and more people are going over it Internet in search of a relationship. According to Statista, about eight million internet users were looking for a partner on dating platforms in 2020.
The market for dating apps is growing. In addition to big players like Tinder or Parship, many small start-ups have entered the market, including the controversial Lovoo from Dresden, Spotted from Mannheim or the Blindmate app in Berlin.
“I felt alone – as a person, but also as a couple”
On the other hand, many people try to avoid treating couples. Wäschenbach is also reluctant to go back to her first treatment 15 years ago. The trip home after the meetings was particularly unpleasant for her.
“I felt alone – as a person, but also as a couple.” Therefore, he wanted to be informed between office hours.
This is why Dearest offers training materials through the application in addition to the guidance offer. Couples should be able to be informed independently on topics such as attachment styles, love and relationships. But also get regular feedback from their relationship coaches.
Wäschenbach founded Dearest in January 2021. Previously, he worked as an independent consultant for companies such as Obi Next and Konux, a construction start-up in Munich. At the same time, she trained as a couple therapist. One day, realizing that her job was limiting her ability to influence companies, she devoted all her time to part-time work and founded Dearest.
The directors are interested in Dearest
Co-founder Lukas Wisdom joined a few months later. The economist graduated in the past with a digital office. In order to start Dearest, the founding duo raised a mid-six-figure amount in a pre-seed round in early 2021.
The agreement was co-founded by Personio Ignaz Forstmeier, a member of the board of directors of the tax consulting firm ETL Marc Müller, and the CEO of Factory Berlin, Nico Gramenz. A new addition is Kristina Walcker-Mayer, the current CEO of Nuri Encryption Boot.
Since Wäschenbach’s first visit to a couple’s therapist more than ten years ago, acceptance of online offers has grown, he says. Not just for digital psychology applications like Selfapy. Consumer interest has also increased in the field of mental health.
An example in Germany is the company Actio, which was founded by the founder of the series Nikita Fahrenholz and the former director of Delivery Hero Daniel Stahlkopf. The app offers meditation, pilates and yoga classes. A growing market, especially in the coronavirus pandemic.