This is how marital therapy via an app is supposed to save relationships
Dating apps are booming. On the other hand, many couples try to avoid marital therapy. Our dearest founder, Katharina Wachenbach, wants to change that with the help of an app for phone clinics. Her bad experiences with going to a therapist were crucial.
“I did couples therapy for the first time when I was in my early twenties, and unfortunately she wasn’t convinced,” says Katharina Wachenbach in an interview with Grunderszen. She couldn’t speak frankly and felt pressured.
Perhaps this was a reason why the 35-year-old wanted to do a better job and build a cherished company for the start-up clinic. Consultation hours are done exclusively via the app, so that couples can save on the clinic trip.
According to Wäschenbach, several hundred couples receive treatment with Dearest. In the first step, users go through what is called the matching process. They describe their problems at a free initial consultation and are then assigned to one of the eight therapists currently working.
Sessions do not necessarily have to be held in pairs. You can also take advantage of individual or individual therapy to get support with dating issues or to learn about old relationship patterns.
Husbands prefer to let their relationship fall apart
“Couples often wait until it is actually too late before going to therapy,” says her dear founder. This relates primarily to the fact that therapeutic assistance is still equipped with many stigmas – those who need treatment are weak or even psychopaths. Some people fear being labeled with these traits.
Therefore, the 35-year-old wants to make couples therapy more accessible by allowing the training to be used flexibly in terms of time, among other things. If users are banned from working for several weeks, they should be able to come back without any issues. Moreover, the startup wants to reduce waiting times to a minimum.
“With Dearest, we want to offer everyone the opportunity to benefit from relationship coaching,” the founder explains. The startup offers training from 99 euros per hour. Conjugal treatments, for example, often only start at 120 euros, says Wäschenbach. Sessions with Dearest take place exclusively online, which fits perfectly in a self-defined target group between 25 and mid-30s, according to a trained couples therapist.
More and more people go over Internet in search of a relationship. According to Statista, about eight million online users searched for a partner on dating platforms in 2020.
The dating app market is growing. In addition to big players like Tinder or Parship, a lot of small start-ups have entered the market, including controversial Lovoo from Dresden, Spotted from Mannheim or Berlin-based app Blindmate.
“I felt lonely – as a person, but also as a couple”
On the other hand, many people try to avoid marital therapy. Wäschenbach is also reluctant to reconsider her first treatment in 15 years. The trip home after the meetings was especially unpleasant for her.
“I felt lonely – as a person, but also as a couple.” Accordingly, she would have liked advice between office hours.
That’s why Dearest offers educational materials via the app as well as an internship offer. Couples should be able to independently inform themselves about topics such as attachment styles, love, and relationships. But also get regular feedback from relationship coaches.
Wäschenbach founded Dearest in January 2021. Previously she worked as an independent consultant for companies such as Obi Next and Konux, a start-up construction company in Munich. At the same time, she trained in couples therapy. One day, realizing that her job limited her ability to influence companies, she devoted all of her time to her part-time job and founded Dearest.
Scene heads are interested in the dearest
Its co-founder, Lukas Wisdom, joined in a few months later. The formerly graduated economist created a digital agency. In order to launch Dearest, the founding duo raised an average six-figure sum on their pre-founding tour in early 2021.
The deal was co-founded by Ignaz Fürstmayr, co-founder of Persono, board member of tax consultancy ETL Mark Muller and managing director of the Berlin plant, Nico Gramens. A new addition is Christina Walker Meyer, the current managing director of cryptocurrency startup Nouri.
Since Wäschenbach’s first visit by a therapist to the couple more than ten years ago, acceptance of online offers has increased, she says. Not just for digital psychology apps like Selfapy. Users’ interest in mental health has also grown.
An example in Germany is Actio, founded by series founder Nikita Fahrenholz and former protagonist delivery director Daniel Stalkopf. The app offers courses in meditation, pilates and yoga. A growing market, especially during the Corona pandemic.