The leading Israeli Hebrew company for online psychological counseling One on One is expending its services to the English speaking world. The new company Dear Lili now offers people affordable psychological counseling services with licensed professionals via CHAT and texting.
How many people would seek out therapy if it were only more affordable? How many people would do so if they knew that they could have unlimited contact with their therapist and not just a 50 minute weekly session? This is what Dear Lilli hopes to find out.
Users will only need to pay $35 a week for the service ($140 per month). This is of course much less than the average cost of a weekly session with a therapist in the U.S. In exchange for the approximately $150 a month — some therapists charge twice this per session — users receive daily support in areas covering anxiety, depression, marriage counseling, family issues, educational challenges, sexuality, social skills, and many other mental health issues.
So now psychotherapy is available to all through the touch of a button on your cell phone. You don’t even need a smart phone. Everything is done through texting. Users will be free to text their counselors as much as they need and the therapists will respond the same day.
As Dear Lili’s founder, Sima Ella, point out, one in four adults in the U.S. − approximately 61.5 million Americans − experience mental illness in a given year and approximately 6.7 percent of American adults live with major depression.
Also, roughly 18.1 percent of American adults live with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias.
At $35 per week, only 10, 000 average users would mean as much as $1.5 million in revenue per month or $18 million per year. And there will of course be other avenues for raising revenue, such as advertising on the web site and other services which could be offered in the future.
And Dear Lili will also offer services geared to the religious Jewish community. “Now we have identified a need and willingness within the religious English-speaking community worldwide to consult with professional mental health therapists who are like-minded with them in terms of life outlooks and perspectives, ” said Sima Ella.
Some people have traditionally been reluctant to seek psychological assistance due to social stigmas. But this is changing and Dear Lili will offer these people a fully anonymous way in which to seek help and advice.
So what are the drawbacks? Well psychologists will certainly be critical of any therapy in which the therapists never meets the client face to face. They will say that this is too impersonal.
But this certainly seems much better that listening and calling in to radio shows hosted by psychiatrists or watching people like Dr. Phil on television. Millions of Americans already look to such programming for free advice on what to do in difficult circumstances.
And, of course, this will be better than no help at all for the countless people who have no access to therapy for one reason or another.