Q&A: Struggling with mental health is hard enough; finding help shouldn’t be

The zealous work ethic and hustle that make Silicon Valley the center of entrepreneurship has a serious downside — they take an emotional and mental toll on workers.

So in true Silicon Valley fashion, efforts are afoot to tackle the problem by innovating the mental health industry itself. One such innovation is Two Chairs, a San Francisco-based startup that aims to improve the experience of seeking talk therapy.

Alex Katz founded Two Chairs in 2016 after watching his partner, as well as family and friends, struggle to navigate the mental health system to find a therapist they trust.

The company’s main feature is a questionnaire and matching software that asks patients about their personal background, expectations for therapy and emotional needs before pairing them with one of the company’s more than 40 full-time therapists. It’s based on research that shows a strong relationship with a therapist can improve a patient’s outcomes.

Two Chairs is also trying to remove barriers and the stigma of seeking therapy by simplifying the experience and giving its clinics a positive, modern vibe, Katz said. Each of Two Chairs’ six Bay Area clinics are decorated with nature-inspired decor, and patients can enjoy tea or a LaCroix while they wait, or decompress with essential oils after a session.

Two Chairs is an out-of-network provider, meaning it does not bill insurance companies directly, and charges $149 for an initial consultation, $180 for a full session of therapy and $50 per person for group therapy sessions. The company has served 2,000 patients since launching and opened its sixth clinic in downtown San Jose in September.

SAN JOSE, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: An interior view of Two Chairs’ San Jose office on Sept. 23, 2019, in San Jose. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JOSE, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: One of the rooms for one-on-one therapy at Two Chairs’ San Jose office on Sept. 23, 2019. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

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SAN JOSE, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: A portrait of Alex Katz, founder of the startup, Two Chairs, which uses custom software to pair patients with a compatible therapist. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

SAN JOSE, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: One of the rooms for one-on-one therapy at Two Chairs’ San Jose office on Sept. 23, 2019. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

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Q: Why do you think it’s hard to get started with therapy?

A: There are so many people who don’t

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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