Finding a therapist often includes days of rifling through listings, sending emails and playing phone tag. Zencare, a company founded by Brown graduate Yuri Tomikawa, aims to connect patients with therapists in a shorter, smoother and much more “zen” way.
Tomikawa was inspired to start the website after having a “nightmare experience” while searching for a therapist. She noticed a lot of issues: information was often outdated, there was no quality vetting for the therapists listed and there was no way to gauge the therapist’s personality before meeting them. Zencare aims to combat all of those issues. “At the core of it, I don’t want another person to go through what I went through,” Tomikawa says.
She also wanted to use technology to revitalize the process of finding care. “Technology has empowered the consumer to make educated decisions, and I think that hasn’t been done yet in therapy,” says Tomikawa. Zencare empowers its users with a website packed with options, including talk therapists, psychiatrists, registered dietitians, and more.
To become a part of Zencare, each therapist must have an interview with the Zencare team and provide professional references. The company’s medical advisor, Stephanie Hartselle, is a psychiatrist and also aids in this vetting process. The site also provides videos, photos and descriptions of the therapists to demonstrate their personalities. One of the most important aspects of the site is that the user is able to book a phone call with a therapist, which means they won’t deal with any automated messages.
Though the company is only a year old, it has already served over 300 individuals, including university students and adults in the community.. “It’s been really great, and we’re excited to expand into the greater Rhode Island area and Boston,” Tomikawa says. www.Zencare.co