Interview with Silvia Wang, CEO & founder of Serenis
March 10, 2022
Interview with Silvia Wang, CEO & founder of Serenis, an innovative platform for booking psychological consultations online.
The last two years have definitely been complicated for all humanity. The forced distance, the loss of loved ones, the closures have determined a situation of fragility and uncertainty that still does not seem – unfortunately – to be over. That’s why, in such a critical condition, the mental well-being of people has somehow become a priority.
Serenis was developed out of this conviction, a platform that attempts to make psychological well-being more accessible and to change people’s perceptions of it. Everyone should feel free to choose a route that can aid personal progress and the attainment of serenity, as mental well-being is in fact a right of all.
How does Serenis work?
Following a psychotherapy program on Serenis is very simple. Just a few clicks to get started:
Find out what you are looking for
Complete the scientific questionnaire prepared by our professionals to help us understand what you need
Meet your psychotherapist
After the questionnaire you will be assigned a qualified psychotherapist and the first session will be totally free.
Know yourself and live better
Regular sessions will guide you to a new awareness, you will be able to live better and adapt the therapy to your needs.
Serenis provides a scientifically validated, individualized approach to your needs; psychotherapists are chosen by an independent certified body; and online treatment is accessible from anywhere.
If you want to know more, read the interview with Silvia Wang, CEO & Founder of Serenis
Hi Silvia, nice to meet you and thanks for the time you are dedicating to us. Serenis: tell us a bit more about this great experience. How and when was the idea for Serenis born?
Serenis was born from my personal experience. First, I launched ProntoPro, a platform that connects clients with home experts (plumbers, architects, etc). Responding to client demand, ProntoPro expanded the professions it controlled. Surprisingly, there was a high need for psychologists. However, ProntoPro was designed for services related to home improvement and home maintenance: the customer makes a request, receives a quote, reads the reviews, and decides what to do on their own; in short, it was not an ideal experience for those looking for a psychologist – where the “quote” does not make sense, where they need guidance to understand how to choose the professional (e.g. cognitive behavioral or psychoanalytic?) and where guidance is generally useful. All of these things became very clear the moment I started a path of psychotherapy for my own personal growth. There I realized how suboptimal the experience on platforms not specializing in psychology was, but even more so how important psychotherapy was. I realized that there are over 100 years of accumulated human knowledge about the human mind, but only a small portion of the population is using this knowledge to improve themselves. This same population spends a lot of time and money improving their bodies (personal trainers, gyms), their teeth (dentists), etc – but is content to manage “themselves” in an amateur manner. Clearly irrational. Digging in, I discover that the reasons why this happens are social stigma (“I’m not mentally ill”) and cost (€500-€1500 for a course of psychotherapy). Serenis wants to solve this and bring psychological support to everyone.
How have you launched Serenis? Did you make use of crowdfunding campaigns?
Being a second-time founder has a lot of benefits. We didn’t use crowdfunding; instead, we raised funds from a small number of “operators” – managers and entrepreneurs who could provide more value than mere capital. We introduced the first version of the service two months after it was conceived, in order to receive as much feedback from psychologists and users as possible.
Remote psychological counseling: does it really work?
Let’s start with science: various studies have shown that online psychotherapy is at least as effective as traditional offline psychotherapy. The Italian Order of Psychologists made a similar statement in 2021.
Online therapy has advantages and disadvantages over offline therapy. Let’s start with the disadvantages: some pathologies (e.g. bipolarism) are not easily treatable; and some techniques (e.g. EMDR) that require physical contact do not work. However, there are multiple advantages: More individuals attend because there are less hurdles to admission (forming a video call is viewed as a smaller step than going to a psychologist’s office; no one “sees” you; etc.).
- Because there is no commute and you can do it anywhere, including on vacation, it is far more convenient than offline treatment. As a result, online therapy adherence is far higher than offline therapy adherence.
- It is less expensive because this approach does not require therapists to pay rent. They don’t even have to invest in promotion to get clients by working with Serenis (or other online platforms) rather than individually. Prices may be lower as a result of this.
These factors mean that online therapy engages more people (lower barriers to entry) and is able to have a greater measurable impact because of greater adherence (convenience and lower price). Reasons why Serenis opted for this modality.
Serenis: a very evocative name, do you want to tell us some curiosities about the choice of the name anyway?
Serenis wants to evoke the serenity and harmony of a person at peace with himself, a state of “mental well-being”. Too often psychology is closely associated with situations of very strong pathologies, but my personal conviction – after starting a psychotherapy path! – is that everyone could benefit from a professional approach and a wealth of scientific knowledge in improving themselves. So, we looked for a name that would entice individuals to learn more about psychology rather than scare them away.
How is the market responding?
Very well, above expectations; mental wellness treatments are in high demand. Serenis has already given thousands of sessions and is immensely popular with patients despite being only a few months old. Serenis has already been recognized as the top online psychotherapy service in some studies.