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|Lauren Keys • 5/13/16|
The Short Version: When you experience an intimate relationship problem, sometimes you don’t want to talk about it with your mom or best friend — you’d rather get the unbiased advice of a professional. Relationup offers affordable and private access to live relationship advisers trained in mental health related fields, like Counseling and Marriage Family Therapy, within a few taps on your mobile device.
A sigh can say so much for not being an actual word. At the beginning of a conversation or punctuating it or just standing alone, a sigh can signal strong emotional and physical responses — from fury to stomach knots. Regardless of where that sigh falls, decoding what your partner means by the non-verbal sound can be difficult.
In that moment, you might not be able to reach your most trusted confidant, plus maybe your confidant isn’t necessarily a professional therapist.
Enter Relationup, the first app of its kind that puts a professional adviser in your pocket to help guide you through the muddy waters that even the best relationships find themselves wading through from time to time.
Rhonda Milrad developed the idea for Relationup a few years ago as technology was edging its way into her therapy sessions as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She decided to use technology to the advantage of her clients, regardless of how unorthodox it seemed, by giving them her contact information for quick help in between sessions via text and email.
The interactions Rhonda had outside of the office laid the groundwork for what would become Relationup, which now boasts on-demand access to more than 150 advisers 24/7 to help users tackle relationship problems with work (co-workers) and anything related to dating, marriage, and family.
Since some questions can’t wait for your friend to pick up the phone or for your next therapy session to roll around, Relationup provides instant and anonymous help in 15 minute, text-based chats with professionals experienced in handling these issues.
“Relationup’s match system connects people to advisers based on their needs,” Rhonda explained of the app’s functionality. “You can chat about dating, marital issues, ending relationships and moving on. Clients want help with problems across the entire spectrum of the relationship lifespan.”
Relationup is designed so users purchase chat credits in 15 minute blocks of time. Each 15-minute chat is $12. A user can decide to chat with an adviser for as long as they want and can even get different perspectives by engaging with different advisers. When compared to traditional therapy — wherein you have to book a session, drive to your therapist’s office, and pay for an hour of time to discuss what’s bothering you — Relationup is a more convenient and affordable alternative.
Every adviser is a vetted professional and holds t least a master’s degree in mental health fields related to therapy and counseling. Relationup’s algorithm automatically matches you to an adviser who has experience with your concerns, but you can also chose the adviser you want.
However, the app is not intended to replace or be used as therapy, and it’s restricted to people 18 years or older.
Rhonda’s life work has focused on helping others, from her day job as a psychotherapist to envisioning and founding Relationup.
“I knew how distressing and preoccupying it was for people to have relationship problems. I was hoping that the short time that I interacted with clients outside of the sessions would provide greater resiliency during the week and fewer crises in their lives,” Rhonda said of her decision to give her email and cell number for quick chats, a move not commonly done in the world of therapy. Rhonda noticed her clients only reached out for laser-focused help with intimate relationship issues.
“It was obvious that a new product was needed that broke the mold of traditional therapy,” Rhonda said. “One that was mobile and provided users with easy and immediate access to professional help and let the user decide where, when, and for how long to engage.”
The “Rhonda App,” as one of her clients affectionately called her new out-of-office texting service, would serve as the proof of concept necessary to develop the Relationup app.
When you sign up on Relationup, you flesh out a profile that indicates what you need help with, but you can do so with or without your full name so the advisers learn about your situation and not your identity.
Not only can you use the app anonymously, you can also rate your experience anonymously. Advisers are not able to see their reviews to encourage honest feedback, though the adviser’s star rating, an average of their reviews, is public.
In addition to ensuring there are enough advisers available at any time when you might need them, Relationup also provides customer support as a company to address any larger concerns you may have such as technical or adviser-based problems.
By offering live advice right on your mobile device, Relationup hopes to help anyone who needs a sounding board and some professional guidance whenever they need it.
The app is currently available through the App Store on iOS, and Rhonda is excited to be working on an Android version now.
“Relationup aims to provide immediate access to effective and helpful guidance,” Rhonda said. “It is the unbiased expert everyone deserves to have in their back pocket.”