It’s vital to acknowledge that for decades, there was a big stigma unfairly placed on mental health alongside therapy. Now people are starting to rethink it, and Tokitus was born with a purpose to facilitate the process. Tokitus team has the means and the will to give people access to therapy professionals around the world.
After all, mental health is just as essential as physical health. When top-class professionals work together, it becomes easier to make a shift and normalize the conversation about mental well-being. Reducing the stigma can encourage people to get the help they need ‒ and lead them to happier, more fulfilling lives.
In an interview with Insights Care, Ulvia Avidan, Co-founder, and Psychotherapist shares her insights on the journey of Tokitus and how it is playing a crucial role in delivering therapy sessions across the globe.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Please brief our audience about your company, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the virtual care services niche.
Tokitus is an online therapy platform. Our motto is “Your well-being is our main priority”.
At some point, you stop waiting for a positive change and start taking real action. To us, the big shift happened in 2020, when a group of people from seemingly different worlds – IT, business, and psychotherapy – joined together to launch an innovative mental health online platform that would unite qualified and experienced therapists worldwide.
Tokitus is constantly growing. What started with only three enthusiasts at the beginning (the co-founders) expanded into a team of more than 30 people: designers, managers, marketing and IT people, and – of course – therapists.
Our focus remains clear: to offer high-quality mental health care services to as many clients as possible, no matter which part of the world they come from. People want therapy to be more accessible and affordable – and we’re here to deliver.
We also pour our effort into building our online community by providing helpful information to it. Our topics range from men’s mental health to relationships and mindful productivity. Advocating for mental health and reducing the stigma is what we’re passionate about, day in and day out.
The main values of Tokitus are care, regard, goodwill, and kindness – so we naturally pursue social initiatives as well. We helped people during the political crisis in Belarus and offered free therapy sessions for people affected by the war in Ukraine.
Here’s one idea that’s critical to internalize. When it comes to mental wellness, prevention is as important as treatment. If we make mental health check-ins a routine, habitual part of our lives, we’ll get better at catching issues before they become problematic. We’ll be able to minimize risk factors and enhance protective elements that work for us. It can truly revolutionize our well-being – both as individuals and society.
Tell us more about the offerings that give your company a distinctive edge to stand out from the competition?
All our therapists go through a careful and precise recruitment process ‒ great service starts with great professionals. Therapists at Tokitus speak over 18 languages and offer 11 different types of psychotherapy ‒ psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy, CBT, family therapy, and others.
We’re committed to full transparency. Since the very beginning, user safety has always been at the heart of all our processes. We know no other way ‒ and we intend to keep it so.
We work on both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) levels. You can easily reach out if you’re an individual looking for some help ‒ and we also work with companies and organizations, offering a mix of tools on mental health improvement.
We can already see a positive shift when it comes to normalizing mental health ‒ yet massive change doesn’t happen overnight. So, we focus on gradual progress: day by day, client by client. Tokitus therapists use talk therapy to make people manage their lives better: from daily overwhelm and general emotional unrest to grief, trauma, and various mental conditions.
Finally, it’s crucial to mention our steps into the Virtual Reality landscape. Tokitus VR is our next step, a part of our platform that we’re creating to offer the most comprehensive range of mediation and wellness audio/video/immersive VR experiences. It’s about therapy, too: highly qualified and vetted professionals will tailor-make therapy in tandem with personalized VR environments depending on each client’s needs and expectations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, what challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them while ensuring the safety of your employees?
Mental health has become increasingly relevant even to people with seemingly good mental resilience during the pandemic. At the same time, traditional eye-to-eye sessions at the therapist’s office became a challenge. New regulations on social distancing thrust many therapists into an untapped arena and pushed them to seek new technological solutions on the spot. In that sense, it was easier for us ‒ since our sessions have always been digital-based.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we could expect the demand for services to go up. We wanted to make sure each therapist was ready to handle those changes. Since it was a highly distressing time overall ‒ and therapists are not immune to human struggles ‒ we took preventative measures by offering our team with extra mental and emotional support. Our focus was to ensure nobody burns out, even when schedules get truly demanding.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI and ML, what is your prediction about the future of the virtual care services market?
At Tokitus, we strongly believe that combining therapy and technology – Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning – is the future of mental health care.
By incorporating Virtual Reality environments, you can expand the client’s experience to an unprecedented level. The versatility of such VR environments would further allow a client to customize their experiences according to therapeutic needs, something that the majority of platforms today aren’t able to offer.
VR is an incredibly promising means of treatment. In essence, it mimics the characteristics of our real life, as well as the experiences we encounter. Theoretically, we all know the VR environment is just a simulation. We nonetheless respond as we would in the corresponding real-world environment. We function the same way: our eyes, ears, and brain work similarly in VR conditions as they do in our “normal” world. Both physiologically and psychologically, we react as if the simulations were real – and that allows learning to transfer to our daily reality.
Of course, higher affordability and the ability to reach a massive number of people are also amazing benefits of technology advancements.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the HealthTech space?
Introduction into the HealthTech space is not always smooth sailing. The standards of the landscape are very high, and there are many things that must be thought out in advance. First, let’s mention data processing. With ever-increasing volumes of data, it can become complicated to structure it and make good use of it. The topic of cybersecurity and client privacy is extremely important, too. Digital space is full of personal data, and you must ensure it’s all properly handled. Then we must talk about user experience. People are beginning to trust technologies more and more, and we must create highly intuitive digital solutions for their best experience. Of course, technological advancements must work for therapists, too.
It seems many people who are just starting out underestimate how long it will take to push forward with transformational change ‒ from regulatory implications to data and security provisions. It’s therefore essential to set realistic expectations around certain milestones. That said, even if it’s a rough process sometimes, staying focused on your goal ‒ helping as many clients as possible ‒ can encourage you to go the distance.
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
Our nearest future is closely related to Virtual Reality technologies. Tokitus team is working on creating a virtual reality psychotherapy platform that combines personalized therapy with customized VR environments and meditation programs. In the upcoming years, we want to leverage the power of Virtual Reality and metaverses to offer the most immersive therapy experience that will be modified to suit any individual’s particular needs. Personalized VR environments depending on the client’s needs and expectations are nothing short of revolutionary.
We’re also planning to scale our B2B practices. Offering therapy to companies remains crucial ‒ but we also want to step beyond that. The idea is a complex, multidimensional solution that performs assessments of the main pain points within the company. Such assessment could then be paired with relevant educational material: webinars from Tokitus therapists, lectures, etc. to create a holistic, multifaceted experience.
About the Founder
Ulvia is one of the co-founders of Tokitus. She is a certified Gestalt therapist and a Ph.D. candidate in psychotherapy science at Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Ulvia has 14 years of experience in the field of mental health. During these years, Ulvia worked in various international clinics and hospitals, as well as the International School environment, where she was a school counselor for 3‒18 years old children and their families.
Ulvia also worked at SOS Children Villages with child adoption, safety assistance, transitional housing, and counseling programs for at-risk youth. Ulvia’s approach involves a mix of directness, openness, support, and collaboration. She believes that therapy is a form of joy gained through reflection and understanding. When you make the most out of your therapy time, it can become a rewarding experience with long-lasting benefits.