BHB VALUE: Provider Shortage: Can Listening to Other Peoples Therapy Sessions be Clinically Effective?

This article is sponsored by Meomind, based on a discussion with Sushant Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, Meomind, Chris Cavazos, clinical social worker and Advisor to Meomind. This discussion originally took place on March 13, 2023 during the BHB VALUE Conference. The article below has been edited for length and clarity.

Behavioral Health Business: Can you explain the theory behind how listening to other people’s therapy sessions can provide that therapeutic benefit?

Chris Cavazos: We believe in the therapeutic value of shared experiences. Listeners can feel less isolated and alone by hearing others discuss similar issues and challenges. Over the decades, even those of us who are clinicians have come to appreciate the benefits of support groups, where individuals can relate to life challenges expressed by others. We see this same phenomenon in the recorded therapy sessions we offer.


We also believe that individuals can deepen their understanding of their own symptoms, emotions, and the causes of their issues by listening to others. There’s a psychoeducational component as well, where individuals can learn skills from the dialogue and apply them to manage their daily challenges and emotions.

The feedback we’ve received from users on our platform has been overwhelmingly positive—they feel supported and empathized with by the therapists, almost as if the therapist was speaking directly to them. This confirms the many ways we see therapeutic value in our approach.

What research or evidence currently supports the clinical effectiveness of this approach?


Sushant Gupta: The way we measure the clinical impact of the platform, is by administering clinically validated instruments like the PHQ and GAD to our members at the time of their signup. This helps us establish a baseline. We then continue to administer these assessments every week. This helps provide us with a more clear understanding of how the individual is progressing, while using our solution over time. We measure the percentage of those experiencing more than a 50% reduction in depression or anxiety related symptoms while using our platform, a significant clinical benchmark. We have found approximately 45% of those using Meomind achieve this level of symptom reduction.

In comparison to traditional psychotherapy, which has about a 38% success rate, this is a notable improvement. We believe our own outcomes, as compared to traditional therapy, is due to several factors. One is that more people are willing to start using a platform like ours, which is very accessible. There is also a much lower drop-off rate with Meomind given how simple it is to use. Additionally, the consistent quality of our platform contributes to its high clinical effectiveness.

How do we ensure that the privacy and confidentiality of those whose therapy sessions are shared remain private and confidential?

Gupta: We ensure that no protected health information is ever shared. As you would have seen in the recording, we do not share names; all names have been changed. No personal information about relationships, such as details about a boyfriend, spouse, or mother, will ever be shared. There is a thorough post-recording scrub of the entire recording. All parties consent to being recorded and are aware of how the recordings will be used on our platform. In some cases, we also modulate the voice, especially if any client has a distinctive voice, to help maintain anonymity. We ensure that details are changed, but the stories and the emotions expressed in our sessions remain authentic.

In what ways could this modality help address some of the mental health care provider shortage that I know everyone is dealing with right now?

Cavazos: It’s a huge challenge for us all. Imagine the number of people who can listen to what we just heard. It’s endless; it’s infinite. This comes against the backdrop of increased demand for psychotherapy and counseling and a shortage of providers. That would be my first response to that question. It’s really about the reach and the scalability of what we’re offering.

Gupta: If you look at some of the most pertinent topics on our platform, about 10,000 people have listened to the same session. That just demonstrates the repeatability and scalability of our platform.

How does recorded therapy help improve access to care?

Gupta: There are several ways we’re addressing key issues pertaining to care access. One major problem we’re tackling is the scarcity of available therapists. When someone wants to see a therapist, oftentimes there aren’t any available, or there’s a long wait to see a reputable one, as most effective therapists are fully booked. We’re trying to eliminate wait times, remove the need for appointments, and provide access to quality therapy without all of the barriers associated with traditional therapy.

Another important aspect we’re addressing is inclusivity. We’re ensuring that therapy is accessible for populations that have traditionally struggled to receive care, whether it’s LGBTQ individuals, teens, or people of color. We believe we need to approach these issues differently, and our platform is designed to do just that.

The third aspect is the cost. Therapy can become quite expensive over time. We’ve built a platform that eliminates co-payments and offers free, unlimited access and help making a significant difference in affordability.

Can this modality serve as a standalone treatment, or should it be complemented with traditional therapy?

Cavazos: We believe it can be both. It really depends on the presenting issues and their severity. As Sushant mentioned earlier, we use validated instruments, abbreviated versions of the PHQ and GAD. When someone joins the platform, we can determine if they need something more than Meomind, such as traditional therapy or even something more intensive than traditional outpatient therapy.

As individuals stay engaged on our platform, we continuously monitor their progress, noting whether their symptoms are improving or worsening. Through our coaches, we can encourage users, redirect them, or transition them into more traditional outpatient therapy, if needed. We are also actively seeking strategic partners interested in conducting a deeper dive into the impact that Meomind has on individuals who transition to traditional therapy.

Who is this product right for? What kind of patients can really benefit from this?

Gupta: We serve everyone from teens to Medicare recipients, covering a huge range and seeing diverse usage across different segments. About 16% of our users are teens. We also observe varied behaviors on our platform. Many of our members engage in binge listening, while others listen over time. Some return sporadically, typically when they encounter problems, demonstrating different needs and usage patterns.

An interesting observation from our platform involved an individual who only listened to trauma sessions early in the morning. We were curious about this pattern and, upon further investigation, realized that the conditions at home were such that this was the only time she was alone and could truly focus on the sessions. Building a solution that is tailored to the unique circumstances of each individual is crucial, and that’s what we have aimed to achieve here.

What does your partnership model look like and how are patients finding you?

Gupta: The health plans we work with, including digital care navigators, care managers, and in some cases even primary care physicians, are referring members to Meomind. This is largely being used as an alternative to traditional therapy. They are discovering that more individuals are seeking a solution that offers immediate, quick access.

Once referred, the process for those using Meomind is straightforward: they simply go to the App Store or Play Store, download the app, sign up, and join the program. From there, we manage the entire care process through nudges, reminders, and other supports we have put in place.

How do you find diverse providers and make sure that you’re matching the right patients with the right providers?

Gupta: Whenever we’re looking for providers, we prioritize specialists—experts in specific areas such as teen issues, people of color, LGBTQ, or social anxiety. We seek top experts in each of these fields. Engagement is crucial. We interview potential therapists and select less than 10% of those who apply to join our platform, maintaining a highly selective process.

The beauty of our platform is the ability to receive quick feedback on which sessions resonate and which do not.

What do you foresee some of the biggest opportunities for this coming year? What are you hoping comes out of 2024? Where do you see the platform?

Gupta: A significant use case is using AI to match unstructured data. This represents a major technological leap, especially when you consider all the information received from those using our platform. Matching this data is not a trivial problem, because it is highly unstructured and simple keyword matching does not suffice.

We’ve made a substantial leap by taking all this unstructured data, ingesting it, and then matching it. We are now approaching about 1,000 sessions, matching them with all the available content and transcripts. We believe this capability will be transformational in terms of enhancing the user experience.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length and clarity. 

To learn more, visit

Companies featured in this article: