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Mentaline Delivers Webcam Therapy Sessions to Your Desktop

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Going to your therapist may no longer require that you get in your car, sit in a stuffy office, or even get out of your pajamas. That's because a new online service called Mentaline now provides users with instant access to therapists, psychologists and life coaches, who deliver their professional services entirely via webcam. [Ed. Note: Is Lisa Kudrow behind this?] According to TechCrunch, Mentaline clients browse through the site's stable of professionals, and, once they've found the right person, can schedule and pay for online consultations. The brainchild of self-professed "millionaire" CEO Jesper Buch, Mentaline also offers plans for group sessions and couples therapy, and even boasts a section devoted entirely to more general 'Masterclasses,' where users can absorb wisdom from life coaches.

Buch, whose previous project, Just-Eat, introduced Europeans to the wonders of ordering fast food online, says he's learned a lot since he launched the site in 2000. As Just-Eat grew, Buch says he realized that the service was "not only about bringing fast food to the consumer, but also about the processes between consumers and suppliers" that transpire in an online forum -- a commercial nuance he's hoping to apply to Mentaline.

It's encouraging to know that Buch is taking a different approach to the consultation industry; delivering Big Macs, after all, isn't exactly the same thing as diagnosing depression. If he's able to find the right e-formula -- and handle the competition from U.S.-based Breakthrough.com -- he may just find commercial success. To do so, he'll have to develop a system that efficiently delivers consultation without sacrificing too much of the one-on-one intimacy upon which the profession was founded. Veteran therapy-goers, of course, will still probably opt for the ostensibly more personal confines of their standard, brick-and-mortar psychologists. But Mentaline could provide a relatively stigma-free alternative to newcomers reluctant to take the plunge.

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