NAOMI – your CBT therapist - Interview with the developer of a fantastic app

Did you have any prior development or coding experience?

Our team consists of two psychologists, Sandro Kraljević and Nikolina Kanceljak, cognitive behavioral psychotherapists in education who have five years of experience working with private and business clients through a variety of counseling, coaching, and psychotherapy. The technical and organizational part of the team consists of Marino Šabijan, who has previous experience with startups. Is it necessary to have previous development experience to have a successful mobile app?

Well, in our team only Marino has previous experience in developing new products. But that didn’t stop us from developing the NAOMI mental health app. We were lucky to gather a good team of developers and the development of the mobile application started. All members of the development team stayed with us until today, for which we are especially grateful.

What was the most challenging aspect of developing mobile app?

It was particularly challenging to adapt psychotherapy techniques to the mobile application so that their purpose and goal could be fully realized.

Despite a lot of experience in psychotherapy work with clients, we wondered how the application would be accepted and whether we would be able to help people in need through it. However, the feedback from our first users encouraged us and indicated that we are doing a great job.

Knowing that through the application you have helped a person who has been struggling with panic attacks is extremely rewarding. Additional encouragement was given to us by the psychological profession itself that supported the product.

The interviewee, Nikolina Šaravanja, is one of the Co-Founders of the Naomi app - a mental health assistant that fits in your pocket.

Name a few of your favorite apps and reason you love them.

Huh, hard to say which are my favorite apps – here are some of them I use the most often:

Google Maps: it helps you to reach your destination no matter where you are. I love it for its simplicity.

Evernote: For recording all my random ideas, daily to-do lists, content for social media, etc.

Slack: For its great features; excellent communication app.

CamScanner: Excellent if you need to scan some documents in a moment and totally free. It is very useful for scanning, aligning, printing, and editing documents.

Google Calendar: I can’t even imagine how I would function without it!

How long have you been working on this app?

Encouraged by the coronavirus pandemic that brought numerous mental health problems to people with it. At the time of the first lockdown in 2020, we decided to do what we could to help others cope better with the new circumstances.

People generally faced high levels of anxiety, depression, anger and frustration, and sleep problems. What we noticed as a problem is that not all people are willing to seek help (although they need it) - call one of the toll-free psychological helplines. Therefore, the best solution for people who are afraid or ashamed to seek help was creating a mental health application.

We made it within a week on Facebook messenger. But on such a server it had certain shortcomings which we decided to solve through the development of a mobile application. The first version of the mobile app (Android and iOS) was launched in May 2021. Of course, we are still working on product development, it's a never-ending process that actually makes us happy.

What need of the user did you have in mind when developing this app?

Due to the new circumstances happening in the world (global coronavirus pandemic, inflation, wars), people today more than ever need psychological help, support, and useful advice.

For a large number of individuals, the quality of life is currently impaired as they face a variety of unpleasant emotions. These are primarily high levels of stress, tension, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, and managing anger and frustration due to environmental factors that we cannot influence. Also, many people nowadays report sleep problems and generally cope poorly with the uncertainty and turbulent times that confront us.

People today are spending more and more time online, searching for quality content that will make it easier for them to function and make them feel better. Naomi is here to give them 24/7 psychological support, the content of which was created by expert psychologists.

With our app, we want to primarily target individuals who are afraid to seek psychological help, because they are ashamed or afraid of being judged by their loved ones and/or other people. Also, the app targets those who generally have difficulty opening to other people and talking about their problems or do not have the money to fund sessions with psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, coaches, etc. We focus primarily on individuals who are motivated and ready to work on their problems.

In what way do you think your app is better than similar apps on the market? Please describe in detail what innovation you think you bring and what you are proud of in your app.

Naomi is a virtual mental health assistant. It is available 24/7 and asks the user carefully formulated questions that encourage them to think and create solutions to their problems. The app has the ability to recognize the text that users type and offer them the most appropriate answers.

Naomi gives the user very much-needed emotional support and guides him/her through solutions based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is structured, scientifically based, and very effective. It addresses in a friendly tone, full of support and without condemnation of any kind.

The app has a simple interface that is easy to use, within which it is also possible to connect with a psychotherapist and arrange appointments for online consultations immediately (if necessary).

We see that there is a big need in the market and acceptance from the target user group to use digital solutions to treat their mental health problems. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapies) do work and are the go-to method to be used in digital apps for mental health-related issues.

We see that the main approach for our competitors was the chatbot due to its simplicity in design and development. The chatbots currently present in the market are not high-end in their NLP recognition and flow design, because this is a big technical challenge and cannot be solved completely.

This is why we see the opportunity in the market to create a solution that will use a different approach to CBT. Focusing not only on conversation and question/answer with NLP but also on integrated visual graphical interaction and visual mini-games that can help you with mental issues that we see will be more interesting to our users. This is clearly something less annoying and unique in the market.

We don’t see any type of solution that offers this type of interactive, visually satisfying, and gamified approach to mental self-help.

What are your future plans and expected features of the coming new versions of this app?

In the next phases of app development, we plan to make the app available in more languages (Italian and Spanish), and not only Croatian and English. Our main focus now is scaling internationally. Also, our plan is to add different types of psychological content available in the app and also to develop new features.

Assuming new users of your app are reading this page. What do you want to ask them to do (contact you about X, Share the app, etc.)?

Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it, it is never too late. Mental health is as important as physical health. NAOMI mental health app is here to help, available 24/7.

NAOMI – your CBT therapist

About App:

What is NAOMI?
NAOMI is not just another meditation app. It is your personal, anonymous, virtual mental health assistant, always available on your smartphone which helps you feel better and reach your full potential.

NAOMI asks you carefully formulated questions that encourage you to think and create solutions to your problems. The app can recognize the text that you type and offer you the most appropriate answers and solutions.

NAOMI gives you very much-needed emotional support and guides you through solutions based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is structured, scientifically based, and very effective. The app addresses in a friendly tone, full of support and without condemnation of any kind.

What is special about NAOMI is her interesting design with a simple and interactive interface. You just open up the app and tell her what’s bothering you. It guides you through techniques based on scientifically proven therapies to help you find solutions to your problems. It also offers you expert psychological advice and education. Within the app, it is also possible to connect with a psychotherapist and arrange appointments for online consultations immediately (if necessary).

What does NAOMI contain?
NAOMI offers a variety of fun and easy-to-use techniques for different psychological issues. NAOMI can help you reduce anxiety and time spent worrying, better manage your panic attacks, cope with depression and loneliness, and help you calm down and relax when needed. Soon NAOMI will be able to help you better manage your anger, increase your self-confidence and improve your sleep quality.

NAOMI offers more than 50 different techniques to help you relax, get rid of stress and excessive worries, and improve your mood. In doing so, it helps you get rid of negative thoughts, unpleasant emotions, and unproductive behaviors and helps you establish healthier and more productive habits. The app also contains a well-developed system of notifications and in-app rewards. For those who need relaxation, NAOMI offers carefully designed guided relaxation and mindfulness techniques that will help you relax quickly.

The content of the app can represent the equivalent of multiple sessions with a therapist. That means you can save money using Naomi while still taking care of your mental health and well-being. Over 90% of our users reported decreased levels of anxiety and anger after using NAOMI in our prototype version.

How is NAOMI content organized?
It contains four main tabs: Naomi, Explore, Contacts and Profile tab.

The Explore tab is the main tab where you can find all techniques for particular problems (depression, anxiety, stress, sleeping problems, anger etc). Each topic contains 15-20 specific techniques and conversational flows for resolving your problems.

In the NAOMI tab you can find all the reminders and tasks to be done every day. For example, setting your goals at the beginning of the day, motivational cards, relaxation techniques etc.

Since in some situations additional help from a psychotherapist is needed, NAOMI took care of that as well. In the Contacts tab, you can find contact information and descriptions of available psychotherapists in multiple European countries, available for both online and live sessions.

In the Profile section you can find all your statistics and progress in specific exercises, as well as your diary for specific problems. Monitoring progress has proven to be one of the main factors for achieving success and well-being.

NAOMI can be a good tool in psychotherapy as well (especially cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy), so that the psychotherapist can track the progress of his client, for example his diary entries, thought patterns, unpleasant emotions he’s feeling etc.

Send us feedback at our email!

Email: [email protected]

Categories: Health & Fitness

Date: March 7, 2023

Developer: NAOMI Mental Wellness

About developer: The interviewee, Nikolina Šaravanja, is one of the Co-Founders of the ... Read more



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