Pretty Padded Room

pretty padded room bea arthurPretty Padded Room is an online therapy provider that brings the psychiatrist and the couch to a computer or tablet anywhere. The two-year old start-up, virtual therapy provider's founder – Bea Arthur – pitches the Sharks in episode 418.  Arthur is a licensed psychotherapist, as are the rest of the 9 female therapists in the Pretty Padded Room.

Therapy services delivered online is another example of technology impacting “traditional” professions and delivering services to the digital generation. Arthur built Pretty Padded Room after a previous internet venture failed; she had a rough time finding a therapist and thought she could help fill the void with her idea.

Pretty Padded Room offers two basic services: one on one video sessions and journal sessions where a therapist responds to journal entries. Prices range from an introductory session/consultation for $20 all the way up to $200 for multiple monthly video sessions. The therapists are mostly young and just starting their own practices and offer a wide range of specialties.

The Pretty Padded Room Shark Tank Recap

Bea came into the Shark Tank seeking $100K for a 30% share in her business. As of taping, there were only $21K in sales for the year to date. Previous year's sales were $7,500. Robert thinks too many users will drop out, so he's out. Mark doesn't think Bea understands business or its language, he's out too. Barbara likes the idea, but thinks Bea needs a good “financial person” to help her understand the numbers; she's out too. Daymond likes Bea and her passion, but not the numbers; he's out. Mr. Wonderful says Bea will forever serve as an example to other entrepreneurs who come in to the Shark Tank. Because of her lack of preparation, businesses that follow will HAVE to know their numbers!

The Pretty Padded Room Shark Tank Update

Shark Tank Blog did an interview with Bea after she aired. The business continues to operate and Bea hired a CTO to help her with the financial side of the business. Bea continues to run Pretty Padded Room and she's working on an IT Healthcare platform.

Posts about The Pretty Padded Room on Shark Tank Blog

Online Therapy Website

Bea Arthur Pretty Padded Room Update Interview

The Pretty Padded Room Info

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Comments

  1. Will Taylor says:

    This is not a new idea. There are numerous, successful e-counseling solutions that have been in operation for 10+ years. Had the producers of Shark Tank done some research on this idea they would have discovered this fact.

  2. Nope, not one Ph.D on the site. Therefore they are not psychologists. One cannot be called a psychologist unless one goes to graduate school for 5+ years and gets there Ph.D or Psy.D. There do comprehensive research, write a dissertation and have years of internship as clinicians before they become licensed. This website is offering subpar therapy by people who have lesser degrees and experience. A tragedy for the field of psychology.

    • Heather,
      You might want to double check your facts. First of all, PPR does not advertise their therapist as psychologist but as psychotherapist. You only need a Masters and a License to be advertised as such. By the way, I am a former PPR therapist, and I am currently working on my PhD. Additionally, Bea, myself, and several of her other psychotherapist were trained at the elite, Ivy League, Columbia University in psychological counseling. What’s more tragic than PPR, is a critique who hasn’t done her research.

      • I am a practicing psychiatrist and recognize the need for more psychotherapy, and the potential benefit of providing care remotely. However, in my mind this is a very bad and potentially dangerous idea.

        – First of all, I find the name of the site offensive… It kind of undermines the serious need for psych care, no?
        – Second, psychologists or not, the therapists are licensed on a state-by-state basis. It is illegal to provide therapy to patients in which the therapist does not have a license. If they are, say, licensed in California, and providing therapy to a patient in Nebraska, there is no way to insure the quality and safety of the therapy.
        – Third, and related to above, what happens if one of the patients on the site expresses suicidal thoughts, or there are other acute safety concerns? The therapists are going to be responsible but unable to do anything?! This a HUGE liability and in my mind irresponsible. Safety is one of many reasons why face-to-face care is essential. Even as a physician, I do not provide therapy over the phone, and have many resources at hand in case a patient is unsafe or not doing well.
        – When tele medicine can be effective, it has been within an integrated healthcare system (like the VA), where there are “in person” providers to back up the care… And the area has been limited to make sure the licensing was not an issue. Not the case in this situation.

        Again, i am all for opening up access to psychotherapy – there is a shortage. That said, this company and the therapists really don’t seem to know what they don’t know, and it is scary.

        • Malissa Wood MA, LLP, LPC says:

          I COMPLETELY agree- there are so many ethical issues with this company that make us in the field look unqualified. The name is truely offensive and nothing about security was mentioned. A video diary? What if suicidal thoughts were expressed and not addressed immediately? I have been in the field for 17 years and run a successful private practice- This is not true treatment and I do not understand how they will ever make any money. I know this is probably the wave of the future but nothing compares to a face to face
          , mindful session.

    • Will-
      No one said there are psychologists on the site. They are licensed psychotherapists. Would be helpful next time to actually look at the site your bashing.

    • Heather,
      No one said there are psychologists on the site. They are licensed psychotherapists. Would be helpful next time to actually look at the site your bashing.

  3. @Will, successful in terms of making money? Or successful in terms of actually helping people? There is no scientific research showing that e-therapy works.

    • Heather,
      You’re more than welcome to check MY website at http://www.connieomari.com, where you will find four empirically researched articles on the effectiveness of e-therapy. I’m sorry… do you have any legitimate resources that might counter mine?

    • Actually, this is not true. There is a rather large and growing body of research literature that attests to the efficacy and effectiveness of therapy delivered by the many different modalities of telepsychology. At least 8 studies have found that a working alliance can be established online, in much the same was as it is established face-to-face. Increasingly, therapy will begin to be provided in an online environment. If that were not the case, the APA would not be spending time and effort to create guidelines for the practice of telepsychology. The APA Insurance Trust, which provides malpractice insurance to practitioners, has also been very supportive of telepsychology interventions and even delivers frequent workshops on providing telepsychology interventions in an ethical manner.

  4. Hi Heather, there is actually quite a bit of research showing that e-therapy (i.e. telepsychiatry, telemental health) works. Studies from institutions such as the VA, Johns Hopkins, and the American Psychiatric Institute are here:

    http://www.breakthrough.com/effectiveness

    They all showed equivalent effectiveness to in-person care and some show cost savings or higher patient satisfaction. I think there is still much to learn about the field of online care but the research so far is quite encouraging!

    (Disclosure: I lead a company that delivers online mental health care.)

    Best,
    Mark

  5. AZBodyMindCounseling says:

    The Sharks got it right but for the wrong reasons. I am a Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) and what the Sharks don’t have any background on are the legal and ethical issues of providing professional counseling services over the internet. Providing counseling to clients in other states or countries from where the counselor is licensed could not only be unethical and counter-productive, but could be illegal depending on the state. New York actually has laws on the books that make distance counseling to a client in New York without the counselor having New York licensure a FELONY. This woman could be creating an enourmous liability for herself and her therapists, while endangering her clients. There are many, many sites out there trying to make a go of thissort of business model and none has actually been able to create a demand for the service. I predict we are at least a decade away from seeing a service like this be profitable and having a national certification or licensure that allows cross state practice. Then why am I a Distance Credentialed Counselor? Because I use it in my practice with face-to-face clients when they are unable to make it to the office. People with agoraphobia, panic disorder, childcare issues, mobility issues, and people who live outside a drivable distance to the professional all can benefit from online counseling, but a purely virtual practice is not likely to make it on cute, pink wallpaper and a catchy (while stigmatizing) web address and business name.

    I pass, too.

  6. This is a hot topic on many licensed therapists social media forums. All are appauled by this concept and have been so over the last few years whenever the owner has had another round of free publicity. When conducted in an ethical way within an appropriate confidential platform telephone and online therapy can be effective when potential clients are carefully screened. This site, however, is a sham. Therapists are not allowed to practice outside of the state where they hold license and it is understood that treatment takes place where the client resides. Therapy at such a low rate that then shares that low rate with licensed therapists suggests quality is not necessary. I would like to know how many of these therapists liabilty insurance would cover them for a malpractice claim resulting from this site since following the current “standard of care ” in our field is typically required to defend one self should harm occur. This looks like a middle school playground rather than a legitimate online therapy site of which some exist but the good ones have checks and balances in place to ensure professional quality, effective, and ethical counseling. This site exemplifies all that is wrong when someone comes up with a marketing idea that gets a ton of publicity yet very few paying customers. The newly licensed therapists on this site should check with their boards and consider the long term effects of their professional reputations and credibility from such an affiliation. I’d like to believe that many did not think this through or get good advice other than from the owner of the site who I believe is not a licensed therapist. To see how it should be done there are legitimate resources like the Online Therapy Institute. Calling it pretty paded room seems exploitive of women and their need for geuine qualified and ethical help.

  7. roiconsult says:

    Let’s face it, I have yet to see one person I know going to therapy ever get cured. The biz model is broken. The second they cure someone, they lose a revenue stream, it is one big conflict of interest.

  8. roiconsult says:

    Most therapist’s in my opinion are hacks. It is like they say those who cannot do teach. That is why they say most therapist’s go into it to cure themselves. I have never seen a therapist say, you are cured you don’t need to come here any longer. I think this is a great site since at least people will pay less for the same careless, lousy advise.

  9. I’m sorry some of you feel that my site is a sham. I started it to fill a void in our field. Many people view therapy as too intimidating and expensive to even attempt to try, yet it remains such a needed and valuable service. Our industry needs a makeover, plain and simple, and as I’ve proved there is a market for people who don’t want to lie on a couch and talk about their dad for years at a time, they just want to vent about their co-worker and move on with their day! That’s what I craved so I created that space. And there are others like me who don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s okay – and COMPLETELY NORMAL – to feel “crazy” from time to time so I wanted to normalize that. We screen heavily and do not treat disordered, unbalanced clients or anyone with a history of substance dependence; I like to think of it as “therapy lite.” I am overwhelmed and feel so validated by the avalanche of clients we’ve gotten from all over the world (and that’s pre-Shark Tank btw) that would most likely not have had tried therapy otherwise. Our site is accessible, affordable, and anonymous – that’s what people need. What they don’t need is practitioners who take themselves too seriously, harshly judge their own colleagues, and are UNAPPROACHABLE to the average client. I’m proud of what I’ve built. We are saving people money on the client end and making people money on the provider end – if you don’t like that, you don’t like the basic fundamentals of our field. I wouldn’t doubt if some of your own practices saw an uptick in new clients simply because we’ve reminded people of what we do and got a conversation started. The stigma of our field exists without me or my site so applying a lightness of touch doesn’t hurt anyone. Condescending to a colleague does and only makes you look petty and snobby, good luck getting clients like that. You will never convince me, my team, or my clients that I am wrong in this approach. Good luck building your own practices and let’s stop tearing each other down. Our job is to lift people up, so get to work !

    • You tell em, Bea!

    • veronica forbes says:

      Hi Bea, I am commenting on Deb Owens comments about your site being a sham. First off, a therapist can have a Masters in Marriage and Family counseling license. Now you were in the field so I guess you would know whether or not this business used across the United States breeches some legal or ethical guidelines. I mentioned in an earlier blog that a friend of mine used a similar service and the therapist was in another state. At any rate, whatever the conflicts, every business has them, I am still proud of your model and think that it is very much needed.

  10. LONDONDIVA says:

    Amazing. The ONE time they have an articulate African-American woman on the show, they try and make her look like an idiot because she is “off” on her numbers. Forget everything else. Surprising that they subliminally show why qualified blacks can’t find funding. Lord knows, Shark Tank HAS to make sure the white boys, Asians and cute blonde girl “business partners” don’t miss out on funding!!!! WHATEVER!!!!

    • Um, maybe they were a bit harsh on Bea, but I think Raven Thomas might disagree with the first part of your assessment.

    • LONDONDIVA-You are incorrect on your “one time” statement. There have been previous successful African-American women on the show who HAVE received funding and continue to thrive. THEY knew their numbers, because, they were seeking FUNDING ! Ms. Arthur was not made to look like an idiot because she is African-American. She was made to look ill-prepared because she was in fact, ill-prepared. Let’s not do the trendy exercise of injecting race into an area where it simply does not apply. For the record, I believe Ms. Arthur’s gender specific idea is very viable.

  11. Bea u can’t get on a well known show in front of qualified rich people and not know ur own business financial numbers. U have a good product and couldn’t deliver the goods. If u can’t give answers to expand ur business to meet the needs of ur clients how can u guide others by giving them answers to their day to day lives.

  12. Bea I’m going to have to sing to a different note on this one. I watched Shark Tank with my roommate and I thought your idea was a great one. The pressure of going to a therapist can be daunting for some, and the entire purpose of the session may be defeated if one isn’t comfortable. Bringing the sessions to a user’s home in the comfort of their own sanctuary is something I feel many people can/will relate to. Keep up the good work !

  13. Licensed therapist providing services to clients that are not in the same state is unethical and illegal. It is practicing without a license. This site and the therapist need to be reported to the Department of Professional Regulation. I will be sending all of these therapist names to the Department of Professioal regulation and contacting the ACA because what they are doing is NOT alright. If your in the same state then that is ethical and legal, however, they are practicing out of their jurisdiction.

    • Samantha says:

      I think Elley has a point if these “therapist” are “treating” clients in places outside of their jurisdiction then they should be reported, more so the website should be shut down. Its illegal in some states to treat people in the field of therapy if you do not have your license in that state. Also, I feel like creating an enviroment like this were the patient never see’s the therapist in person is impersonal and gives the impression that they only care about the bottom line….money (whatever little they get).

    • licenced clinical social worker says:

      Way too much negativity here…. Please, let us get one fact straight. Each psychotherapist who works or has worked for any online therapy company HAS liability and malpractice insurance to cover just this!!!! You are all incorrect to make the blanket statement that this is unethical. There are numerous policies you can get to cover your work with a client out of state.
      Lets research before we begin to bash a creative and helpful idea!

  14. Laura Jones says:

    Bea,

    I watch shark tank constantly on msnbc. I saw the rerun with your product and for the first time ever, immediately found myself writing the info down as I’m very excited to see this service that you’ve created. I found it amazing how you kept your composure while they were attacking you. I would have been in tears. You were much more respectful in those conversations than they were.
    Keep doing what you’re doing! You’re helping people like myself and I wouldn’t have known about this had you not appeared on shark tank.
    Thank you and I’m really looking forward to becoming a client!

  15. veronica forbes says:

    I just watched the Shark Tank episode with Bea Arthur. I am very impressed with this young woman’s idea. I had heard of it once before when a friend of mind was in a session like this through a private organization that was helping her recover from divorce. However, even though it is not necessarily new it is not widely known. And, being on Shark Tank certainly got the word out. I think that this concept is great for people who really need to talk to someone professional who will hear them and try to work with them to refocus on what is most beneficial to them. We are all individuals who often need to revisit our identity in this ever changing world. Great going Bea!!! very proud of you. veronica forbes

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