All it took was a conversation between Eric Coly and his friend that made him realize the truth behind therapy and people of color who need it.

Former investment banker, Eric Coley, had a close friend confide to him that she needed counseling, but she couldn’t find a therapist…More specifically, an African-American therapist. She wanted someone who could understand her experience as a woman of color.

It was from that conversation, Coley decided to take action!

According to Fast Company, Coley spent the last year building Ayana, an app focused on connecting marginalized communities, people of color, LGBTQ+, and disabled individuals to licensed therapists. Ayana translates to mirror in Bengali, the sentiment being “it could be a reflection of your values,” says Coly.

The app features a matchmaking algorithm based on gender, orientation, ethnicity, culture, class, language, and values, which then leads users to a video-enabled communication platform. Users are also able to text and call therapists anonymously. It launches in Android and Apple in early January.

With Ayana, Coley hopes that with better matchmaking, patients will see better results and stick with treatment. Coly cites a recent survey that found that on average, African Americans spent two-thirds of counseling sessions talking about race. “No one should have to go into a place where you are meant to discuss issues in your life and discuss race as an issue for most of the session,” bemoans Coly. “No one should have to educate a counselor.”

Find out more from the website below.

Ayana Therapy