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Ms. Matleena Vanhanen

Ms. Matleena Vanhanen

Matleena Vanhanen is a Co-founder of, UAE's first online directory of qualified mental health professionals. She holds an MA in Psychology from Jyväskylä University, Finland and a MA in Counseling Psychology and Post-MA in Existential Counseling Psychology from City University, UK. She is also a Certified Gottman Therapist and a Certified Discernment Counsellor. In the UK, she worked both in private practice and as a Specialist Counseling Psychologist for the National Health Service (NHS). She moved to Cyprus in 2006 where she worked in private practice and for an online counseling and coaching service provider. In Finland, she worked both as a Clinical Psychologist and School Psychologist, working with children, adults and older adults, couples and families in kindergartens, schools and at health centres. She is a member of the Finnish Psychological Association and the British Psychological Society. Matleena moved to Dubai in 2011, and is licensed to practise with the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai.

What are clients and therapists wanting - and needing - in the MENA region? Insights from an online therapist directory.

Hoopfull, an online therapist directory, was launched in March 2022. The purpose of Hoopfull was to benefit the public as well as the therapist community in the UAE. In this presentation, we will share data that we have collected from our website, social media pages and discussions we have had with our members. We will share data on what directory searches visitors are making, what information is most popular among our readers and social media followers, as well as how therapists experience working in the region. We will present and discuss:

1. What the public is looking for when searching for a therapist. Are there services that are under-represented and services that are, perhaps, over-represented?
2. What kind of therapist profiles attract the most attention. What does this tell us about creating a profile or the needs and preferences of the public?
3. Which blog posts written by mental health professionals are most popular. What conclusions we can make on the basis of this?
4. What needs do mental health professionals working in the region have? Are these needs being met, and if so, how?

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