Consumer

Relationship Cyber-Counseling On Your Smartphone

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — We’ve all heard of technology, like dating websites or apps that bring people together but now some says it’s also helping people stay together too. Relationship apps promise conflict resolution with just the touch of a smart phone.

With a baby on the way, Kayla Ramos and her fiancé use technology every day. Whether it’s communicating by text or using a phone’s camera to make memories.

“We use technology a lot to keep in touch,” said Ramos.

So when they started having communication problems, Ramos turned to her phone and downloaded a relationship app to help her deal with their issues.

“You can just be anywhere at any time. You can talk to an expert,” she explained. “You can message your significant other through the app. They give you all these ideas.”

Apps to help couples work on their relationships are growing, said therapist Marigrace Randazzo-Ratliff, who introduced the Couples Counseling and Chatting app earlier this year.

Each application offers different tools, like questionnaires to help compare partners’ priorities or rules for success to access in the heat of a fight.

Some even offer pre-written romantic text messages to send to your significant other.

“When you’re in the middle of a fight, and you’re having a hard time or a struggle, if you have in that phone something available to walk you through an argument in an effective way, now the device becomes an asset,” said Randazzo-Ratliff.

She said the “Ask the Expert” section of her app has been the most popular feature.

Watch Brian Andrews’ report, click here.

“It’s privacy, it’s information right there, there’s an expert on the other line, and when problems come up in the moment, people need help in that moment,” explained Randazzo-Ratliff.

But psychiatrist Carole Lieberman worries that people using this technology may become less inclined to work out their relationship issues face to face, or in person with a professional.

“An app can’t tell you things about yourself that might be hurtful to hear, or scary to hear,” she said. “The technology itself is a block to getting to the most intimate, the most difficult parts of the problems in a relationship.”

Lieberman also worries about apps that have not been created by a professional therapist.

“Anyone who knows how to do the technology of creating an app can call themselves a love coach or a life coach or a relationship expert,” she explained.

Both Lieberman and Randazzo-Ratliff said they hope people will use the apps as a kind of therapy gateway that will inspire them to find the face-to-face help they need.

Ramos said the app helped her and her fiancé deal with their issues and said she will continue to consult it in the future.

“We don’t have all of our issues worked out yet, completely. I don’t think anyone ever really would. So as long as the app is around, I’ll be using it,” Ramos said.

Randazzo-Ratliff said people all over the world are using her app. And she said most of them are men asking for advice about how to better connect with a partner.

Links to Apps:

Couples Counseling and Chat App:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abma.couplecounseling

Romantimatic App:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/romantimatic/id788459192?mt=8&ou=4

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