• WoeBot, The Chatbot Therapist, Will See You Now – The Rise of Chatbot Therapy

On Wired:

The Chatbot Therapist Will See You Now

On Washington Post:

‘The Woebot will see you now’ — the rise of chatbot therapy

by Amy Ellis Nutt

Dec 3, 2017

…It wasn’t a surprise, of course. I’d downloaded “Woebot,” a chatbot recently created by researchers, and it was trying to establish our therapeutic relationship.

“Part of the value of Woebot is you can get things off your chest without worrying what the other person thinks, without that fear of judgment,” said Alison Darcy, founder and chief executive of Woebot Labs. “We wanted it to make an emotional connection.”

Mobile talk-therapy and life-coaching apps have proliferated in the past few years as traditional therapy has remained difficult to obtain. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to cover mental health as part of standard medical services, but many people still do not have access to treatment. More than 106 million people — nearly a third of the country — live in areas that are federally designated as having a shortage of mental-health-care professionals, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

…Convenient, easy to use and anonymous, these chatbots are programmed to mimic human conversation and decision-making and primarily give advice, offer self-help guidance and companionship.

…The question, of course, is: Do they work?

[Tests were run on people with anxiety and depression]

… The results of the experiment “confirmed that after two weeks, those in the Woebot group experienced a significant reduction in depression,” according to the study.

…Torous, who is chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s smartphone app evaluation work group, also warns about privacy issues, since these chatbots are not covered by the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which prohibits hospitals and health-care providers from sharing information about patients.

You can read more of that here (Washington Post site)

More On This Blog:

A Rescue Plan For The Anxious Child by Andrea Petersen

The Griefbot That Could Change How We Mourn

For Some of Us Running Is the Key To Managing Depression And Anxiety by Scott Douglas

Why Keeping a Diary Helps You Move On And Even Improves Your Heart Health – Daily Mail

Why Does Being a Woman Put You at Greater Risk of Having Anxiety? by Cari Romm

For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 1)

1 in 3 Protestant Churchgoers Personally Affected by Suicide

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