Chatbots have been paramount in advancing countless industries through the modern era of technology and social media. Companies have used them to ensure round-the-clock customer interaction and service but their true revolutionary leap lies in their work in the psychology sector. Chatbots are certainly not a replacement for human interaction, but they are an essential always-available resource, which isn’t always the case for human practitioners.
Repeatable Psychological Practices
Chatbots can train people to self-psychoanalyze i.e. people can learn to implement tried and trusted psychological techniques. There are already chatbots that exist to do exactly that, for example, Woebot uses cognitive behavioral therapy strategies to help people cope up with depression and anxiety & their symptoms. In a study comparing people who interacted with Woebot 12 times over a span of 2 weeks and a control group that only read self-help books, the test group had reduced symptoms while the control group remained the same.
Encouragement To Seek Treatment Sooner
People consider psychological treatment is only required and suited for severe cases. This is not true at all. Something as simple as anxiety can both be a deep-rooted trigger or a superficial symptom of something else. But it’s an absolute symptom that requires attention if left unchecked since it affects our day-to-day work.
Chatbots come quite handy here. Chatbots completely eliminate the human contact in the initial stages of any recovery i.e. when the person is doubtful, scared and/or skeptical to share intimate details of their lives with another human. They are the perfect gateway to interact with people and nudge them towards the direction best suited for them.
Contribute To Better Successes Diagnostically
Diagnosing a patient and coming up with a viable approach to holistically solve their problems and issues is how any psychotherapist operates. But even so, there are times when such an approach doesn’t work for a number of possible reasons. This can be quite frustrating for both the patients and the practitioners.
It has been observed that analyzing social media content can help better success rates. Scientists have designed an algorithm that analyses Instagram posts and can utilise the associated data to diagnose depression. The success rate of diagnosing depression in a patient is 42% for doctors but 70% through that algorithm. Using this algorithm in a chatbot can be the breakthrough required to diagnose and deal with depression.
Address Shortage Of Mental Health Professionals
The shortage of mental health professionals is a real concern, especially in state outskirts and isolated areas. Because of this, some individuals fail to get the necessary treatment in time.
Chatbots have the potential to bridge that gap and provide the preliminary treatment to mental ailments online. Chatbots can also be linked to hospitals so that they can alert mental health professionals during critical situations i.e. when the user starts showing suicidal tendencies.
Chatbots are not being used to replace therapists and mental health professionals, but they are surely the best way to diversify therapy and expand the outreach to far off places devoid of this essential service.
Advancements in AI and technology have given rise to multiple algorithms that can analyze each and everything including body language, sentiment, thought process, etc. These details, albeit laborious to extract, can prove to be highly useful for doctors and patients in identifying and treating mental illnesses.