With mental illness becoming a rising problem globally, and more people seeking treatment, different methods are being applied to combat the high demand for counselors. With the current advances in technology, studies have shown that artificial intelligence could be an approach used in individual counseling soon. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the context of psychological counseling may come by as a surprise to many. Still, the 21st century is becoming the era of omnipresent technology, and it may be more beneficial than people think.
The goal of psychological counseling is to raise awareness of negative behaviors and thought patterns. In a bid to promote well-being and healing, it encourages the change of behavior through gaining compassion, understanding, respect, empathy, and acceptance not only toward oneself but to others as well. The term artificial intelligence describes a machine’s ability to perform human-like functions such as learning, reasoning, decision-making, and adapting. AI can be a useful tool when combined with human intelligence because it can create an environment that will be conducive to the growth of this field. An AI counselor would be convenient, would encourage more people to seek help for their mental disorders as it’s more seclusive, and it would store more data.
Human Therapist vs. AI Therapist
The advantage attributed to the success of a human therapist is their ability to establish a personal relationship with their clients. An AI embedded chatbot cannot wholly substitute a real counselor due to their lack of human touch. Still, as the disparity between the number of mental health professionals and the cost of a one-on-one therapy session continues to grow, the demand for virtual solutions will steadily increase. A chatbot is a software that simulates human conversation. The convenience of a chatbot counselor would make therapy more suitable for a substantial amount of people; teens and adults alike. Virtual therapy provides a degree of accessibility that would cater to individuals who do not feel comfortable opening up to a stranger and those who lack the financial capabilities to pay for sessions.
In traditional counseling, the therapist is required to evaluate the client by asking questions that allow them to get to know the patient; this is the first step to establishing a counselor-client relationship. Depending on the amount of information the client is willing to disclose, this phase can take up several sessions. By automating the evaluation process, with the use of AI software, this phase can be shortened to just one sitting because it provides a degree of anonymity; therefore, its users will feel comfortable explaining their problems a lot quicker. The session would begin by providing the user with a pre-established set of questions. At the end of this initial interaction, positive feedback will be utilized to incentivize the patient to continue providing information.
Virtual therapists are also much cheaper than human ones and can interact with the client in real-time. This constant availability of counsel would disrupt negative thoughts and emotions, potentially preventing harmful or damaging behaviors. Setting up an appointment to see a therapist can interfere with the client’s schedule by producing conflict with the therapist’s availability, which may cause them to miss out on social events or even work.
The use of virtual counseling allows the client to fit the session into their day as it fits in with their schedule. This self-service approach permits the client to attend fewer in-person meetings, making it cheaper. The artificially intelligent apps are capable of identifying unresolved issues and generating solutions by issuing sets of exercises to complete, in addition to recommending new rituals to introduce into daily or weekly routines. These solutions promote changes in perception and behavior, and this encourages the client to re-evaluate their thoughts and actions, thus improving self-understanding and self-knowledge. Due to particular regard to compassion and empathy, AI resources will not completely erase the need for a human therapist. Still, they will offer an alternate approach to traditional problem-solving methods.
Some of the people who have a mental illness are reluctant to seek help due to the negative stigma associated with having a psychological disorder; they may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty when they first experience the symptoms of a mental health condition. The possibility of being spotted arriving or leaving an appointment discourages many from getting the help they need. The use of therapeutic apps would allow them to receive treatment within the convenience and privacy of their own homes, which is essential for those who want to be discrete. Having this alternative as an option would encourage more ill people to seek therapy.
Enhancing AI Therapist
The more frequently a program is used, the faster it learns about its user, through the collection of additional data; this works to the advantage of the client. Unlike a human being, an AI software can store and remember all the data it has collected. And this allows the apps to identify mental health conditions and offer personalized treatment based on the individual’s cognitive and behavioral patterns, as well as their medical history. Besides that, apps provide a service that would develop an interest in people to seek out professional therapists. In addition to this, they would also partner with healthcare providers to enable collaboration between clients and licensed professionals. This modification of treatment methods would create new solutions to the therapeutic techniques that already exist as the therapist would be able to compare their evaluations and recommendations with those produced by the software. The combination of AI and in-person therapy would enhance the user’s experience as they work to meet their mental health goals.
Privacy Concerns of AI Therapist
Since the continued investigation into integrating psychology with artificial intelligence is recommended, tech companies have begun developing apps that offer psychological counsel to the user. With assistance from mental health professionals, these companies are developing and testing apps that will revolutionize the way people view personal counseling. Eventually, algorithms will enable the AI in virtual assistants to build satisfactory emotional intelligence. It will be required for the machine to analyze facial expressions, body language, eye movement and voice pitch and tone to identify behavioral tendencies that exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, and several other disorders. Due to data transparency laws, tech companies researching the effects of artificial intelligence and machine learning software in psychological therapy, are required to publish the data on their findings.
These companies are collaborating with therapy patients, intending to enhance virtual counseling by humanizing the machines. The laws state that the information is published, including not only the clinical study reports but the patient statements along with other relevant documents. However, to be compliant with this law and the laws of privacy, research organizations are required to redact confidential patient and company information within the files before they are made public. These tech companies have a responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the patients’ private data. It has been estimated that through the utilization of automated redaction technology, the time required for this process is reduced significantly. When paired with human review, the risk of error is reduced to almost zero.
CaseGuard Studio’s artificial intelligence-enabled software redacts sensitive information from clinical study reports with incredible accuracy in preparation for publication. It redacts PDF documents, video footage, and audio recordings, as well as image data with ease. It can extract audio from video files, redact and watermark PDF files, obscure faces in video footage and still images. CaseGuard Studio can also automatically transcribe audio recordings to text. Its sophisticated machine learning software is capable of distinguishing multiple speakers in an audio recording. Additionally, it understands 31 languages and even translates the transcript from one language to another, making the content accessible to a broader audience. This software applies a level of consistency, accuracy, and efficiency that cannot be duplicated by humans.
The integration of artificial intelligence into the field of psychology confirms that the future of personal therapy involves virtual therapists and chatbots. The combination of in-person and virtual counseling allows the therapist to collect information from the machine, granting them a better understanding of their patient as to provide them with the best care possible. Applications that deliver counseling to the user would make creating time for one’s mental health convenient, and therefore would encourage more people to seek help because the chatbots would be available 24/7 and would also be private. Furthermore, it would avail counseling to people in areas where therapists are in short supply.
Research into the implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms in personal therapy has led to unintended threats, such as that of data theft. The risk of a data breach makes the redaction of privileged information important as the tech company should maintain the anonymity of the participants. Automated redaction ensures that all private data is kept secure. The most reliable way to manage confidential data is by using CaseGuard Studio’s redaction software, which promises to obscure or remove sensitive information from documents, photographs, videos, audio, and electronic files.