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Automated Mental Health Care: How AI is Impacting Therapy

Updated: Mar 3

By: Hanna Smith


The three most important contributors to success in therapy are:

1) Positive Expectancy by Both the Therapist and Client that Therapy will Work

2) A Secure Relationship Between Therapist and Client

3) The Hawthorne Effect, in which therapeutic observation improves mental health.

These change factors rely on a human-to-human, therapist-client interaction. In the age of artificial intelligence, healthcare is ever-shifting. However, many experts caution against the use of AI therapy modalities because of the loss of human interaction, the powerful change agent of therapy. Rather, integrating AI as a resource for the therapist may prove beneficial, especially with diagnosis. Recent studies found AI to show some relevance for diagnosis through digital phenotyping. Identifying “patterns in data'' across datasets such as medical records, social media posts, and wearable devices. There is not sufficient data to argue for the efficacy of AI in mental health care, however—especially as a substitute for therapy itself. What we do know is that mental health is a human experience, and mental health improvement is directly linked to the human-to-human therapeutic relationship. Those who apply AI should proceed with caution. 

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