A Virtual Counselor for Mental Health

Siebren de Vos
December 28th 2017

Woebot helps you re-frame negative emotions and checks on you every day to see how you are doing. We are talking about a Facebook chatbot created by clinical research physiologist Alison Darcy when she found out that 50% of U.S. student suffer from anxiety or depression.

When Darcy started applying different prototypes on students, she discovered that the chatbot setup was really effective and could function as a virtual counselor. "People talk about their problems for a reason, therapy is conversational'', she explains.

Woebot combines cognitive behavioral therapy and natural language technologies to ask questions and to follow a series of steps to identify and addres unhelpful ways of thinking. The AI chatbot was found to alleviate the symptoms of depression in students over the course of two weeks. Although it should be noted that the technology works best in combination with a real psychologist, even for people without depression this chatbot can offer an insightful, emphatic and positive experience.

Source: MIT Technology Review. Image: Mashable

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