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Old April 10th, 2008, 10:33 PM
Lil'Pon Lil'Pon is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 24
Default Ethics of Robot Psychotherapists

OK Doc, here's one for ya - (btw - it's been a long time ).

What are the ethics of "Robot Psychotherapists"? Check out this URL:

The article claims that virtual psychotherapy works better than a real human being - your thoughts?
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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:20 AM
William Reid William Reid is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 105
Default Re: Ethics of Robot Psychotherapists

Happy to leave this one for the thousands of loyal fans and posters to this forum. Whadya think?

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Old August 3rd, 2008, 10:26 AM
sk8rgrl23 sk8rgrl23 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 53
Default Re: Ethics of Robot Psychotherapists

I can see some merit in this, and there is a general trend in health care for lay people seeking their own answers online rather than just trusting a professional's judgment. I can also see some people being more comfortable with the relative anonymity of a computer screen rather than a live person.

However, I still think for many situations there's no replacement for the element of a live human, both in terms of client preference and in terms of ethical responsibility. First thing comes to mind is suicidal risk, there is no way a computer can take over the function of a live person in determining if someone needs to be hospitalized or can be sent home on a safety contract. Also so much of psychotherapy is about relationships, most of the issues clients bring in ultimatly center around relationships, and much of the curative element of psychotherapy is about forming a relationship with someone, and you just can't get that from a computer program.

I'm currently reading a book called "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink which talks about how so much of industry and technology and even extending into health care is being taken over by computers. Left brained functioning, the organizing, categorizing binary linear type thinking is more and more being done by computer and this is affecting so many traditional professions such as accounting and legal services and to some extent even medicine. "The book talks about how the key to success is going to be more and more based on right brained functions, intuition, seeing the big picture, making subtle judgments, creating, as these functions can't be replaced by computers.

And psychotherapy is so much about these right brained functions. Despite JAHCO's, medicaid's, medicare's and the other powers-that-be's attempts to turn this field in to a left brained series of tasks, psychotherapy still relies heavily on one's own life experience combined with what one has learned as well as intuition, seeing the big picture and the long term picture. As with art, one can use a computer to create art, but it's still a piece of art originated in the brain of a human being, and psychotherapy-at least therapy done well-is an art, not just a set of skills.

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