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Researchers developed AI software for training psychotherapists

The global context has brought mental health treatment to the table as one of the great issues of today. From this point of view, initiatives have emerged from the scientific world that seek to contribute to the well-being of people.

With the help of a recently introduced AI system, health professionals could test the effectiveness of their cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, in order to maintain the relevant competence of the counseling sessions.

Psychotherapy subjected to analysis by an artificial intelligence

David Atkins, a psychologist and research professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, United States, has worked for a decade with scientists dedicated to AI and machine learning, in order to develop useful software to advise qualified therapists to keep their professional skills calibrated and sharpened.

The saturation of requests for attention in the area or the lack of finished training in some professionals are part of the problems that affect this sector. According to Atkins, these paths lead to “Lack of performance-based feedback and quality indicators impacts all behavioral health care”, according to what you commented to his house of studies.

Currently, there are several challenges around mental health. Just to point out a couple of cases, in Spain, 35% of the population considers this to be the main health problem, while in the United States, the country where this study was carried out, only half of the population that needs care for conditions of this type receives any treatment, as reported by Atkins.

The idea of ​​generating a training tool for therapists is based on the search for quality care, which guarantees a real contribution to their patients.

“When psychotherapists are in training, we often record counseling sessions, which are shared with a supervisor, who will review them and provide performance-based feedback. When we finish training, that feedback ends, but the need to learn and grow does not. Mental health professionals are practicing without comment on how effective a session was or how to improve their skills »The researcher commented in relation to the particular aspect that the presented software addresses.

Atkins’ team, made up of colleagues from his house of studies and from the universities of Southern California and Pennsylvania, developed a computer tool that analyzes cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, with algorithms that they were trained to measure, in conjunction with a human evaluator, how effective a professional’s skills turn out to be.

The mechanism of action of this tool is extremely complex. The analysis is carried out around an audio recording of a therapy session, on which it is necessary to identify from the beginning who is the therapist and who is the patient. The software is in charge of evaluating the competences of a therapist in aspects such as their interpersonal effectiveness and the correct identification of key behaviors and cognitive factors.

“Counseling and psychotherapy are skills”, dijo Atkins. “Consider that professional musicians practice scales, the building blocks of music, to help them maintain an overall high performance. We are working to create that kind of skill maintenance instrument for psychotherapists ».

The released software will be commercially released through Lyssn, a company founded by Atkins and his colleagues.

The report of this investigation was published in Plos One.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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