AI and psychology: virtual-therapists

Nowadays artificial intelligence is used in psychology to help people to solve their problems that widespread: one in four people in the UK have a mental health problem. The psychologist may be a virtual human because researches proved that it’s easy for people to be more open in a conversation with AI. For example, scientist Jonathan Gratch interviewed 239 people in Los Angeles, 50% of them told that would like to chat with a virtual human about their lives. The talk in online space can be a positive tool for providing mental wellbeing.

How computerized therapy system was made

The scientists analyzed the humans conversations according to the behavioral and the linguistic details. The facial-movement sensors and dialogue managers were added. Then they created a virtual human who is ready to a face-to-face therapy session. The computerized therapy system named Ellie helps with the depression, anxiety, sadness and so on.

Virtual-therapist detects distressed people that have shorter and not less intense smiles

Professor Louis-Philippe Morency, virtual-therapist’s co-creator, said that Ellie is not a replacement for a human therapist. She is a tool to gather information to provide the diagnosis of the mental illness.

Virtual-therapist detects distressed people that have shorter and not less intense smiles; anxious people that fidget with their hands. Sometimes people don’t pronounce vowel sounds clearly in the depression and Ellie detects it too.

How virtual-psychologist works

Ellie communicates with people in the same manner to figure out the availability psychological problems. Ellie is smart enough to provide this kind of work. She can nod when it is necessary; interprets your behavior, smile, tone, answers. Ellie has a number of the compulsory questions about your mood, sleeping at the night and so on. Ellie has an encouraging and welcoming voice. Well worth only to come, the psychologist scans participant’s faces for generating a score of sadness. She analyzes massive amounts of data. Also, the study showed that people who thought that they spoke with the computer were more sincere, and who believed that the human operator managed Ellie, afraid to open up and tell the truth. The influence of the non-human psychologist is useful to treat soldiers’ problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. She helps to prepare the soldiers for the battle.

This counselor is a very good listener and responds to the human emotions as well. People who talked to the virtual-psychologist were satisfied and increased the time session to 30 minutes, and they liked that Ellie didn’t judge them. Participants after the conversation felt better.

Different therapies online

To eliminate the waiting for the psychologists were made therapies online: FearFighter — a program to cure the anxiety and phobias, Beating the Blues for the remote treat the depression and the anxiety, computerized CBT therapy with the approval from the National Institute for Health.

There are many apps as WorkGuru that helps to overcome the workplace stress, and playing meditation for stress management — Mindfulness by Digipill. WorkGuru develops mental resilience and productive working life. Mindfulness by Digipill helps to reach the balance founded by Professor Ursula James from Oxford University Medical School.

Computerized therapy system and virtual-psychologists will be more personalized for building the user’s mental profile. Based on curated databases of clinical knowledge, machine learning algorithms will suggest a treatment strategy.


Artificial intelligence may easy to fix the specific problem but stuck in a general one. Virtual psychologists can’t help when a person needs immediate help. Also, some scientists say that screen is damaging our brains and virtual life may cause the depression for young people.

Some psychologists state that virtual psychologists can interfere with the development of a relationship between the patient and specialist. Some group of people can’t use virtual therapy: addicts, people with flashbacks, heart disease, panic attacks. The services of a virtual psychologist are still too expensive and therapists need to terminate the session if any complications arise.

Psychological testing

Online testing is a helpful tool to detect mental illness fast and flexible. For instance, Depression Screening Test . Virtual Psychology provides many kinds of tests to assess your level. The quizzes help to better understand yourself, your behavior.

Depression Screening Test

By testing, massive amounts of data are fast gathered. The therapists, psychologists, and counselors use psychological assessment in addition to the clinical interview. Using test results, a specialist will help a patient focus on the development and positive changes. The results are objective and may motivate a patient to the problem solving. The test also helps in the decision making.

It is a great breakthrough that therapists may use the virtual psychologists to gather the necessary data and detect the mental illness. People more trust non-human therapist and satisfied that they get the session without the judgment. Сomputerized therapy system has appropriate skills to interpret your behavior, smile, tone, answers. To eliminate the waiting for the psychologists were made therapies online and useful apps.

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