ChatGPT Will Not Intimidate ME

AI will NOT replace me (From a Therapist)

Daniela Marin
ILLUMINATION

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I’m here to take you on a journey to explore the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Mental Health.

The advancements in AI are happening at an unprecedented pace, and as a therapist, I know it’s important to stay informed and aware of the impact it may have on our profession.

But here’s the thing, I will not let AI intimidate me.

In case you don’t know, ChatGPT is a “powerful language model developed by OpenAI.” So for better understanding, this technology is trained with algorithms to generate human-like text in response to any question you may have.

I have asked questions about coding, pregnancy, housework, mathematics, legal stuff, and mental health — and on that note, I have even been real by just telling it, “I feel sad today because I’m dealing with adapting to a new country and culture” and it does provide human-like responses that can be helpful in the moment.

My goal is to tell you more about how ChatGPT works in the context of “therapy” and provide a helpful vision of how to use it. I know some professionals are feeling intimidated by the thought of AI replacing human therapists, but trust me, we shouldn’t! Today, we’re going to explore how AI can be used as a tool to help mental health professionals and clients, but also its limitations in the field.

Conversation with ChatGPT:

I had an 18-min long conversation with ChatGPT today. It was especially slow because, apparently, everyone was using it.

Thus, sometimes I had to wait 2–3 min to get an answer, which is one of the current limitations. Imagine coming here to have a conversation while going through your emotions and waiting 2–3 min for an answer. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but your therapist will sustain a more proper flow in an 18-min conversation. Moreover, note that after an hour of questions, it needs a break, which may still happen with a therapist — So I guess we are even there!

Okay, so for the purpose of this experiment, I pretended I have a client with ADHD who had problems staying present in his day-to-day life.

Imagine that have been working with this client for a while and have exhausted my ideas and suggestions for him. My client often says, “nothing works, or this is not something I see myself doing.” So I come to ChatGPT for some questions.

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I started using broad prompts and slowly became more specific to test its ability to get deeper into a topic.

The answers to the first question were very generic; nothing from this list seemed remarkable to me, or I would not have already presented to a client with these problems.

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In this second attempt, it got more interesting with the boxes (which to me seem to be more appropriate for children, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to suggest) and the mindful bell… but it suggested PMR, which I already had said it doesn’t work for him and the five senses which is a grounding technique.

The answer is optimized when I specify that this client has ADHD.

I actually liked getting this answer. Particularly, the language it used because it prompted my brain to consider further options I was not thinking about. And THAT is the magic of ChatGPT for both professionals and clients. As I am reading its answers, my brain is processing and thinking from another perspective, opening the doors for new thoughts and neurological connections.

Another fantastic tool is quick access to technology-related information.

As a therapist, I can’t know every app or source. So I love to come here to ask about apps, YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, books, and even research studies that can support a topic or an approach.

However, I did ask for it to search for psychiatrists in the area so I can help my client get prescriptions for his ADHD.

Chat GPT cannot provide a professional’s contact information, but it still provided helpful information on what to do.

When I asked about online platforms, it did a decent job, but with a mistake — that I was able to catch!

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YES, SIR, CHAT GPT CAN MAKE MISTAKES TOO, JUST AS HUMANS DO! HOW ABOUT THAT?

But it did take accountability when I corrected it. GOOD JOB!

I also asked if it could give therapy to my client.

As you can see in every previous response, it emphasizes that it’s important to work with a healthcare professional to find the best treatment plan that addresses the specific needs of the client. This is something that chatGPT cannot offer. Only a therapist can provide you with an official diagnosis and a customized treatment plan.

I Asked about Emotional Crises

Which I assumed is a limitation this platform has, and I was right.

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ChatGPT reports that as an AI, it can suggest generic responses and encourage someone to seek help, but it can’t get you the help you need since it can’t call an emergency line for you.

To be honest, it does sound like what a therapist will say in a situation like this. However, your therapist will have the ability to tell you personal things that could help you.

Like who in your family to reach out to, reminders about your history with situations like this, or encouragement that only they know how to provide.

As you can see, AI is not a replacement for professional medical or mental health care, and it emphasizes that over and over again.

You have an hour to talk with it, which is no different than what a human therapist can do, but there are further limitations.

AI is not human.

  • It repeats things
  • It misses the point sometimes
  • It has glitches
  • It does not know your story
  • It does not know what helps and what doesn’t help
  • It won’t laugh at your jokes or get watery eyes when you tell it about your suffering.
  • It won’t be happy to work with you or excited for your therapy gains.
  • It won’t keep you accountable.

Overall, I believe AI is magnificent, and I am so proud of what we have achieved in technology — Because, it’s US, humans who have created this, so we still have the power and control over it. And I am confident that we will continue to be thoughtful with every advancement in AI.

I am sure the limitations I am pointing out will improve with time. Still, for now, all I can say is that I am happy to use AI as a complementary tool to help me prompt my brain to think outside of the box, to boost my creativity, to clarify doubts, and find resources.

I encourage you to have a #real chat with ChatGPT about mental health and tell me what you think!

Daniela Marin, LMHC | Youtuber | Therapist

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