Artificial intelligence is on the rise in many areas: Japan already has care robots, and retirement homes have good experience with stuffed toys that give off a spectrum of reactions to the enthusiastic petting they receive from residents. So it’s no wonder that artificial intelligence applications and programs are also on the rise in the field of talk therapy.
The reason is obvious. Considering the enormous increase in mental disorders and illnesses, there are significantly more people in need of treatment than there are psychotherapists. And that’s exactly what becomes the problem: Or imagine you break your leg and the emergency room doctor tells you that your treatment is six months away. Just the thought is painful.
“More desirable, however, would be a society in which people have family,
To have friends and a priest to help them in such a grounded way”
The same ones who dig into the minds and souls of those whose “broken leg” is in what is now also called mental health and who seek an appointment with a therapist: six-month waits are the norm here. And we don’t always mean appointments for minor ailments that can be remedied with one or three reasonable conversations, but for example, teenage depression caused by bullying that needs urgent treatment – and without a doubt immediately.
Unfortunately, when they are named—unless it is a clearly identifiable suicide—action is not made by urgency, but by request. However, many problems that shape the thinking, feeling and behavior of a large part of the population today could be easily solved. Especially if you have a conversation partner who listens calmly and calmly and then asks a few logical questions.
bring problems to the appropriate level
They then create two things: A space of acceptance and a distance from one’s own problems, which only took on an overwhelming dimension, because at a certain moment they could spread disproportionately far and feeling replaced thinking as the agent that guides actions. The questions discussed here encourage the re-engagement of the mind and thereby automatically limit the power of emotions that have become too loud. They are simple, like the ones Don Camillo once asked Peppone, and at the same time they are clever because they get right to the heart of the problem.
“Clare” asks exactly such questions. Behind the friendly-sounding name is a voice bot that specializes in treating people with anxiety symptoms. Emilia Theye and Celina Messner came up with the idea to program the app, which is currently still free because it is in the trial phase and will be available for a fee at the turn of the year and will be available at a price of around 30 euros. per year. Theye is a psychologist and her co-founder is used to being able to talk normally about mental health solutions thanks to her systemic therapist mother.
Networked from all sides and yet low-contact
The basic idea behind these two was that when you’re suffering from anxiety, what you really need is someone to call, listen, and ask helpful questions—exactly what you might have expected from your priest, family member, or friend in the old days. But they are few and far between in today’s fully connected yet contactless world. And that’s why the “Clare&me” concept developed by Theye and Messner has proven to be a remarkably effective temporary solution when you’re stuck in negative thoughts and caught in a spiral of fear.
That people are willing to tell a voice robot what’s bothering them seems crazy. In fact, as the founders of “Clare&me” discovered, it makes perfect sense. Because fears and mental problems are still stigmatized in our society, and thanks to general loneliness, many do not have the courage or the opportunity to talk about their problems with someone.
problems? Then simply ask “Clare”
The voice bot is proving to be a low-threshold, temporary solution that can help address fear before it completely grips people and prevent more serious illnesses. “Clare&me” is also worth a try for people who generally have a high inhibition threshold about seeing a therapist. The project appears open also because it does not offer courses or mediate contacts with therapists, i.e. it offers a protected space especially for those who do not want it, but their fear is so urgent that they try the voice bot.
Technically, “Clare&me” works by adding Clare to your WhatsApp contacts and you can call “her” via WhatsApp for free. You don’t speak with a computer voice, which makes contact much easier, since Celina Theye lent her voice to a voice robot. Text sequences are constantly expanding. The founders collaborate with communication designers and psychotherapists to develop the widest possible spectrum of e-coaching.
It often helps to change your perspective
Jade Cuttle, a journalist who writes for the London Times, has experienced how “Clare&me” actually works: Her problem – one she shares with many young people – is that she is increasingly worried about whether she is likely to ever find a partner. Clare, the voice robot, first asks how old Jade is in the interview. She’s 27. “That sounds like a fun age,” says Clare. “Uh, yeah, I suppose,” Jade says. “Can you be absolutely sure that what you fear will actually happen?” asks Clare.
Not really, Jade admits. “That’s a good point,” says Clare. “Changing your perspective will helptake a step back. Good work for today.” Indeed it is. Because with a few specific questions, Jade learned that she had found herself in a completely unnecessary spiral of worry. What would be desirable would be a society where people have family, friends, and a priest to help them so thoroughly .And in case of serious psychological problems, the founders of “Clare&me” also strongly recommend to go to the interpersonal level.
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