In the first part of this series we looked at some of the advantages of two radically different approaches to therapy: traditional face-to-face therapy, and the emerging field of computerized therapy. We came to the conclusion that people have that ever-important "human touch", while computerized therapy has the potential to reach an audience unwilling or unable to attend live sessions.
In this post we'll take a look at some of the shortcomings of the two forms of therapy.
There has been a lot of discussion about the drawbacks of computer-based therapy in academic circles. In brief, here are some of the most common objections:
People often assume that humans are exceptionally well-suited for being therapists, and the ultimate goal of computerized systems is to aspire to the same lofty peaks of therapeutic excellence. This is fundamentally misguided, as there are some disadvantages of human therapy that should not be overlooked.
Round 2 Summary
Do humans make bad therapists? Of course not. However, I hope that after reading this post and the previous one, you appreciate that the issue is more complex than it may appear. In some areas computerized therapy systems will always fall short of their human counterparts, but in others they have already surpassed them.
Fjola Helgadottir, PhD, is a senior research clinician at the University of Oxford and co-founder of AI-Therapy, a developer of fully automated CBT-based treatment programs. Follow her on twitter @drfjola.