022: How would you feel about ‘opening up’ to a robot? The Rise of AI-Led Counselling with Dr Gregory Warwick
Are you keen to start making progress towards improving your mental wellbeing? Are you concerned by the substantial wait-times for therapy provided by the NHS, or the extensive cost of private sessions? In this episode, we’re excited to be speaking with Dr Gregory Warwick, a counselling psychologist, about the current availability of alternatives to these traditional services. These include text-based online therapy, AI-based counselling and self-help solutions. In conversation with Coffee, Calm & Connection’s Sarah Myerscough, he discusses how these latter options could in some cases be considered equally as effective as traditional approaches to mental wellbeing, and how they may assist you in taking control of your own mental health.
Quote of the Episode
“When I look at the data, in terms of effectiveness, the outcomes are largely the same as working with someone.”
Counselling psychologist Dr Gregory Warwick suggests that online therapies and self-help services have, in recent studies, proven to be nearly and often equally as effective as in-person, traditional Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The ability to actively improve one’s mental health need not lie solely in the hands of a mental health professional, but rather, can be assumed by yourself, in conjunction with services such as Coffee, Calm & Connection. These can actively foster changes in your habits and mentality and empower you to become the person you want to be.
COVID-19 has exacerbated changes pertaining to interaction and communication which were already inevitable in light of the rapid developments in social media and technology. However, simultaneously, an array of self-help resources is emerging, which may become instrumental in improving or maintaining one’s mental health and wellbeing.
There is an array of options for improving your mental health beyond conventional talk therapy, the demand for which has only skyrocketed in recent months due to the pandemic, despite an infrastructure which was already struggling to meet demand. As Dr Warwick explains in this episode, these alternative methods are by no means second-rate, and indeed can accrue similar results to those achievable with traditional therapy. These methods may range from meditation to the individualised courses provided by Coffee Calm Connection, and will continue to expand in the future.
In the next decade, if developed in the right hands, AI-based counselling could become a hugely beneficial resource which would cater to our current culture of immediacy. This would enable us to start therapy in the same amount of time it takes to order a product on Amazon, curtailing 18-month+ wait times for NHS therapy, or the extensive costs of private services.
A key concern raised by those who are sceptical of self-help platforms in contrast with traditional therapy is an ostensible lack of accountability, and the difficulty of seeing genuine progress manifested without another professional individual in the room to assist oneself in seeing it. Coffee, Calm & Connection overcomes this barrier by providing easy, five-minute-a-day courses with which you can zone-in on a particular element of your mental wellbeing. The ease-of-access these provide ensures that you can actively take control of your mental health and achieve your goals with bite-sized content that will gradually encourage you to make the changes you wish to see in yourself. As Dr Warwick mentions in the podcast, some self-help materials are created in a one-size-fits-all type model, which is not necessarily conducive to genuine personal growth, as it isn’t tailored to one’s unique, individual needs. Meanwhile, Coffee, Calm & Connection allows you to actively take control of the aspects of your mental wellbeing which you seek to improve, rendering the process highly individualised and capable of catering to your specific needs.
Best Moments/Key Quotes
“Part of my thesis and interest was around internet Relay Chat, and I did an experiment where people would do therapy with one another, just using text. And it found that it didn't matter that you didn't have these gestures, the facial expressions, if the connection was there…”
“A common criticism of these kinds of self-help materials is that they can be marketed as a one-size-fits-all. And as a result, is not very tailored. So, I think the benefit of Coffee, Calm & Connection is that as you sort of split modules up as you split each sort of lesson up, that's where some of that individualization can come to help with that.”
“There's a theory called like the dreaded drama triangle. So this idea that you have on a triangle, you have victim persecutor rescuer, so the victim is someone who goes into that rhetorically, they played that role. The rescuer was it sounds nice is what actually keeps them in that role. Someone who doesn't coach them to find ways of doing it, they do it for them. […] How do you recognise if you're in that triangle and what can you do? […] You'd want the victim to become the Creator, so they come up with solutions.”
Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy by Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer at GoogleX
About the Guest
Dr Gregory Warwick is a practicing counselling psychologist who operates in Salford, Manchester, for Quest Psychology Services, which won Counselling Service of the Year 2020 in the Greater Manchester region. While the service specialises in PTSD, it also provides expert talking therapy for the general public, catering to individuals’ specific support requirements.
Connect with Sarah
Hosted by Sarah Myerscough
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this podcast belong solely to the host and guest speakers. Please conduct your own due diligence.