5.8.17

All you other Woebots are just imitating



A few months ago some nice people from Stanford University approached me with an offer to buy this URL. They had developed a web-bot to help students suffering from depression called, you guessed it, Woebot. I was reluctant to sell up and move on, and we couldn't agree terms; but their team found Woebot.io which in any case is the hip URL ending to have these days. So everybody is happy. Or appropriately miserable.

I set up a google alert for "woebot" about a million years ago which is generally dormant (lol) but a few weeks ago it sprang to life with alerts for the Stanford team from impressive places like WIRED, Slate and Forbes magazine. This latest Woebot is the talk of the town. 

I know the team are aware of the limitations of the app. It's not a proper substitute for one-on-one therapy but that often isn't affordable or readily available. It still seems capable of providing some relief to people suffering mental health problems. The head of the team Dr. Alison Darcy was "blown away" by the results of trials into their own app. Here's a video of it in action.

The Woebot app offers "No couches, no meds, no childhood stuff. Just strategies to improve your mood" which classifies it as using techniques derived from CBT. The other day me and my pal Luke were discussing Cognitive psychology (CBT) vs Psychodynamic psychology (Freudian). CBT is effective, but if you really want to dredge the metaphorical supermarket trolleys from the canal of the mind you have to go the Psychodynamic route.

Psychology in itself is certainly something which I find increasingly interesting. You can make a good case for the explosion of the counterculture going hand in hand with the work of Freud, Jung and Reich - as an irruption of self-expression from the psyche.