If you’re feeling sad or wacky or off-center, do you need the human touch of a psychiatrist in your brain? Or would you be just as happy telling your internal ills to robot a for fixing as if you were a car in need of a mechanic?

CAT is just beginning to take hold in psychiatric practice. Although a vigorous effort is under way to produce and test programs for psychiatric treatment, and the use of computers in society is steadily increasing, most clinicians are either unfamiliar with CAT or have not yet tried to use these programs to augment traditional therapy. The time may be near when clinicians who want to use technology in psychotherapy will have access to useful and effective programs that can enhance learning, make treatment more efficient, and bring a valuable new dimension to the psychotherapeutic process.

Therapists of the future may be able to conduct their daily work with a variety of empirically tested computer tools. These adjuncts could be completed before or after a session, either in waiting rooms or at home, or even in specially designed therapy suites that provide advanced technology (such as virtual reality and fully realized multimedia treatment programs). Further development of port­able devices that have better function­ality and connectivity, that offer more realistic and engaging programming, and that weave together the human and technological components of treatment could provide a myriad of opportunities for realizing the promise of the computer as a therapeutic “assistant.”

I love the idea of cutting out the human mind-melder in therapy sessions. Too often there are internal, unexpressed interests at work in the therapist’s unconscious mind that unduly influences and directs patients to form their will in ways that may not be healthy.

No one is of a sound mind — so how can the broken fix the broken?

However, the robot mind — created by imperfect intentions to achieve quiet perfection — is the ultimate therapist:  A robot listens without condemning, provides disinterested analysis in a nanosecond, and can make logical conclusions for fixing the mind based on understanding and not unexpressed, internal, wants.

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