Robot Psychologist: A New Era in Mental Health Services With MindMentor

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 General News
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EELDERWOLDE, The Netherlands, March 10 Two clinicalpsychologists associated with the Institute for Eclectic Psychology inHolland, Jaap Hollander and Jeffrey Wijnberg, have developed the first robotpsychologist, named "MindMentor." MindMentor is an online computer programthat helps people solve problems and achieve goals. It has the unique quality,as compared with other on line psychological help systems, of requiring nolive human intervention and being completely automated. Said Hollander in aninterview with a Dutch radio program: "What made this whole endeavor exciting,was that we suddenly saw a possibility to create an unlimited amount ofpsychological help."

Several Dutch media have reported on this new form of mental health care.Guido Castagna, reporting for daily newspaper Spits," noted after trying outMindMentor for himself: "For close to an hour MindMentor and his colleagueskeep me very busy. I am shown colored pictures of abstract figures, I am askedto relive situations and I am cheerily debunked by ProvoBot, who claims myproblem is unsolvable. In the beginning I still agree with him, but when heshows up again later in the session, I just laugh at him and point him out hevirtual door. Then the amazement hits me: is this really going to work? Thesolution to my problem is in sight."

Some psychologists have responded positively to their robot colleague.Said David Van Nuys, Ph.D. (Emeritus Professor of Psychology Sonoma StateUniversity): "At the end of the hour-long session, I have to say my outlookand spirits were lifted considerably. It was smart, supportive, fun, and funnyand helped me to focus in on the central issue. I find the blend of artificialintelligence, NLP, and other goal-directed therapeutic techniques effective."

How effective is the robot psychologist? Hollander, interviewed by a Dutchradio program, explained: "We did some research into the effectiveness of thissystem in 2006. We had a much more primitive version then, and with that weperformed a test-run with 1600 clients from all over the world. Our data showthat MindMentor was able to solve the problems for 47% in just one session.When people were asked afterwards to what extent they had solved the problemwith the help of the robot psychologist, 100% meaning totally solved and 0%meaning absolutely no change, the average result was 47%. We believe that thisis a success percentage that any real life psychologist would be satisfiedwith, especially given the fact that this was after just one session."

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information,visit http://www.ereleases.comContact information: MindMentor: Dr. Jaap Hollander Institute for Eclectic Psychology Staringstraat 1 6511 PC Nijmegen Holland Telephone: + 31 24 323.08.37 Fax: +31 24 322.65.12 E-mail:

SOURCE MindMentor

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