Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The robo shrink has arrived

In Europe the impression exists that every American has a shrink. No action is undertaken without consulting your shrink. When he/she advises you to go on holiday, you go. Of course it is a gross exaggeration, but yet there are many psycho therapists and they cost a lot of money. Two Dutch psychologists have developed the internet solution for this, the Mindmentor, the robocoach.

MindMentor is a robot psychologist. The system was developed by Drs. Jaap Hollander and Drs. Jeffrey Wijnberg, two psychologists from the Netherlands. In 2006 they did research, tested the system and discovered that MindMentor solved people's problems for 47% on average.
MindMentor will work with any type of problem or goal. You can have the system help you with personal problems, but he will help you with business issues as well. (This is quite a claim, worth a test as it is not clear what business the psychologists mean). It tends to make things personal. MindMentor guides you through a series of psychological steps that help you solve problems and achieve goals. In a session of 40 minutes a direction should be given for a problem or an objective.MindMentor works on the basis of five psychological systems.1. Neuro linguistic programming (NLP): a system for personal development that emerged in California in the early eighties and is still popular today. NLP helps people discover and change the structure of their inner experience. This is MindMentor's main approach.2. Projective testing. This is a technique widely used by psychologists. The most famous example is the Rorschach test (the one with the ink blots). Projective testing is a way to bring unconscious knowledge into consciousness.3. Provocative therapy: an innovative system of therapy, originally developed by Frank Farrelly of Madison, Wisconsin. Provocative therapy helps people by challenging them.4. Client centered therapy, a very common type of therapy, originally developed by Carl Rogers. Client centered therapy helps people gain clarity by approaching them with a very positive attitude and restating what they have said.5. Pavlovian or 'classical' conditioning. This process connects certain mental and emotional responses to images. This is MindMentor's way of helping people to easily connect or 'anchor' inner resources to the situations where they need them.

Looking at the five psychological systems, I recognise NPL, the Rorschacht test, the Carl Rogers methods and the Pavlovian conditioning. I saw them never brought into one system. But I am not a shrink nor do I have one. But reaching a result of 47 per cent with a compound of five psychological systems sounds good.

It is an interesting development. Earlier I had seen a system for clearing up depressions (not that I need one as I am a born optimist). But I never expected that we would see the day of a robocoach. It looks like a step ahead. I guess that the professional association of the psychotherapists and the one of the psychologists are not happy with this development.

Will the site be used? I am wondering. I personally find the lay-out of the site unprofessional, certainly with the picture of the robocoach. There is neither a demonstration or free tour lacking as a confidence builder. In the promotion texts there is confusion about the tariff (7,95 euro or elsewhere on the site and in the press release 4,95 euro; or is this an introduction tariff). And on the site there is no visible counter to tell whether people are using the system at all. You have to register for a visit to robocoach.

Blog Posting Number: 971


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