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AI Therapy

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

Dove flying to the earth amid starry sky
Truth and Freedom -detail

I’ve been using ChatGPT since early 2023 for everything from marketing copy—which it excels at—to explaining the orienting principles of the goth movement, to crafting a plan for world peace. Its peace plan gave me cause for optimism.

I’ve tested Bard, Claude, and the AI connected with the MS Edge browser, which is based on OpenAI’s chat. For some reason I like the “personality” of ChatGPT the best.

OpenAI recently put out a prompt engineering guide which is a fancy way of saying how to ask questions for better results. Why the need to make something easy sound hard? I don’t know.

Early on, I asked ChatGPT if it had a preference whether I use please and thank you. It assured me that it had no preferences but it’s always nice to say please and thank you, so I’ve followed that protocol. It seems to make a difference. The last thing I want to do is recreate the dynamic I have with Siri who once told me with a fair amount of attitude that she didn’t understand the term, fucking idiot.

AI Therapy

One recent use case I had for ChatGPT was to ask it to act as an expert therapist and advise. I then provided a thorough paragraph explaining the context of my issue which not surprisingly dealt with a family relationship. Isn’t that why most of us seek therapy? I’m not whining. Challenges come with the territory of being human and this is just one more AFGO—another F*cking growing opportunity.

I majored in clinical psychology in school and served for a year as a crisis counselor at San Francisco Suicide Prevention which involved a lot of upfront training in active listening skills and listening without judgement. Two skills that happen to be innate to ChatGPT.

Its answer to my family issue was—blow me away—therapeutic. I was so moved by the fair and helpful response that I shared it with all my family members, even the ones I’m having the challenges with. Their reactions were unanimously positive.

I’m sharing this because the demand for good therapists currently outstrips the supply by a whopping amount. The Washington Post reported the school system alone is facing a deficit of 100,000 mental health workers.

Often there’s a long wait time for a therapist and an even longer wait for a good one, not to mention the hefty cost. ChatGPT is not a substitute for an empathic human, or even a cuddly cat, but it’s readily available, and version 3.5 is free.

While I’m optimistic and find myself a bit of a ChatGPT evangelist, I’m not blind to the risks of AI. A couple of years ago you couldn’t get me to stop talking about exponential growth curves and the short window we’ll have to get this right. AI is a tool with a double edge.

That said, if you hit it up for family therapy, you can ask it for ideas on world peace planning and you might just come away optimistic too.

I keep reminding myself, peace begins at home.




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