Anxiety spoiling your life? AI to the rescue!

Woebot is a new app aimed at helping us to manage our moods, strengthen our self-esteem, boost our confidence and reduce anxiety and depression. Built at Stanford University, with a team of techies and psychologists and using artificial intelligence, to provide you with a personalised 24 hour service. I am very impressed with this app. It works actively to keep you involved and has a nice sense of humour. As their blurb says, Woebot is "ready to listen, 24/7. No couches, no meds, no childhood stuff. Just strategies to improve your mood".

The more you use the app, the more responsive and helpful it becomes. The AI is able to work out the best approaches to help you based on what you tell it. So no time wasting, straight to business on issues that concern you. It is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the gold standard for treating anxiety. My clients like this app. It is fun and gently reminds you that it is there to help.

CBT is really a bundle of techniques that have been shown to work. A huge bundle of techniques in fact. This app doesn't plod you through the lot, which could be boring, pointless and dispiriting. Instead, it responds to your input and comes up with approaches that are likely to work for you. And you have the chance to tell it that you don't like that approach. So it can come up with something new.

Woebot is available on Android, Apple and Facebook Messenger. And it is free!

CBT has already had good success online. Web-based therapy has been effective. When we were mostly using desktops or laptops, sitting down for half an hour to work through the programme was great. Now most of us use a mobile device, and we want stuff that is short and sweet. Woebot meets that need. A randomised controlled trial proved that this approach gives good results, reducing symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Give it a try and write me a comment!

If you feel better after trying it for a month, well that is great! You might still want to work with someone face to face, for some therapy or counselling. And that is fine too. You will have gained a good idea of how CBT works, and that is going to be useful whatever you want to do next. Which might be to book a session with me!

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