Fjola Helgadottir, PhD
Director of AI Therapy
Vancouver CBT Centre
Translating Clinical Psychology Treatments into Algorithms: Successes and Challenges
Abstract: Computerized therapy has the potential to revolutionize how evidence based psychological interventions are delivered to those who need them. Many of the recent advances in AI, from computer vision to natural language processing, will doubtlessly be integral components of future treatment systems.
There is a wide range of approaches to computerized therapy. Many research projects aim to replicate the face-to-face therapy experience. This seems like a natural approach, given that this is a longstanding and proven model of therapy. For example, these systems make use of avatars and chatbots. However, this approach may be misguided. Computer-based approaches and human therapists are fundamentally different, and designing one to mimic the other may not be optimal. The goal should be to find the most effective methods of targeting the key mechanisms that are paramount to change in mental health.
In this talk Dr. Helgadottir will take a look at computerized therapy from the perspective of a practicing clinical psychologist. She will review some of the advantages that computers have over human therapists, as well as considering limitations of these systems. As a practical example, she will explain how her online “Overcome social anxiety” program works and discuss promising results from recent clinical trials.
Bio: Dr Fjola Dogg Helgadottir is a Director at AI-Therapy, a registered psychologist at the Vancouver CBT Centre and previously a Senior Research Clinician at Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford in the UK. She is a Chartered clinical psychologist within the British Psychological Society, and a registered psychologist with the UK Health and Care Professions Council and with the British Columbia College of Psychologists. Fjola has completed four degrees in psychology (see more professional qualifications). AI-Therapy grew out of her doctoral research, which was focused on innovative computer-based treatments for anxiety disorders.
Fjola has written extensively about online therapy, both in peer reviewed academic journals and conferences. She is an expert writer for Psychology Today with her open access blog Man vs Machine and is featured frequently in the Icelandic media. See Fjola’s publications for more details.
Fjola has received several major awards for her internationally recognized research, including Australia’s prestigious Tracy Goodall Early Career Award for Research Achievement. In addition, she has trained to the highest level as a clinical psychologist in Australia, and ran a successful private practice in Sydney. She currently provides consulting services on the topic of online psychology and psychiatry for her company AICBT Ltd, which has clients in Sydney, Australia; Oxford and London, UK; and Denver and New York in the USA.