Mental health has become a serious healthcare issue in this highly stressed society. Many people especially youngsters nowadays suffer mental health problems. Having mental health problems does not necessary mean someone is insane. Mental health problems can also refer to emotional disorders or the disability to enjoy life and procure a balance between daily activities and efforts to achieve psychological stability. There are various causes of mental health breakdown such as family background, stressful life, etc. Mental health problems can lead to school failure, loss of friends, family conflict, etc. To overcome mental health problems, the best way is to see a psychologist and get his or her consultation. However, many people who actually suffer mental health disorders dare not step forward to get consultation from psychologists. They feel weird to see psychologists and of course the high consultation fee is another concern. To help people who are possibly suffering from mental health problems but are reluctant to consult experts, two experienced psychologists from Netherlands, Drs. Jaap Hollander and Drs. Jeffrey Wijnberg, have created a robot psychologist called Mind Mentor which can guide the patients through a series of psychological steps to help them to solve problems and achieve goals.
It sounds a bit funny and weird that people who have mental health problems can seek help from a robot. Many people especially practicing psychologists are doubtful how a machine can help living patients. But this MindMentor has been tested on 1,600 respondents all over the world. The respondents’ feedback revealed that 47% of them were satisfied with the system after only one session. This is a fantastic and amazing result! The secret behind this system is it helps patients to find their own solutions to their own problems. MindMentor cannot cure severe disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, hard drug addiction, etc but this technology can lead the patients through questions to understand their problems and get their own solutions.
How does MindMentor Robot work? Drs. Jaap Hollander and Drs. Jeffrey Wijnberg explained that the way MindMentor works is based on 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.
The robot psychologist is not for charity or free. MindMentor imposes a very nominal charge on its patients. It costs approximately €4.95 for an hourly session. MindMentor works 24 hours and this psychologist has guaranteed all the patients that their information will never be given to anyone. After all, some patients’ information is highly confidential.