The Future of Therapy in the Age of AI

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The Future of Therapy in the Age of AI

Hello, wonderful therapists and coaches! Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s been buzzing in the therapy world — the rise of AI technology in mental health care. As AI begins to make its mark in traditional talk therapy applications and mental health treatment, let’s explore what this means for us as therapists and how we can evolve and thrive in this new landscape.

The AI Revolution in Therapy

AI’s role in therapy has been growing rapidly. From chatbots that offer reflective statements, to AI-driven systems that can diagnose mental health conditions, the landscape is changing. Research has shown that AI can be incredibly effective, especially in identifying certain diagnoses and even in predicting suicidality. These systems are not only cost-effective, but are also available round the clock, providing non-stop support through user-friendly apps.

This shift is significant. If you’re a therapist who’s relied heavily on non-directive, passive talk therapy, it’s time to rethink your approach. Imagine a future where clients seeking that kind of experience opt for virtual reality sessions with an AI therapist in their living room — affordable, accessible, and constantly available. That’s the direction we’re headed.

Similarly, for therapists focusing on diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, there’s a wave of change coming. Insurance companies are increasingly turning to AI-driven solutions and low-cost civilian coaches for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The economic pressures and broken systems in mental health care are paving the way for AI to step in as a solution to our struggling medical model in therapy.

AI’s Silver Lining: Saving Lives and Filling Gaps

All of this sounds pretty bad, but let’s not forget the positives here. AI technology in therapy is going to save lives. It’s filling a massive gap, providing care to those in desperate need who currently lack access to a provider. That’s something to celebrate!

But where does this leave us, the human element in therapy? It’s time for us to elevate our game. We need to emphasize our humanity and carve out a professional space that AI simply can’t replicate. And that’s where coaching certification for therapists comes into play.

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The Rise of Coaching for Therapists

I’ve been passionately working to support therapists in developing their skills as coaches. Coaching is about actively helping people solve problems and transform their lives. It steps outside the traditional medical model and offers something unique — a proactive, empowering approach that AI can’t match.

Here’s why:

  1. In coaching, there’s no room for passive responses like, “I don’t know, what do you think?” This is active, solution-focused work, which won’t be replaced by a robot any time soon.
  1. Coaching also operates outside of insurance frameworks, which means more freedom in how you structure and offer your services.
  1. Finally, as the world rapidly changes, demand is soaring for skilled coaches who can provide personalized, transformative support.

Coaching Certification at Growing Self

Exciting news! I’m launching a coaching certification program designed just for you. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Become a certified coach with a program tailored to therapists transitioning into coaching.
  • Gain access to a suite of coaching tools, peer support, and be part of a growing network.
  • Listeners of LHSFT get an exclusive discount – for both you and your friends!

By joining this program, you’re not just gaining a certification; you’re becoming part of a vibrant community of therapists who are focused on personal growth, for themselves and their clients. We’re in this together, embracing change and making a real difference.

Navigating the Future of AI in Therapy

The rise of AI in therapy is not a threat to therapists; it’s an opportunity for us to grow and redefine our roles. By embracing coaching, we’re not just staying relevant, we’re offering something incredibly valuable that AI cannot — our unique human touch, empathy, and the ability to connect and inspire real change. So, let’s step into this new era with confidence and excitement for all the possibilities it brings!

Remember, change isn’t coming; it’s already here. And we’re going to meet it head-on, with open arms and hearts full of enthusiasm. Let’s do it!

With love, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby 

P.S. — Are you at risk of therapist burnout? Take my free quiz and find out!

  • 00:00 The Future of Therapy 
  • 04:10 The Impact of AI on Traditional Therapy
  • 08:26 The Shift in Non-Directive Talk Therapy
  • 10:13 Changes in Clinical Mental Health Treatment
  • 13:04 The Role of Coaching in the Future of Therapy
  • 18:26 The Advantages of Coaching 
  • 24:22 The Future of Therapy: Building on High Ground

Lisa Marie Bobby:

What is the future of therapy in the age of AI? And how do we embrace this change that is happening whether or not we want it to? That’s what we’re talking about on today’s episode of love, happiness, and success for therapists. I think this is such an important topic for us because as AI is making its mark In every industry, it’s also doing so on traditional talk therapy applications and also clinical mental health treatment.

And we need to be aware of what this means for us as therapists, and also thinking about how we can evolve and thrive in this new landscape, because things are changing. Fast. If this is your first time with me today, I’m glad you found me. I’m Dr. Lisa Marie Boppe. I’m the founder of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching.

I am a therapist like you. I’m a licensed psychologist. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. I am also a very proud board certified coach, and I am thrilled to be the host of Love Happiness and Success for Therapists. Every week we’re doing a dive into things that are near and dear to our hearts, um, related to the life and times of being a therapist, being a helper, being somebody who has chosen a very challenging, but also rewarding career.

I mean, there are. Realities of what we do that aren’t often discussed. This can be a very isolating profession, right? And I started doing this podcast as kind of an outgrowth of the work that I’m doing already in my private practice growing self. That’s really centered around how do we take care of therapists?

How do we help the helpers? How do we surround them with love? How do we help them grow? How do we foster their happiness and also their success? So that they can then do wonderful work with their clients. Um, but also, you know, really be satisfied and even prosperous in this profession that can absolutely burn a lot of people out.

There are many therapists who are. Struggling who are in the world trying to do amazing work who got into this with the most noble of intentions and who are trapped in toxic environments who don’t have great support systems who aren’t getting their needs met for growth and happiness and financial compensation, even and, um, you know, who are really.

Uh, floundering in the, as a result, and who might ultimately leave the profession as a result of that, which would be sad because the world needs you. The world needs us. And I believe that the degree to which we can take care of our helpers is going to help. Everybody. So that’s why I’m here. That is not just why I’m doing this podcast.

This is like my professional mission. That is what my practice growing self is all about is about clinicians. It is certainly we help clients, but it’s about the clinicians. And in everything that I do. So that’s what I’m doing here. And I’m glad that you’re here with me today. And that’s also why I wanted to talk about therapy in the age of AI, because it’s something that I’ve been thinking about kind of a lot.

And it is something that, um, has made me feel not concerned, but like aware. Not vigilant, but noticing the fact that AI and the capabilities that are possible for artificially intelligence assisted therapy, mental health care are Already growing fast and are already taking up some of the spaces that used to be inhabited by us.

And I think that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think that there are a lot of positive aspects of this that I’m kind of excited for, honestly, and that I’ll share with you. However, I think that if your intention is to have a long term satisfying career as a therapist, you have got to be thinking about how you are going to do that in relation to these other forces that are occupying our space and are going to continue to do so.

Um, and so this isn’t actually that new. I mean, even before, you know, chat GPT and some of the large language models that we saw there were already fairly robust systems being development being developed and also in use in mental health applications prior to this, although it is. It is growing. And I think that it is becoming more and more common and will continue to do so.

But even prior to, you know, a year ago or whatever, there were already AI driven systems that were diagnosing mental health conditions and research shows that it can actually be very effective. Um, Especially in the diagnostic capability, uh, some AI based systems have been shown to be more effective than human therapists in diagnosing, um, things like depression, like, you know, cause they’re just listening to language patterns and hearing it, seeing it, but also even predicting suicidality better than humans.

So, There’s a place for this, obviously, and I think it’s important for us to be not rejecting it, right, but be thinking about the benefits like these systems are not only cost effective for companies for medical agencies, but they’re also available around the clock, providing nonstop support, oftentimes through really user friendly apps.

I mean, just between me and you, do you want a client? Who’s maybe suicidal contacting you at three o’clock in the morning, like there’s a place for this and if we can use some of these systems to be meeting very real needs for people who need this kind of support, um, and who also have pretty serious safety concerns.

I mean, Not only could these be helpful, but these systems can, and I believe will probably already have saved lives. So this is important stuff, and we can’t just be like, Oh, robots, you know, but I think we also need to think about how this is going to impact different aspects of our practice.

Particularly traditional therapy, because the shift is significant. And especially if you are the kind of therapist who has been practicing or who likes to practice non directive passive talk therapy, it might be time to rethink your approach because. There are apps that I have actually personally played with, go to the app store, download a couple of them, and it is Rogerian non directive passive talk therapy.

Like, I don’t know, what are some options here? How do you feel about that? What else does that make you think of? I mean, like, People are doing that with an app. And I think right now you could say, well, you know, people are just like basically texting back and forth with the chat bot. It’s not really the same, but I want you to imagine a future where a client isn’t, you know, doing the, with their thumbs, they are wearing virtual reality goggles, and they have a, a digital human sitting on their couch.

in their living room, having what feels like a back and forth conversation with them in a way that is affordable, accessible, uh, constantly available. Actually, I mean, that kind of reality is not that far in our future. So just consider like where, where, what space does that leave for you if you’re a non directive, passive, insight oriented talk therapist.

The other piece that I want to bring up is, is similarly, if you are a therapist who’s really focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. So clinical mental health. I think there’s already been big waves of change that have been happening for a while now. That’s, that’s even, um, You know, prior to more robust AI systems, I mean, for years now, large insurance companies, if a prospective client is like, Hey, I have this stuff going on an insurance company will say, use our app.

Let’s set you up with our, uh, Um, cognitive behavioral therapy program that you could do at your own time. Insurance companies will also connect clients to, um, civilian, maybe kind of lightly trained coaches to be able to work on mild, you know, stuff that might not need a more serious mental health professional on my computer is really the thumbs up thing.

Um, so this is something that was happening anyway, because I think insurance companies are always looking for ways to cut costs. And highly qualified, highly skilled, highly trained therapists like you and me are comparatively quite expensive compared to a coach that went through a six week training program or a, you know, self directed online course that they can send a client through.

So I think that as we speak, there are. Leaders in health insurance companies that are looking at some of these A. I. Capabilities and thinking, Oh, what else could we do with this? That is directing clients to receive mental health care through the systems rather than through you because it is Going to improve their bottom line.

And we also have a very real supply side problem. There aren’t enough therapists oftentimes to meet the need of clients who are lining up out the door of an insurance company with symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, who want to be seen like, you know, there, there are limits, there are wait lists, things like that.

So, um, Very smart business leaders are solving those problems by harnessing the power of AI as we speak. I can assure you, I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, but there’s, um, you know, that we can just, I think I’ll expect that. And again, um, I think that we need to look at the silver lining here because this is going to save lives.

It’s going to fill gaps. Um, it is going to provide. Care to people who might be in desperate need of services and who currently lack access to a provider. So looking at a community mental health system where people, it’s, you know, like, I don’t know, 10 months before they can get an appointment. That’s not okay.

Um, internationally, you know, people in like refugee camps, like there is so much to celebrate. And I think that we all need to get behind this and. Again, you’re also I’m sure thinking, but what, what about me, what space does this lead leave me in? Right. And you’re not wrong to be asking that question. I think that there is a path forward therapist.

But it’s not a broad path. I think it’s a more narrow path. Um, when I think about the future of the human element in therapy, what comes up for me is that we as therapists really need to be elevating our game by emphasizing our humanity and really carving out a professional space that AI simply cannot replicate.

And I think that there are a number of things that we can all do. To, um, accentuate that, but I personally also believe that this is where coaching comes into play and has a significant advantage over therapy as long as it’s conducted by a therapist. So, you know, coaching has been on the rise for a while.

I mean, this is certainly not new. Um, but I think what is also true is that most People who provide coaching, most coaches have Not even a tenth of the education and experience and training and skill set that you do and that I do. They are oftentimes self taught. Coaching is a completely unregulated profession.

You don’t need to pass an exam or take a course or do anything. Anything to go out to the world and proclaim that you’re a coach and start doing that literally anybody can do that. And unfortunately, literally, lots of people have done that. And I think that that has been to the detriment of the profession, the art and craft and science of coaching coaching psychology, which is a very real thing is just as real and just as simple.

serious and just as effective as counseling psychology. But I think that that has been lost because of the way it has been diluted. And the hands of of self taught coaches who have really I think, uh, marginalized the, um, practice of coaching and psychology coaching psychology in some ways, which is something that I’m kind of bummed about.

But that is also why, you know, in my role of growing self and the. Part of the way that I’ve tried to help therapists, um, achieve the growth and love and happiness and success that they deserve is really by how do we reclaim this coaching psychology method and mindset and, and, uh, modality for us as therapists and helping therapists.

be developing their skills and competencies as coaches. And I’ll tell you why. Because coaching is not about treatment. It is not about mental health treatment, and it is certainly not passive. It is nothing like talk therapy. Coaching is about Actively helping people solve problems and create transformation in their lives and doing very deep growth work in the process of creating that kind of change.

And it is operating outside of the traditional medical practice. model. It is operating totally outside of non directive insight oriented therapy and offering something which is truly unique, which is this proactive, empowering approach that also I believe AI can’t match because it requires The mobilization of energy and motivation and these really powerful experiences inside of people that are not informational, they are experiential, and I don’t know, maybe the digital human.

Coach sitting on somebody’s couch so you can see where the virtual AI goes maybe it’ll get there eventually in terms of the ability to create that kind of powerful experience inside of people. It’s not there yet and in my playing around with, you know, the chat based systems and thinking about where this is going.

I really do believe that this is going to be a space that’s going to be, um, a really valuable one for us to be in for a long time. Thank you. Maybe not forever. Maybe it’ll come for for the space as well. But, you know, for now, I think this is this is certainly the place that I am in and could continue to be developing.

So and I think that coaching is truly, um, the future because it is beyond passive. You know, there is no room for a checked out passive response. That is very simple for an A. I. Based system to replicate? I don’t know. What do you think that you should do? Any chat bot can ask that kind of question, but the level of engagement and like to be able to laser in and be like, as a coach that takes so much Not even just empathy, but like intuition and insight and psychological mindedness and to be able to go there with clients.

Um, and that’s also part of that coaching process. Coaching, I don’t think can work without that. So again, that’s what makes it special. Additionally, though, I think that because, um, the coaching realm is absolutely outside of the medical model, it is independent from third party payers. Insurance does not pay for coaching, which means that there’s also not the same kind of economic, um, sort of mercenary pressures that are going to be coming for coaching in the same way that they are for the medical model of mental health treatment, which means I think more freedom for you in being able to operate, especially if you’re in private practice, how you structure your services, how you charge for them.

There’s going to be a lot more latitude there for you. And I think that too, you know, the demand for coaching, um, Especially as the world continues to change, I do think that coaching is going to be perceived as more and more valuable, particularly as it is personalized and also as it is conducted. By therapists who practice coaching, because I believe and know with all my heart and soul that somebody who is, you know, seeking transformation and some important aspect of their lives is going to have such a different, more meaningful, more powerful, Powerful, more effective experience with a therapist who is a certified coach and knows how to use coaching, but like has the big strong foundation that only our experience and background can provide compared to somebody who connects with a therapist.

With a coach who maybe went through like an ICF program. If that, um, it’s just not the same. And so I think the more therapists that we can mobilize and kind of get into this space, that specialness is going to be recognized and appreciated for being just extraordinarily valuable. Um, and that’s really where we can make our mark.

So. So that’s why I’m excited about coaching and also, you know, what I see happening when it comes to AI in therapy and how we can continue to really do wonderful work with clients in a protected space for us, for them. This is where we can focus. And this is also why I spent so much time and energy developing a coaching certification program for therapists because I’m so passionate about coaching.

It’s something that I’ve been teaching to clinicians on my team for years and years on myself on a certified coach. But when I sort of looked around at the landscape around, you know, what are. coaching certification programs that are designed by therapists for therapists, and also ones that are like evidence based, because this may surprise you, but there is a huge body of research into coaching psychology that is very well developed.

I mean, outcome studies, there are professional journals related to coaching psychology that are never discussed in counseling school, right? It’s like, they don’t really connect, but like, how can we bring that to therapists? So then to help them use these academic and, um, you know, educational and clinical backgrounds, but like in a different skill set that really mobilizes all this transformation for people.

And when I looked around, I didn’t see that anywhere. So I was like, I have to build this and that’s what I’ve done. Um, And I’m so pleased to be able to offer this to you. So if you are interested in becoming certified as a coach through Growing Self, this is a BCC certified coaching program. So you’ll obtain a nationally recognized credential.

And it will certify you as a coach. It will help you understand the differences between coaching and counseling. It will give you a framework to be practicing coaching ethically as a therapist so that you don’t cross any lines or get into any trouble, honestly, as a therapist who practices coaching. But I think most importantly, it also teaches you this very different framework, modality, and way of operating with clients that will help you do fantastic work with clients who are really excited to be with you and to get your assistance in creating this transformation that they’re seeking.

So I’m super excited about this. And if you are too, you can come to my website to learn all about this. Come to growingself. com forward slash therapists. And there you will find just so much actually that I put together for you. There are podcasts that you can check out. There are free resources. I have, um, free downloads.

I have assessments for you. I have all kinds of articles. I have community discussions for you, but also. You can learn more about our coach credentialing program through growing self. So come to growing self. com forward slash therapists, learn all about it. And listeners of this show get 10 percent off by using the promo code L H S F T.

And you could share that with your friends, friends of yours are friends of mine. So, um, that’s what I wanted to share with you about the rise of AI in therapy and what it means for me and you and what I see as being the future for us. You know, here are the places that erosion is already happening and that probably aren’t going to be there for us in the same way in five years.

Right. But here are the places that I see that are going to be the high ground where we can continue to build and grow and have happy and prosperous and pleasurable, uh, professional experiences for a long time to come. But I’m so interested as always to hear your thoughts and feelings about this. I’m curious to know if you have already had experiences with AI kind of creeping into your, your Bases or, um, have started having, you know, experiences with insurance companies that are making you understand like, Ooh, the landscape is changing here, um, just to, you know, share your stories and your comments.

And also if you have other, you know, follow up questions or things related to this that you would like to hear discussed on another episode of the podcast, I’m always so happy to hear about it again, come to podcast. growingself. com forward slash therapist. You can find the post for this podcast or any others really and jump into the comment sections to share your thoughts.

You can email me, um, hello at growingself. com and also on social media. I look for growing self on Instagram, Facebook, um, and connect with me on LinkedIn, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby on LinkedIn. So that’s a wrap for today. Um, and I’ll be back in touch next week with another episode of the podcast. All right, until then, take care.

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