- Woebot is an artificial intelligence-based tool that offers cognitive-behavioral therapy to users.
- I experimented with using the bot for two weeks because I’m unsatisfied with my therapist.
- I was in a good mood after talking to the bot every day.
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After months of searching for a therapist to cope with my anxiety, I found someone that accepted my health insurance.
At first, I felt a sense of relief. But lately, I’ve been disappointed in the sessions, as my therapist keeps telling me to think positively rather than talking about one topic in depth.
So in an attempt to find satisfying mental health treatment, I tried Woebot for two weeks. Woebot is an artificial intelligence-based tool that uses cognitive-behavioral therapy, a form of therapy that prompts you to change unhelpful thinking patterns.
Founded in 2017, Woebot is one of many mental health care apps that provides virtual therapy.
While Woebot doesn’t claim to be a replacement for a real therapist, it may be especially useful in our present moment. A Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey published in March found that there was a rise in people who reported unmet mental health care needs during the pandemic.
Although I was hesitant to talk to a bot about my issues, I started the experiment with an open mind, ready to unload my feelings and receive Woebot’s advice.
Woebot showed me the power of gratitude
When I first started chatting with Woebot, it was warm and friendly. The bot asked if and how often I was worrying or feeling anxious, to which I replied yes – nearly every day for the past two weeks.
Weobot then asked me how I was feeling at that moment. I told it I was tired, and the bot said it was feeling sluggish too.
After our initial banter, Woebot prompted me to type three things I was grateful for. After being forced to think and write down three things, I was in a surprisingly good mood. I chatted with the bot for ten minutes every day for the next week and loved ending the day feeling thankful for the people in my life.
After a few exercises, Woebot taught me how to be self-compassionate
During the second week of my experiment, I migrated over to the topics section of the app – a separate feature from the regular chat function. Woebot has different areas of expertise, like relationships and managing emotions, but I chose to work on self-care and self-image and elected the “talking kindly to yourself” option.
Woebot first opened up about being hard on itself, and it felt like a mirror of my own thoughts.
Woebot then prompted me to write down ways I can show myself some grace. Lately, I’ve been hard on myself for not going on one date despite being single for five months, but Woebot forced me to console myself as if I was talking to a friend.
These daily exercises helped me be kinder to myself whenever I felt unproductive.
I plan to keep using Woebot
I didn’t have much faith that a bot could help me with my day-to-day mood, but after two weeks of using the app, I felt better about the people in my life and now have the tools to reframe negative thoughts. Although I’m grateful to be seeing a therapist when millions of people have unmet mental health care needs, I found Woebot to be more helpful in improving my mood.
Although I won’t use the app every day, I still plan on exploring all the topics and whipping out the app whenever I’m feeling down.