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We're on the cusp of an explosive change in how we treat one of America's most ignored health problems

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Danny Duck
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"We are taking a very traditional profession and delivering it in a very modern way," Roni Frank, Talkspace's co-founder and head of clinical services, told me.

You can use it if it's 4am and you can't sleep.

One of their bots is named Sim Sensei.In a 2014 study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, Gratch and his team had 239 volunteers go through a health screening in which they interacted with a bot interviewer which they called a virtual human VH .

"We had this empathetic listening that draws people out to make them say more things, plus a feeling of anonymity," said Gratch.To make Sensei, Gratch and his team spent years studying how people convey to each other that they're interested in what another person is saying, something called "active listening."

Their results suggested that — at least for treating the handful of psychiatric disorders they reviewed — doing the therapy online was just as effective as doing in person.

"Another therapist I spoke to who wanted to stay anonymous because of the sensitive nature of her clientele — she works with sex offenders and pedophiles — said she'd never work for a platform like Talkspace or Betterhelp, since meeting in person with her clients is so crucial to her.

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