Is ChatGPT an effective therapy alternative? 80% of this study's participants thought so

One in four Americans would rather turn to an AI chatbot than a therapist for advice. And it turns out that it might not be a bad idea.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Robot chatting illustration
Getty Images/Carol Yepes

Therapy has proven to be an effective outlet for people to express their thoughts, emotions and concerns. However, sitting across from a therapist and spilling all of your deepest thoughts can be intimidating and challenging. 

As a result, some people would rather talk about their feelings with an AI chatbot.

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A new study by Tebra, an operating system for independent healthcare providers, surveyed 1,000 Americans and additional healthcare professionals to measure feelings regarding AI in healthcare. 

The study found that 1 in 4 Americans would rather talk to an AI chatbot instead of attending therapy with a human therapist. 

Study for AI in therapy

Of those people who turned to ChatGPT for advice, 80% felt it was an effective therapy alternative, according to the study. 

Communicating in cyberspace can provide a certain level of comfort to users and allow them to communicate more freely, referred to as the online disinhibition phenomenon. 

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This phenomenon is why people have the courage to say things online that they would be able to say in person, and could be a contributing factor as to why people are preferring to chat with a bot instead of a human. 

Knowing that you're not talking to a person can also provide an added level of comfort and help eliminate additional inhibitions a person may have.

The study also found that Americans are not just turning to AI for therapy but also other medical concerns. 

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Of the people surveyed, just over 5% reported using ChatGPT for medical diagnosis and following its advice. Of those who did, 90% found the advice to be effective.

As people continue to embrace and trust AI, we can expect to see a growth of AI applications in the medical field. 

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