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  • Writer's pictureHollis Lyman

How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Transform Psychology Practice: Therapy, Ethics, and Resources

Remember late nights completing client notes, updating treatment plans, answering emails you missed through the week, offering in-between session guidance and resources? The unseen work of a therapist, psychologist, and behavioral health practitioner can contribute to burnout and decrease our capacity for serving clients. Waitlists to get into a therapists office in America are three months and growing according to NPR. A SimplePractice survey found that more than half of the mental health providers who responded had experienced burnout in 2023. This is where AI steps in as the perfect side kick.


The advent of Artificial Intelligence in any psychology practice presents a revolutionary shift in how services are delivered and enhanced. AI’s capabilities extend from administrative efficiencies to direct client support, offering a range of tools that can significantly benefit practitioners and clients alike. Understanding these capabilities and learning how to integrate AI into clinical workflows can optimize the therapeutic process, making it more efficient, personalized, and accessible. AI will only become more prevalent and powerful in it's capabilities. To put your practice and your client's needs ahead of the wave, get started now.



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Understanding AI’s Capabilities in Clinical Practices


Administrative Automation: AI can handle scheduling, client communication, billing, and record-keeping. Tools like virtual assistants can manage appointments, send reminders, process payments, and organize client records, streamlining operations and reducing manual workload.


Enhanced Diagnostic Processes: AI technologies can analyze vast amounts of data quickly, identifying patterns and correlations that assist you with diagnostic clarity.


Personalized Therapy Treatment Plans: Machine learning algorithms can suggest personalized treatment approaches by analyzing data on what has been most effective across different populations and individual client histories. This can help clinicians tailor their therapeutic approaches to each client’s unique needs, including improving the integration of multiple intersectional identities into treatment considerations.


Therapeutic Tools and Interventions: AI-powered apps and platforms can provide clients with therapeutic tools between sessions. These can include guided meditation, mood tracking, CBT exercises, and more.



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How to Use Artificial Intelligence in Clinical Workflow

The key to successfully incorporating AI into clinical practice is creating a seamless flow that complements traditional therapeutic approaches.


First, Start with Administrative Tasks: Implement AI-driven tools for administrative duties to increase efficiency and allow more time for client care. Evaluate different platforms to find one that best fits your practice needs, ensuring it complies with privacy regulations and data protection standards. Some of these companies offer AI supported admin for behavioral health include Cognitiv.ly, upheal.io, eleos.health, and more. Many companies use AI but may not readily disclose this on their websites. Always ensure the platform you use is HIPAA compliant.


Then, Incorporate Diagnostic and Assessment Aids: Use AI as a supplemental tool for diagnostics and assessments. AI can help analyze assessment results, clinical interview information, progress notes, and psychological assessments. This analysis can be used to highlight potential areas of concern, suggest diagnostic paths, and make appropriate referrals based on data patterns. Final diagnoses should always be made by the practitioner, of course.


Create Targeted Treatment Plans: Integrate AI insights into the treatment planning process. AI can offer data-driven recommendations for treatment modalities and interventions based on historical data and evidence-based practices you use as a clinician. Use these insights to inform your clinical judgment and customize treatment plans for individuals, groups, and families.


Enhance Therapy Interventions with AI Interventions: Recommend AI-based therapeutic tools to clients as part of their treatment plan. These tools can supplement therapy sessions, providing clients with resources to manage their symptoms and track progress. We all know the work our clients are able to engage in outside of the therapy room is as important as the work inside our offices. Offering options to support your clients without creating additional workload for you, is a dream! Monitor and discuss the use of these tools in sessions to ensure they are beneficial for the client. The 50 "best" AI tools can be found, and is regularly updated, here.


Finally, Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Stay informed about new AI developments and tools relevant to psychological practice. Engage in continuous learning to understand how AI can be further integrated into your practice to benefit client outcomes. Regularly review and adjust the use of AI tools based on efficacy and client feedback. Some current CE's related to AI use in behavioral health include telehealth, practical opportunities, progress notes/audits, and ethics.


AI generated image of a blonde curly haired light skinned man with tattoos offering therapy to a robot on a couch


Ethical Considerations, Client Transparency, and Resources


Informed Consent: Clearly communicate with clients about the use of AI tools in their care, including how these tools work, their benefits, and any limitations or risks. Legal information can be found here, ensure you are clear on any state specific and specialty specific laws in place around AI use.


Data Privacy: Ensure all AI tools comply with ethical guidelines and laws regarding data privacy and confidentiality. Choose platforms that prioritize secure handling of client information. President Biden has released an AI Executive order aimed at increasing safety and security.


The APA has released guidance on AI use in clinical practice and often updates their stance as the technology improves, check in regularly with compliance guidelines. They have also initiated a new advocacy issue for AI.


Bias and Equity: Be mindful of potential biases in AI tools and strive to use applications that demonstrate fairness and equity in treatment recommendations and interventions. What you ask for in an AI platform guides the AI in the response, "data in data out" as they say. More information on exactly how AI works can be found here:


The integration of AI into psychological practice offers exciting possibilities for enhancing client care, improving diagnostic accuracy, and personalizing treatment plans. By thoughtfully incorporating AI tools into clinical workflows, practitioners can leverage technology to complement their expertise, expand their therapeutic capabilities, and improve outcomes for their clients. As the field of psychology continues to evolve with technological advancements, embracing AI as a tool for growth and enhancement in clinical practice will become increasingly important.


By the way, this post was written with the support of AI! Could you tell?


Tags: artificial intelligence therapy ethics use

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