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  • Catherine: Welcome to 6 Minute English,

  • the programme where we explore an interesting

  • topic and bring you six items of useful vocabulary.

  • I'm Catherine.

  • Rob: And I'm Rob.

  • Catherine: I have a question for you, Rob:

  • how would you feel about having therapy

  • from a robot?

  • Rob: I'm not too sure about that -

  • you'll need to tell me more! But first things first,

  • the word therapy refers to a kind of treatment that helps

  • someone feel better - including

  • treatment for mental health issues.

  • Someone who delivers therapy is called a therapist.

  • Catherine: We'll find out more about this robot therapist

  • in just a moment, but first, Rob,

  • I've got a question for you about the scale

  • of mental health issues globally.

  • So roughly how many people do you think experience

  • mental health issues at some point during

  • their lifetime? Is it... a) One in ten people,

  • b) One in four or c) One in three

  • Rob: I'll go for one in four,

  • but I know whichever answer is right -

  • it's a big issue.

  • How might a robot therapist help?

  • Catherine: We're not talking about a robot

  • in the Star Wars sense - so there's no flashing

  • lights and mechanical arms, Rob! It's actually an app

  • in your smartphone that talks to you

  • - and it's called Woebot.

  • Rob: So - it has a sense of humour.

  • Woe means 'sadness'; so this is a 'woe' bot,

  • not a robot.

  • Catherine: And it was developed by psychologist

  • Dr Alison Darcy from Stanford University

  • in the US. Here she is talking to the BBC radio

  • programme All in the Mind.

  • Dr Alison Darcy: Well, after you start an

  • initial conversation with the Woebot,

  • and he'll take you through sort of what he can do

  • and what he can't do, he'll just essentially

  • check in with you every day and just give you

  • a sort of figurative tap on the shoulder

  • and say: "Hey Claudia, how are you doing?

  • What's going on in your day? How do you feel?"

  • So if you say, like "I'm really, really stressed out",

  • Woebot might offer to help

  • talk you through something.

  • Catherine: Woebot checks in with you every day

  • and asks how you are.

  • Rob: So here, to check in with someone

  • doesn't mean to register at a hotel with that person!

  • It's an informal way of saying you talk to someone

  • in order to report or find out information.

  • Catherine: And this usage is more common in the US.

  • So for example: "I can't meet you today,

  • Rob, but I'll check in with you tomorrow

  • to see how the project is getting on."

  • Rob: So, this robot checks in with you every day.

  • It tracks your mood and talks to you

  • about your emotions, using a technique

  • called cognitive behavioural therapy.

  • Catherine: Cognitive behavioural therapy

  • is a common therapeutic technique

  • that helps people deal with problems

  • by changing the way they think.

  • Rob: That all sounds great,

  • but does Woebot actually work?

  • Catherine: They've done trials which show that

  • it can be more effective than simply reading

  • information about mental health.

  • But they haven't compared Woebot to a real

  • therapist due to ethical concerns.

  • Rob: Yes, it could be unethical to deny

  • a real patient access to a human therapist

  • for the sake of a trial.

  • Ethical basically means morally right.

  • Catherine: And another concern is privacy.

  • People who use apps like this are not protected

  • by strong privacy laws.

  • Rob: Despite these fears, digital therapy

  • is booming - and Woebot is just one of an

  • an increasing number of electronic services.

  • One reason for this could be using an app carries less

  • stigma than maybe seeing a human therapist.

  • Catherine: And stigma refers to the negative

  • associations that people have about something,

  • especially when these associations are not fair.

  • Even though mental health is now being

  • talked about more openly than before,

  • some people do still see mental health issues

  • and therapy negatively.

  • Rob: Whatever you think of robot therapy,

  • Dr Darcy believes that in the modern world

  • people need to self-reflect more -

  • which means thinking deeply about yourself,

  • in order to understand the reasons behind your feelings.

  • Dr Alison Darcy: The world that we live in right now

  • is very noisy. Particularly digitally.

  • You know, since we've had these little computers

  • in our pockets with us everywhere we go,

  • there aren't that many opportunities for real silence

  • or self-reflection. You know, even a commute

  • on the tube might have been a moment to

  • just take a second to yourself, but now that void

  • can be filled always with super engaging content

  • by looking at your phone.

  • Catherine: Darcy believes that we don't have

  • much time for self-reflection

  • because there are so many distractions in life -

  • especially smartphones!

  • Rob: After discussing all this - would you actually try

  • a therapy app like this?

  • Catherine: Yes I would, actually -

  • I think it might be quite helpful.

  • Rob: And how about the question you asked me

  • at the beginning of the programme: how

  • many people experience mental health issues?

  • Catherine: The answer was: one in four,

  • according the World Health Organisation

  • and the World Federation for Mental Health.

  • But the WHO say that as many as two-thirds

  • of people never seek help from a health professional -

  • with stigma being one of the main reasons.

  • Rob: And just there we had stigma again,

  • let's now run through the other words we learned today.

  • Catherine: So we had woe meaning sadness.

  • I'm full of woe. Woe is me!

  • Rob: Maybe you need some therapy -

  • that's the process of receiving treatment for a particular

  • health issue, especially mental health illness.

  • Catherine: And we had - to check in with someone.

  • After we finish this programme, I need to check in with

  • the boss about my new project.

  • Rob: We also had self-reflection -

  • that's the process of thinking deeply about yourself.

  • Catherine: And finally we had ethical.

  • If you describe something as ethical,

  • you mean it's morally right.

  • Rob: So woe, stigma, therapy, check in with,

  • self-reflection and ethical.

  • That's it for this edition of 6 Minute English.

  • We'll leave you to self-reflect - and after you've done that

  • do visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

  • and YouTube pages, and of course our website!

  • Catherine: Bye for now.

  • Rob: Bye bye!

Catherine: Welcome to 6 Minute English,

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B1 UK catherine rob therapy mental health health woe

Learn to talk about therapy in 6 minutes!

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    Alvin He posted on 2018/03/17
Video vocabulary