School of Education News

Goldberg speaks with Nature Medicine about mental health apps, unlicensed therapists

March 25, 2019

A recent ​report from Nature Medicine features the expertise of UW-Madison’s Simon Goldberg. 

Goldberg is an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Counseling Psychology, and he is an affiliate with the university’s Center for Healthy Minds

Simon Goldberg
Nature Medicine’s article, “Mental health apps lean on bots and unlicensed therapists,” explores the new trend for app-based mental health care, such as Sibly. Sibly’s goal is to provide accessible, affordable, and effective mental health care through smartphone capabilities. Rather than licensed therapists, this app and similar programs rely on a group of nonlicensed "coaches" to help their client. 

According to Nature Medicine, one in four people will be affected by a mental or neurological condition during their lives, but two-thirds of this group will never seek help from a professional therapist. Even those who are motivated to find professional help won’t necessarily receive it. 

Nature Medicine points to a study from Goldberg, who notes that his research, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, doesn’t really support the idea that non-licensed individuals can be effective providers of therapy.

To learn much more about this nuanced topic, check out the entire Nature Medicine report here.

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