Software versus Wetware: PaulsRobot vs Humans

PR = PaulsRobot   HC = Human Counsellor   FF = Friends or Family

Here are some of the advantages/disadvantages of PaulsRobot compared with human counsellors and also friends or family. Not everyone with a problem gets to talk to a trained counsellor about it. Usually one will first talk to family and friends, even though there are some things that one might hold back in a social situation that one would be willing to tell a professional counsellor.

Topic 1. Human warmth and companionship

PR: Obviously the "human element" is missing, and more self-discipline is needed from the client to get and stay in session and just keep at it. Someone with relationship difficulties might benefit far more from the warmth, respect and openness of a live counsellor, impossible here

HC: Varies, but human counsellors usually score well on empathy

FF: Varies, but usually one would only confide in sympathetic persons

Topic 2. Effectiveness

PR: It seems to work well in a variety of situations, provided the client follows the instructions. This is completely contrary to expectation. It was even contrary to Paul's expectation when he was first experimenting with what became PaulsRobot

HC: Varies, depending on the quality of both the counsellor and the style of counselling they use

FF: Varies, but people untrained in a field tend to be less effective than professionals

Topic 3. Cost

PR: Free of charge

HC: Varies. Minimum wage is approx. £5 or $7 per hour, with some counsellors charging much more

FF: Free of charge

Topic 4. Availability

PR: 24/7. PaulsRobot is available whenever you want to schedule a session

HC: Online real-time counselling available worldwide, but usually with prior appointment. In-person counselling depends on local situation — more difficult in rural areas. Finding a local practitioner who is qualified to deliver whatever speciality you want is sometimes difficult

FF: Depends on what you want to say and how you say it

Topic 5. Professional affiliations

PR: None, of course. This is a pioneer field

HC: Varies. Many counsellors with normal counselling qualifications are members of the BACP (UK) or ACA (US)

FF: None

Topic 6. Insurance coverage

PR: None

HC: Professional counsellors who are members of the BACP or ACA carry liability insurance. Whether or not a client's own insurance company will pay for the counselling varies by company and policy

FF: None

Topic 7. Adherence to ethical codes of practice

PR: Invariable from client to client and session to session. As decent and ethical as a bot can be. Although no Robot counsellor can be a model of glowing acceptance toward the client, neither will there ever be the slightest hint of criticism or judgment of the client, whatever the client's demeanour or self-esteem

HC: Usually dependable

FF: Varies. An untrained counsellor might well be a very decent person, but be completely unaware of the right thing to do in a counselling situation

Topic 8. Adherence to standard procedures, depending on what is considered standard at the time

PR: Most PaulsRobot procedures are fresh 21st century developments. Other procedures that are designed to be Robot versions of "regular" ones (like Rogerian Therapy) are necessarily adjusted somewhat to fit into the Robot paradigm, although their character is intended to be essentially unchanged

HC: Varies. It depends on the practitioner, as to how strictly he adheres to what is usual. And it depends on how much room there is for individual variation built into the modality concerned

FF: No

Topic 9. Familiarity and experience with procedures unique to PaulsRobot

PR: 100%

HC: Except in very rare cases, no contact at all

FF: No

Topic 10. Session control

PR: Shaky. There is nothing to stop the client walking out of the room

HC: Hands-on control possible when there in person. If it is a remote session, much harder but still more positive than an automated system (can try to persuade, count on social factors etc)

FF: Shaky. Someone untrained in counselling procedures might be very willing to help, but often would not know how to deal with a tricky situation

Topic 11. Interpretation of your responses

PR: 100%. You are in complete control of which response option to pick

HC: Depends on how well the counsellor understands what you say and think and feel in session

FF: Depends on how well the person understands what you say and think and feel

Topic 12. Reliability

PR: Highly consistent, not subject to illness, mood swings, or other work and family distractions

HC: Varies from counsellor to counsellor

FF: Varies, but reliability as a friend does not necessarily translate over to reliability as a counsellor

Topic 13. Interjection of distractions into session

PR: Minor to non-existent, as Robot is not a living being

HC: Varies with skill level (and cost) of counsellor, but more likely as counsellor is a living human being

FF: Varies, but someone untrained as a counsellor is far more likely to "get in the way" than a professional counsellor

Topic 14. Biofeedback devices used in conjunction with specific procedures and questions, not used in isolation

PR: None. But PaulsRobot procedures are designed to not need biofeedback and its absence is not a lack

HC: The value of a biofeedback device depends on the skill level of the practitioner. An effective biofeedback device wielded by a real expert, who doesn't miss indications or misinterpret them, and who doesn't allow the client to have things falsely validated or suggested by biofeedback indications (or lack of them), can add significant value in a session

FF: Not applicable

Topic 15. Social acceptability, although this depends on what sort of company you keep

PR: Depends if you tell anyone! Very few people would accept that Robot counselling is even possible, let alone beneficial

HC: If you are reading this, then your friends and associates are probably familiar with human practitioners of this type

FF: One would usually only "open up" to someone likely to be sympathetic

Topic 16. Confidentiality

PR: No personal details at all are transmitted during Robot sessions, so no secrets can be revealed. This means that however embarrassing or even unlawful the client's topic is, no hint of it can possibly leak out except via the client herself

HC: Usually good, in line with professional codes of ethics. Note that it is mandatory for a professional counsellor to report some situations that the client reveals in session (threats of violence, child abuse, strong suicidal tendencies etc.) to appropriate authorities

FF: Risky

Topic 17. How well will your specific wants be addressed?

PR: You choose exactly what you want to address and when to do it. There are (at PaulsRobot3) five entire modules (Core, HeavyDuty, Morph, BasicR3X and Psycho) that can be used to address and discharge virtually any topic

HC: Depends on how skilled the practitioner is, and how effective the procedure(s) in use are at addressing your specific concerns

FF: Unlikely to happen with someone not counsellor-trained.