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Anonymous peer-to-peer psychotherapy

Image credit: Michael Hession

Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 04, 2022
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Peer-to-peer psychotherapy where people remain anonymous and pay for online therapy with cryptocurrency.
This helps people who might:
  • feel more comfortable opening up to therapists from outside of their local environments
  • prefer to remain anonymous
  • want to have an occasional talk with a new therapist when facing difficult times
This provides therapists with another way of making a living remotely, from the comfort of their own homes.
How it works
A peer-to-peer (web3) network where people sign in using their digital identity generated by a crypto wallet. They also pay for the therapists' time using the same wallet. There are no identity checks, recording of locations, etc.
The network's software is open source so that people can verify that nothing is recorded and the reviews are authentic. Every participant runs their own node. The node comes with all the necessary features (video chat, payments, reviews, etc). The connection between a client and a therapist is end-to-end encrypted.
The network functions like Omegle. When signing up, people assume the role of either a therapist or a client. The system matches clients with available therapists. Both have to accept the suggestion before the video call is established. Both have time to check each other's profiles before accepting the call.
A therapist can be anyone, regardless whether they actually have a degree. They may choose to divulge their personal/professional information, a degree, etc, but they don't have to.
A therapist may choose to work under a pseudonym. The clients will be fine with it as long as they see good reviews/ratings.
Rating/review system for therapists
Everyone therapist starts from scratch. To get some clients and reviews going they can:
  • take urgent video calls from people who don't care who they talk to
  • lower their hourly prices or work for free to get some reviews and potentially long-term customers
  • add their professional info, a degree, videos of themselves talking, etc.
Mandatory reviews
At the end of each session, both the client and the therapist have to leave reviews and rate their experience.
Different reviews carry different weight based on how "established" the accounts are. The weight depends on how much money an account made (therapist) or spent (client), the number of reviews received and a cumulative rating.
Both parties can reply to a review and grow it into a public thread if necessary.
Some system features
  • Urgent call; the client is put in front of the first available therapist. Both get a chance to accept or pass
  • Browse and schedule; the client can browse lists of therapists and filter them by popularity, price, ratings, availability, etc.
Therapists get paid by the hour in the network's native cryptocurency. They can:
  • provide a free introductory session to anyone
  • provide a free introductory session only to people with a high enough score (payment history)
  • provide a free introductory session only to people that have not taken anyone else's free session within the past X time
Payments cannot be disputed. Money paid is money gone. People can complain in reviews if they need to.
Creative contributions

Vetting for therapists

Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stanković May 05, 2022
Even though I don't hold therapists in the highest regard as a profession I do feel like a pre-check is needed.
With total anonymity, you'd get a lot of internet trolls posing as therapists. While there are going to be reviews, there are not going to be any reviews for the first sessions. Which leaves a lot of room for making people's physical states even worse. Furthermore, people distraught mentally can be really susceptible to figures of authority and not even realize they are being subtly trolled or manipulated, leaving good reviews.
At the very least, don't use the term therapist and note that it's therapy light at best. For when you are not all the way in the hole, but just need a person to talk to. Let off some steam.
Or we need to come up with some sort of a vetting process. Like the "therapists" need to pay a sum to be included in their first session and will earn more money back only after a second session.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
You take the first sessions with a grain of salt and they don't cost any money. Or the first sessions are always taken by professionals who provide initial reviews.
Yes, therapists having to post escrow money that is gradually won back with good results sounds good.
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Mikhail Korsanov
Mikhail Korsanov2 years ago
I think either the specialist must submit his licence and diploma, or prove efficiency by taking an exam, proving his/her compenence in case it is self-education. Lincencing may be right online before the monitor. Alternatively, in case the exam or licence are not applicable (for example, this is a completely intuitive therapy or extracensory, not proficiency), the clients must be free to start with. They must get a notice that there is no record of the specialist, so this may be dangerous for their health. They understand it and go for it to leave an honest response. Next they go through a test before therapy and undergo the course of therapy. Next they make an objective test again. In a year they are obliged to make the test again. In case no singificant problems arise and a reasonable effect is observed (comparable with results of licenced specialists), the specialist is aknowledged as certified. I think at least 10 clients must be checked this way. Of course, candidates may cheat taking faked clients who are paid for telling the lie. I don't know how to solve this. Perhaps, some features allowing to judge if the client shows true feelings or a fake? Perhaps, AI? In a way, a lie detector.
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A better variant

Mikhail Korsanov
Mikhail Korsanov May 05, 2022
I would suggest a better version of this idea. In fact I work in the field. Why not to create a chat-bot (including voice chat bot) that will lead the client through the therapy. I have such an algorithm that works for 87-94% of people very well. Of course, we can improve the algorithm still further, adding new techniques to ensure the maximum of people get an effect and enjoy the process. Next, we can prepare voluteers trainers-supporters who will encourage and motivate clients to continue processing until the full result. The very processing may be done automatically. Also, I'd suggest a fully free service. Automated version allows that. This will allow to catch the maximum audience trust and loyality. Next, we can add automated couching for money and overall well-being. When a person achieves an income of, say, 1000$+ per month (it is individual for each country), he starts paying, say, 5% of his income to support the system. Also, it may be used as a marketing mechanism offering the user specific solutions that may satisfy his specific needs (goods, services, information, education, training, etc). We can sell leads. This will allow to maximize the profit. In fact, I already worked in a similiar concept. It led to the maximum income in my life of 51K$ per month.
Why psychotherapy of emotional and life problems + first stage of couching is better to be free, because most people in the world, who needs this service lacks money badly.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Psychotherapy performed by artificial general intelligence will surely be popular someday in the distant future when AI becomes better at it than a human being. For now, I think people are looking for connections with others, to unload their burden in a safe environment. Telling your troubles to a bot probably doesn't have the right effect. That is until the bot becomes sentient and intelligent. Then it becomes a real being.
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Mikhail Korsanov
Mikhail Korsanov2 years ago
Even today it works well, given the right system. I have already tested it, it gives excellent results. We only need to motivate people to do it on their own for 1-4 months each day 30-60 mins or close to that. Games, motivating videos and social interaction activities, solving motivational conflicts for doing the training, first of all, will do that. Everyone seems to think it is impossible, but it already exists. Not only me is about to do that. Master Kit does not a bad motivating work as well, even though their methods are much slower than mine, but still looks not bad. And we can produce a still better motivational system. As for the core therapy, there is so called solo-mode. Given enough of persistence of motivation, most people can achieve good results.
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General comments

Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
If it's anonymous, the client should have the right not to switch on their camera, but the therapist has to because the client will receive the most value if they see the therapist's facial expressions and look in the eyes.
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