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The Board of Directors has begun to consider the issue of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its role in mental health care, whether through apps for mental health or psychotherapy websites. This is a provisional statement pending a far larger piece of work including a literature search and consultation by the R & D Working Group. The R & D Working Group is looking for members of ACTO with an interest in AI and associated matters to take part in a consultation process over the next year. If you’re interested please contact Pip at

As a summary we feel is it essential that all, therapists and clients, should be able to look at mental health websites and apps and be informed if they use AI in any way to engage with the user. Transparency must be at the heart of all we do and offer, both as therapists and in the tools we use or promote.

We recognise that AI has a very valuable role to play in the work we do. However, we have a concern over transparency of some “counselling or psychotherapy” sites as it is clear that those using online services and apps are completely unaware of the use of AI within these websites. For example a website that purports to offer therapy but is no more than a chatbot. We can see that a chatbot might be very helpful to some people and in some circumstances but we are sure that it is important for all those using a site to know when they are not “talking” to a person. Equally, we feel we should all be informed when an app uses your own data, as part of the information it is providing you.

This is an interim statement as we will need to consult and explore the far reaches of mental health care and the use of AI before coming back to you with a more detailed statement. We will put any updates in the R & D area on the website.

Philippa Weitz

Director, Research and Development, ACTO

On behalf of the Board of Directors