Mental illness is a massive problem in the world today. People prefer psychological treatments over medication but access to psychotherapy is severly limited. One solution to this problem is to develop self-help treatments that can be delivered through the Internet. Research has shown that these treatments are effective and if therapist support by for example email is added, the effect could be on par with regular psychotherapy. However, therapist-supported computerized psychological treatments are very hard to access outside of research settings.
We are a team of psychologists and psychotherapy researchers that aims to build a web application that takes advantage of modern web technologies and that could provide high-quality computerized psychotherapy at large scale. One of us had an experience with Common Lisp and from there we found Clojure. After digging into the language we found out that developing web applications with Clojure was a pure delight.
In this talk we will describe the domain of computerized psychotherapy and some of its challenges. We will argue why we believe that Clojure is a perfect fit for developing web applications for psychotherapy. Our own experiences this far of using Clojure in this context will be described. Finally, we will discuss how we believe Clojure and its eco-system could help out even further in reducing the heavy burden of mental illness in society.
Robert Johansson, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and a researcher at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden. Since 2009, he has conducted research on computerized psychotherapy. He had some basic training in Common Lisp from the late 1990’s and through that learned about Clojure in late 2014. Since then, he has practiced Clojure with the aim of building web applications for providing computerized psychotherapy.