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Artificial Intelligence in Behavioral Health: the lowest hanging fruit; documentation

By Ross Young 

Ethical dimensions of integrating Artificial Intelligence in clinical psychology 

By John D. Gavazzi, Psy.D., ABPP


Artificial Intelligence in Behavioral Health: the lowest hanging fruit; documentation

By Ross Young 

    Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in behavioral health has sparked a transformative wave, redefining traditional therapy practices and administrative workflows. Initially met with skepticism, the narrative around AI in this space is undergoing a profound shift. Clinicians who have embraced AI technology, especially AI-driven scribes, are witnessing a sea of change in how care is delivered, the efficiency of their practices, and the balance between their professional and personal lives.


Overcoming resistance: 

The path to AI adoption


  The initial reluctance among behavioral health professionals toward AI is rooted in concerns about the depersonalization of care and ethical considerations around confidentiality. However, the tide is turning as clinicians find that they can focus more on their clients and gain key insights from AI analysis of their sessions. Clinicians who take the leap to integrate AI into their practice are experiencing firsthand the profound impact it has on their work and well-being. 

    Many clinicians initially worry about client perceptions and the ethical considerations of integrating AI into their practice. However, they often discover that most of their clients provide verbal consent to using AI once it's clarified that the technology assists in notetaking and that audio recordings are neither stored nor used. Clinicians must understand and verify how companies manage their data, mainly whether it could be accessed for subpoena purposes. This ensures they can confidently address clients' concerns, maintaining transparency and trust in the therapeutic relationship.


AI Scribes:

Transforming clinical documentation

    AI scribes are at the forefront of this change, offering an innovative solution to one of the most time-consuming aspects of therapy: clinical documentation. By accurately transcribing sessions and generating comprehensive clinical notes, AI scribes enhance documentation quality and drastically reduce clinicians' time on paperwork. This shift allows therapists to focus more on patient interaction and less on administrative tasks, addressing the clinician shortage by effectively increasing the capacity to see more patients.


The competitive edge: 

AI in practice management

    From a practice management perspective, the advantages of AI are undeniable. In an environment where insurance payors increasingly rely on AI to scrutinize manual notations, leading to higher denial rates, practices still adhering to manual processes find themselves at a significant disadvantage, often unknowingly. AI-driven documentation offers a solution by ensuring consistency in notation, which aligns

more closely with payors' automated systems, thereby reducing denials and streamlining

the session-to-reimbursement timeline.

    As the mental health crisis deepens and clinicians are spending 30-50% of their

time on documentation, exacerbated by a glaring clinician shortage, the need for

efficient practice operations has never been more critical. In every practice, there

are usually a few clinicians who struggle to notate within 24 hours of their sessions.

You can help these clinicians submit their notes and documentation within the

practice-defined timelines by enabling them with an AI tool. 


Addressing clinician shortages and expanding access to care

    One of the most pressing issues in behavioral health today is the clinician shortage, which significantly hinders access to care. AI has the potential to mitigate this challenge by freeing up clinician time, thereby enabling them to serve more patients. This efficiency does not compromise the quality of care; on the contrary, it enhances it by allowing therapists to devote their attention fully to the therapeutic process rather than administrative duties.

    Moreover, integrating AI into behavioral health practices is a compelling recruiting tool amidst the clinician shortage. By offering technologies that alleviate the administrative burden, practices can attract top talent seeking a better work-life balance and a focus on patient care.


Looking forward: 

Embracing AI as a catalyst for change

    The journey toward widespread acceptance of AI in behavioral health is paved with challenges, including ethical concerns and fear of technology replacing the human element in therapy. However, resistance gives way to enthusiasm as the benefits become increasingly evident. The key to successful integration lies in viewing AI as a complement to human skill rather than a replacement.

    AI stands as a beacon of innovation in behavioral health, promising to reshape the landscape of therapy practices, enhance the efficiency of clinical documentation, and, most importantly, expand access to much-needed mental health services. As we move forward, adopting AI in behavioral health not only offers a solution to current challenges but also opens new possibilities for improving care delivery and therapist well-being.

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Ross Young is a leader in healthcare technology. He is the current CEO of Clinical Notes AI, based in San Diego, Calif. They serve multiple behavioral health clinics, independent clinicians, school district mental health departments, and more. His email is:

Ethical dimensions of integrating Artificial Intelligence in clinical psychology


By John D. Gavazzi, Psy.D., ABPP


    The ever-expanding reach of artificial intelligence (AI) will soon permeate the domain of clinical psychology, where its promise of enhanced efficiency, decision-making skills, and objectivity attracts considerable attention. From assisting in diagnoses and recommending treatment plans to generating comprehensive reports, AI holds immense potential. 

However, its integration within clinical psychology necessitates a crucial discussion of ethical considerations, particularly surrounding the pervasive issue of bias and its impact on assessment, treatment, and report writing. This essay focuses on the ethical use of AI in psychology, unraveling the intricacies of bias in algorithms, psychometric tools, treatment interventions, and, ultimately, report generation.


    At the heart of this dilemma lies the insidious nature of bias in AI. Defined as the tendency of a system to favor specific outcomes over others, bias can manifest in various forms, 

each posing unique challenges. Algorithmic bias, arising from the inherent prejudices embedded within the data used to train AI models, can perpetuate pre-existing societal 

inequalities. Biases in data can stem from various sources, such as datasets lacking diversity or historical prejudices reflected in data collection methods. Further, algorithmic bias 

can occur during model development, where the chosen parameters and design might inadvertently favor certain groups over others. Lastly, user-induced biases creep in during the deployment phase, where human interactions with the AI system can skew findings, outputs, and outcomes.


    The integration of AI within psychometric tools, instruments used to assess psychological traits and behaviors, amplifies the ethical concerns surrounding bias. These tools, while invaluable in clinical diagnoses, can become instruments of discrimination when infused with biased AI algorithms. Reinforcing existing stereotypes regarding race, gender, 

or socioeconomic status can lead to inaccurate and detrimental diagnoses, disadvantaging specific groups and exacerbating mental health disparities. The consequences of such 

biased assessments are far-reaching, impacting individuals' access to appropriate treatment, employment opportunities, school interventions, and even legal proceedings.


    The use of AI in treatment interventions raises further ethical questions. While personalized interventions tailored by AI-driven recommendations hold promise for optimizing 

treatment efficacy, potential harm lurks in the shadows of biased algorithms. Unfair and inequitable recommendations can lead to inappropriate or ineffective treatment plans, 

neglecting the specific needs of certain populations. The potential for AI to perpetuate harmful therapy practices based on biased interpretations of data necessitates stringent 

ethical safeguards and ongoing vigilance from mental health professionals.


    The role of AI in report writing, traditionally a cornerstone of psychological practice, poses

unique ethical challenges. While automated report generation holds the potential for increased

efficiency and reduced human error, the infiltration of bias into AI-generated reports can have

potentially harmful consequences. Reports based on biased algorithms can paint inaccurate and

discriminatory portraits of individuals, influencing critical decisions in legal, educational, and other

professional settings. To safeguard against these risks, ethical guidelines must prioritize

incorporating equity and fairness into AI algorithms and emphasizing transparency and

accountability in report generation processes.


    The impact of bias is particularly pronounced on marginalized groups. Disparities in AI-generated reports can disproportionately affect marginalized communities, amplifying 

existing inequalities in access to mental health care. These injustices underscore the urgency of addressing bias in AI development and ensuring cultural competence in psychological assessments. By incorporating diverse perspectives into AI development teams, regularly auditing and evaluating AI systems for bias, and employing culturally sensitive 

methodologies in data collection and analysis, we can strive to mitigate the harmful effects of AI bias on vulnerable populations.


    Navigating the ethical terrain of AI in clinical psychology necessitates a collaborative effort. Developers must adhere to ethical guidelines that prioritize fairness, transparency, and accountability (Gabriel, 2022; Stix, 2021). Psychologists, acting as stewards of ethical practice, must be equipped to identify and address bias in AI systems and advocate for 

responsible integration of AI within our profession and daily practices. Policymakers should formulate regulations that hold developers accountable for mitigating bias and 

promote equitable access to AI-driven technologies in mental health care.


    In conclusion, while AI holds immense potential for revolutionizing psychological practice, its integration within our field, intricately entwined with human well-being, 

requires a cautious and ethical approach. Recognizing the profound impact of bias in AI algorithms demands meticulous vigilance, collaborative efforts, and unwavering 

commitment to ethical principles. By prioritizing fairness, equity, transparency, and accountability throughout the development and deployment of AI in clinical psychology, we can harness its power to enhance high-quality mental health care for all, ensuring that AI-assisted technology becomes a force for good.


    Readers can explore multiple articles related to this essay on the Ethics and Psychology website (


Claude, an AI assistant developed by Anthropic, was used to proofread this article for clarity and readability.

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John D. Gavazzi, Psy.D., is a psychologist practicing in Central Pennsylvania. He has been involved in ethics education for more than 25 years. He curates the website Ethics and 

Psychology (

His email is

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