Gemma Williams, a lecturer and learning innovator at the City of Wolverhampton College, addresses the challenge of providing practical counselling experience to her students, many of whom lack access to traditional placement opportunities. Enter AI technologies like ChatGPT and 'Call Annie', which simulate counselling sessions and provide real-time interaction capabilities, respectively. ChatGPT allows students to role-play both counsellor and client, developing empathy and counselling techniques, while 'Call Annie' offers face-to-face interaction via video calls. These tools enable students to practice and refine their skills, engage in peer assessment, and prepare for the digital evolution of the counselling profession. Students can interact with virtual clients, apply theoretical models like Egan's Skilled Helper Model, and receive immediate feedback on their performance. The technology also facilitates reflective journaling and professional discussion, crucial for their future roles in mental health services.
The scenario in this case study is genuine and based upon real events and data, however its narration has been crafted by AI to uphold a standardised and clear format for readers.
AI tools offer a new dimension to counselling education, providing interactive and engaging learning experiences. They foster practical skill development and digital literacy, preparing students for a changing professional landscape. The case study demonstrates the potential of AI to supplement traditional education methods and meet the evolving needs of the counselling sector.
While AI tools offer significant benefits, they cannot replace the nuanced human interaction in counselling. There's a risk of over-reliance on technology, which may lead to a devaluation of face-to-face therapeutic relationships. Furthermore, educators must navigate the ethical considerations of using AI and ensure that it supports, rather than substitutes, the development of human counsellors.