Microsoft is developing an emotion-focused therapy journaling feature for Teams, Microsoft 365 apps

It could also function as a standalone app.

by Flavius Floare

Flavius Floare

Flavius is a writer and a media content producer with a particular interest in technology, gaming, media, film and storytelling. He enjoys spending time in nature and at… read more

microsoft therapy journaling

Earlier this month, folks over at MSPowerUser reported that Microsoft might develop an AI therapist or an emotion-focused therapy Copilot for Windows and Microsoft users, based on a patent the Redmond-based tech giant released to the public back then.

Now, according to another patent recently released by the Redmond-based tech giant, an emotion-focused therapy journaling feature might be in development. The emotional management system is patented as being capable of integration within other systems, such as Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365 apps, or even operating systems such as Windows.

The new emotional management system implements a therapy journaling process, and it’s quite different from the AI therapist envisioned by Microsoft in the patent released at the beginning of November, but the two tools have the same goal: users’ emotional well-being.

The therapy journaling system would be used in work environments, as the document states:

Emotional well-being is critical to overall well-being, productivity, and well-being of colleagues and the company. The system helps users to build a habit of emotional awareness through recurring reflection reminders, emotional journaling and provision of insights and recommendations.

How would digital therapy journaling work?

The emotional insight management system sends personalized prompts to users, asking them to update a well-being journal with their current emotional state. The timing of the personalized prompts is set by the users and it might ask questions such as Did you not have time for lunch today?, Did you sleep well last night?, or Did you have any focus time today/this week?microsoft therapy journaling

The user’s responses are collected over time and put into a report that shows their emotional trends. The system then tries to figure out why the user might have felt a certain way on a particular day.

To do this, it looks at the emotional data provided by the user and combines it with work-related data that might have caused the imbalance in the emotional data. This helps the system identify possible reasons for the user’s therapy journaling

Based on this analysis, it can suggest actions that the user could take to reduce stress and improve their emotional well-being, such as taking time off, taking short breaks, or coming up with ways to balance the emotional state of the user.

Due to the nature of the system, it can present itself as a standalone app, but it can also be integrated within working-based platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft 365, Azure Active Directory, and many more.

If we’re taking into consideration the possibility of an AI therapist, Microsoft might unveil a new Copilot that makes use of that technology along with this one to offer personalized therapy to people using Microsoft Teams everywhere.

Copilot is already on Windows and Microsoft Teams, but the AI lacks training for providing personalized therapy sessions, however, this can easily be a direction for Microsoft to explore down the road of AI, and Copilot development.

It would have its drawbacks too: firstly, virtual therapy is not the same as having another person listening to you, and secondly, the tool can be used to monitor employees’ productivity, which can be used by HR to assess if it’s time to let someone go or not. In this regard, answering the prompts could become a stressful chore.

However, Microsoft might design it with some confidentiality in mind (therapy sessions are, ultimately, confidential sessions), as the document states reports can also be anonymous.

The anonymized historical trends report is a report providing anonymized well-being data associated with a plurality of anonymous users.

In this case, the tool might actually be useful to employees everywhere. What do you think about this idea? Do you see yourself using digital and AI-enhanced therapy journaling at work?

You can read the full document here.

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