Letter: The couch is here to stay

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The Independent Online
DIY analysis is not looming ('Therapy by computer', 4 September). True psychoanalysis is only possible when the analysts have themselves been analysed, and hence it is impossible for a machine to simulate the role. The rather simplistic dialogue you report - 'Please continue in spite of my limitations' - features in the history of artificial intelligence and is a monument to its failure.

Real support is being given by self-help groups via electronic mail. Groups such as Pendulum and Walkers in Darkness have been flourishing for years.

Gordon Joly

London E14

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