The mental health field is technophobic and it needs to stop.

I have seen discussions about technology use for mental health counselors, but it’s nearly always about the numerous risks of technology. What about the benefits? We’re told to be careful about any information we post online, and told a “solution” is to entirely avoid using the Internet as part of our practices. The following article in Counseling Today recommends “going offline” for referrals to avoid any chance of a client’s being identified. I understand there is concern about privacy on public online forums. Though the example referral request was merely “Looking for referral for 30-something male dealing with depression. Needs counselor in network with ABC Insurance.” Clearly not over the line in disclosing information. The discussion of this example was followed up with “what if” after “what if.” What if advertising companies somehow connect the client to the counselor? What if someone screenshots the information and can make the connection?

These “what ifs” are not helpful. They’re fearmongering. Why don’t we learn how to use technology to help clients best instead of avoiding it? If I worked with a client who said there’s something they’d like to do and it would make their life way easier but they won’t do it because of a huge list of “what ifs”, I would sense an anxiety problem! And you know what I’d tell them? “Look into your options. Do your research and be careful. We can’t always see every possibility, but avoiding making the decision isn’t a solution.”

Avoidance of technology is not a solution. Education about technology is.

If we worry about the privacy of online forums, we can spearhead private secure forums for counselors to use. Don’t just complain. Make a change. That’s what we expect of clients, so it’s irresponsible to expect otherwise of ourselves.


Psychology podcasts!

I’ve gotten into podcasts. I even narrate one, White-Noise, an audio drama about ghosts in Gettysburg. You can find a podcast for almost any interest! Here are some related to psychology I’ve listened to.

Unpopular Culture

We are not bystanders in today’s culture, and we’re willing to bet: Neither are you. Unpopular Culture is a podcast where a psychotherapist and a team of dedicated professionals, dive into the broken underbelly of today’s society— discovering the weird and the weirdly common. New shows full of case studies, psychological breakdowns and conspiracy theories are released every Tuesday morning wherever you get your podcasts!

The Bright Sessions

This one is a fictional audio drama about a therapist of people with superpowers. It’s very well done and avoids common fiction therapy cliches.

Shrink Rap Radio

Long-running show featuring interviews with a wide variety of psychology field personalities with “Dr. Dave.”
“Dr. Dave” is also known as David Van Nuys, Ph.D. He is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Sonoma State University and served as that department’s Chair for seven years.

Geek Therapy

Covers many ways to use geek culture in therapeutic ways!

Invisibilia, an NPR podcast

Invisibilia is Latin for “the invisible things.” We explore the invisible forces that shape human behavior — things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.

Podcast series by the American Counseling Association

The ACA has an official podcast series! You can even listen as part of continuing education credits if you’re in the mental health field. Don’t fret about the price tag if you’re not looking into CE credits though. It’s free to listen!

Therapeutic Interior Design?

I’ve said it half as a joke a few times lately, but let’s face it: Waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and therapy offices tend to be far from cheerful places. I think it could help in some way if these spaces were designed to put people more at ease. I’ve heard of some long-term care facilities undergoing redesign to look more homelike instead of sterile, and I think this is a very positive step. I’d certainly not be my most cheerful self if what amounted to my home didn’t look like one!

I wouldn’t ask for the advice of actual interior designers. I at least wouldn’t give one complete free rein. If you ask me, they tend to design spaces that would look nice on a magazine cover but I wouldn’t want to live in at all! I don’t want to live in a magazine cover. I want to be comfortable. I want comfortable chairs. Cheerful decor that isn’t in-your-face cheerful like a kid’s playroom (unless it actually is in a kid’s playroom) but also doesn’t feel “too fancy” to me, like something that would be at a grandparent’s house and I wouldn’t be allowed to touch it.

The entire environment of a mental health client is important to consider, especially if they’re staying somewhere for long-term care and the place is essentially their home for that time. I want people to feel comfortable. I wouldn’t want to live somewhere where I’m not. I know many facilities unfortunately suffer from a lack of funding, and interior design is far from the top of the list of priorities if there isn’t much money to go around. But I think it’s something to consider.