Using Technology in Treatment: An Overview

By February 28, 2017 June 18th, 2018 Blog

As technology continues to advance, clinicians will be pressured more and more to embrace technology as a part of their practice. As the options continue to grow with possibilities and usability, each clinician must assess his or her relationship to technology. Below are some questions that you may consider asking yourself:

  • Am I proficient in this technology?
    1. If we are asking our patients to use a new app or watch videos on YouTube, we ourselves must be proficient in this technology. Asking a patient to embrace technology as a form of intervention of coping, and not being able to assist with training/problem solving, can leave a bad impression on the patient. It can also make it less likely for the patient to follow through with the assignment in the event that the technology is not working properly. Be mindful of what forms of technology you bring into the therapeutic relationship.
  • Does this benefit my patient?
    1. We have all experienced that new, shiny, fancy piece of technology. We get so excited that sometimes we realize that this piece of technology really does not have a positive impact on our lives (e.g. Apple Watch). This holds true to introducing technology to a patient as well. Will this truly aid in the patient’s growth? If the answer is “no”, move along. If it is “yes”, see question #1.
  • Can this be done in person?
    1. If you are trying to set up an exposure or social situation for the patient, is using technology to accomplish this more harmful than useful? If you are working with someone with Social Anxiety, using technology to meet people may be a great way to introduce the idea, however it is not allowing the patient to fully experience the potential of rejection/acceptance. Technology can also play a role in avoidance, as it is may be a quick thing to blame when the work is not completed.

The amount of apps aimed at mental health treatment will only continue to grow. The use of VR (Virtual Reality) within therapy clinics has become ever so prevalent. Technology is here to stay, thus we must ensure that we are secure in the relationship we have with it. The above questions are simply aimed at having you begin the internal dialogue of how you may, or may not, use technology in the workplace.