Technology is transforming pretty much every aspect of our lives. From shopping and entertainment to the way that we work, we can see the impact everywhere. The healthcare industry is no different. New technologies for diagnosis and treatment are being developed all the time, boosting patient outcomes and staff experience. This is also true for mental health services, which have seen great progress in this area in recent years. It might seem strange to think of counseling as a field in which technology can play a big role, given that it is so focused on human interaction. However, the truth is that it is already making a positive difference. Here are just three of the ways in which it’s doing so.
It makes it easier for clients to access counseling services
In the past, a lack of access to counseling services was a big hurdle for many potential patients. There are not enough counselors available in some areas, and for other people, it’s simply too difficult to take the time out of their busy schedules to utilize them. Thanks to technical services such as Zoom, however, people can now access counseling from the comfort of their own home (which has been especially critical during the recent COVID-19 pandemic). That means there’s no need to worry about the cost or hassle of transportation and reduces the time people need to set aside to justify the length of the session. It also opens up options for clients to speak to counselors from different cities, states, or even countries to get the best possible treatment.
It makes it more convenient for people to train as counselors
Technological developments have also made it much easier for people to become counselors in the first place. Rather than quitting their jobs and moving across the country to attend college, they can simply study online. Many respected institutions such as Saint Bonaventure University offer degree programs that can be taken virtually, utilizing new technology. Students can attend lectures via video or use audio recordings, access all the necessary reading material online, and submit assignments via secure software. Virtual learning environments can also incorporate interactive quizzes, discussion boards, and many other innovative online tools to help students succeed.
It opens the door to blended treatment
The use of technology in counseling goes far beyond simply meeting via video call. It has progressed into blended treatment where patients can see a counselor in person and use technology in their treatment. For example, a wide range of apps can provide people with additional help outside of their regular sessions. This could be with simple functions such as medication reminders or digital gratitude journals, or more complex ones that can track progress and alert counselors when necessary. Some counselors are even incorporating virtual reality into their sessions. For instance, this technology can be used to help people overcome phobias of heights or crowds by safely simulating those environments. In many ways, the only limit to how useful new technology can be in counseling is our imagination!