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Coping With COVID – 19: Adding Nature Offices to Your Program

Posted by: Doc Warren on September 15, 2020 9:44 am

The world is currently at a crossroads. Many of us are growing tired of the “new normal” that has required us to have varying levels of shelter in place, though we understand the need. As things progress, we are coming out of our cocoons, testing the waters of leaving our homes while still taking the precautions that make sense based on the available data. Masks and hand sanitizer are the new black. We are indeed fashionable.

            So many clinical professionals have moved to telehealth platforms in order to provide much needed care. Some have been doing so for years, while others, like me, avoided it to no end until the pandemic hit our shores. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I as a practitioner and my clients adapted and thrived using this technology. I will admit to still doing that “weird wave” at the end of most sessions but even that has brought cheer.

            Some have reopened their physical offices while taking all available precautions. Many have felt the data did not support this (and this will not be a debate on that issue I assure you). I too would like to reopen, especially since we had been finishing a 1600 square foot addition to our offices as COVID – 19 hit. The offices have sat empty, longing for service for many months now.

            There is however a third option (besides in office and telehealth) that some have started to try. Others, including some colleagues I work with, have been doing it for years but are expanding greatly due to the pandemic. This third option is utilizing nature’s offices.

            Nature’s offices are outdoor offices where clients can meet with their clinical professional outdoors, thus mitigating as much risk as possible. These offices when used correctly, offer privacy, comfort, safety, and so much more.

            A “typical” nature’s office can be set up and used in the following ways during the pandemic:

  • Client and clinician meet in the car park wearing masks.
  • Client and clinician do their best to follow physical distanced requirements in place at the time, as recommended by experts in the field of pandemic response.
  • If available, clinician gives the client a choice of offices.  Ideally there are many offices in differing settings with different designs.  If this is not possible, any nature office will work.
  • Seating is spaced as far apart as practical, exceeding minimum suggested requirements, without being seated directly across from one another.
  • Once seated, client and professional can remove mask if desired but will put them back on at the end of the session as the client returns to the car park.
  • Each nature’s office offers privacy though the clinical professional discusses the possibility that someone could presumably walk into the area in the context of confidentiality. Should that occur, the session pauses until the area is clear.

While not every office has outdoor space, particularly in big cities, the offices that do may find that the transition is easy enough. However, it is important to have a back-up plan such as telehealth, should weather pose an issue. Some nature offices include an option of a roofed structure such as a gazebo that allows air to pass freely while providing shelter from rain or excessive sun. Some have a heating source for cooler temperatures though few will be utilized when full winter cold sets in.

In this setting, clinician and client need not worry about recycled air as you are breathing the air found in nature. The furniture though often used and cleaned regularly, is further “cleaned” by being outdoors, as rain and sunlight (via UV rays) provide natural disinfectant though it is wise to follow the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommendations for cleaning, mask wearing, etc.

When the pandemic passes, these offices can still serve programs regularly. You need not look at this as a temporary investment; on the contrary, these may well become some of your favorite spaces.  

Case Study: Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm, Wolcott Connecticut USA

            Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm’s slogan is “Nurture in Nature” and has utilized fields, woodlands, gardens and other areas of its property for therapeutic services for years. When the pandemic hit, it closed down its physical offices and switched to telehealth pending clear data and understanding of how the pandemic spread. As information became clearer after months of global data collection, it appeared that an important stage between telehealth and in office care would be to utilize existing nature’s offices and build additional ones. Face masks, hand sanitizer and other safety measures would continue while the main building would remain closed to all but essential staff (due to animals that needed care as the farm program could not be run totally from home).

            Taking consideration of folks that have varying levels of mobility and health concerns, a half dozen areas were set up for outdoor sessions. This was made more difficult by a shortage of benches and outdoor seating in the state.  Items were purchased, and existing stock was moved as needed, to ensure that sessions would be able to be offered for those that telehealth was less than ideal for. All clients were pre-screened prior to being offered the opportunity to use this service option. Some were declined due to a lack of safety protocols or other high risk behaviors.

            As the pandemic has continued, nature’s office expansion has continued. Several areas will have or already have had a heat source installed to help in cooler weather.  Options will be explored as winter sets in to determine if in-building sessions are practical and safe or if a move to telehealth only will be needed for the coldest months.

            Nature’s offices currently include areas of sun, shade, flowering plants, stone benches and other options. Some offices are within feet of the car park while others require a short walk. All will continue to be used post pandemic so the costs associated with building, furnishing and maintaining them is considered an investment in improving the infrastructure of the program and not as a drain on funds.

            For more information and photo examples of nature’s offices, please visit this link. https://www.docwarren.org/nature-offices

Be safe, do good

-Doc Warren

“Doc Warren” Corson III is a counselor, educator, writer and the founder, developer, clinical & executive director of Community Counseling of Central CT Inc. (www.docwarren.org) and Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm (www.pillwillop.org). He is internationally certified as a Counsellor and Counsellor Supervisor in the USA and Canada (C.C.C., C.C.C.-S, NCC, ACS). He can be contacted at [email protected]  His program has also been featured on NBC




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

5 Steps to Starting an Online Canadian Private Practice

Posted by: Julia Smith on March 13, 2020 11:51 am

Note: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Starting an online Canadian private practice can be a great option for Canadian counsellors who don’t want to spend money on renting an office. It also allows you to counsel clients from the comfort of your home (or when travelling J). There are many considerations when starting an online counselling business or even adding it to your existing Canadian private practice. In addition to the article: 15 Steps to Starting a Canadian Private practice, the next five steps will help you in opening your online Canadian private practice!

  1. Liability Insurance

One of the main questions Canadians have when starting an online counselling business is if you can counsel clients who live outside of Canada. Though BMS CCPA insurance covers e-services worldwide, all claims must be brought forward in Canada. This means that if a client from outside Canada files a complaint in a different country, BMS will not cover you! Since you have no control where international clients file complaints… it may be wise to only offer e-services to people living in Canada. What kinds of measures can practitioners take to ensure that they are properly marketing their services exclusively to Canadians?

  1. HST Rates

If you are making over $30 000 you will have to charge the sales tax that is required in the client’s province. That means that if you live in Toronto and have an online client that lives in Halifax., you will have to charge Nova Scotia’s 15% HST and not  Ontario’s 13% HST rate. If you have clients that are not Canadian citizens and live outside of Canada, you cannot charge sales tax. Click here for more information about sales tax in Canada. Didn’t you just advise in the previous paragraph to only counsel Canadian clients? A bit confusing… Also, what happens in the case of Canadians who are temporarily residing in other countries? Ex-pats? Snowbirds?

  1. Build a website

Having an awesome website with amazing SEO (search engine optimization) is VERY, VERY, VERY important for an online Canadian counselling business. Your website will be one of the main ways people find you. So, you will want to invest in having a beautiful website that also appears in internet searches. Check out Brighter Vision and Beam Local to get help with creating your website 🙂

To learn more about SEO and why it is so important, read this article: https://www.fearlesspractice.com/website

  1. EMR

It is very important that you understand Canadian’s privacy laws when it comes to online counselling. Video counselling sessions should be encrypted and the content of the video should never be recorded or stored anywhere to make sure that it is secure. Canadian Based EMR (Electronic Medical Records), Jane or OWL include secure video sessions. Ideally, you want to be using an EMR that includes video counselling as it is easier to schedule clients, send appointment reminders, and log on to the online counselling session all from one platform. I recommend using a Canadian EMR like Jane or OWL , especially if you live in British Columbia or Nova Scotia (where you have to have a Canadian EMR) as these platforms follow Canadian privacy laws.

  1. Psychology Today

Ideally, you will have a Psychology Today profile for your online services in all Canadian/US cities. But that can get very expensive! So instead, in your account, you will see the “Edit Profile” icon. Select that and then from the drop-down menu select “Target Your Listing”. You can then choose two more locations where your profile will be advertised for free!

About Julia
Julia Smith, MEd, RCT-C, CCC, is a Canadian private practice consultant who specializes in helping Canadian counsellors and therapists start private practice. She also owns a private practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she helps depressed teens build confidence, find happiness, and gain insight.
Click here to get more help with building your Canadian private practice!



*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The Impending Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Work Force

Posted by: Jeff Landine and John Stewart on April 23, 2019 2:50 pm

Throughout our research, we have found that there is nothing more embedded into our lives than career.  As we contribute to the Counselling Connect Blog, our intention is to explicate, using a mix of research and reflective opinions, some of the dynamics that impact career. We start with a consideration of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  AI is a branch of computer science that focuses on programing computers with the ability to resemble intelligent behaviors including learning, reasoning, planning, observing and/or processing language.  We think this blog, plus several future blogs, will inform career counsellors in two ways: understanding the impact of AI on careers; and counselling clients entering the workforce, or who are displaced due to AI innovations. As a disclaimer, our expertise lies in the realm of Career Psychology and not in AI; however, we are doing a lot of reading on the subject.  In this blog, we want to examine some of the proposed advantages and disadvantages concerning the impact of AI on future job availability.

Recent advancements in AI suggest that we are in a “fourth industrial revolution,” but with significantly more implications than previous revolutions. We think there is no doubt that AI will take over some jobs due to such technological innovations as robotics, machine learning, and 3-D printing; and through the impact of AI on manufacturing, retail jobs, and in other domains such as legal and medical.  It seems that the question is not when, but how rapidly and profoundly automation will change the workplace.  Many think that AI will displace most jobs requiring manual and routine labour – machines can do it faster and with more accuracy. Further, with the advent of self-driving vehicles, many truck drivers, couriers and taxis will be displaced. Recent developments in diagnostic work using computers will impact the medical profession. Currently computers can diagnose abnormalities in x-rays with as much accuracy as radiologists.

On the positive side, AI can be an aid to workers.  Instead of fearing that robots and AI might reach a “singularity” and replace workers, “multiplicity” proposes that humans will work with machines to solve problems and develop leading-edge technology.  Automation will create new jobs not presently conceived of, just as personal computers did in the past. For example, in Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Paul Daugherty and Jim Wilson envision two categories of workers – explainers and trainers, both illustrating the idea of intelligence augmentation, that AI systems can be designed to augment human work behavior.  Explainers will help humans work with machines and trainers will develop AI systems to do workplace tasks.  For example, explainers will work in clarifying decisions made by computer algorithms and explaining them to supervisors and executives. And presently, trainers are developing chatbots that, in response to human consumers, will continue to improve on language recognition to better serve them.

In conclusion, we think that the outlook will be more favourable than bleak. Certainly, there will be job changes and job loss.  However, jobs taken over by machines will not diminish the work to be done. Quite the contrary, just as electronics and information technology created more jobs than were lost, AI will do the same.  We see several implications for career counsellors and their practice.  At the present we do not see counsellors being replaced by chatbots/robots due to the need for client empathy, something that AI has not been able to simulate yet. However, it is our opinion that the information that informs the practice will need to be upgraded on a regular basis.  Most likely, this information will be dispensed by a chatbot or other a computer programmed to process human speech. Counsellors will need some degree of understanding to help clients process the changing aspects of the skills/tasks need in some work domains such as business, management, medicine, and law.  Counsellors will need to upgrade regularly their knowledge of new jobs created from advances in AI, including their location, and the entrance requirements of educational programs and their costs leading to employment in these jobs.

Jeff Landine and John Stewart
Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B.

Footnote:
The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. The Fourth is fusing together technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
Suggested Readings:
Daughterty, P. R. and H. J. Wilson (2018). Human + machine: reimaging work in the age of AI. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
Retrieved on February 13, at: https://www.wired.com/wiredinsider/2018/04/ai-future-work.
Retrieved on February 13 at: https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-ai-everything-you-need-to-know-about-artificial-intelligence/
Retrieved on February 13 at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/washingtonbytes/2018/08/18/there-is-work-to-be-done-ai-and-the-future-of-work/#441a32032665



*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Making Contact Inside the Computer

Posted by: Sherry Law on June 29, 2016 11:49 am

Over the last 2 years as I have delved deeper into virtual reality (VR) I have learned things I never expected to experience. The fact that VR is programmable means that the experience is solely dependent on ones imagination (and perhaps a little aptitude for software development). VR transports you immediately into a new reality and this holds many implications. The truth is that the physical body, or meat space, does not go anywhere. It is the mind or the psyche that is convincingly transported and the focus of my exploration. This is the true potential for the impact of VR.

I recently received a consumer version VR device. This device not only allows you to glimpse into another world, but also provides you the ability to manipulate the world around you with your hands. In addition, the technology provides the freedom of movement throughout a play area where you can walk around, sit, dance, pivot, the full range of bodily motions as long as it is within the bounds of a play area. This transforms ones understanding of the lived experiences almost 100% from the meat space into a digital realm. When you can train your aim inside an archery simulation and the fidelity nearly reflects reality, it is a strange experience indeed. I have never done archery myself, but being able to have some measure of behavioural mimicry to archery was not only a fun experience, but immersive and tiring! Having to duck and dodge enemy fire, destroying enemies with accurate aim, and spinning around at a second’s notice to ensure no one was attacking you from behind was thrilling. To imagine that this is the new world of the gamer, no longer bound to a computer chair, but sweating instead in a dimly lit room, practicing proper aim that can maybe be carrieblogphotosherryd into the real world. On the score board, your abilities are compared against the best in the world and usernames compete in a never ending battle to the top rank.

I also experienced an amazing level of intimacy in VR. Coming headset to headset with other people around the world, playing games and chatting with them through mics was absolutely astounding. I could see their heads move about as they thought about the ideas I shared with them. People witnessed my hands held on my hips as I wait for them to take the next shot at pool. We giggled together as we threw chairs all around a digital bar and made a mess with beer bottles and books. I high fived someone from Germany, we chatted about what a strange experience VR was, we looked at each other’s computer screens to check time zone differences between me and someone from Illinois, and goofed around with the interface as we learned and tinkered with our new toys. I was approached by a Frenchman from Austria that even wanted to show me around the digital space while I practiced my French. We spent time with phantom others in our minds, while our bodies remained alone and without company, yet I felt connected online for the very first time. I have made several friends already from around the world.

Does the mind care that you are not physically next to a person? No. I can say for myself that my mind was thoroughly convinced that I was properly socializing with others beside me, sharing and laughing together in a room. Meeting with strangers was no more jarring than in person, and in earnest, less so because all my fears of judgment vanished with the replacement of my body as an avatar. However, my expression, who “I” was did not vanish, and was perhaps enhanced by the removal of my distracting physical self.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Wildflowers Mindfulness

Posted by: Dawn Schell on May 9, 2016 10:28 am

Need another app to help you meditate?

No?

Well you might want to reconsider when you see the new Wildflowers Mindfulness app from Mobio Interactive.[1]  This beautifully designed new app was released on May 2, 2016 and is free for the first month.

The aim of Wildflowers Mindfulness is to assist individuals with developing a mindfulness practice.  Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can improve both physical and mental health.  It takes practice to really become comfortable with it and make it work for you.   Given how busy our lives can be it isn’t always easy to make the time to practice.   It’s like lots of things that we know are good for us and that we “should” do.  Sometimes a little help is needed!  That’s where an app like Wildflowers can come in handy.

There are interactive lessons on mindfulness, a library of meditations, and a journal to track your progress.   The creators of this app have also designed a feature that makes meditation suggestions based on your mood.  The page lists a number of different feelings and you can pick the one that is the closest fit and the app will suggest a variety of meditations for you to try.

One of the really fun features is you can use the camera on your mobile device to calculate your heart rate.  That’s right.  I said, the camera!    You can use this feature to calculate your heart rate both before and after a meditation and see how well you were able to relax.

Give it a try today and as the creators say, “Make friends with your mind”.

***

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc.  http://www.therapyonline.ca

[1] http://www.wildflowersmindfulness.com/#home




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

The New “Mood Rings”

Posted by: Dawn Schell on March 4, 2016 2:09 pm

WearabletechRemember Mood rings in the 70s? Okay, maybe you don’t. It was a long time ago after all. The idea behind a mood ring was that the “gem” would change colour depending on your mood. The change in colour was actually dependent on temperature. For those of us with cold hands our mood ring always indicated we were “anxious or stressed”.   Suffice it to say they were kinda fun for a while but didn’t really indicate how we were feeling.

While the mood ring fad faded decades ago the idea of being able to detect our emotions using biometric data hasn’t changed. There are numerous devices on the market today that say they can detect your emotional state through your breathing, heart rate, etc. and the aim of all of these devices is to help you be less stressed.

Here’s a few:

Spire[1] is a beautifully designed tracking device that is meant to be unobtrusive. The purpose? As their website says, “by monitoring your breathing, Spire figures out when you’re calm, focused, or tense, and provides you with guidance and exercises when it matters most”.   Linked with your mobile devices when Spire senses tension it sends reminders to breathe and calm oneself.

Being[2] is a watch-like device that “maps your moods, activities and sleep”. The creators say Being “provides health and stress insights for more mindful living” and also teaches ways to “transform bad stress into good stress”.

What’s missing for me is the contextual information about physical symptoms. What’s going on when one’s breathing or heart rate is increasing or temperature is dropping? What am I thinking or doing? Who am I with? Where am I?

This next device, Feel[3] is not yet available. The designers call it “the first wristband that recognizes and tracks human emotions throughout the day”. Feel is linked to your mobile phone where it sends the biometric information. What’s different here is Feel tracks your activities, who you meet and environmental conditions.   Feel also says they offer a “range of recommendations” to improve your emotional wellbeing – both short and long term.

Finally, let me introduce the new mood ring- Moodmetric[4]. Moodmetric is called “smart jewelry for emotional wellbeing”. It’s way more attractive than the old mood rings. The designers state, “the Moodmetric ring measures the autonomous nervous system signals that can be used to understand emotional reactions and improve quality of life.” Like the other devices there are options within the associate app for calming one’s mind and interacting with and learning from one’s patterns of emotional levels.

Do I really need wearable technology to tell me how I am feeling or to serve as a reminder to pause, breathe, relax? Well, no. However, I can see how useful these devices could be to help people pay more attention to physical signs of stress and to learn ways to reduce tension in the moment. I would hope that it would also help people learn to spot those signs of rising tension earlier and empower them to pay attention to their bodies, minds and emotions without the aid of a device.

As I consider all of these devices I must admit I am equal parts curious and skeptical. Which means I will be paying close attention to the research and reviews.

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate counsellor with Worldwide Therapy Online http://www.therapyonline.ca

[1] https://www.spire.io/

[2] https://www.zensorium.com/being#introduction

[3] http://www.myfeel.co/

[4] http://www.moodmetric.com/




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Making Team Work Easier – Virtual Meetings

Posted by: Dawn Schell on January 29, 2016 2:08 pm

Please tell me I’m not the only one who remembers what a big deal it was in the 90s to host a virtual meeting. I can remember a provincial meeting that was scheduled months in advance, a room full of thick wires and cables and much crossing of fingers hoping the technology would work and we would be able to see and hear each other.   I also remember feeling very excited about how this technology could change our ability to work with each other over distances.   The expense though was prohibitive. Though we could meet and collaborate virtually we didn’t often get to do so.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago. There was one virtual meeting platform I piloted for use with groups that regularly crashed. There were other problems too. We would be able to see some of the participants but not others. We could hear some people and not others. The longer we were online the more the difficulties piled up. Fussing with the technological issues took way too much of our time together.   We rapidly gave up on that system and decided the timing wasn’t right yet for online group meetings.  The concept was there but the technology did not yet meet our needs.

More recently, I have been experimenting with two different systems for virtual meetings.MeetingTech

Wiggio.com is a free online toolkit designed to “make it easy to work in groups”. The Desire2Learn company created this website based on their own frustrations with working in groups.

In Wiggio you can host virtual meetings conference calls, upload files, create polls and to-do lists as well as send email, text and voice messages to your group. It’s straight-forward and doesn’t require you to be super tech-savvy.   The company reports that over 150,000 groups are using their website. Businesses, sports teams, event planners, and non-profits are examples of groups that have made great use of this site.

Now, that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect system yet. There are still some technical issues that arise.   However Wiggio has a lot going for it in terms of virtual meeting space.

VSee.com is another virtual group meeting option I have been exploring. VSee, the world’s largest telemedicine platform, ” was created by a team of Stanford University human computer interaction scientists and network experts in order to overcome the limitations of traditional videoconference tools”. They wanted to create a platform that would “work over any network, and require minimal training”. The applications that it is being used for in terms of telemedicine are amazing.

In terms of my own use I stick to the basic free option for secure video chat.   Though it’s not relevant in the context I am using VSee for at the moment it is worth noting that VSee is HIPAA compliant. [1] You can check out more about their data privacy here – https://vsee.com/hipaa

Once again when we have been meeting in VSee there have been technical issues at times and so one group has chosen to use the back up of a teleconference at the same time as being able to see each other via this website.

Of course these days there are multiple options for hosting meetings. They certainly are easier to use than they used to be and less expensive too!   What I appreciate most about these is the opportunity to connect and collaborate with colleagues from across Canada.

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca

[1] HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a US law that provides privacy standards for health information and records.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Welcoming the New Year

Posted by: Dawn Schell on January 13, 2016 12:18 pm

It’s a new year and that often means people are making resolutions, setting goals and planning ahead.   Each time the calendar rolls around to January ‘hope springs eternal’ as Alexander Pope said. We want to get focused and clear. We want to make changes in our lives. We want to dream new dreams.    How long those resolutions, goals and plans last is another issue altogether!

In the spirit of hope I would like to share some fabulous online tools that one can use to reflect on the year that was and plan for the year to come.

One tool I have used for a number of years is choosing a ‘Word-of-the-Year’. It’s not a resolution or a goal – more of an intention for the year or a way to explore the year ahead or a guide for the year ahead.   If you haven’t yet tried this approach you can find numerous examples in the ‘blog-o-sphere’, Facebook groups or on Pinterest. Just search for “word of the year” and you will find amazingly creative ideas for showcasing one’s word of the year as well as reflections on what the word means to individuals.

There are a myriad of methods to finding and using a word for the year.

Christine Kane, a business coach, offers a Word-of-the-Year discovery tool for free. There is an introduction to the idea, an idea generator and worksheet to guide you through the process of choosing a word for the year and, of course, an action planner. Cause it’s more useful when you identify steps you can take!

Sometimes it’s harder to choose a word than others.   But each time I have chosen one I have found it to be both personally and professionally useful. As Ms. Kane says, “Your word is meant to teach you about you.” The tool is easy to use. The clients I have recommended it to find it to be helpful as they begin a new year. Just FYI – you do have to enter your email address to get this tool.

http://christinekane.com/wordoftheyear

On a similar note Susannah Conway, author/photographer/teacher, offers a helpful free resource titled “Unravelling the Year Ahead 2016”. Her Unravelling e-workbook has thought-provoking questions about the year that was and provides reflecting exercises for the year ahead. Having used this workbook with individual and group clients the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.

http://www.susannahconway.com/2015/12/were-coming-for-you-2016/

Finally, there is Leonie Dawson’s ‘Guide to creating your shining year’. Leonie Dawson is an entrepreneur and coach based in Australia. She guides you through a series of questions and reflections on the previous year and her creative questions about the coming year allow you to explore a number of different areas of life and set goals for each of these areas (e.g. physical, spiritual, financial).   For a small cost you can download her e-workbooks or order hard copies.

http://leoniedawson.com/

As with many goals/resolutions/intentions the keys to actually doing what one says one is going to do are:

  • Be accountable to someone – share your goals, hopes, dreams, intentions
  • Take small steps
  • Regularly review your progress
  • Celebrate your successes
  • Be gentle, kind and compassionate with yourself
  • 2016 – ready or not – here we come!

2016Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate counsellor with Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Teaching a black dog to do new tricks – Digital Dog

Posted by: Dawn Schell on December 8, 2015 2:38 pm

IphoneAs the field of e-Mental Health continues to evolve it’s critical that we do research to keep expanding our understanding of how, why and for whom it works.  Fortunately, there is a great deal of excellent research being done all over the world.
More recently I came across these researchers based in Australia.   Launched in March 2015, Digital Dog is a “research group…working to use technology to solve mental health problems”. You can find a linke here – http://digitaldog.org.au. Digital Dog is a branch of world leader in mood disorders Black Dog Institute’s research programming. Check them out here http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

Their definition of eMental Health (eMH)? eMH “refers to services that target common mental health problems and are delivered through online and mobile interactive websites, apps, sensor-based monitoring devices and computers as well as telephone and online crisis support lines.”   Sounds comprehensive to me.

So what kind of research are they doing?

  1. Building and testing online interventions to lower depression, lower suicide risk and promote wellbeing (websites or apps)
  1. Establishing the validity of social media as an indicator of mental health risk
  1. Using the technology built into Mobile phones to measure mental health and social connectivity
  1. Harnessing technology to deliver preventative mental health programming in schools (games, apps, websites, and much more)
  1. Publishing papers to promote the usefulness and cost-effectiveness of e-health technologies

Whether it’s a positive psychology app based on values (SPARK) or determining whether people or computers can reliably detect suicidally “concerning” tweets or testing the effectiveness of web based self help programs the aim is to deliver evidence-based treatment.

And that means better resources for practitioners and clients.

You can’t go wrong with that.

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate counsellor with Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

Counselling in Private Practice and Using Social Media

Posted by: Shelley Skelton on November 3, 2015 12:17 pm

socialmediablogpostAre you thinking about opening a private practice sometime down the road? Are you wondering about what you can be doing in advance? If so, I have a great suggestion for you. Let me back up and tell you about how I arrived at this great idea.

I had a timeline to open my private practice and there were many things that I put on hold until everything was in place, such as designing a website and getting business cards. Those two choices served me well, but I missed out on some preparatory work that would have sped up my process. Once I had everything in place and opened my practice, I began catching on to ways in which I can bring more people to my website. Now let me say that many of you may already know about what I am talking about, but for those of you like me who are not as online savvy, this information may sound new.

One way to draw people to your website is by having a strong online presence in social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. On Twitter, you can build a following of people by posting ideas, reposting other people’s tweets, and responding to others’ ideas. This following can become very useful for two reasons. The first is that from time to time, you can post about a blog that you have written on your website and you can direct people to read more. The second reason is that the more you connect your website to other links online, the more people visit your site and then your ranking in a search engine will increase. By that I mean when people search for counselling in your city, your website is closer to the top of the list. This is referred to as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and this takes TIME.

No doubt you see where I am going with this … before you even get your private practice opened, if you invest some time in building your online presence in social media, you will be better equipped to direct people to your website when you are open for business.




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

TruReach Health App Revisited

Posted by: Dawn Schell on October 19, 2015 2:56 pm

 

A short while ago I reviewed a new app – TruReach Health (you can check out my initial review here – https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/hot-off-the-app-press-trureach-health/ ).   Shortly after my review went live I was contacted by the developer, Jeff Perron, thanking me for my review and offering to chat with me about my concerns.

Impressive!

App developers of the world, listen up! This is how you do it. Being responsive to feedback is crucial to the ongoing success of any app and especially one that’s about improving our mental health.

My concerns were:

  • The positioning of the privacy policy after one had given contact information
  • This issue is being resolved on both the Android and iPhone versions. The link to the privacy policy will now be on the download page. Which means you can read it before you download.
  • Report progress email was pre-filled in with the TruReach email address
  • This issue is being resolved on both the Android and iPhone versions. The email address section will now be blank offering the user the opportunity to make a clear decision about who they send their progress report to.
  • Lack of contact information on the accompanying website

As I suspected, this is a cost issue. The decision was made to concentrate more on the development of the app. As TruReach has more financial resources they will build out the website more fully.   Given the other issues have been addressed I see this as less of an issue.

In addition to the app there is now this short video from TruReach explaining what it’s all about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCSOhnWSe0w

TruReach is being piloted through the Royal in Ottawa. The Royal has an app titled “Health Minds” which I have reviewed previously. Dr. Simon Hatcher, a psychiatrist who has been involved with providing clinical input into an e-Therapy website in New Zealand for people experiencing depression, will be involved in testing TruReach with two different patient populations.   I look forward to hearing the results.

Jeff said his aim is to “get help to as many people as possible”.

So, if like me, you feel that these fixes to the app will address any concerns you have then please do encourage people to use it. If you have any lingering questions don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach Jeff at [email protected].

 

Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA