Technology as an Enabler
if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” (George Bernard Shaw)
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” (Sir Arthur C. Clarke)
Chapters One and Two described my mid-life career transition from engineering to private practice counselling and the ways in which my supervisor and I collaborate with each other and our mutual clients :
This chapter discusses the technology enablers my supervisor and I are using with our collaborative work.
First, some semi-technical details. We both use Windows PCs, Office 2013, and Microsoft’s Onedrive cloud solution. Our primary tool is Onenote, Microsoft’s collaborative note-taking software that works just like a paper notebook. Evernote is another similar tool that you may have heard of, and can be used with both Apple and Microsoft solutions.
We share a Onenote notebook, a “binder” with a section for each client. Content is entered on pages, including typed words, handwriting (via a stylus which both our tablets support, so it looks just like we are making notes in a paper notebook), pictures, emails, attached documents, and even audio and video. At any time either of us can open our shared notebook and see what’s new. Updates appear in real time.
We are experimenting with how to best use Onenote in client sessions. As post-modern therapists, we are careful not to “talk behind the client’s back”. However, each of us will write down specific client quotes that seem important. Sometimes it’s difficult to ask questions, listen attentively, and simultaneously take quality notes. If my supervisor is in conversation with a client, I can take notes which he can immediately see, and vice versa. This listening through two sets of ears inspires new ideas within a session, opening up the opportunity to consult the client and engage in richer discussion.
In my corporate life, I work with systems managing confidential information, and I recognize the privacy and security risks in using cloud-based technologies. It’s important to consciously manage these privacy and security risks. Access to notes should be shared only with those who need to see them. Notes should be carefully backed up. Notes can be printed and stored in file cabinets or saved on a local drive and deleted from the cloud. Of course, there are also privacy and security risks with storing paper and backing up to local drives. There’s no perfect answer, only an increasing number of choices to help us better support our clients and develop as counsellors.
Rhea Plosker is an Engineer and Counsellor. She is starting her adventures in private practice with www.williamcooke.ca and also works as a project consultant in health care and not-for-profit organizations. Rhea can be reached at [email protected] or at www.inspirationsolutions.com .
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA