284 – Dangers of Smart Devices in the Therapy Room

284 – Dangers of Smart Devices in the Therapy Room

Why We Learn Counselling Theory – Managing Client Breaks Over the Holidays

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In Episode 284 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, your hosts Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly are back with this week’s three topics:

  • Firstly in ‘Student Services’, Rory and Ken think about why we learn counselling theory.
  • Then in ‘Ethical, Sustainable Practice’, we look at managing client breaks over the holidays.
  • And lastly in ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Cath Knibbs about the dangers of having smart devices in the therapy room.

Why We Learn Counselling Theory [starts at 02:28 mins]

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If you’ve ever questioned the importance of learning counselling theory, look no further. In this section, Rory and Ken think about why we use theories in counselling, and why it’s key that you know them well:

  • These theories are tried and tested, they won’t do harm.
  • They have an agreed upon framework and have been peer reviewed.
  • They stop things getting too personal e.g. urging the client to do something that worked for you personally.
  • By knowing and understanding theory, you can know its limits and where it won't be effective.
  • It’s important to find your learning style and use resources that compliment it.
  • You can undergo your own personal development using theory.
  • Talk about theories and explore them with your peers.
  • When being taught theories, clarify and ask if there’s something you don’t quite understand.
  • Within the therapy room, you won’t actively be applying the theories – unconscious competence.
  • However, it can be useful to think about your theory after your sessions, linking it to the skills you employed.

A handout on Importance of Theory in Counselling is available for download in the green button above.

Managing Client Breaks Over the Holidays [starts at 25:36 mins]

When running your own practice, it’s likely you’ll take time off over certain holidays. In this section, Rory and Ken discuss how you can prepare for these breaks away from your clients:

  • It’s important that you’re taking this time for yourself.
  • Do you have a business phone and a personal phone? Having a separate business phone means it can be turned off during a break.
  • Put protocol in your contract and speak about it with your client.
  • Have a discussion with your client well before the break – ask about their plans, what their frame of reference is towards the upcoming holiday. For some people, the holiday period can be really difficult.
  • Map support for your high-risk clients – include these support phone numbers in your automatic voicemail and email responders.
  • Discuss your plans and high-risk clients with your supervisor.
  • The holidays can bring about unseen risks – not just for your high-risk clients.

Dangers of Smart Devices in the Therapy Room [starts at 43:47 mins]

The National Counselling Society is proud to sponsor Practice Matters.

NCS are really excited to have launched their Children and Young People Therapist Register for counsellors working with the younger age group.

To find out more, visit nationalcounsellingsociety.org or simply click the button below.

In this week’s ‘Practice Matters’, Rory is speaking with Cath Knibbs, a psychotherapist and behavioural technologist who studies technology’s impact on cognitive and emotional development. In this section of the podcast, Cath will be sharing insight into how technology can negatively impact clients – especially when it comes to data harvesting devices.

The key points of this discussion on the possible dangers of having smart devices in the therapy room include:

  • We should consider removing technology from the room completely where possible.
  • One of the dangers of having smart devices in the therapy room is these technology can put confidentiality at risk.
  • Smart devices in the counselling space can also distract both the client and the counsellor.
  • Devices such as Alexa, Google Home etc. are always on and always listening unless unplugged.
  • Pay attention to terms and conditions.
  • Data is constantly being collected and stored – do you know what happens with this data?
  • Often this collected data is sold for advertising.
  • Remove smart devices such as smart watches, phones, etc. from the therapy room when possible.
  • Turn things off at the wall and unplug devices such as the Amazon Fire Stick.
  • Discuss social media contact with clients – due to the physical proximity of your mobile phones, you might come up in the ‘people you might know’ section of their social media.

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