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Mobile Apps: Their Impact on the Future of Counseling & Psychotherapy

Internet-based self-help information and tools are already far surpassing the number of people getting professional mental health services.

mobile appsThe stance that self-help will outpace clinical work is one I made 15 years ago when I set up SelfhelpMagazine.

The Net has already proven me right, with the proliferation of countless self-help websites and online services in just 1.5 decades.If you look at their traffic worldwide, the numbers are staggering.

What’s the next generation of telecommunication development going to bring?

Mobile apps.

How can I say such a thing?

See my earlier blog post called, The Future of Healthcare is Mobile? Web stats already show that mobile is growing far faster than desktop programs — in fact it will soon surpass desktop in usage. People want convenience, and there’s nothing more convenient (to date) than having unlimited information access in one’s hip pocket.

Examples

For a glimpse into the existing world of mobile phone apps specifically designed for mental health functions as opposed to the general area of personal growth or self improvement, see this article in yesterday’s The Independent.

Conclusion

Mobile, digital self-help is likely to soon outweigh what is happening on websites.  Once mobile apps get developed, these free or low cost (typically $.99 – $4.99)  self-help tools will be used far more than professional clinical services or self-help self-monitoring and other basic therapy techniques. Identification of negative self-thoughts is a good example of how such an app can be developed to augment traditional cognitive behavioral therapy for depression,  anxiety or any of the personality disorders. They might also help coaches assist their clients with homework of other types. In essence then, mobile apps can be sued to help the patient or client with various types of homework, and then brought by the client or patient to their treating professional for discussion.

As telecommunication technologies develop, the  trained mental health practitioner will need to adapt to a world where consumers prefer to use their mobile devices to identify and track some their own behavior, with or without the guidance of professionals. Once data has been gathered, trained professionals will have a key role as specialists who can take the data gathered and help the client integrate it into higher orders of functioning. Clinicians then, will become more specialized. Mobile apps and other services available through desk-top computers will replace some of the more common, basic functions currently being served by the licensed professionals of today.

That’s my opinion. Please tell me your opinion below by leaving a comment.

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