Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D.
Myron L. Pulier, M.D.
Joseph McMenamin, M.D., J.D.
3 CE Hours
Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points over the 35% of Americans who owned a smartphone last May. Two in five adults (41%) own a cell phone that is not a smartphone, meaning that smartphone owners are now more prevalent within the overall population than owners of more basic mobile phones. Nearly every major demographic group—men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well-off—experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration over the last year. Overall adoption levels are at 60% or more within several cohorts, such as college graduates, 18-35 year olds and those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more. (PEW, 2012)
Text messaging is the communication of choice for Generation Y, those born between the late seventies and the late nineties, many of whom regard phone conversations and email as obsolete and old-fashioned modes of communication.
In fact, the popularity of texting amongst all cell phone users has increased dramatically in just a few years. However, the importance of text messaging (SMS) and the risks it brings should not be taken casually by psychotherapists. As with any other conversation a counselor may have with a client, safeguards must be in place to properly record and document the texts produced during a patient’s treatment. Despite many therapists’ reluctance to text with patients, consumer demand for the efficiency of text messaging may outweigh its disadvantages.
This course will cover how to think about text messaging, some clinical issues related to text messaging and the legal as well as ethical requirements we face when we choose to use text messaging with mental health consumers. Encryption, security, downloading messages to one’s computer and specific technologies that can be used for these functions will all be covered. Three real life stories about how to use or not use text messaging and cell phones will bring this issue to life in a way that makes it relevant to the everyday practitioner.
All required reading materials are included with this course.