eMindology blog series - Blog #3
The Covid-19 pandemic has rushed the wave of digitalisation in the mental health industry. In a time of pandemic, social distance and self-isolation, moving online was not any more seen as a luxury or the fancy of Sci-Fi lovers, it became a reality and a necessity of continuity for the mental health therapists to survive and for clients to still be able to receive the help which was more than ever needed. "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf." And here is a portrait of mental health therapists who are set up to make their digitalisation a success for a benefit going well beyond themselves.
They are mental health therapists – Becoming digital means that the mental health therapists move their rights and obligations to the online space. They act with the same ethics and follow the same professionals code of conduct as in their physical practice and the confidentiality is strongly protected. They are mindful of the content that they share because they know that lot of people get their worries from poor materials circulating in Internet and Social Media. Even if they are not in “duty” they are still healers and mental health professionals by values so they stay on the side of the mood uplifters and constructive people to make the web a safer and happier place for all.
They stay authentic and aligned with their True Self– With a social media profile or website or even video contents, they can share with authenticity more about themselves, their thoughts, their values and vision with others. The Digital mental health therapists reach a bigger Audience and know that they can be successful and accepted the way they are. They don’t fall into the trap of producing mindless content or products just for the sake of posting or selling something or to create the buzz. And they communicate in an authentic way, not in the purpose to collect likes and followers. As mental health professionals, they know that feeding the Ego or pretending to be someone that they are not will raise up more barriers on their ways than opportunities.
They are Tech friendly – They are Tech friendly as a minimum, Tech savvy at the best. They are conscious that technology, being online and providing digitalised services and products, are not just a nice to have but are real assets to enrich their practices. They not only use technology for the continuity of their business during uncertain times but also to learn new skills to grow professionally and give a new dimension to their business and the way they serve people. It doesn’t mean that they have to completely give up the traditional in-person sessions. They overall see Technology as a helpful extension, not a dangerous replacement.
They are confident – First they have confidence in themselves. Providing online services and products don’t change the fact that therapists are still valued by their skills, competences and efficiency. And in the same way, mental health therapists should be confident that their knowledge, techniques and process are enough to make a strong impact in people’s lives without having to be physically and simultaneously there with them. Then they have confidence in technology. It’s not about restricting but adapting their practice, doing things differently, putting more emphasize on what can be replicated online. It may not be the same experience but they can still provide a good experience.
They focus on the process, not on the outcome – Whether they are working with people in-person or online, they know as a basis that every one is different. What works in one person may not have the same result on another person. And that reality is the same with online services and digital products. Therapists have full control on the process but not on the outcome. Based on their knowledge, experience and evidences, they know what is more likely to work for people and what doesn’t. So they focus on the quality of the content and on proven and evidence-based processes and tools. But that doesn’t mean that they have to stay disconnected from people or from the reality.
They are people-driven – Digital mental health therapists are still therapists and their mission is to help people. Becoming digital means being able to reach and help people in different ways. Technology and Money are just tools to reach that goal but those are not goals in themselves. The Digital therapists don’t squeeze people’s needs to fit a particular technology but they use the best technologies available to meet people’s whole needs. And also because they are focused on people and their constantly changing needs, they are watching carefully and getting ready for those 2 growing trends which are impacting every domain in the industry of services to people: the “individualization” and the “in-Demand”.
They stay grounded to the real world – The Digital mental health therapists stay connected to their profession, people and reality, regardless how successful they become in the digital space. They stay grounded to their profession by staying in a continue professional development scheme and mindset. They keep learning about the latest scientific findings, the latest development in their profession, from their peers but also from people. They confront their approach with the reality of people feedbacks about their digital products and their online services, and they take them into consideration to improve their offers.
They are in Motion – Digitalising services and products doesn’t mean that they have to stay fixed and engraved in stone without any progress. Therapeutic processes are endlessly mutating. Digital mental health therapists can stay involved by improving the quality of their offers based on new studies and data. And they can also stay involved by improving the support for their products with the latest and most promising technology. Virtual reality, augmented reality, wearable technology, Apps, artificial intelligence are not just for the “Others”. They dare to be visionary because they don’t just surf on the digital wave, they lead that wave. And they have no fears because they know that on their road toward success, they don’t have to go alone.
They don’t go alone – The digital mental health therapists are therapists. Technology is to support their main practice. They are Masters in therapeutic skills but their competence in technology and digital strategy may be limited. So they do the "Therapist thing" and they do not hesitate to work with Technology professionals or to learn from them. If they have a great idea for an app, they can learn how to code but they can also pair up with coders and other Startups to go faster by using other people technical expertise.
Are you a mental health therapist with an online business? Would you have other advices to give to your fellow therapists who want to make a successful move? We would love to hear from you!