The integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in counselling and therapy is yet an incomplete process. The only activities pursued up to now in this area have been related in most of the cases to applications of personal computers for emails and internet tools. Counsellors and therapists still rely almost exclusively on traditional talking and interaction with their clients (“the couch”).
While this approach may still lead to satisfactory results with adults, especially older persons, there is a growing danger that the younger generation, the “digital natives”, may not be reached to the full extent. They have a fundamentally different communication behaviour that makes the various Web 2.0 communication tools (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsup, Skype, etc.) to a daily extension, or complement, of their oral communication. Therefore, any counselling and therapy for the younger population that seeks to be successful should eventually include ICT based activities between the expert and the client.
The Therapy 2.0 project will therefore raise the awareness of the potentials of ICT based approaches in therapeutic and counselling processes. It will produce concrete and tangible results that can be incorporated immediately into counselling and therapeutic practice, and support practitioners to make sure that the lack of full visual or verbal communication that occurs over video or email does not negatively affect how the message of the therapy is received by the client. It will provide a practical guide to the different ways in which technology can be used in therapeutic work. It will give best practice examples that go beyond e-mail and internet chat, video-link and stand-alone software packages, and will include mobile applications for smartphones. In addition, it will discuss vital ethical, theoretical and practical considerations for practitioners that include safety issues.
Such approach is also needed in the current refugee crisis, where with Therapy 2.0 tools, counsellors will be able to reach also completely new target groups, i.e. young and / or unaccompanied refugee minors. Most of them, specifically young women, have made traumatic experiences and many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in various degrees. Their most important communication tools are smartphones. Given the fact that their language levels of the host country language are often still poor, conventional “speech counselling” needs a complementary approach that uses the media where these young people are at home.
The most important outputs of the project are:
- Therapy 2.0 Guidelines that will enable social, pedagogic and psychologic counsellors, advisers and therapists to transfer their face-to-face skills to the online environment, and to deliver counselling or therapy services via technology. They will explain the integration of mobile devices in the counselling and therapeutic process, considering how their technological features support client activities like behaviour assessment and informal mobile learning. Another important aspect will be how to approach the sociocultural levels of “digital natives” and how to make sure that they accept the therapist’s or counsellor‘s advice.
- Therapy 2.0 Toolbox as a complement to the Guidelines that will offer a modular range of awareness raising, training and demonstration materials for therapists and counsellors
- The Therapy 2.0 e-platform will support the delivery of all materials of the project and will support online interactive tools such as forums, blogs, social networking applications and chat rooms, while it will also be combined with the project’s website. The online platform will be used both as a means of disseminating the project and as a virtual learning environment.
- Mobile applications for counselling and therapy processes that provide greater validity since data are collected in the client’s natural environment. The apps will support the delivery of a set of counselling and therapy actions that will be regarded suitable for transfer to mobile devices. They will be used as a virtual information and learning environment as well as a means of disseminating the project.
The project will therefore develop guidelines and toolbox and best practice approaches in localised solutions for the 7 partner countries, with the ultimate objective to integrate ICT based counselling into vocational education for psychologists, therapists and counsellors.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.
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- Iceland Academy of the Arts (Island)
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