BLOG POST – Winter 2018/19

ROBOT COUNSELLORS ARE ALREADY HERE

There has been a lot of debate recently about the ways in which advanced technology is increasingly replacing people in all sorts of ways. Many practitioners in the talking therapies mistakenly believe that this won’t happen to them. Therapy is all about building relationships they say, and that can’t be done by machines. Wrong – it’s already happening.

If, like me, you regularly provide on-line therapy via audio-visual software then your clients are already accustomed to relating to an on-screen therapist. It won’t be long before super-computers can produce life-like artificial ‘therapists to front algorithm-driven therapy websites. I doubt that most clients will even notice that their therapists have been replaced by computer-powered images. After all, machines can just as easily go, ‘mmmm’, ‘uh-huh’, or ‘OK’ as  we can. However, what clients certainly will notice is that on-line therapists are much cheaper than real ones and always instantly available, night and day.

Lots of tasks that were assumed to need face-to-face, human interactions have already been given over to machines. More and more occupations, including the higher professions too, are under threat. Most futurologists predict the demise of accountants, lawyers, actuaries, and many other high-level jobs. Take medical services for example. GPs are increasingly offering their patients on-line consultations, much of which doesn’t necessitate any human intervention. It is even expected that a lot of routine surgery will eventually be carried out via intelligent automation, (and probably be the better for it). Clearly, no workers at any level, and that certainly includes psychotherapists and counsellors, have any guarantee of job security.

So, that’s the bad news. What can we do about it? Can we compete with the machines? Well yes, but only by offering something that the machines can’t. Look around you. Lots of people increasingly value the authentic. Such people favour real ale, real bread, and real books. They prefer live music, fresh food, vinyl records, and, above all, personal service. In other words, people are prepared to pay for quality. Future therapists too will need to deliver a quality service if our profession is to survive as a human enterprise. At present, the quality of our profession is in a sorry state. Its status is diminished by having far too many poorly qualified and inadequately trained practitioners. We need to up our game. Our profession’s future, if it has one, will probably lie in the hands of a new breed of highly-qualified, highly-skilled, properly regulated, practitioners. They will need to be well-educated professionally, (Masters level and beyond), and extremely competent practically, (structured post-graduate ‘hands-on’ training to nationally approved standards). Only practitioners who can deliver high quality, innovative therapy to a discerning public will survive. But of course, shouldn’t that already be the case?

 

 

BLOG POST – Autumn 2018

IT’S HARD TO ASK FOR HELP

 Most of us get depressed from time to time or we might get a bit stressed or anxious. However, sometimes these sorts of feelings can all seem a bit too much. Put simply, we might be finding that our worries are getting on top of us. We have got a problem; possibly one of the common, low-level, mental health issues that life occasionally throws up. It can happen to any of us. [Read more…]

BLOG POST – Summer 2018

WHO NEEDS HUMAN PSYCHOTHERAPISTS?

There has been a lot of debate recently about the ways in which advanced technology is increasingly replacing people in all sorts of ways. Many practitioners in the talking therapies mistakenly believe that this won’t happen to them. Therapy is all about building relationships they say, and that can’t be done by machines. Wrong – it’s already happening! [Read more…]

BLOG POST – Spring 2018

DIAGNOSIS… A SHOT IN THE DARK:

All therapists diagnose their patients – even those of us who claim that they never do. We have to. How can we help our clients if we don’t know what their problems are? Some of us label our patients deliberately and use those labels as guides to treatment choices. Others of us, perhaps without realising it, implicitly label our patients if we usually adhere to a particular treatment approach [Read more…]

BLOG POST – Winter 2017/18

TRAUMA – THE DO’s AND DON’T’s:

The first ‘do’ of all is simple. Take the drama out of trauma. From the victim’s view, it’s personal; it’s not a public circus. Trauma sufferers need calm. The last thing they need is everybody running around in a panic. TraumaAthough the major disasters hit the headlines, the fact remains that most traumatised people are the victims of so-called ‘minor’ events, (at least in terms of their newsworthiness). [Read more…]

BLOG POST – Autumn 2017

DEPRESSION – CAUSES AND CURES

Depression is not the same as feeling downhearted or sad. We all get seriously fed up or feel in a really down mood from time to time. That’s not depression; that’s life. DepressedHowever, sometimes those low moods won’t go away and we don’t bounce back. If those low moods start to seriously affect our lives, to cause us to behave noticeably differently, to interfere with our usual day-to-day functioning, then that’s when psychologists start to consider that we might be suffering from clinically significant depression. [Read more…]

BLOG POST – Summer 2017

UPGRADING THERAPIST TRAINING:

People depend on all sorts of professionals; doctors, solicitors, architects, nurses, teachers, dentists, accountants, and so on. The essential core of the public’s relationship with any type of professional advisor has to be trust. People need to be sure that these specialists know what they are doing. Training 2They certainly don’t expect them to be incompetent or to cause harm. This means that the underlying assumption, no matter what the area of expertise, is that professionals are properly trained and qualified. Usually this means that professional-level service providers have undergone a recognised program of higher education. High-level professionals normally have graduate and postgraduate level qualifications in their chosen fields. Even many of the intermediate-level professions, such as paramedics, police officers, journalists, etc. are rapidly moving towards becoming graduate-level occupations. [Read more…]

BLOG POST – Spring 2017

HOW TO CHOOSE A THERAPIST

This Blog follows on from my Winter posting ‘Danger – ‘Therapists at Work’! choose a therapist 2This time I am going to tell you how sort out the real deal from the frauds when you are looking for a psychotherapist or a counsellor.

So, how can you tell if a therapist is properly qualified? [Read more…]

BLOG POST Winter 2017

DANGER – ‘THERAPISTS AT WORK!’

For lots of people, feelings and sentiments are messy, embarrassing, and best avoided. When emotions are running high then it’s usually easier to send for the ‘ologists’ than to deal with the sufferers at first hand. That’s why the general public relies on therapists to mop up all that emotional ‘goo’. dangerAs a result, modern day counsellors and psychotherapists are all too often used as society’s emotional refuse collectors. [Read more…]

BLOG POST Nov/Dec 2016

THE SEASON TO BE MERRY?

According to the TV, the newspapers, and the displays in the shops, it’s the party season. Halloween, Fireworks Night, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Xmas, New Year, it’s all ‘fun, fun, fun’. Everybody’s cheery, everybody’s having a great time. sad-tiny-christmas-treeFriends are gathering. Families are merrily reuniting. Peace and joy abounds. Well, that’s the theory anyway. The reality, however, is often quite a different matter. [Read more…]