Category: Tools and Resources

Technology Overwhelm?

Technology Overwhelm?Lost and Confused Signpost

Are you scared by how quickly the world is changing? Are you tyrannised by your email inbox? Daunted by the idea of online banking? Terrified of the idea of online counselling? Or are you addicted to non-stop information? You’re not alone!

The pace of change is staggering. Do you realise that it’s only twenty years since we started using the internet? That it’s only thirty years since personal computers were introduced? When I left school, many homes didn’t have a phone, let alone one for each member of the household, that they could watch TV on! News was something that came on at certain times of the day, now it’s a constant stream.

What’s the Solution? Well, technology is here to stay, and has a lot to offer the counsellor in private practice, so can you find a way of handling it that works well for you? Here are a few ideas:

Set Appropriate Boundaries

No-one needs to be available 24/7, no matter what the circumstances. Choose times in each day when you are not checking your email or voice messages, when it’s a technology free time. This might be first thing in the morning, meal times, when you’re relaxing, and not just when you’re seeing clients.

Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

Be discerning about what you read and what you listen to. The sky won’t fall in if you don’t turn on the radio when you get into your car, and listening to some soothing music will do more your stress and overwhelm than an update on the crisis in Syria. Catch up on the news once a day, or even once a week.

Weed Out What’s Not Important Or What Wastes Time

If you’re inbox is anything like mine, most of what comes in is neither important nor time sensitive. However, looking to see what’s in there and make that judgement takes time and energy. I solved this problem by having several email addresses. One of these is for stuff that is “nice-to-know” but which is of little importance. So I can happily go for days or weeks without checking it.

Switch it off

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” as the old saying goes. I know, you fully intend not to check your messages, but just in case…switch it off. If you’re a social media fan, or even a horrified observer, or an information junkie of any sort, this one is for you!

Tomorrow, I’ll continue this theme, by looking at ways you can begin to engage more with what technology has to offer the counsellor or therapist in private practice.

In the meantime, if you are struggling with technology overwhelm, contact me for a free 20  minute consultation here.

Creating a Website

Do you need a website? Many therapists do not use one, and seem to get on okay without. So if this is a huge deal for you, don’t scare yourself with it at the first instance. Much can be done without one. Hold it as a possibility for the future, when other options have bedded in a bit for you.

My own personal view is that the internet is the place of first research for anyone under thirty, and probably under forty, and many over forty as well, so in the long term, it’s good to be in there.

If and when you decide to get a website, there are a number of approaches that you can take to getting a web site up and going. You can do it yourself, or you can employ the services of someone who does it professionally. Which route you choose will depend on:

  • Ÿ  What sort of site you wish to have
  • Ÿ  Your own technical ability and confidence
  • Ÿ  How much you want to spend
  • Ÿ  How much time you have to spare on the project

It’s worth spending a bit of time deciding what you want. Look at the sites of others in the field that you know and that you don’t know. What do you like, and what turns you off? Look at the images they use and ask yourself what your emotional response to them is. What message are you trying to convey with your site? What do you want your site to do? Is it going to inform people? What will they get from visiting your site? What do you want to say to them?

There are lots of sites that help you to create your own site, if you are minded to do so. Many of these will let you be up and running for little cost. For example, WordPress.com or Vistaprint both have low cost options for starter websites that you can create yourself, ranging from no cost to about €20 per month.

Another option is to have a web site set up for you. You can have a basic website set up for you at www.fiverr.com starting at $5 for a four page basic site with text and images. (Sounds too good to be true? You’ve nothing to lose except $5!) Nothing lasts forever, so no matter what you choose, it will need to be updated and refreshed as time goes on. One disadvantage of getting it done professionally, is that you may have to get even the slightest changes done for you, such as a change in telephone number, address or email address. Depending on the agreement you have, there may be a cost for making the changes.

Bear in mind that in order to attract traffic, there probably needs to be some dynamic (changing) content on the site, so it is worth learning your way around it. I use WordPress.com for this site, and found it easy to learn.

When we were setting up the practice, we got the basic website done for us, and over the next year or so, I learned how to make minor changes myself.  It was rather daunting at first. However, it got easier.[1] Our most recent website[2] was also designed and created for us, but we can add content ourselves, making it the best of both worlds.


[1] If you’re interested, the story of my journey from complete website novice to slightly less complete novice is recorded at http://beckytucker50.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/internet-mania/

Who Minds the Shop?

A couple of years ago, my therapist had to drop out of the work at short notice due to a sudden illness.  I can still remember the shock of learning that she was going to be absent for several months, and the difficulty I had in dealing with it at the time. As therapists we are often good at dealing with our client’s crises, but sometimes we aren’t so hot at looking after our own shop! In my case, she had enough notice of her absence to be able to tell me herself, and to arrange for another therapist to provide emergency cover, but not every emergency will give us that luxury.

red lightMany therapists work on their own, and very few have administrative or secretarial support. If you were unable to see your clients, through a sudden illness, or family crisis, the last thing you might feel like doing is ringing clients and supporting them, possibly dealing with their distress when you have an issue of your own going on. And yes, I know, we’re trained to do that sort of thing. But really, wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone in your life who could make those calls to your clients, and offer them the emergency support they might need to weather your absence? Read more

Have You Enough Support for Your Business?

I was a bit taken aback when a colleague suggested to me during the week that what I was really looking for was support. After all, I teach this stuff, don’t I? As a therapist, I provide support for my clients, usually emotional support, and sometimes the more practical support of looking at resourcing or problem solving. In this role, I write and teach others about the business of therapy. Need support? Moi?

As you can guess from my reaction, I can be touchy about allowing others to support me. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am independent, self-sufficient and like to be able to fend for myself in all situations. I hate it when there’s something I can’t do! Needing support conjures up shame for me, and that’s not a place I like to visit unless I have to.

supportNow in general, this independence is a very useful trait. If something needs doing, and I think I have any chance of doing it myself, I’ll have a go. I can do many things well, and a few things really, really well. I’m enthusiastic and willing. I’m what Jane Austen refers to as an ‘active, useful sort of person[1]. As a result, I have skills and abilities galore. But there’s one thing I can’t do for myself no matter how hard I try.

I can’t see my own blind spots. And a major blind spot for me is that I get caught between those twin horns of wanting to sort things out for myself on the one hand, and being a therapist on the other. Read more

Setting up a Private Practice

Are you thinking of starting your own practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist? This workshop will help you get off the ground.

Looking at the practical issues related to setting up a private professional practice such as

  • Clarifying the type of practice you would like to create
  • Exploring the services you might provide, and the clients you might like to attract
  • Looking at how to market your services
  • Understanding what is needed to start a business

this workshop is an opportunity to spend some time networking with other health professionals while you learn from experienced professionals who have done it before you.

A one day workshop  presented by Jude Fay MIAHIP MIACP and Dr Genevieve Becker.

Date: Autumn 2013

Venue: Dublin West

Time: 9.30 to 4.30

Read more…