“Combining the Creative Therapies with Technology –Using Social Media and Online Counseling to Treat Clients

“Combining the Creative Therapies with Technology –Using Social Media and Online Counseling to Treat Clients

Stephanie L. Brooke, PhD.

Book review by Ms. Sarah Tong RCAT

Digital technology is developing rapidly. It has changed our world drastically and affects our daily live, from entertainment, shopping, banking, socializing to learning.In Hong Kong each person owns more than 4 smart phones on average (Green peace report in 2016). Generation Z or Internet Generation are people born after 1996. They have never known a non-digital world. They are the native speakers of the digital language of computer, video, video games, social media and internet. Are we as therapists or counselors equipped and competent in using this language to communicate with our clients? On the other hand, we are also struggling with the problems of internet addition disordered and increased diagnosis of ADHD or ADD.

In the book, Dr Stephanie L. Brooke has put together 17 articles by various
counselors and creative therapists who have incorporated the tablet and/or digital technology and social media into their practices including play, art, music, drama, dance/movement and expressive arts therapies. It may give readers some ideas on using the technology as a tool to encourage and enhance the self-expression. Some populations who have difficulties or barriers attending face-to-face sessions may benefit from the on-line platform to receive the therapy service they needed. Three online therapists have shared their perspectives of their work with clients. Convenience and flexibility are the major advantages of adapting technology in therapy work. On the other side, concerns around the group dynamic, the security measures, and the confidentiality issues in the online environment are discussed.

As an art therapist, the book offers me some ideas on the application of tablet with the art applications as one of the medium (like paints and paper) for promotion of creative expression. Digital technology is a double-edged sword. Is the technology making people more isolated or reconnecting to the real world? What is the role of technology in tackling the problems of screen addiction or attention deficit? Also we have to be more cautious of the ethical and legal issues in the cyberspace as the clinical and ethical guidelines on online therapy are still developing. The book was published two years ago, and the technology continues to advance. As therapists and
counselors, we need to update ourselves with research and studies on the
effectiveness and drawbacks of the digital tools and the ever-changing cyber world.

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