Computers have undeniably made an impact on the way just about every single business is done. This is especially true in a world struck by a pandemic. For instance, the usage of video chat services has skyrocketed, allowing professionals and patients to keep in contact with each other. These video chats provide an undeniably positive service, so why bother bringing this up? People are getting concerned that this may become the new norm, and there are a certain number of problems associated with that potential future.
The Physical Side of Technology
Even as computers were used before the onset of COVID – 19, problems with technology have always existed. Tradeoffs have always been made in favor of their convenience. Firstly, the screen itself serves as a physical and visual barrier between patient and mental health and addiction professionals. While having a screen around may seem harmless if a bit annoying, the psychological effects are very real. Having a physical barrier also acts as a psychological barrier and brings feelings of detachment and separation. It doesn’t take a professional to understand the issues and implications that this can have when trying to get a patient to open up. Keeping a computer off to the side has similar effects, as well as anything that takes up physical space. The computer merely being there, especially if it’s used to take notes or is facing away from the patient, creates its own anxieties. A patient may worry about what you think of them, and whether or not you’re judging them. The physical noise of the keys can potentially drown out words or fills the air with a deterrent to an ongoing conversation. A physical and audible divide, coupled with the unknown, can be difficult for a patient to overcome, especially during a time like an initial intake questionnaire.
So why bring this up now? With the measures that have been forced upon us to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it is improbable that things will return to exactly how things were done before. We no longer live in a world where a bunch of people planning to sprint into Area 51 was one of the major concerns. With video chat now being a practiced and viable method of providing mental health service, it is going to be an option sought after by some. And that’s okay. Some people may prefer this kind of therapy, and it’s great that they have the option. But it won’t be for everyone.
Keeping it Conscious
As people return to the office, remember how computers are perceived during a session, even if turned off. If video conferencing is continued, there is a way to utilize it in a way that maximizes the human element. Ensure that all the equipment is working and that you’ve already found a comfortable position in which to sit and talk for an hour. This can mitigate any potential barriers that are under the control of the provider while ensuring the patient gets the benefit of their full hour.
Technology will continue in this direction, as it always has. Developments themselves are not inherently evil. In fact, they provide a much-needed service, especially in these extremely trying times, without an end in sight. Still, it is vital to acknowledge the tradeoff, not just in the technological divide, but also the very physical way that we interact with the technology. Technology is easy to hide behind, both intentionally and otherwise. We need to make a conscious effort to avoid hiding behind a computer screen and seek human connection. While more and more developments are made, always be mindful of how they are perceived by your patients. Sometimes going analog and setting technology aside can be the best way to make that first, crucial connection.
While Covid-19 continues to create waves in medical and mental health treatment, do your best to connect with patients. A computer screen can be a tool for connection rather than a dividing wall. Alta Centers provide a modern, personalized service catered to the individual in their path to recovery from addiction, and pride themselves on a personal, modernized approach depending on the person. Alta Center’s modern approach lends itself to healing while staying active members of the community in any way possible. It provides a needed sense of kinship and community where it may otherwise be difficult to find. Offering a myriad of different kinds of care, Alta Centers are ready to help guide any person on their own path to success. For more information about the programs offered, or to set up an appointment to take that first step to recovery today, contact Alta Centers at 1-888-202-2583.