Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Web Secret#323: Keeping Your Marbles in the Game

I recently came across a fresh and fantastic article about the impact of tech on counseling, and I got permission to share.

So here is my abridged version of "Keeping Your Marbles in the Game," by Michelle Stone. (I encourage everyone to read the entire article.) It was originally published in Counseling Today before it was reprinted in the Employee Assistance Report. This is the third reprint, a sign that attention must be paid:

Michelle writes: "Recently, I was part of a lively discussion regarding the use of technology in the field of counseling...I was saddened to hear the closing statement of one practicing counselor. Walking away from the discussion and shaking her head, she stated that if the field was moving toward the use of technology in the counseling relationship through means such as email, video and virtual worlds, then she would leave the profession and move on to find another career.

...I thought it tragic that a ...counselor ... would possibly remove herself from the field and effectively silence her voice in the technology debate...We need everyone to be informed and stay in the game...

Technology will not go away...We must strive to become digital explorers, willing to set out in new territory, while equipping ourselves with sound information along the way. We must share insight with each other and be willing to retrace our steps and move along a different path when professional discernment tells us it is prudent to do so. We must be willing to step into the weeds of the faintly trodden road to cultivate and nurture the possibilities of technology that appropriately fit the profession, its responsibilities and its clients...

The legal and ethical issues facing counselors integrating new methods of digital communications and therapies into their practice are vast, and they must be addressed. To effectively do so requires a tapestry of opinions and perspectives. Technology is not an all-or-nothing proposition. We must strike a balance in terms of what is appropriate, empirically proven to be beneficial and ethically sound...

Walking away from the table because we don’t agree with what we sense to be the trend only negates our ability to influence the future path of our field. Our profession needs the voice of each and every one of us. Don’t be the kid who picks up his marbles and races home because he doesn’t like where the game is going...

There is a chair at the table for everyone. Allow me to be the first to offer one to you."

Well thought out, well written, well done.

With over 15 years of experience in the helping professions, Michelle Stone has worked with a variety of populations and organizations, providing both direct services as well as consultation. She holds a degree in psychology and intends to research computer-mediated human interaction while pursuing a graduate degree. She may be reached at Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on CT Online, the website of “Counseling Today,” which is published by the American Counseling Association ( and is reprinted with permission.

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