Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Web Secret 447: Sony Glass Sound Speaker

Warning: this is one of those posts where I go apeshit over an advance in technology.

If you are not in the mood, skip until next week.

This is a complete list of the clothing and furnishings in my freshman dorm room at Yale University in the 70s:

1 twin bed
1 Max Escher poster stuck on wall with gummy adhesive
7 pairs of corduroy pants in assorted colors
7 polyester shirts with floral motifs
1 Brother electric typewriter weighing half a ton
6 cartons of records (that's vinyl to the younger folks) weighing half a ton
1 stereo system consisting of turntable, receiver, tuner, amplifier and 2 gigantic speakers weighing half a ton.

And that, my friends, was it.

We weren't materialistic in those days.

But we did spend large sums on HiFi equipment and records. Bulky, heavy equipment and records that we repeatedly lugged from room to room, and apartment to apartment, for several decades until....

....scientific advances shrunk it all into my iPhone.

Back then, having great speakers was the most important component of our systems.

And that's still true today.

Except now my speakers look like the light bulb of the future.

This is how I discovered the Sony Glass Sound Speaker:

I was wandering around an Italian furniture showroom in New York City, lingering because the music was fantastic. I couldn't figure out where the sound was coming from until a salesperson pointed to a slender, glowing, 20 inch cylinder. It looked like an "objet d'art."

I was stunned.

LSPX-S1, as my friends at Sony affectionately named it, is a wireless 360 degree sound system that pairs with a Bluetooth device to... to... to...

...well, to just blow you away.

As I write this, the Glass Sound Speakers can only be purchased from the MOMA, (Museum of Modern Art,) gift shop in Manhattan.

And now one of them sits in my living room.

Freaking me out.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Web Secret 446: is a platform that enables clients to interact with a therapist through a highly secure video counseling interface.

Here is how they explain themselves to prospective users:

Of course clinicians can also apply to become providers. Skytherapist aims to source clinicians not only in the USA, but in the entire world.

Which brings me to my next point. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the next big thing in the EAP field is video counseling. Canada, our neighbors to the north, figured this out a number of years ago, and because they don't have to deal with our obsolete, state bound, licensing system - ran with it.

I see many EAPs avoiding the whole thing, as if averting one's gaze from the inevitable is a solution. They are intimidated by tech or paralyzed by the fact that you can't practice psychotherapy across state lines.

So in the interest of progress, let me make a couple of introductions.

Skytherapy, meet the EAP field, EAPs, meet Skytherapy.

EAPs - Skytherapist offers you an encrypted platform for video counseling. Skytherapist, EAPs offer you an opportunity to greatly expand your business.

Go forth and multiply.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Web Secret 445: Boss Whispering Institute

Part of my day job is to oversee the publication of the EAP Newsbrief, a weekly electronic newsletter published by the international Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

The Newsbrief focuses on topics of interest to individuals working in areas related to corporate and employee mental health.

Nary a week goes by without an article about workplace bullying - a scourge impacting workplaces around the world.

In most cases, the bully is a manager, and the bullying impacts the company's bottom line because of worker turnover or problems with absenteeism and presenteeism as subordinates do anything to avoid the bully. Abrasive bosses represent a huge challenge for companies and executive coaches. In many cases, the end result is the termination of that abrasive manager.

Is there a better way?

There's an app for that.

Just kidding, there is the "Boss Whispering Institute," the brain child of Dr. Laura Crawshaw, a psychotherapist, executive coach, researcher, and author, who focuses her research and practice on the reduction of workplace suffering caused by abrasive leaders.

The Boss Whispering Institute offers a multiplicity of resources for companies and professionals:

1. You can hire Dr. Crawshaw.
2. or any of the other professionals who have completed her program and become accredited Boss Whisperers.
3. You can read her books and articles.
4. You can hire her to speak.


It's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Web Secret 444:

This was supposed to be a simple blog post.

Telling you about, an online evidenced base social anxiety reduction program based on cognitive behavioral therapy CBT. You can try it for free for 7 days and then it costs $25/week. Participants are provided with a coach and online exercises.

I thought it could be used as an adjunct to therapy or EAP services.

Or as a stand alone product.

But now I can't do that.

Instead, I am upset and concerned.

I became upset and concerned when I decided to look up the credentials of the joyable "clinical" staff. Here are a few examples:

BA in Public Policy Studies and Economics
BA in English and Communications
MS in Integrated Marketing Communications
BA in Anthropology
BA in Race and Ethnicity Studies
BA in East Asian Studies and certificates in Linguistics and Translation

etc., etc.

Staff bios consist of cutesy descriptions like "Outside of work, she loves re-watching Christopher Nolan films, eating Swedish meatballs at Ikea, and planning her next overseas trip."

You get the picture - 99% of joyable's "coaching" staff have no graduate clinical degrees or licenses. Only their 3 "Scientific advisors" have serious clinical cred.

And that wouldn't bother me, if they described themselves as a coaching program.

Instead they describe themselves as providing "evidence-based, affordable mental health services."

So I will not be recommending to anybody.

But I have written before about dubious online mental health programs. Remember Talkspace? They promised that for $25 a week, a client can text an assigned therapist whenever they want. Unlimited. And If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

But this is what REALLY worries me.

These companies are obviously and entirely marketed to Millenials.

Who are demanding easy access, quick fixes and affordable solutions to their mental health woes.

And the real mental health professionals, clinics, and EAPs are not responding.

I love my fellow mental health professionals but many are Luddites and technopeasants.

In fairness to them, they are subject to anitquated licensing laws that prevent the delivery of counseling services across state lines unless the clinician is licensed in both areas.

Horror vacui.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

And into this gaping, giant vacuum, these very para/para/professional services are proliferating and will continue to proliferate.

You have been warned.