For many clients, therapy consists of about 15 to 20 sessions, each about 60 minutes long, all in an effort to achieve recovery goals. While 15 to 20 sessions may sound like a fair amount, those weeks of care can be as fleeting as sunny days in the middle of winter. Making those precious few sessions count is a tough job, one often riddled with client resistance and distractions. However, there are a few strategies that can make sessions more productive and fruitful.
Client resistance can be attributed to interaction conflicts between the client and clinician, which can waste valuable session time. Overcoming this conflict requires a change in the interaction approach of the clinician, which often requires deeper insights into the client’s personality and state of mind. Software that tracks clients’ behavior patterns and emotions can dramatically improve therapists understanding of their clients and help them develop an approach to counseling that best matches their clients and reduces friction. In a recent survey, over 75% of clinicians felt their approach was stronger because of understanding gained from using client-monitoring software (1).
Often times, clients have a strong misunderstanding about therapy and see it as a forum where a professional can give them advice. Instead, to save from having to continually refuse giving advice, a clinician should respectfully explain the purpose of therapy and the lack of long-term benefit that results from short-term advice-giving. Most clients appreciate the guidance toward tapping into their inner resources, and toward developing better problem-solving strategies.
Developing a professional and open rapport with clients can take time away from progressive therapy, especially with reluctant or introverted patients. When a client appears uncommonly hesitant to offer constructive, personal insights, contact outside of sessions can help break this barrier. Technology ubiquitous today – the smartphone – can be used to make meaningful contact during these doldrums. Indeed, 95% of clients prefer to augment their sessions with logging their moments through a smartphone app; even more, the data recorded remotely seems more truthful and open that what is expressed in session (2).
The Mentegram app has an easy-to-operate user interface, alerts and notifications and a clinician dashboard to provide a platform for therapists and their patients to connect outside of sessions. Daily, clinician-created questionnaires are sent directly to patients’ mobile devices. Customized to each specific patient, these questionnaires allow the clinician to identify potential issues with individual clients, and develop treatment plans to better address client needs. Patients using the app often feel more comfortable sharing personal thoughts and feelings than face-to-face situations, giving clinicians invaluable information for enhanced understanding and stronger relationship with their patients
The therapeutic process requires both the clinician and the client to invest time, energy, and other resources to reach set therapy goals. When the sessions are more effective, the journey to recovery becomes easier, resulting in a better experience for both parties.
- Sigma Research Group, “Psychotherapy and Technology 2014 Market Survey,”2014. Web. 3rd March, 2015. LINK.
- Holas, Igor, “Collect Excellent Data – A 3-Step Guide.” Mentegram blog. 21st January, 2014. Web. 3rd March, 2015. LINK.