The Relationship Gap in Social Media and Texting Platforms

Social Media | Texting | Emailing | Technology in Communication

Don't fall in the relationship gap created by digital forms of communication. Photo by Pixabay, public use domain.
Don’t fall in the relationship gap created by digital forms of communication. Photo by Pixabay, public use domain.

Mind the Gap.

You see the signs or hear the audible warnings inside of the London Tube, a reminder to pay attention to the gap between the train door and the platform. A misstep could result in serious injury.

I wish people would hear a similar audio byte, “Mind the Relationship Gap”, each time they send a lengthy text to someone other than themselves. Maybe it would save them the anguish and frustration that my clients talk about, saying, “I know  I shouldn’t do this, but I got into a texting fight with [name of person], and it was all downhill from there.”

It’s been brought to my attention how commonplace it is to see lengthy Social Media posts that fall into a similar pattern as long smartphone texts. What exactly is happening here when we pick up our devices and start finger tapping away? Are we accomplishing the things we think we are, and are we losing anything in the process?  Continue reading “The Relationship Gap in Social Media and Texting Platforms”

Election Anxiety

Election Anxiety

Seattle Direct Counseling | Presidential Election Anxiety Fears

Blue and white box with slit for ballots on a sidewalk.
An official ballot box for the Nov 8 elections stands ready to receive ballots on a Seattle street.

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about Election Anxiety, or ‘Election Distress Disorder’ (not a real DSM-V disorder).

Because of the ethics of my profession, I consider it a solemn duty in this season to listen to all my clients in a non-judgmental manner; to do anything less dishonors our profession and the work we each do to hear ourselves and apply ourselves at whatever level of free agency that we can.

After nearly 17 years of doing therapy in the Seattle area, I have concluded that the current presidential election campaign is the most talked about campaign of my career. It’s also the most controversial, and the topics that have been stirred up have affected all peoples on either side of the political aisle, as well as those who have chosen to depart from the mainstream political parties.

Yet, I am not here to talk about the particulars of the campaigns. I want to talk about what the campaign has done to us, what it has forced upon the table. It is being called collectively, “Election Anxiety”, an anxious reaction to the fears, racism, misogyny, and verbal bullying that our nation has witnessed on our television screen, computer monitors, and smart devices in the form of video, news articles, audio sound bytes, and Social Media response.

It’s not that any of these topics are new. The sheer volume, however, is new. For example, I have been called the derogatory term, “chink,” many times in my adult lifetime. Yet, the number of derogatory terms directed at my fellow Latino and Latina friends has exponentially exploded this year.

A year ago, we weren’t even using that terminology, “Election Anxiety.” Now, it’s a ‘thing’. A real thing.

I am not alone in naming this ‘thing’. In an article from the New York Times,  Social Workers and Licensed Mental Counselors across the country are reporting an increase of clients asking to talk about the elections during therapy in the form of anxious and fearful thoughts.

And now, Election Anxiety has come to my office is in the form of requests about how thoughts regarding bullying, misogyny, racism, and micro aggressions in the workplace might be handled.

Read on for more about Election Anxiety.

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Telemedicine For Everyone

Telemedicine For Everyone
Woman holding phone to ear, looking at a laptop, and sitting at a table with a large window behind her)
Did you know: Telemedicine and telemental health access is available to you. Have you tried it? Photo Credit: free for commercial use.

If you live in a large city, it’s likely you have already had your first experience with telemedicine.

Suppose on Day Seven of a nasty cold or flu, you decide it’s time to see your doctor. You call up your medical practitioner’s office and request an appointment. In smaller stand-alone practices, you would speak to a receptionist or scheduler, and you would be offered an appointment with your doctor based on his/her availability. In larger multiple-practitioner offices, you might be offered the option of seeing a different doctor other than your primary doctor if you wished to be seen sooner. Yet by phone, you’ve been triaged and placed into the schedule.

Most medical centers began using telephonic triage nurses to help patients get effective medical care in a timely manner, and also keep those who actually did not need to see their doctor from spreading colds and flus to others in a waiting room. Seattle is no exception, and I had the opportunity to work as a Telephonic Triage Nurse in 2011 and 2012. I am happy to report that I learned a lot about the effectiveness of telemedicine during that time!

Telemedicine, particularly in behavioral health settings, is an exciting option for those seeking counseling therapy. Yet perhaps you wonder, as I do, why more people aren’t using it more. Less than two percent of the inquires I receive from potential clients include a request for telemental counseling services (that is, sessions provided over an Internet connection using a HIPAA compatible video conferencing platform, or services provided over the phone).

Until last month, that is. I received an unprecedented number of inquiries about access to counseling sessions either by phone or by video conferencing. And I actually think this is very good news. Read on to find out why.

Continue reading “Telemedicine For Everyone”