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As we continue to break technological barriers in today’s society, the boundary between personal, one-to-one communication and communication over “the cloud” has become blurred. To be sure, it is very important that counselors speak to their clients face-to-face in the treatment setting. After all, one of the cornerstones of successful treatment is the ability to connect and sympathize, or empathize, with the client. Trust is built through nuance, reaction and behavior; often, that does not come across when communicating through electronic means.

That’s not to say however that counselors and clients alike cannot benefit from technology. Counselors can use technology to their advantage during treatment in several ways:

  • Technology can make the counselor’s job much easier. It can allow for better organization, fewer mistakes due to reading errors and less time pulling charts and searching for paperwork.
  • For the client, becoming proficient with technology can help them land a better job once they have finished treatment and are back in the workforce. Learning these life skills during or in conjunction with counseling can be very helpful to ensure a stable future and reducing the risk of relapse. It is therefore important for counselors to at least evaluate the benefits of technological training and proficiency in their clients.
  • Technology can also assist directly in treatment. Many clients who are used to technology may be withdrawn from the very personal counseling process. Using technology and online resources including interactive applications can help keep them fully invested in the counseling process.

While the use of technology in counseling is still in its infancy, it is something that should at least be understood by counselors. While using the help of technology may not be appropriate in every circumstance, the reality is that technology has become a cornerstone of modern life. Understanding that there is a place for technology will make the counseling process much more effective.

The Academy for Addiction Professionals teaches a foundational technology class that as part of professional readiness. This program helps prospective counselors understand how technology can help them in their careers and in their every day job. Further, technology should not be overlooked as an important and ultimately, convenient addition to any treatment protocol.