Working towards your Masters of Arts in Counseling or Masters of Arts in Human Services degrees means embracing the growing role technology is playing in the delivery of health care and counseling services. What are some of the new, emerging technologies that may change the way these services have traditionally been delivered?
Mental Health Disorders
Nature reports that about 29 percent of people will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime; data from the World Health Organization shows that up to 55 percent of them in developed countries and 85 percent of them in developing ones will not receive the care they need. Mobile health apps can help fill that gap, particularly in lower income communities or developing countries where smartphones have become ubiquitous.
Technologies Beyond Apps
Beyond apps, the internet has made treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy more accessible. Where they previously required patients to be present in a room with their therapist, structured programs can now be completed on the go and at the patient’s pace. And in addition to the increased accessibility, some patients may find that they’re more inclined to pursue the more impersonal treatment if they’re not quite ready to meet with a therapist in person – whether due to stigma or feelings of shame.
Care providers are taking advantage of the benefits of technology as well. Most notably, in 2011 psychologists with the United States government developed a mobile tool that they made available to military veterans who were experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They wanted something that was immediately accessible when symptoms flared up and could help relieve acute stressors in moments of distress. In its first three years, PTSD Coach was downloaded 150,000 times in 86 different countries; in a 2014 study of 45 veterans, most users reported that it provided practical solutions which helped them manage their symptoms.
Wake Forest University’s online Masters of Arts in Counseling and Masters of Arts in Human Services degrees are preparing skilled, compassionate counselors and human services professionals to make a positive difference in the lives of others.