The Information Age is rapidly advancing. There are more than 50 million personal computers sold worldwide each year. The way we learn to do business, entertain ourselves, and communicate is changing dramatically. How this will evolve is uncertain but we are in the dawning of a new age from which there is no turning back. Speculating on the future can be thought provoking and enjoyable. So let’s dream ahead and envision how therapy might take place 20 years from now in the year 2017.
You and your spouse know that your marriage is on thin ice. Communication is poor or virtually non-existent; when you are together you fight over almost everything, you find yourself yelling at the children who have done little to deserve it, and your finances are a mess. You know you can no longer work this out on your own.
With much trepidation and a little hope, you key your computer to Marriage Counsellors. A menu appears giving you such choices as Language, Mode of Therapy, Specific Issues, Rate Scales, Recommendations, References, and so on. You may have heard of a promising approach being undertaken at a couples clinic in London, England, dramatic results being achieved by a psychologist in New York city, or the fine reputation of a therapist in your immediate area. Any or all can be readily assessed and accessed from the comfort of your home computer.
Searching through the menu and entering preliminary data, you quickly narrow your choices, key to List, and are presented with a list of potential therapists meeting your requirements. Each name can be assessed by reviewing their video profile and a fact screen describing their background, education, mode of therapy, fees, and so on. Evaluations from previous clients are automatically appended and outside the control of the therapist. Once you have made your selection, you go to Booking and book your computer appointment for any convenient time period listed as “available”. It’s that simple. At this time the therapist’s computer may request that each spouse complete a questionnaire detailing history, issues, and goals which the therapist will review prior to your first session.
At the specified day and time, you are automatically connected by computer to the therapist who appears live on your screen. At the same time, your therapist will be viewing you and your spouse. Even spouses who cannot be present in the same location can be viewed together through their individual computers. It remains critical that all parties be able to view one another simultaneously since body language remains a major component of all interpersonal communication.
After the usual friendly introductions, the therapist will briefly highlight the issues presented in the pre-session questionnaire and gain the couple’s commitment to a common set of specific objectives for the therapy. Since audio and video transmissions are instantaneous, communication flows as easily as if all three were sitting in the same room. Soon everyone begins to feel relaxed and comfortable. Fees are assessed in a manner similar to that of long distance telephone charges and automatically transferred from the client’s designated account to the therapist’s account. At the push of a key, the cumulative total is readily available to be viewed and is helpful in assessing any resources recommended by the therapist.
The therapist recognizes that the issues are complex and varied. Since a world of resources is readily available, he recommends that several files be downloaded to their computer. One file is a workshop by a well-known professor from the University of Chicago describing a series of communication exercises the couple is to practice over the coming week. Another file is a chapter from the book “Marriage Can Be Great” by Denis Boyd written in 2016 which ideally addresses several of their specific problem areas. The small royalty fees are highlighted prior to the couple accepting the resource.
Recognizing that financial concerns are creating significant stress in the relationship, the therapist recommends that they key their search for a suitable financial analyst. The therapist recommends several analysts he believes would be helpful.
Also noting that differing parenting styles are creating additional problems in the marriage, he encourages the couple to enroll in a weekly interactive series entitled “Parenting Without Power and Strings” which commences at 7:00 p. m. in their time zone on the day of their choice. This is an interactive program which practices modern and effective parenting skills under the guidance of a specialist in parent education. Sessions can be saved for review at a later date. Also available are various lectures and articles on specific parenting issues which can be downloaded at anytime.
Nearing the end of the first session the therapist downloads further reference codes for programs, talks, and articles which can be reviewed by the couple at their leisure. At this time the couple selects a date and time for their next session. In the second session, the therapist will review progress since the last session, answer any questions, and discuss outstanding issues. In fact, the therapist may have arranged an interview with a colleague in Perth, Australia and a brief session of joint counselling may ensue. Additional references deemed helpful will be downloaded.
The total number of sessions will be few due to the couple’s commitment to review and interact with numerous resources, much of this taking place at times most convenient to themselves. The therapist has served partly as a counsellor and partly as an information- facilitator. His training, knowledge, and experience have enabled the couple to receive specific, expert assistance using a variety of resources available anywhere in the world. Costs to the clients are low, as well, since overheads are low and there is a large market for quality resources. Upon completion of therapy, the couple is asked to complete an Evaluation of Services which is automatically appended to the therapist’s file and is helpful to other prospective clients choosing a therapist.
What the future holds in this field is unlimited. With open minds, we can all enjoy the journey into the future.