Technology in Mental Healthcare
November 3, 2015 | Rachel Lapal
KULeuvenX Trends in e-Psychology starts on November 17. Enroll today!
I was probably about six years old when I got my hands on the very first home computer that my parents bought. It was a top-of-the-line model with an integrated screen, a floppy disk reader and a whole lot of RAM… like 4 megabytes. It proved to be a wonderful piece of technology, which was a gateway to almost infinite knowledge. At that time however, I mostly pushed buttons enthusiastically (sometimes even frantically) while playing eight bit computer games.
Nowadays, technological applications are far more advanced but still hold the same promise: to provide the user with the opportunity to transcend their own potential, to do things that were previously impossible to do, or even hard to imagine.
Technology did not only prove to be an ever-increasing source of inspiration in mental healthcare, but it also has the potential to deal with a number of challenges in our field, like long waiting lists and the often high cost of one-on-one face-to-face therapy. The first applications were perhaps not too fancy and somewhat limited, but in the last couple of years, there has been a proliferation of technological innovations in mental health care and research. These are bound to become game changers for clinical practice.
What to expect?
In the Trends in e-Psychology MOOC, I want learners on a journey through technology in mental healthcare. Learners will reflect on what applications can be used in mental healthcare, but also what the implications are when we use technology to deal with mental health problems. There will also be room for nuance, as we will also focus on the potential risks and shortcomings of using technology in this context as well.
In order to do all that, we will show you some e-mental health applications that solely make use of your web browser and which are very basic from a technological perspective, yet very powerful when used in mental healthcare. We will also look at how smartphones can already have an added value. Furthermore, we will also examine the future and discuss how ‘wearables’ will impact health and even look into virtual reality therapy.
What You Will Learn
In the end, I hope to instill some of my enthusiasm into your learning experience. Our MOOC’s goal is to help you become aware of the potential of technology in mental healthcare and to feel empowered to get in front of computers, start pushing buttons and explore how technology affects our mental and physical health. I’m looking forward to seeing you in the course!
Tom Van Daele is a lecturer at Thomas More University College in Antwerp and a member of the course team for Trends in e-Psychology.