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THERAPY 2.0 - Counselling and Therapeutic Interactions with Digital Natives

Name of the Project: THERAPY 2.0 - Counselling and Therapeutic Interactions with Digital Natives

Project Number: 2016-1-DE02-KA202-003245    

Project Coordinator: media k GmbH

Type of Project: Erasmus+ Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training

Project Lifetime: 1st of September 2016 until 31st of august 2018  

Partners:

P1 - media k GmbH (Germany);
P2 – Friderich-Alexander-Universitaet Erlangen Nurnberg (Germany);
P3 – INTEGRA Institut, Institut za razvoj clovekovih potentialov (Slovenia);
P4- MEDRI - Sveuciliste U Rijeci, Medicinski Fakultet (Croatia);
P5 – Listahaskoli Islands (Iceland);
P6 - Wissenschaftsinitiative Niederosterreich (WIN) (Austria);
P7- P.PORTO - Instituto Politécnico do Porto (Portugal);
P8 – GUNET - Akadimaiko Diadiktyo (Greece).

Brochura PT

Brochure EN

Brochure easyread EN

Info+ - THERAPY 2.0 PT

Project Summary:

The integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in counselling and therapy is still at the beginning. For a big majority of counsellors and therapists, the Digital Age is a foreign country. Unlike those "digital natives" who were born into the Internet world, they are and always will be "digital immigrants," never entirely at home in this new land. They rely almost exclusively on traditional talking and interaction with their clients (“the couch”).

Digital natives, the generation born in the 1990ies, tend to communicate differently. While the older generation prefers phone calls; they prefer texting or online chatting. The older generation reads books; they surf through various multimedia sources. For digital natives, much of their real life is conducted online, and they want to be known by the virtual assemblage of "friends" they accumulate there. In short, their sense of self and the world around them differs sharply from ours.

ICT based approaches in therapeutic and counselling processes are not entirely new, they have gained scientific reputation (e.g. Wagner, B., Horn, A. B. & Maercker, A. 2013: Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression), and they have also lead to a certain acceptance among a small fraction of practitioners. However, many therapists have difficulties accepting the reality of their ignorance. Rather than admitting that they do not really understand how this new technology has changed the way many of their clients actually think and perceive the world, or that they are themselves intimidated by it, they assume a posture of professional superiority and declare it all "inappropriate" or "unethical." They reflexively dismiss phone or e-mail therapy because it does not adhere to the tradition of face-to-face contact, even though "e-therapy" has extensive scientific support and can expand our ability to affect people's lives by allowing practitioners to conduct sessions with homebound patients or do crisis intervention between in-person sessions.

In order to find out if this situation justifies an Erasmus+ partnership for development of innovation and if it is also true for the countries of this partnership, we made a preliminary survey in Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia where an overview assessment was carried out. Altogether, 126 psychologists and youth counsellors have been contacted. The results show that more than 85 % of the interviewees have no experience with social media in their counselling work, and that more than two thirds (68 %) are interested to use ICT tools in their practice – which justifies this project. The study has been submitted for publication in the journal “European Psychologist”, Official Organ of the EFPA.

The Therapy 2.0 project will therefore raise the awareness of the potentials of ICT based approaches in therapeutic and counselling processes. It will instruct practitioners on how to use online strategies as a part of their practice. It will provide informal guidelines that help therapists maintain proper practices when it comes to online therapy, and how to make sure that the lack of full visual or verbal communication that occurs over video or email does not negatively affect how the message of the therapy is received by the client. It will explain how “e-counselling” and “e-therapy” can be applied in the delivery of social and mental health services, on-line via social media or related to a computer mediated communication between a therapist or counsellor and the client. This is especially important also in relation to the current refugee crisis where with the Therapy 2.0 tools, counsellors will be able to reach also a completely new target group, e.g. young women suffering from misuse experiences during their escape, (unaccompanied) refugee minors. Most of them have made traumatic experiences and many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in various degrees. Their most important communication tools are smartphones. Given the fact that their language levels of the host country language are often still poor, conventional “speech counselling” needs a complementary approach that uses the media where these young people are at home. The transnational approach is specifically important as the countries involved have received the majority of refugees during the last 12 months: Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece.

The partnership comprises a multi-disciplinary team of mental health and social counselling organizations, education and pedagogic expert partners as well as ICT and multimedia specialists. The European dimension is achieved by the fact that the partnership reaches from South (Greece) to North (Germany) and from East (Croatia) to West (Portugal). The project will therefore develop Guidelines and Toolbox and best practice approaches in localized solution.

 

Coordination of the project in ESS / Researchers involved:

Prof.ª Regina Silva
Prof. Paulo Carvalho
Prof.ª Artemisa Dores