I have a very vivid memory of my trepidation towards technology as I started my career in psychology 17 years ago. I had never used a computer, and all of a sudden I was being asked to read and write emails, type essays, and use complex statistical programs. How things have changed!
As with many people, technology is now my best buddy. As the Internet and technology evolved, so did I, personally and professionally. My personal development has of course occurred as a consequence of many interwoven experiences, one being the diagnosis of a pretty debilitating chronic pain condition some years ago now. When things were at their worst, the Internet and my beautiful computer provided me with the ability to connect with the world in ways I had not considered. Being housebound much of the time, I was able to use it: to learn; for entertainment; to socialise and make new friends through social media; speak to friends and family on Skype; and with some adjustment and creativity continue to work.
This experience has opened my eyes to so many things. I have came to realise how truly inaccessible the world can be when you are experiencing a health condition, physical or psychological. Even going to a doctor’s appointment can feel like running a marathon, whilst trying to get around an assault course. It has provided me with experiences that I perhaps would not have had otherwise, seeing the breadth to which technology can improve our lives, whilst also, of course, realising its limitations.
I have gotten to know people from around the world who I would not have ‘met’ otherwise; learned so much about myself; and entered into a world of psychology and therapeutic interventions that I most likely would not have explored. I also believe my continuing experience of having to manage a chronic health condition has made me see the world, and human experience, in a different light, ultimately growing into a more effective and self aware therapist and Clinical Psychologist. Of course I would rather not have had this experience, but without a doubt, every cloud has a silver lining!
All of these experiences, alongside much technological and therapeutic advancement, have brought me to this point in time – Providing online therapy to people who for numerous reasons decided it was the best fit for them.
As you can see the Internet and I have been through a lot together, and I look forward to this growing relationship in my professional world. Incorporating online therapy into my work enables me to, I believe, reach people who otherwise might find it difficult to access psychological treatment, explore the richness in working in this way, whilst also looking after my own self care. I have excitedly, just embarked on a course with the Online Therapy Institute to become a Certified Cyber Facilitator, specialising in online therapy.
There is always so much to learn, understand and improve upon, and in many ways it feels like the professional part of me and the Internet are only really getting started. If the last 20 years are anything to go by, who knows where we will end up! I for one am excited to find out, and to enjoy the journey along the way .
Dr. Kristine Abercrombie
Chartered Clinical Psychologist