Chapter: EMPOWEREMNT OF TECHNOLOGY IN COUNSELLING
Authors: V.Venkatesh & Dr.Sriram K Patabiram
The expansion of knowledge in Case work management demands generating ideas and concepts, adapting useful ideas from the social sciences and conceptualising practice experience thus in recent years, the digitalisation impact due to the advancement in technology and technology revolution makes technology as a tool for empowerment from contemporary method of counselling to technology enabled counselling.
Social work methods largely laid the foot on empowerment and the social workers achieve their professional goal of enabling the people on the same. Empowerment is a process of involving the creative use of one’s personal resources to gain and use power to control one’s life circumstances, achieve personal goals and improve relational and communal good’ (Greene et al., 2005, P.268). In social case work method, Counselling is a process of assisting and guiding persons, through a relationship of reasonable trust, especially by a trained person on a professional basis, to resolve especially personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties.
The world of digitalisation enables an individual to put the technological resources, their knowledge, usage skill and opportunity of availability to achieve their needs and rights towards their development. This chapter discuss the technology as a platform towards empowerment and application of approach to social work practice.
The movement of digitalisation in recent years in every activity of people’s life ensures the technology usage by every individual in one form or another. Technology has become a buzz word in this revolution of digitalisation. The conservative and traditional approaches are giving way for the growth of technology and upgradation in every field viz science, engineering, business, social sciences etc.,
Penetration of technology in games, shopping, education till leisure has impacted the life style as an interwoven make up of social living of one ‘self, thus counselling through technology becomes inevitable due to the convenience that it offers to people.
Technology as Empowerment in counselling
Technology is put into practice for creating a platform in digital or e-counselling, as every individual are influenced in their life style and the ability of reaching beyond the boundaries and the mass therefore, an empowerment based approach works on multisystem level to focus on the strengths and resources of the individual, interpersonal and environmental levels in order to restore power and self-efficacy to oppressed and disempowered populations (Parsons, 2002). The focus includes assessment of the person: environment interactions and how the individuals are affected by their environments and environment affected by the individuals and where interventions are necessary in order to restore power to individuals, groups or communities so they meet needs, gains rights and achieve goals.
Counselling session through use of technology are enabled at different levels. The below are the following:
- Media-led and Data storage technology
- Telephone technology and Portable telecommunication devices
- Computer technology and stand- alone software
- Computer technology and the World Wide Web
- Computer technology and E-Mail
- Computer technology and Internet Relay chat (IRC)
- Computer technology and WEBCAMS
|1||Media-led and Data storage technology||Television, Radio / Community radio, Compact Disc etc||Mass addressing for awareness about problems to the community|
|2||Telephone technology and Portable telecommunication devices||Telephone, Smart devices such as Android, IOS , Windows etc enabled devices||Reach much wider spectrum of people instantly by eradicating geographical barriers and also providing control and comfort to the client in terms of starting and ending the sessions whenever and where ever|
|3||Computer technology and stand- alone software||Computing devices and Software package to maintain, retrieve and follow up with clients like Client Management software||Technology administration of counselling services all through every step|
|4||Computer technology and the World Wide Web||Forums, blogs, and specific websites providing communication space||Clients problems are discussed in depth on various perception by community members working towards solution|
|5||Computer technology and E-Mail||Electronic mailer like Gmail, yahoo mail etc||Clients writes up the concern and reach the counsellor and replied by the counsellor|
|6||Computer technology and Internet Relay chat (IRC)||Skype, google hang out, WhatsApp etc||Clients takes up the counselling session through instant messaging|
|7||Computer technology and WEBCAMS||Skype calling, Google Duo, Any other technology that facilitates Face to face chat||Clients takes up the counselling session through face to face chat in real time|
Technological literacy and Counselling
As technology is integrated in the lifestyle of the clients in indispensable manner, technical literacy has become the pre requisite for a counsellor to keep up their professional competency to provide e-counselling to their clients. Technological literacy may be seen as having knowledge and abilities to select and apply appropriate technologies in a given context. Technological literacy for a counsellor can be described as the intellectual processes, abilities, and dispositions needed for individuals to understand the link between technology, themselves, and society in general. Technological literacy is concerned with developing one’s awareness of how technology is related to the broader social system and further it is totally understandable that how technological systems cannot be fully separated from the political, cultural, and economic frameworks that shape them.
This means that it is all the more important for counsellors who have gained adequate levels of technological literacy to understand the nature and role of technology in both their personal and professional lives; understand how technological systems are designed, used, and controlled; value the benefits and assess the risks associated with technology; respond rationally to ethical dilemmas caused by technology; assess the effectiveness of technological solutions; feel comfortable learning about and using systems and tools of technology anywhere when connected, and critically examine and question technological progress and innovation.
Technology impact for social change
Technology, the most significant instrument of social change in technology revolution, it becomes necessary for safe guarding, protecting and channelizing its usage and impact for society and more particularly the virtual society transactions and existence. The cyber security law Information Technology Act 2000 is enacted in India to prevent any crime to be committed using technology and amended in 2008 covering different types of crime and punishment.
The Professional social work bodies at USA and Canada like The National Association of Social Workers, Association of Social Work Board, The Council of Social Work Education, and The Clinical Social Work Association has set a technology standard for professional social workers to use as guide in their practice. The guidelines comprising four section: 1. Provision of information to the public; 2. Designing and Delivering services; 3. Gathering, Managing and storing Information; and 4. Social work education and Supervision with two sub clause in section 1; twenty seven sub clause in section 2; fourteen sub clause in section 3 and twelve subclause in section 4 respectively. Professional councils in United Kingdom have a Technology code of practice as guideline to the practice.
As part of cultural diversity, the knowledge and the ability to practice with in the frame work of concerned country guidelines is mandatory though the technology breaks geographical limitations and reach the client. In India, state like Haryana addressed thousands of cyber-attacks all across by setting “The information security Management Office (ISMO) portal as a platform for information dissemination on latest trends on cyber-attacks, preventive measures, awareness materials, policies, guidelines, cyber security and hygiene factors. As there is no specific nation level recognised social work bodies or council exist there is no specific guideline for practice is evolved.
Technology provides and aids tools to help counsellors accomplish their work more effectively and efficiently beyond what they can do without it. Counsellors now have high-tech methods for better managing, supporting, conducting, delivering, and describing their work as before never imagined through the various tools and software as the IOT gathers momentum consistently over a period of time. However, the power of technology calls for greater responsibility. Counsellors therefore must work diligently to make certain that technological literacy and implementation is an important part of their ongoing professional development. The ethics and the value system cannot be substituted by any means. They must identify and plan for overcoming barriers that technology can pose, such as intrusions into personal lives. Finally, counsellors must understand and recognize the risk associated with the technology which can hurt not only themselves but also their own clients. Counsellors should practise and do SWOT analysis before implementing the system. It is of paramount importance to consider and act on situation or things outside the control of a counsellor that makes it difficult to achieve the counsellor’s purpose, carry out process and practices and create customer value, Thus, important parts of counsellor’s technological literacy and implementation are understanding potentials and opportunities that technology affords counsellors, evaluating how technology is used, and considering the impact that technology has on their lives.
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