Are you a seasoned therapist or new to the craft? Wherever you are in your journey, you’ll need to keep your tools for therapists, including your specialist knowledge, up to date.
The study of the mind and human behavior isn’t easy for anyone and without the right techniques, you put yourself at an even greater disadvantage. Moreover, there are many tools for therapists that go beyond traditional talk therapy to consider.
These days, we also have the complexity of online therapy and all the digital tools that go with it. So, how do you keep abreast of everything as a psychologist?
We all know that rapport and emotional engagement are at the core of therapy. With that in mind, digital platforms like Quenza can manage your back office requirements. As such, you give yourself more time to focus on your clients or even bring new ones on board.
Quenza isn’t just an all-in-one platform to cover your administrative needs. It also has a vast library with hundreds of exercises, worksheets, meditations and more. These are taken from a range of psychology methodologies including CBT, ACT and more. You’ll also find art therapy inspired exercises to give even more depth to your practice.
You can even try all this out for yourself for only $1 with the 1-month-only trial. It’s easy to sign up and you’ll be able to test it out with your clients straight away.
The Evolving Landscape of Psychology Tools
What is the history of psychology and its tools for therapists? Do you start with Ancient Greece and Socratic questioning or with Freud or Wundt, maybe even Breuer, in the 19th century? What about the more experiential approaches from the East, mainly Buddhism, Taoism, Patanjali’s Yoga and others?
In the West, we tend to approach the mind as a specific entity to catalog and analyze in order to try to understand it. With the resulting frameworks, we seek to support people by asking them to look at their minds almost as if those minds were in a petri dish, in other words “from without”. The aim is to then work with the therapist to fix the broken behaviors and reassemble them into something more coherent for this society.
Such a scientific study of phenomena is perfectly valid and has powerful benefits that work well in many cases. Nevertheless, the Eastern approach is increasingly entering Western psychology because it does something different. Eastern philosophies encourage people to work from within and study experience. The aim is not to reduce consciousness to units but to recognize that we are part of a whole physical being.
Some philosophers are taking this idea of being part of a whole one step further by suggesting we move away from reducing consciousness to simply residing somewhere in the brain. Most notably, Alva Noe, Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, proposes a strong argument for showing us that consciousness is something we do with our bodies, minds and our environments. It isn’t just about the brain.
The Best Possible Resilient Self
This Quenza exercise taken from its toolbox library gives you an interactive way to explore the fluidity of the ego with your clients. Gone are the days of simply focusing on Freud’s ego to regulate our drives. Instead, this part becomes a sub-function of the agent, or self, capable of activity and well-being. With the more fluid Buddhist view of impermanence and insubstantiality, the ego can be more nimble in adapting to challenges because events and situations are no longer “personal”. They just are.
In many ways, this gives us a stepping stone into digital tools for therapists. Regardless of how you view the ego and what you believe about consciousness, we do not operate in isolation. Our environment, cultural and social influences all play a part in our well-being and digital is also part of that system.
Alongside psychologist tools and equipment, you also have online assessments to further support therapists in their diagnosis. One of the first tests with computers was developed in 1976 and called the Totally Automated Psychological Assessment Console (TAPAC). Its purpose was to automate early IQ tests.
Today, we have more sophisticated computerized cognitive tests and computer-assisted psychological assessments. Not only does this allow therapists to be more efficient but research also suggests that clients tend to be more open in their responses.
Either way, from ancient gymnasia to Freudian couches and modern mobile phones, tools for therapists have never been so versatile. As you keep evolving your practice, make sure you incorporate the latest and best.
Essential Tools for Therapists
As a therapist, you might tap into several methodologies including, but not limited to, behavioral, cognitive, somatic, humanist and or integrative therapies. While each of those has its own psychology toolkit, there are some common tools for therapists, as detailed in the table below.
When developing a therapy tool program, you’ll also want to consider how you impact both your current and future clients. Some might be sophisticated digital users and already have their personal biofeedback tools. Others might still only be happy with email and video chats.
It’s easy to get passionate about tools for Therapists. After all, the potential behind digital tools is exciting and highly impactful. Nevertheless, it’s always about how you use the tools rather than just the tools themselves.
So, one approach is to detail in your case formulation how digital might support or hinder your client’s journey. Moreover, do they think visually or do they enjoy working with their hands? What about their current habits of reflection and the tools they might already have?
Keep those questions in mind as you review the following common tools for therapists.
|Notebooks and recording devices||Every therapist needs a good place to write and store their therapy notes. Some might also choose to use digital voice recorders during the session.||TherapyNotes, Quenza|
|Therapeutic cards||Various themes can be used for cards including coping skills, emotions, situations and many more to prompt reflection and insight.||Digi CardTherapy, BetweenSessions|
|Visual charts||A common example of how powerful a chart can be is the Wheel of Life. Charts can help where it’s difficult to speak the words but they also give an alternative perspective to clients.||Quenza|
|Board games and therapeutic toys||Online therapy games and toys tap into a different part of the brain. They encourage self-expression where before people might have been blank.||TheCounselingPalette|
|Computerized assessments||Part of any good therapy journey is data gathering and digital platforms make this possible more easily than before.||HealthyPlace, Psytests|
|Worksheets and activities||The more therapists can encourage reflection both during and in between sessions, the more likely clients will feel empowered and energized.||TherapistAid, Quenza|
|Structured interviews||Questions are a critical part of any therapist’s toolbox and whilst traditionally delivered face to face, video conferencing platforms now make this possible for a wider reach of people.||Zoom|
|Continuing Professional Development (CPD)||Some platforms offer community support for their therapists as well as opportunities for CPD.||Talkspace|
Dive into the Psychological Assessment Tool
Research into online psychotherapy tools and assessment tools is steadily increasing. In summary, online interventions have been successful in reaching and supporting a far wider audience than before.
The use of technology-based assessments is also increasing although the research is still limited. To date, it seems that computerized assessments encourage clients to disclose more personal issues such as alcohol use.
Moreover, online assessments remove bias, reduce cost and provide a standardized approach. As such, they provide a solid data point from which to develop treatment. Of course, therapists will use a variety of data gathering tools, as summarized below, in order to follow a systematic root cause analysis of a client’s presenting problems.
In summary, therapists need both assessments and tests. The former includes psychological tests as well as medical and observational data such as a clinical interview. By contrast, tests tend to refer to checklists and questionnaires. These can be anything from judging a client’s self-care routine to self-monitoring their moods.
Common Psychological Assessment Tools
|Self-report questionnaires||Examples include self-care assessment, Beck Depression Inventory or the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.|
|Observation||With video conferencing, observation has expanded to in the home. Children and pets often appear on screen and provide another angle for therapists.|
|Projective test||Interpreting images or associating words might be useful to uncover hidden or unconscious desires and conflicts.|
|Mental Status Examination||Another useful test to evaluate mental functions and behaviors at a point in time.|
|Neuropsychological test||This more specific test includes the health of the brain and how this impacts thoughts and behavior.|
|Emotional (EQ) test||EQ tests might be useful for some clients to gain insight in how emotionally connected they are and how this impacts their lives.|
|Personality questionnaire||While personality cannot be curtailed into boxes, these questionnaires give some valuable insights into trends that can help clients understand why they behave differently.|
|Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)||A useful inventory to verify potential mental illness or personality disorder.|
Psychotherapy Tools: Bridging Assessment with Treatment
The art of psychotherapy is enabling the client’s self-awareness so that they can see new choices for new ways of living. Having an assessment is a critical guide for therapists to plan their sessions. Nevertheless, the magic happens when tools for therapists are skillfully implemented.
Moving from Cognitive Fusion to Defusion
For example, it’s all very well for you, as the therapist, to see that your client is highly attached to their thoughts. The only way for a client to sense that and to truly get a chance to unblend from their thoughts is with this Quenza exercise. ACT is one approach among many but you can easily customize this exercise to include other self-reflection questions if you wish.
The key requirement for tools for therapists is that they’re evidence-backed. That’s why all of Quenza’s exercises come from the major methodologies including CBT, ACT, Positive Psychology as well as Buddhist philosophies. It’s one of the few platforms that blends both East and West.
In fact, getting creative with your tools for therapists is one way to keep both your clients’ journeys fresh and engaging. So, you might also inspire yourself with play or dance therapy or include meditation breaks in your sessions.
Whatever your approach, the following table of online tools for therapists will give you the digital angle. Essentially, how can these platforms and apps deepen your clients’ experience as they search for their inner solutions?
Overview of Common Psychology Approaches
|CBT||Pioneered by Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, CBT is particularly popular today because of its simplicity. In essence, challenge dysfunctional thinking to change how people feel.||Happify|
|DBT||Similar to CBT but rather than trying to change the thoughts, it focuses on changing the behavior patterns. It is also often carried out in a group setting.||DBT Coach|
|ACT||An expansion on mindfulness where clients learn to defuse thoughts and to accept them as they are. The present moment is also emphasized as well as values and commitment to action.||ACT Companion|
|EMDR||This specific technique to deal with trauma is best delivered by a specialist but it has become increasingly popular despite the lack of long-term research.||remotEMDR|
|Play therapy||Interactive playing in a therapy context can support psychological safety and self-expression.||PlaytherapyappsthePlayTherapist.com|
|Somatic therapy||With evidence showing that the body remembers trauma even when the mind has shut it out, there is value in supporting trauma clients to reconnect with their bodies.||Somashare|
Therapy Tool Programs: Leveling up Therapy
Digital tools for therapists are still in their early days partly because apps have come onto the market so quickly that studies can’t keep up. As such, it’s up to the therapist to ensure that they feel they are offering a secure and evidence-based therapy tool program.
Similarly for psychological assessment tools. Just like for online interventions, you need to ensure your digital assessments are unbiased and standardized.
The major benefit of digital tools for therapists is that they are accessible from anywhere including remote places where people can’t physically reach therapists. They also offer a 24/7 experience alongside providing an interactive and experiential journey.
Perhaps most importantly, digital tools for therapists or online psychological assessment tools platforms provide real-time data. Such data can also be regularly referenced for progress check-ups throughout therapy.
To allow you, as a therapist, to start embracing the best tools out there, review the following table showing you how each one can boost your practice.
Summary of Top Therapist Platforms
|Betterhelp||Online therapy platform for licensed therapists that offers services such as journaling and group therapy.|
|Talkspace||Specialized therapy services online with video, messaging, exercises, in-app workshops and progress tracking features.|
|Muse headband||A biofeedback device that senses your brainwaves and sends you cues in response to either calm you down or help you sleep, for instance.|
|Sanvello||A CBT and meditation app that offers mental relief, particularly for anxiety, depression and stress.|
|HealthyPlace||A consumer mental health website with an in-depth list of resources, online assessments and detailed information on various mental issues.|
|Quenza||An all-in-one mental health practice management platform with a library of hundreds of exercises, worksheets, metaphors, meditations, visualizations and more.|
Computer-Assisted Psychological Assessment
As mentioned, the earliest form of a computerized version of a psychological assessment tool was the Totally Automated Psychological Assessment Console (TAPAC), developed in the mid 70s. Things have of course moved on since then.
Interestingly, the research back then reviews similar pitfalls to look out for today. First, therapists need to ensure their role as the personal touch to avoid depersonalizing client experiences. Secondly, therapists must never forget that clients are more than a data point and that you can’t fit the human condition into the perfect framework. Last but not least, computerized tests won’t necessarily work for more extreme clinical issues where patients need special care to function.
All those points actually provide a major advantage for therapists because that’s how you bring your value-add. Tools for therapists are simply tools. It’s you with your unique style and approach who can turn them into the secret ingredients that your clients need to turn around their lives.
The future therefore lies in the client being at the center. Virtual reality and high-tech simulations are core enablers for a person-centric approach. User experience will continue to be optimized so that tests and assessments become increasingly enjoyable, perhaps through gaming and other interactive methods.
Another critical aspect for the future of digital applications in therapy is how to cater for today’s and tomorrow’s older generation. While many older adults have adopted digital technologies, the cost of high-speed internet can still be prohibitive. Furthermore, age-related disabilities can be a barrier to using digital platforms.
Whatever blend of AI, VR, apps and interactive platforms we can look forward to in the near future, the range of tools for Therapists will continue to expand. It’s up to you to keep ahead of the curve.
An Integrative Approach
Every therapist clearly has a unique way of leveraging their psychology toolkit to assess, diagnose and treat their clients. Although, the last few decades have seen an increasing number of therapists not using one methodology but actually leveraging several models from psychology.
With 400 various psychotherapy approaches to choose from, there really are multiple ways to offer an “integrative perspective”. While integrative might mean different things to various therapists, it generally refers to combining different psychology models in unique approaches.
Digital tools for therapists are further enabling the integrative approach as more and more borrow exercises, studies, worksheets and more from the range of models available. In other words, you might do a CBT “Thoughts on Trial” exercise with a client followed by a mindfulness grounding moment.
The main advantage of following an integrative process is that you adapt to your clients’ mode of being and way of thinking for any scenario. Adapting to clients’ needs and moods in this way engages them more deeply for a greater chance of long-term change.
As one of the most versatile digital tools for therapists, Quenza combines its back office processes with a library of exercises and worksheets also borrowed from several disciplines.
For example, this Quenza exercise takes clients through exploring one of the Distorted Thoughts often listed under CBT.
The Sushi Train: Mindful Creation of Positive Thoughts
You could follow it with this other Quenza exercise, for instance, which blends mindfulness with ACT with some reflection points.
Moving From Rational to Experiential Gratitude Meditation
As another example, you could also use this Quenza exercise for your client. This one uses a meditation with some reflection questions that combine Positive Psychology and mindfulness along with some somatic focus.
How you create your perfect mix is what differentiates you as a therapist. Not only are there multiple benefits but you also build deep rapport that connects with every part of your clients’ experiences.
Benefits of Integrative Therapy with Multiple Tools for Therapists
|Holistic||By adapting to the whole person and their particular nuances, you necessarily consider the whole person. You’ll get a clearer picture of how all the parts fit together and they will feel heard and valued.|
|Multimodal learning||With the different learning styles and views of the world that exist among us, the more you can borrow from various approaches, the more likely you’ll resonate with your clients.|
|Empowered through choice||Different approaches offer a wider range of choices to your clients. They’ll also experience new ways of thinking that they might never have encountered otherwise.|
|Interactive experience||Digital tools along with the various exercises and games offer deep experiential journeys that are more 3 dimensional than before.|
|Triangulation||Collating data from multiple sources, tools and methodologies allows you to compare and corroborate. As a result, you avoid biases and have a more accurate view of the possible causes rather than just the symptoms.|
|Flexibility & adaptability||A client’s journey is never easy but by offering them various approaches, you can more easily adapt to their energy and readiness levels.|
|Goal driven journeys||Digital tools store data for you to access at specific check in points. Furthermore, you can arrange that data visually to help create those a-ha moments for your clients.|
Conclusion: Maximizing Your Tools for Psychologists
Psychologist tools and equipment are the building blocks of your craft. We are still so early in our discovery of the mind and consciousness that we need to stay open to new advances.
As a result, keep your eye on digital tools for therapists and make sure you take advantage of whatever is available for the benefit of your clients. Not only can digital psychological assessment tools make testing more engaging but they also provide more accurate data points that can be easily referred to.
Furthermore, digital tools for therapists can, on the one hand, reduce your admin time by automating your back office processes. On the other hand, they offer resources for your clients to work through that come from a variety of methodologies.
With Quenza, you get all those benefits as well as personalized client dashboards, chat messaging and goal-tracking functions. You can also set up group therapy and file all your therapy notes in a structured and secure place. The platform is fully HIPAA and GDPR compliant so you don’t have to worry about the legal side of things.
You can test all this out for yourself by signing up for the 1 month trial at only $1. Your clients are bound to be impressed by the new exercises you’ll be sending them and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frameworks are highly useful in allowing us to understand the patterns of the mind. Nevertheless, every mind and every experience is slightly different. Relying on one tool or methodology won’t work for everyone and nor does it honor the versatility of the human condition.
In short, traditional tools are becoming digital. Just like you can buy a digital pen and pad, so now you can find websites with therapeutic cards and interactive digital visual boards. The added advantage with digital tools is that they can be used anywhere and in situ which makes data-gathering that much more precise.
While it’s always good to try out new things, it’s important to keep checking security and legal requirements. Not all platforms have been researched and nor do they all offer evidence-backed exercises.
As a starting point, make sure that whatever you use is HIPAA or GDPR compliant. Afterwards, do some research on the technology to understand how it was designed and who’s behind the content. Of course, there is always a level of risk but you will know through experience and instinct whether this is something you would be happy to share with an auditor, for instance.
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- ^ Epstein, M. (2007). Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist perspective. Yale University Press.
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- ^ Young, S., Maddocks, D. L. S., & Caemmerer, J. M. (2022). Computer-enhanced practice: The benefits of computer-assisted assessment in applied clinical practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 53(4), 387–397. https://doi.org/10.1037/pro0000449.
- ^ Gould, C. E., Ma, F., Loup, J., Juang, C., Sakai, E. Y., & Pepin, R. (2020). Technology-based mental health assessment and intervention. In Elsevier eBooks (pp. 401–415). https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-800136-3.00024-7.
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- ^ Zarbo, C., Tasca, G. A., Cattafi, F., & Compare, A. (2016). Integrative psychotherapy works. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02021.