An Emerging Force in Psychotherapy and Personal Development

Confluence refers to technologies merging into a new combination. Consider dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), in which psychosocial education looms larger than perhaps any other therapy. Especially at the outset, DBT relies on education because it is for people that do not do well with talk therapy or somatic therapy. This is a big step up from bibliotherapy, in which the therapist recommends a book that will help with therapy in some way.

Now, interactive media and social media are going to give rise to interactive sessions that fulfill goals for people working on their personal development, much like it does for people learning a foreign language or any one of countless other purposes. This does not mean we are waiting for a university team of scientists to come up with a psychotherapy program. That would be far more complex than winning Jeopardy--which took amazing resources to accomplish; it's not an app for your smart phone, yet. But what will emerge on the near horizon is an expanded form of bibliotherapy, made of the current technologies I mentioned and interactive logic. That isn't an end point, as additional technologies, some already in play, will be added. Sensor technology providing biofeedback is a good example, because it's already here, working for purposes such as personal fitness. Nike's shoes come to mind. Sensors tell you how high you can jump, how good you workouts are going, and even where you are--with the help of your iPad.

I've been taking some classes that explore these issues through, including Gamification and E-learning and Digital Cultures. (This is the hashtag for the elearning course I'm taking now: #edcmooc This allows the media for the course at the University of Edinburgh to turn info from students into a news feed.) What I'm learning is that there are really amazing ways to bring this future vision of modern bibliotherapy to life. But what should we call it? Telehealth has to do with using telecommunications for medicine or mental health (or telemental health). Media therapy might only imply movies. Interactive media therapy is kind of long, but is ideal, otherwise.

I'm working with a brilliant developer right now to put the right functionality into the platform (the software that makes an online service work). If you have tried my guided experiences (such as the Mindfulness Meditation, Shimmering, or Inner Child Sanctuary), imagine an interactive version that helps you select goals, experiences, and much more. If you have had a specific module in the course of therapy or life coaching, you can imagine how some such modules are appropriate to automate with interactive media. If you have experienced NLP, you know that a lot of it is very structured. Again, this doesn't replace human interaction, but as advanced bibliotherapy, definitely. Many therapists have clients use UpLevel or other forms of bilateral stimulation to augment EMDR therapy on their own as a form of self-help. This, too, is ripe for conversion to interactive media. Guided experiences like those that I created with the Shimmering album are just the tip of the iceberg.

One of the most important elements that will help to make such a system effective is the use of shimmering. Remember: shimmering is just a generic term I use because nobody came up with one before me. The most core aspect is taking the negative or traumatic connections away from a memory. This makes it possible for the memory to become a source of strength and wisdom. There is a great deal of research on how and why this is possible, and it is confirming what many therapists have known for a long time, as well as helping to shape the development of psychotherapy as our understanding is better informed by the science.

But what about self-help? I think this research, and what therapists know about this intuitively, is a treasure trove for personal work. I attempt to orient people to this and give them some key skills with my free Shimmering Manual at Psych Innovations, but I want to go much farther than this. Everyone should know how to shimmer. It's a key life skill.