Problematic Technology Usage:
Treating Clients in a Digital Age
Chad Yates, Ph.D., LPC
Professor of Counseling, Idaho State University
Public Policy & Legislation Chair, Idaho Counseling Association
Research has revealed that problematic technology use (smartphones, social media, and internet gaming) is growing. However, many counselors are unsure how to integrate problematic technology usage into counseling. This presentation will explore how counselors can infuse this concern within clinical practice and explore screening and treatment recommendations.
The terms smartphone, social media, and internet gaming addiction have become popular within mainstream media. However, describing these terms as a behavioral addiction is currently debated within the literature (Panova & Carbonell, 2018). The delay or gap between empirical investigations within peer-reviewed research and popular culture is typical; however, the harmful impacts of problematic technology usage or technology addiction have been well documented and include: sleep disturbance (Thomée et al., 2011), anxiety and fear related to missing out on events (Dempsey et al., 2019), chronic distractions during work (Montag & Walla, 2016), inability to sustain attention or interruptions of work related to smartphones usage (Duke & Montag, 2017), increases in isolation and loneliness (Kim et al., 2017), depression (Lemola et al., 2015), and dangerous and distracted driving (Cazzulino et al., 2014; Sun & Jia, 2016). As the literature emerges on problematic technology usage, counselors are presented with an emerging concern with clients that is impacting wellness and worsening existing mental health concerns. This presentation will explore the current history and debate surrounding the classification of problematic technology usage as a behavioral addiction, provide alternative explanations of problematic usage, investigate factors that contribute to problematic usage, and explore the treatment and assessment of problematic technology usage. A treatment framework from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy lens will be introduced with role-plays, and metaphors use during the training session.
1. Participants will learn about several possible etiologies of Problematic Technology Usage and risk factors associated with the concern.
2. Participants will learn about the current evidence and recommendations in assessing and treating Problematic Technology Usage within several types of treatment settings (e.g., schools, outpatient, higher education).
3. Participants will learn how to use treatment principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Problematic Technology Usage