Monthly Archives: November 2011

iPad Apps for Therapists and Social Workers

With an ever-growing array of apps for the iPad, there’s no doubt that developers would begin to create applications for Therapists and Social Workers.  Below is a list of some of our favorites — from sifting through new Psych findings to quick info on ICD9 coding.

PsycExplorer HD aggregates each day’s Psych news from the web and delivers it in a user-friendly manner to your iPad or iPhone. Not only does the app pull from top news sites and peer reviewed journals, but they source a host of videos and podcasts.  A great resource to keep up in the field.

For clinicians themselves and to use as patient education guide, 3D Brain is an app for the iPad and iPhone to illustrate what happens when the brain is injured — through trauma or addiction — and how brain structures are involved in mental illness. Each detailed structure comes with information on functions, disorders, brain damage, case studies, and links to modern research. And best of all, it’s free.

For those of us that are in practicums or internships with where we’re required to use ICD-9 codes for billing purposes, it can be a time consuming hassle searching the right code.  The ICD9 Consultant 2011, a free app, makes it easy to search by diagnosis or code number without flipping through a 30-pound book.

The DSM remains the go-to manual in the mental health field for diagnosis and information on disorders.  At $46.99 DSM Criteria is pricey but puts hundreds of pages of information at your fingertips including criteria and codes as well as NOS and specific diagnoses related to substance abuse.

Twitter Can Keep You in the Loop

Twitter has become known as a great networking and self-promotion tool, but it’s also a useful service to keep up with the Marriage and Family Therapist and Social Work community at large. Wefollow has a list of highly followed Therapists, which is a good sign they produce information others find valuable. You can find that list here: http://wefollow.com/twitter/therapist

Beating Burnout

As Therapists and Social Workers working towards licensure, it is easy to spread yourself thin. Working to ‘get your hours’ while trying to balance your work and family life can feel like multiple full-time jobs. With routines, paperwork and working with clients, you can reach a point where things begin to feel overwhelming. Use the tips listed below to nip burnout in the bud or help prevent burnout before it starts.

Switch it up. The mind thrives on novelty and new experiences.  If you’re working on a big project for school, take a break to fit in a stress relieving workout and a trip to the grocery store before picking up where you left off.  Burnout puts your mind and body in a weakened state and stifles your creativity.  Give both a break by working in small items off that never-ending to-do list between the larger projects.
Seek activities outside your field. Socializing outside of your classmates and coworkers can provide fresh perspectives, stimulate new ideas and help to reignite passions.
Move, move move. The good news is that almost any form of exercise, from lifting weight to a brisk walk, can act as a natural stress reliever.  Physical activity helps to juice up your endorphins and can allow you to focus on the activity that you’re engaged in, which can help your mind to help shed daily stress. Plus, regular exercise of 30+ minutes has been shown to increase self-confidence and lower symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
Schedule downtime. Between juggling grad school, working with clients and home and family life, it may feel like you never have a free minute in your calendar.  Take the opportunity to schedule time specifically to relax and recoup.
Unplug from the outside. If you’re one who’s embraced gadgets. The very links technology provides us with — iphones, laptops, e-mail, IMs, Facebook and Twitter — can be huge benefits to our productivity when used correctly but can also blur the ever-thinning boundary between work and life.  Being constantly connected can provide just as much stress as the benefits connection.  With unplugging from your smartphones and e-mails, starting small can make a big difference on your stress levels. Try limiting your connectivity by turning off your phone when you get home at night or not checking work e-mail on weekends.

Productivity Tip: Silent Scheduler

One of the easiest ways to increase your productivity is to be doing what you’re doing when you’re doing it. If you’ve been sitting in the middle of class or in session with a client only to have the flow interrupted by your ringing cell phone, we have a suggestion.

Silent Scheduler is a free ad-supported app for Andriod phones. Just program the days and times that you have lectures, clients or supervision and the phone will switch automatically to silent mode during those times. When the time period ends, your ringer will switch back on without you having to remember a thing.