Tech Tuesday: Wearable Technology and the Therapist


“How do you like your fitbit?”

Every so often I get asked for my opinion on wearing a Fitbit (a device worn on your wrist to track your physical activity and other health related data). I usually respond with the positives and negatives of wearing it, giving a 45 second product review like I’m on a TV show or something. But last week I was asked by a friend to comment on my use of it as a therapist. “Does it distract you during sessions?” “If I was a therapist, I’d be tempted to look at it, but that’s because I’m ADD.”

His comments got me to thinking about the use of technology in the therapy office, and the effects of these technologies on my clients. I love gadgets. As long as I can remember, I have wanted the newest invention. So it should come as no surprise that I’m really intrigued with the Apple Watch, but I won’t get one because I’m almost positive it would not be therapeutic for me or my clients.

The fitbit I wear (their most basic model) offers very little, if any, distraction during a session. I don’t think I’ve ever had a client ask me what the black band was on my wrist. I’m almost certain that if I were to don an Apple watch, it would become a topic of conversation with my clients. And I don’t think that’s a conversation worth them paying for with the limited resources (time and money) at their disposal.

I think a therapist who is willing to engage in the resistance of their clients can direct almost any topic of conversation, including an Apple watch, and make it therapeutic. Everything in the therapeutic hour is “grist for the mill.” But I think wearable technology begins to become too invasive in the work with our clients.

Even if my clients don’t ask me about the Apple watch on my wrist, I’m likely going to feel an urge to touch or tap it at some point during an hour because that’s what it is there for. Apple is a brilliant marketing company, and they are not selling an Apple watch so that it sits on a wrist as a timepiece, it’s meant to be engaged. Our clients are the ones who need our engagement and attention, not a new shiny device strapped to our wrist.

Posted in Client Care, Self Care / Therapists, Technology and tagged , , , , , , .