Treating Technology Dependence
What to Expect

It is critically important to note that not everyone who struggles with the overuse of screens is addicted.  The word itself has immense stigma attached to it, and it is critical to not label or pathologize someone simply because they use games or social media to relax.  Even if there are significant disruptions in their lives as a result of this use, there is also a very wide spectrum of severity with what qualifies as addiction. An even wider spectrum with what we might call misuse or abuse. 

 

With this being said, a digital addiction is typically based on a universally socially-accepted behavior (e.g. gaming, social media, watching streamers on YouTube, etc). It is pervasive, insidious and particularly dangerous to developing brains. As with any form of mental health treatment, a huge component of treatment success is based on the treatment provider's competence, understanding of the presenting problems and knowledge of the most evidenced-based treatment methods.

My ResetFromTech™ program utilizes psychotherapy methodologies which are designed specifically for the treatment of Digital Misuse, Abuse & Addictions.

Having many years of specialized training and experience in treating substance use disorders and compulsive behaviors has helped me to better understand what treatment methods and techniques are most effective for each individual. As a psychotherapist, I consider it both my passion and my duty to be in a constant state of professional development, from attending annual conferences around Digital Addiction Treatment Methods to gaining certifications in the treatment of the most prevalent mental health disorders that co-occur (e.g. Social Phobia/Social Anxiety, Major Depressive Disorder, ADHD, etc).

My professional network is always growing, allowing me unique opportunities to participate in innovative research initiatives around the world, find free/low-cost supplemental resources for my clients and maintain awareness of the newest evidence-based practices being used by the world's leading experts.

While the below is a general overview of what to expect, each situation, family and client are unique.  As a result of these unique needs, I am a major proponent of making individualized treatment plans for every new client rather than using a 'cookie-cutter' approach. 

The First Session

Upon meeting for the first time, we will review any questions or concerns, legal and confidentiality rules and documentation along with the Informed Consent.  This will include addressing any financial or scheduling concerns. The starting process of treatment is known as the Assessment.   This phase includes the following and often is completed within 2 sessions, after which point the treatment itself will begin.

A unique assessment process using the latest tools, questionnaires and a proprietary methodology which determines:

  • Technology use history, patterns, abuse/addiction chronology, origins and more. 

  • Co-Occurring Mental Health Signs and Symptoms:​

    • Questionnaires such as the ​

      • Beck's Anxiety Inventory

      • Problematic Online Gaming Questionnaire

      • Functioning in various life domains such as School, Social, Family, Self-Care and more.

  • Parental/caregiver interviews, as well as with the family as a whole ​

  • ​A specialized set of 'homework' is assigned that furthers the depth, scope, and accuracy of the assessment:

    • To the parent/caregiver(s)​

    • To the patient

    • To the family

Treatment

As a result of the unique and complex nature of Technology Addictions, treatment must be consistent, thorough and have significant parent/caregiver involvement. The below is a general overview of the first 2 out of 3 phases and in no way is reflective of the entire process.

Phase 1 Includes: Developing foundational skills in areas such as self-regulation, communication, and self-care (exercise, sleep, hygiene & eating habits) ; raising awareness of negative behavioral, emotional and cognitive patterns. Exploring identity, values and motivators.  This phase includes minimal parent/caregiver involvement at first, increasing towards the end as the client begins to incorporate the aforementioned skills, subsequent emotional/cognitive improvements and positive lifestyle changes.

Phase 2 Includes: A well-structured, gradual, systematic behavior modification process both in and out of the home. A slow decrease in electronic use coupled with an increase in healthy replacement behaviors.

 

 

Phase 2 also involves guiding parent(s)/caregiver(s) in making significant changes to household rules and expectations in a collaborative and appropriate manner. In addition to such treatment, other areas addressed include social, familial, academic and continued identity/self-esteem development.