The Mental Health Professional and the New Technologies: A Handbook for Practice Today

By Marlene M. Maheu; Myron L. Puller et al. | Go to book overview

15
The Distant Future

This last chapter projects somewhat farther into the future. Consider the following vignette:

Paddock, the toadlike Personal Digital Familiar1(PDF), would not give up: “Good morning, glory. Up, up, up. Rise and shine. It's Saturday. All day. Remember your promise. It's show time. ”

Laurie loved a little teasing, but this was too much, especially because the machine was right. The night before, Laurie had told Paddock that in the morning, she was going to inquire about therapy. Laurie fumbled for her polarizing contact lenses in the container next to her bed.

Paddock restarted the streaming video from the point at which it had paused when Laurie fell asleep. “Okay, Paddock, you win, ” Laurie grumbled to her PDF. “Ditch the Harold and Maude and hold any phone calls. I'll call a psychotherapist for my depression. ”

As Laurie was splashing water on her face, the PDF erased the picture over Laurie's bed showing Abu Ammar with his third Nobel Peace Prize and replaced it with an annotated list of clinicians who were connected with Laurie's insurance plan and who had special expertise in treating depression through psychotechnologies. “There, ” said Paddock as Laurie returned to the bedroom, “enjoy. ”

Three names were marked as especially favored by Laurie's primary care physician. She wondered whether those people were Dr. Jelabi's golf cronies. She scanned through the blurbs, finally pointing her finger at the picture of Dr. Wright, a psychologist. “Let's try that one. ”

When Paddock had connected with Dr. Wright's office, the lights in Laurie's messy bedroom dimmed, and the images covering the walls transformed it into a cozy threedimensional virtual office. “And now I bring you a special presentation imaginatively entitled ‘For Any Potential New Client, ’ meaning you, ” said Paddock, grandly. Laurie saw an ordinary-looking man comfortably seated in an easy chair. He gave the impression of being too 20th century and too educated for Laurie, but he did not appear to be nerdy or pompous. His eyes were sincere, and he had a likable smile. Dr. Wright spoke in a soft voice for several minutes, comprehensively answering many of the questions a new patient might have about starting treatment. Laurie was amused when Dr. Wright mentioned

____________________
1
A familiar is a spirit, usually in the form of an animal, dedicated to helping or guarding a particular person. Paddock is the name of a familiar who calls from offstage in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

-405-

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