157 – Lessons I’ve Learned Pushing OT Into The Digital World
Absolutely honoured to be asked to deliver the keynote for the Wisconsin OT Association virtual conference. This is that presentation as well as the Q&A at the end of it for your consumption.
Look after yourself, look after others, and always keep Occupied
Brock Cook 0:00
Hi, and welcome to another episode I got asked, and still can’t believe that I got asked to give the keynote presentation at the Wisconsin State ot conference a couple of weeks ago. And they asked me to give some lessons that I’ve learned in Korea that has involved a lot of empowering OTS to use online technology and an online space. So this is the presentation that I gave you guys also get the discussion towards the end of it, as well as the actual PowerPoint from the presentation and everything. So you’ll have everything as if you were there. So I hope you get something out of it. I hope you enjoy it. Please do let me know either way. And let’s roll it. Welcome to occupy plus the Patreon exclusive podcast for those supporters looking to inject some extra value into their practice. Thank you for your support, and enjoy.
Good morning and welcome to our 2021 Virtual World Conference. My name is Laura souls today and I am the VP of professional development in honor to kick off a two day agenda of expert speakers to set the tone and celebration of our professions. 100 years of resilience. today’s keynote speaker comes to us all the way from Australia. Brock Cook is a seasoned occupational therapist with experience in working in acute mental health rehabilitation, delivering his expertise through innovating, approaches of podcasts and webinars. Currently, Brock is an associate lecturer for James Cook University, and will be presenting on the topics of lessons I’ve learned pushing ot into a digital world. Welcome, Brock.
Brock Cook 1:59
Thank you very much very kind. Just give me one second while I work this shared screen thingamajigger me out. There we go. Hopefully people can see that. Cool. So yeah, hi, thank you for asking me to come and speak to you today. I’m flattered, honored. And hopefully, I can bring something that is of interest to a range of people I was asked to I’ve been involved in this world of OT and how its uses online technologies and social medias and that kind of thing for a very long time now. So I’m gonna go through a bit of my history with, I guess, technology in general, and how that led me into that space of being able to try and adapt it and use it for how I’ve used it within OT. And I’m hoping at the end, if we can, if there’s questions, and I’m very much more of an interactive kind of person than just me speak to people through a screen kind of person. So I’d like to field some questions and try and explore I guess the future where to from here in that sort of question time towards the end of it, if we can so. So if I press the right button, that’ll help. So having a look at my technological journey, so that not there we go. All right, I’ll just do it this way. Sorry. where it started. So I was born in 1985. I my family we got our very first home computer. So one thing I will preface because I know this people have a whole wide range of ages in this room is I am of the generation that saw the start of pretty much all of the internet, that type of thing. So I remember a time before the internet, I remember a time before social media. And I was here when all of them started so I was kind of on the ground level learning all these things as they developed, which I think put me in a good position to start supporting other people and therapists to to actually use them and how to use them safely and effectively. So it started in 1990 When my my family bought the very first computer I remember dad bringing it home and it was absolutely enormous came in boxes that I don’t even think I could fit in my car nowadays. It was heavy. I was five at the time. I remember it not having a clue what it was other than it looked like a big TV with another box under it. It cost a fortune. So back then I actually looked this up. The, it cost us about two and a half $1,000 Australian. Back then which equivalent today was over five grand, which is a very expensive computer had a whopping 12 megahertz processor, VGA screen and 40 megabyte hard drive. Which, if you know much about computers, it did make me laugh because my iPhone, which I have sitting right here in front of me, is 9,000% faster than that computer has more than 10 times the screen resolution and six and a half 1000 times more storage and cost a fraction of the amount. So we’ve come a long way since 1990. But this is where it began. So I learned the very basics of how a computer works and the different parts of it. And for me as a kid, I was the kid that liked to pull things apart and put them back together, which I don’t know how my parents felt about that all the time. But I was very sort of enamored with this computer and how it worked. And I’d never seen anything like it. Fast forward a few years. So around 1996, we got our first internet connection, it was dial up many people probably remember the the weird dial up noise that used to make and you couldn’t make phone calls while you were using it. That kind of thing. A whopping 56 kilobytes a second of internet, which is an I did this test yesterday is 5,000% slower than my internet that I’m currently talking to you on. So again, another leap forward in the last 25 years.
But where it started to make a bit more sense about what we could actually do with this technology, for me anyway, was the birth of social media. Now MySpace wasn’t the first social media it was, I think it was the second but it was definitely the largest and most, I guess, key to shaping what the internet was going to look like. So 2013 or 2003, sorry, which was the year before I started my ot degree, my undergrad, I joined this weird website called MySpace on the recommendation of a friend of mine. And sort of start didn’t really know what to do with it. But then slowly realized that there were developing communities and you could connect with other people. And I actually that I still to this day have a friend that I met through MySpace, all those many moons ago. But it was the beginning of what we look at as web 2.0. So Web 2.0, if you haven’t heard of that term, was the shift in internet websites and tools online to be more interactive. So all of your social medias, like versions of web 2.0. Back in the day, we used to have forums and messengers, like I CQ, and AOL that kind of stuff. Before that, when the internet was really a place that you just went to get information. So look up a website, you go to that website, you find the information you need. And that was pretty much it. It was very one way traffic, web 2.0 allowed for configuration and interaction with the content on the web. So this is where things like wikis were born, where you could actually create content and put yourself out there without having to know like coding languages. MySpace, what MySpace did that was unique to everything else on the web was it allowed you to configure your own little space, so you’d actually have your own room or last one sort of felt like you had your own space, you can make your page look like what you want. You could put your top five, like songs that you were currently into on there, you could highlight who your best friends were and prioritize them into groups and all sorts of stuff. You could configure the colors on the page, what pictures you wanted to share on the page. It was the first really easily accessible and free space on the internet that people could configure to make their own. And that’s a really powerful that’s one of the reasons why it was so big, why it was so massive. The origins of it were very much trying to replicate our social interactions that we were having in person. So back in that day I was probably your typical teenager, before MySpace came out posters on the wall of cars and all that sort of stuff, and bookshelves full of magazines of, you know, rock music and rap music, and probably not a lot of highly what would be deemed highly educational content. But that’s the kind of personalization that kids in my era or in my area where I lived, just what you did with your space, it was a way to personalize your space. And my space offered you that in a virtual forum. The chats were all private, it was like messaging. Same as if you were having a one on one conversation with people. The music would be a few like recommending it. Like these are my favorite songs. Everyone at school knew who whose favorite songs were what it was very much replicating. In life interactions there was at this stage, and I’ll get to this a bit later, there was no algorithm that was changing anything, if you posted something, everyone in your list could see it, all of your friends, etc. It was very basic, in a way. So when did ot come into this, obviously, all that up until that point, it happened before I even started my degree, started my IT degree in 2004. During that time, we had the lovely Facebook, enter the realm
and swallow was I had the time period during my undergrad. So we did a four year undergrad here in Australia. So I have a Bachelor of occupational therapy. I was using all of these social medias and tools. I hadn’t heard of anyone using it for any professional purpose. It was literally as it says on the box, it was just a social media. So you connect with your friends. So I kind of had three or four years with these tools to just play with them, I guess and learn what they could do and learn who you connect with and how they worked and their positives and negatives and all that sort of stuff. So I graduated at the end of 2008. So started working to those nine. And in 2010 is the earliest time I’ve been able to find of, I guess, a professional purpose, particularly for Facebook. So around 2010, there was I think it was the world the Prophet conference in 2010, there was a group of ladies that had all had similar ideas around trying to find a way to use these tools in a professional purpose mainly for CPD for clinicians. They got together and they started ot 480, which at the time was online technology for OT and just a group of women who started a Facebook group. It was open to anyone, anyone could join, ask questions, interact, network, etc. But on top of that, they also started what they what at the time was called the OT 24. Exchange, I think it wasn’t originally and then it got changed to the VX. So every year on world ot day, which is 25th of October, a couple of days time, they would do a 24 hour conference, a virtual conference similar to what we’re doing here. So every hour on the hour for 24 hours. These women were from all over the world. There’s couple from Australia, one from Australia, one from New Zealand couple from the UK, a couple from America, your own Karen Jacobs was was part of that group. They would organize this conference get invited speakers every hour on the hour for 24 hours. And it would run those presentations would be recorded. It was completely free. People could come and go to whichever whichever sessions they wanted, they could watch the recordings afterwards, etc. That was one of the very end that all stemmed from this group that they set up. I got involved with them the following year. So 2011 seen the conference in 2010. Attended again in 2011. And then I at the time, there was this Facebook group, the OT for ot group, and I had this idea that maybe we could expand that because like online technology for it. That’s cool. But I only knew a handful of OTS that were even remotely interested in online technology. But what I did know was a lot of OTS that were interested in mental health, which is where I was working. So I pitched to the ladies to start or to let me start a satellite group. So I started a Mental Health Forum Tea group. And that was the start of, I guess, this period of time where different OTS started engaging with Facebook and are some of them were there to start their own satellite groups, I think there’s about 50 of them now. And some of them were there to engage with the groups that were based on their interest area, whether it was assistive technology or learning disorders, or there’s an oncology one, there’s obviously the original it for 80 MH for at the mental health one that I started. And as a moderator of that group, I treated it like, kind of like a breakout room at a conference, I guess, where I would pose questions and facilitate conversations and people would share resources, too, my goal was to one get people to network, you meet people from all over the world, this was a unique opportunity that we’d never really had before. Because we didn’t have the tools for it. It was also to get people to learn. My experience in mental health was that it seemed at that point in time seemed very disjointed in the knowledge that clinicians actually had. There wasn’t any sort of consistency even around what an OT his role was in mental health. Now, I know, I will preface that. Mental health is a fairly prevalent practice area in Australia. I know it’s not quite as prevalent for a variety of reasons in the States. But it’s quite common over here, I’d say probably 30, to maybe even higher percentage of our all of our OTS work in mental health.
But there still wasn’t sort of any consistency. So my, one of my goals with that group was to try and wrangle some of that in around that same time. Twitter was was starting, I think, because of some of the stuff that I highlighted earlier around. Me being around when you know, home PCs became a thing being around when the internet started being around when social media started, I was always had this sort of like, how does it work mentality. And I, again, that probably stemmed from me being a kid that like to pull things apart and see how they worked. So when Twitter started, I was on it. I’m pretty sure my Twitter account is like 16 years old now or something. It tells me every now and then, but initially, it I couldn’t see any sort of way to use it. for professional purposes, a group of ladies in the UK did find a way however, so they started having a weekly, initially CPD chat for an hour using the hashtag Oh talk ot talk, depending on how you pronounce it, where they would have an invited guest on a certain topic who would come in and facilitate discussion around whoever wanted to join via that hashtag. And they would do that for an hour each week. That then stems or I guess a US version was born from that, which is the ote talk to us, us. Your own Tina champagne was involved in starting that one back in the day, that would have been 2013 ish, it was very quite a while ago. And that was auto successful. They used to do it monthly. And then every week during April, which I believe is your ot month. And the other big professional purpose for Twitter was live conference tweeting. They’re even now it’s probably still the biggest use of it within OT, which I’ve never been able to work out exactly why because the number of people that I know that have a Twitter account and will only ever use it whenever they’re at a conference fascinates me. But when it first started, it was really interesting to me to be able to obviously I’m on the other side of the world. If you can’t tell by the accent, to be able to engage in like your conference, your national conference with the people that are actually there and be able to interact with them live. While talks are happening while keynotes are happening. Them tweeting out content or their thoughts or their reflections about it. People outside the conference from all around the world being able to also engage with that content. It made for a really connected feeling profession in that online space. Some of the stuff from that I as I said earlier, like started, I did a lot of workshops with people ran a lot of webinars, essentially COURAGING people to engage in these. First, these online facilities that were already started the groups, the discussions, the online conferences, etc. The early focus back then the main concern for most people was about privacy. A lot of people wondering whether they needed to start up a separate account for all of their ot staff and then keep that separate from their privacy staff back then privacy settings were non existent. So it probably wasn’t a bad idea. The interesting thing on reflection, too, was that each of those different platforms had a very different community on it. So OTS that were you on engaging really heavily in the Facebook community weren’t necessarily using Twitter weren’t necessarily using back then Pinterest was a big thing as well. They weren’t necessarily using any other platforms, everyone kind of stuck to their own thing. So it was back then we were encouraging people to like, if you want to engage in a wider breadth of community, try these different platforms, a lot of these platforms back then when you to people so it was a matter of try it, you might like it, see how you go engage with the community, if it’s your community, that sweet, look what you found them, you can utilize their, their knowledge. And if not, then you just close your account or don’t use it completely up to you. But it was very different. And the reason it was very different was each platform was designed very uniquely. And I remember
something that really highlighted this was this is the real, tech geeky person in me, I was reading a book by the founder of Twitter, who explained that Facebook, their key question back in the day used to pop up in the little share status thing was What are you? What are you doing? Or know how are you? How are you feeling? How are you doing or something? Whereas Twitter was, what are you doing? Like just that simple reframe, completely shifted the whole focus of the platform. So there are very separate, whereas nowadays, every platform seems to be pirating things from every platform, you can use? Well, Instagram seems to be just collecting everything. So you can do stories, you can essentially do tick tock, you can essentially do Snapchat, you can essentially do what Facebook does all of this on Instagram, Facebook now has stories as well. Yeah, the trying each platform isn’t trying to be unique. They’re trying to garner market share. So it’s very different to it was back in the day. So the community often overlaps nowadays, because you can get the same thing from multiple platforms. The most common purpose for the online stuff back then CPD, and networking. So people are looking to learn people looking to find resources, people looking to network with people in other parts of the world. Where are we equipped? So one of the questions from that, like the next I guess, trying to think about where to from there was were we as OTS actually equipped to support the people that we worked with, in using these tools? I actually posted this out to my Instagram account this week or yesterday. And the response was interesting, because a lot of people thought majority of people, I think 70% of people thought, Yes, we are completely equipped to do that. But then when I asked a simple question like how do you safely use social media of the 500, and whatever people that viewed that particular thing, I got one answer. So I think our default reaction needs to have a look at there. But anyway, that’s a completely another story. So were we equipped, I personally didn’t think we were a lot of 80s Even now, lack tech, tech literacy, and lack tech literacy from a point of view, even if you use some of these things in a personal capacity, might lack some tech literacy on terms of how to educate people on safe use, or sustainable use, etc. We’ll have a look at that in a bit to the next evolution of this usage, sort of that 2014 up to 2019 period was, I guess the a large period of growth for that web 2.0 portion of it in that what we found is that people stopped using it just to get information. And we saw a boom and absolute boom in content creators which is one place where I sort of shifted my interest as I started my podcast in 2018, as did Sarah, who I believe was in the audience here. But you’ll hear from her a bit later in the conference too. So you saw a whole range of different reasons that people started using these platforms, people were still using for CPD, they were still using them for networking. But I’ve seen a lot of people around this period start to use it looking for productivity and workflow, I guess guidance. So trying to use technology to improve their workflow or increase their workflow, especially with the implementation of things like iPads, in the workplaces, people were trying to work out how this how can this help me be a better or more efficient therapist? How can this help me get my work done better, etc. For the first time, during this period, we actually saw or I saw on mass, OTs looking to try and find apps and tools and platforms that they could use with clients not just for themselves and for their own benefit. So that was probably the biggest shift in the OT within an online world was that shift of, okay, I’ve got all these tools now, how would I be able to use these with my clients, and not just for growing myself or learning myself, etc. And as I said before, the there was also a premium content creators during this period.
Then the world ended. So as we all know, some of us are still, some of us may still be in the throes of what happened at the start of last year, some of us are faring better than others. But we’re all aware that last year, a rather large change happened, which had not all negatives, especially when it came to digital literacy for our profession, if I am honest, and a lot of it was born of necessity, a lot of people were forced into this online space, and it was a matter of getting in the deep end and learning how to swim. So I have a look at that, just quickly. So when we’re looking at, look at this in a very odd way, we’re gonna look at the PA. So when we look at the environment, our homes, the least for an initial period, some much longer than others, our homes became absolutely everything. In our environment, we didn’t have many environmental changes throughout our days throughout our weeks. Because everything we did started happening from home, at least for our period, zoom, the program that we are using now increased by 2,900%. In six months of 2020, that was from January to June 2,900% of our home became our place of work, our place of leisure, relaxation, learning social connection, literally everything we did, we had to adjust and find a way to do that, engage with that and fill those needs from this environment, which previously may have just served as a purpose to sleep and eat. For some people. Like I said before, this occupational disruption lasted at sort of minimum a few weeks maximum, it might still be going for some people. But there was also a genuine recognition through from the a lot of the therapists that I saw and interacted with online, there was a genuine recognition that this was impacting our clients and their engagement with the world as well as our own for the first time I saw a lot of therapists recognize that us as well as their clients were in this together and not just that sort of client patient separation type relationship.
When we’re looking at person, so CDC reported that there was a 400% increase in persons reporting anxiety or depression symptoms between January 2020 Compared to all of 2019 which is a huge increase. The interesting thing, which I haven’t put in here for a mental health perspective, if anyone has mental health interest is that didn’t correlate to an interest. Sorry, an increase in suicide, which was kind of fascinating. Digital literacy was, again, we were thrown into it we’ll put to the test overnight was sink or swim Whether some people could continue working or not, was up to how quickly they could learn how to use these tools. Parents with some of you can probably relate to this parents became teachers to students in online environments, quite often instantly overnight, which is a very different role than some people had been used to. So you weren’t just trying to navigate these waters for yourself, but often for other people as well. This is the first time in my career that I’d ever seen mental health really put as a frontline topic. And I’ll, I bring that up for a very deliberate purpose. And I’ll get to that again, in a in a little sec, I’ll make that connection. But it was interesting to see that all of a sudden, it took some event like this, in order for us to actually recognize that we all have mental health. And we should all look after finding ways to do that. Some of this technology maybe can help us maybe it was having the opposite effect. And our use of social media because of this forced if evolution definitely changed. On terms of occupation, we had to change how we worked, we had to change how we socialized, we had to change how we engage in our hobbies, maybe we actually had to change our hobbies, if we couldn’t access them from different environments. socialization, I ran a number of throughout the initial lockdown, which was when I was mostly impacted. So around March ish last year, for probably couple months. I ran a number of sessions on zoom on a Friday afternoon, where I got 30 to 40 OTS together for people that I’ve met online. And we got together and just talked and maybe had a couple of adult beverages. But that was a way of just trying to check in with people and making sure people were right. And something that obviously not a very usual method of socializing. But we use the tools that we had access to which zoom was definitely a tool that got used, as I highlighted before, we used it to fill those gaps.
We saw two distinct growth areas with this. So therapists using technology to engage clinically with their clients, a lot of people were thrown into telehealth or finding other methods to reduce physical contact with clients. And using technology and a lot of instances for that. And we also saw therapists engaging in professional networks for learning and for a lot more for support. Then then learning during that period, I want to highlight a couple of these for you. So there’s a couple of people, again, full disclosure, these are friends of mine, ran and Chris, who’s really one of the ladies in that picture on the left, pivoted her business and started supporting OCS to actually make that transition into the online world. She made the she held events like this ot telehealth Summit, where again, similar to this kind of conference where it was a online speakers that were specifically targeted at different aspects of pivoting people’s businesses on to telehealth so that people could adjust and keep making a living. Throughout that same time period, Laura on the right there, started her business DuraTrac, which essentially she developed an app that clients and clinicians could connect over and share. It’s mainly designed initially for like pediatric clients where there might have been some exercises or activities that the therapist one of the parents to support the child with after like outside of therapy. But the therapist could interact with them through the app, change the program, adjust the program accordingly. That kind of thing. So that’s another way like she pivoted she’s found a niche using online technology and creating online technology to support clinicians, alternative creators. We saw our wins or at Mary I’m sure most of you probably may have heard of it. Marie is a of probably the biggest ot content creator on YouTube. It’s as far as I’m concerned, still a very untapped resource if anyone out there listening designs or has an interest in making videos, that might be an idea for you. And also, we saw a boom in podcasts. Obviously, that’s my shameless plug 2018 When I started occupied and when Sarah started ot for life, I think there was maybe three podcasts when I first started occupied 2020, we saw a massive increase in that, particularly from students, students have a real interest in the use of this technology. And I saw a lot of student led podcasts out there to try and consolidate their own learnings. I, a lot of them were learning from home, as a lot of my students where I’m working in education now. And my students, I was teaching them all online. And it was almost this tool, this all created, the use of this tool created a podcast in order to consolidate their learning like a study group, but using an online technology. And I found that really fascinating because it wasn’t something that I had spoken to a few of them, it wasn’t something that they were like, directed to do. It was almost this natural, like, Okay, what tools of regard? How can we make sure that we’re getting the most out of our learning, because we’re not obviously, if you’ve never learned in an online environment, I can tell you, it’s generally not usually as free and easy as an in person environment, especially when it comes to engagement. So they were wanting more, so they created it, which was amazing. 2021, we’ve seen that trend continue. But we’ve seen a lot more therapists, I feel get into the podcasting space. But we’re seeing a lot more podcasts from a variety of countries, which is amazing. There’s podcasts now from South Africa from India. Previously, it was pretty much I think I was the only one from Australia, I think I may still be I’m not 100%. Sure, as a couple now, majority of them are from the States. And there’s a few from the UK. But we’ve seen a lot more breadth of podcasts, from OTS all over the world, which for me is amazing because you get a wider variety of experiences a wider variety of perspectives. And it’s a valuable valuable learning tool. I’m very much a person that learns from experience, and or hearing people’s stories. I’m a narrative learner.
So one thing I would encourage people is it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns, there is not it not every aspect of this is a positive one, I personally have experienced the other side of it as well. It’s important that we look at both sides of a coin. Social media nowadays, I spoke about earlier how originally social media was very simple. It was just designed to replicate real life interactions. Social media nowadays is a commodity, it is a business and your attention is the commodity. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’m not saying you have to shut down all your accounts and go back to lighting kerosene lamps and living in the woods. But being aware of what the social media platform wants you to do, compared to what you want to do with it is an important self awareness to have when using these things. As with anything that we do, whether it’s learning a new skill, or playing a sport, like informed decision making is a really key thing. And I think being aware that some of these social media platforms, their whole goal is to get you to stay on the platform and engage on the platform. And they have these algorithms that essentially will show your content to whoever they want to show it to unless you play the game unless you engage with their platform more and give them more of your attention is an important component to actually look at, especially if you’re looking at safely educating people that you work with around this. I didn’t. Yeah, I was. There’s a lot of research around social media addiction in air quotes, being a genuine medical diagnoseable condition, displaying similar traits and similar brain chemistry to gambling, addiction, drugs, any kind of addictive behavior. So if you’re working with someone who has a tendency to lean towards those sort of addictive behaviors, especially knowing that can have an impact on how and the kinds of things that you’re going to be educating them on. With regards to safe use and sustainable use of these platforms, it seems harmless, but it can do a lot of damage if if it’s not yours, right, same as anything. Just realized the time. So I’m like rushing through takeaways, key points. And I want to go in a bit of detail where we might leave it for questions on this, but essentially ever a lot changed in 30 years, and it’s not slowing down, things are going to change rapidly, not just with the tech. But if you know, world events like this may happen again, it’s gonna force us to be adaptable. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with being adaptable. I’ve often looked at adaptability type training with my clients when I’ve been working with them. It’s not always the person who’s the strongest who survives, it’s generally the most adaptable. So being adaptable isn’t a bad thing. And I think it’s something that OTS definitely need to improve on. Because I, as much as we like to pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves, we’re amazing, there are a lot of things that we can improve on as a profession. That is one of them. occupations and occupational performance evolves with these changes, whether the changes in the platform, the changes in the environment, or the changes in the people see what I did, they’re funny that all of this stuff is very OT and I think, if nothing else, this pandemic has highlighted the importance of this profession. But that is a side note. Creativity is one thing I didn’t go into in a huge amount in this presentation, but it is one of the big reasons I feel like people actually start going down the realm of content creation. And I firmly encourage it, I have a lot of opinions and theories around creativity and the benefit that can be taken from creative occupations for the people that are engaging in.
Self awareness, as I just explained, really, really important. And the the biggest tip I can give anyone is to explore these things with genuine curiosity. And don’t just take things on face value, explore how they work, pull it apart, see how it works, see how it can work for you see how it can work for your clients. But be aware of all aspects of it, don’t just cherry pick the positives. Because it’s important that we’re making informed life decisions. And unfortunately, that includes looking at the not so positive stuff as well. Overall, I feel like the profession is growing rapidly. It wasn’t an early adopter to this technology. But I feel like it’s finally finding its feet with it. And I feel like we’re finding some really innovative ways to improve the profession overall. I didn’t go into like, advocacy and all of that sort of stuff, which is a massive part of especially the podcast landscape. Definitely go and check. I know Sarah is talking about that Sarah pipe is talking about that. Later on in the conference, maybe tomorrow. Definitely go along and check out her presentation. For that information. I am very keen to hear that if I’m able to as well. So I’ll stop talking now because I realize I’m running out of time. But I really would like to have some questions or discussion or ideas or queries, complaints. Anything from anyone? I am open to any feedback or ideas, discussions, anything at all, either chat or actually, I’ll might say that I’ll let whoever’s moderating say whether it can be chat or
Thank you Brad. Yes, the chat room is open. Please put in your comments your questions. Anything that you might have for Brian to elaborate on his presentation Oh,
Brock Cook 44:15
hold that thought I realize what’s happening. Someone might be speaking but my zoom settings have changed and ah try that I might be able to actually hear you now. Oh, no, not that one. All right, hold that thought I was oh, what time it is. It is three minutes to midnight. Hold that thought because my bigger isn’t working.
Quite as my speaker Brock, they’re beginning to thank you for reaching out to us so late in your day or morning or where you are on your side of the world.
Brock Cook 44:57
Alright, sorry about that. Ah, it’s okay. Uh, one thing you do get used to regards to when you’re doing podcasting is being up at all hours, a lot of the guests and that kind of stuff that I do talk to are quite often in the state. So I’m and I’m not an early morning person say staying up past midnight is usually pretty pretty alright for me.
I would like to share with everyone that Brock information will be provided with his contact as well. We do have one from Laura Nagel, her question for you, Brock is what is your favorite tech related therapy tool or game?
Brock Cook 45:48
As in for professional purposes, or just for me,
I think it’s professional, but you can answer it.
Brock Cook 45:58
I’m not. Well, actually, that’s a lie. Because I’m not big into games. But the pandemic, I kind of go to the games, but that was alternative therapy wise, I liked it. I liked the basics. I feel like a lot of the and this isn’t just tech related. I feel like a lot of stuff that OTS do isn’t sustainable, because we’re putting in these things that most people don’t have access to at home. What I like to do is, if people have access to say, a smartphone, which a lot of people do nowadays, even things like teaching them how to use the calendar app, teaching them how to use reminders, how to set alarms, use the timers, all of the tools that they have ready access to, that can integrate into their lives into their routines, etc. To improve their occupational performance or help them remember things, get them to appointments, that kind of stuff. I feel like that real basic level stuff is usually the key stuff where I start focusing. But then if there’s any specific needs that the person comes up with, throughout the thing, like I’ve used, so for sensory modulation. Spotify is brilliant for that, or Apple Music, any kind of streaming service where we all know that you can listen to different kinds of music to adjust your mood. And actually having pretty much all music on tap, at any point in time is a really valuable tool to have when you’re working with someone and you don’t have to carry around 1000 CDs, just in case. So tools like that just the real basic things, and being able to implement them for therapeutic purposes is what I usually promote to therapists.
Thank you. We have another question from Holly and she’s asking what does a typical day look like in your mental health setting.
Brock Cook 47:58
I’m actually a lecturer now. But back in the day, I don’t know if that is a typical day every day is kind of difficult, difficult, different Freudian slip. What you will find is it depends where you’re working in an acute setting. So in like a mental health hospital, you’re generally going to check the wards who has been admitted, go and have a conversation with them, see if there’s any needs, that you might be able to support them in. Like filling during that period, anything that you can help with to make their discharge sustainable, and improve things on the outside. And for when they do get discharged. The job I was in before I went into academia, I was in Community Mental Health intensive rehab. Essentially what that means is we would carry a really low caseload. So generally, sort of five to eight people. And we would see them into they were living at home, we would see them in home pretty much as often as they required. So some people I would have on my caseload would need intensive support. So I was seeing them every day, twice a day sometimes. And then the idea was that we were supporting them to be able to maintain lives sustainably, manage their own lives, that sort of thing. And gradually, essentially win them off our service so that we could step back or discharge them to a different team that didn’t have or like they could see them once a fortnight or once a week that they need our intensive support. So, but those days, you know, you might schedule a couple of home visits, but what you actually do on those home visits can be very individual to to the person so there’s not really a typical day. Unfortunately, that’s always been a tricky question for me to answer.
Matt is asking, Are there any great mental health tool available through a smartphone that you recommend? Your clients,
Brock Cook 50:03
the I have to have a double check, there used to be a few. The main ones I use, even nowadays, kind of your mindfulness type apps. Many people probably heard of apps like calm, obviously calm can be quite expensive. If you’re going to pay for the premium version, there was one called Headspace that I don’t again, I haven’t used it in a little while, but used to be able to get like a 10, free meditation sessions through the headspace app. So I used to recommend that to my clients, because that would just generic session. So yeah, it was 10 sessions, but they could just cycle them for 10. And start again, start from number one. And they always found that very useful. There’s some obviously, actually third track, which I mentioned before, I haven’t technically use their track. But like I’ve interviewed Laura, and I’ve had a look through it, I could see it being of huge value to the right, clinician, depending on how you work and what your workflow is. But I can definitely I have talked with her about including some mental health content into the app, which is completely open to. But then again, like, again, like I was saying before, just the basic stuff, stuff like Spotify apps, I’ve used the calendar as a mood diary. So they can just, you know, put a little note in the calendar or in the reminders or just even in the Notes app, as a mood diary. There are so there used to be some like actual mood diary apps, but I never found them to be like exactly what I wanted, or exactly what the client wanted or was easy to use. I’ve always worked on the theory that simplest is best. So
Mariana is asking, I would like to use more apps. But I find that there’s so many it’s hard to know what’s available, and how best to use it. Do you have any recommendations for learning what’s out there?
Brock Cook 52:06
Yeah, that that’s always been an issue. I’ve back in the day, I’ve written some stuff. I’ve read something for a US Publication with Tina champagne one time about a whole range of different apps, I guess kinda like touch parking. I used to just download them, check them out myself. See what I like to see what I didn’t. It’s not the most efficient of methods. But I’ve not found if anyone was really keen and wanted to make like a repository of information about our like therapeutic apps, that would be amazing. It may exist. I don’t know, I haven’t checked. But yeah, I I’m very much a hands on learner. So I used to get the app tested out. I’m also a person that doesn’t believe in recommending anything to my clients that I haven’t tried myself. So it kind of killed two birds with one stone. But by doing it that way, even though it was a lot of time and effort.
Let’s wrap up with one more question. This is from Philip, how do you keep an eye on your own mental health? Why working in a sometimes challenging mental health setting, especially during these trying times of a pandemic?
Brock Cook 53:15
That is an excellent question. And I’d love to say that I was amazing at it. But that would be a lie. I think I’ve had my own mental health issues with depression. Those of you if you’ve ever listened the podcast, I’ve done an episode about explaining my situation. It’s one of those things where I don’t feel like I was amazing at it. But with each time something happens on reflection, reflection is a really powerful tool. Being able to pick up triggers or being able to pick up things that really affect you is a really important thing. Also having a really good support system. I’ve got an amazing support system now that I know I can call on wherever I need. I was having a conversation with a really good friend today about something that I’d been reflecting on with regards to my mental health and made a few like sort of breakthrough connections with Hey, when this happens, it kind of affects me like this. So I think being open and honest having those conversations with your support network, being able to reflect and the benefit of the reflection as well is you don’t end up just stuck in a loop repeating the same problem and triggering yourself and setting yourself off again and again and again. The basics again, though basics, healthy lifestyle. Get outside get some sun, read a book that is completely unrelated to work if work is the thing that’s triggering you trying to work out what is stressing you what is impacting your mental health can take a long time. Depending on you know what’s going on in your life, obviously Everyone’s got a lot going on. But I also think being just a little bit kind to yourself, like you mentioned, these are difficult times, and even if things are floating on air, and you’re 10, out of 10, at the moment, just really the fact that you’re living in a world that is going through a lot right now, and there’s a lot of tension, whether it’s political, or whatever else it is, whatever the reason is that this sort of these global or national tensions, that’s gonna have an impact for me, knowing that, taking a break from actually looking at the news, really valuable tool for me. I personally have had breaks from things like social media, essentially, to distance myself from being out from having to take on, you know, everything that’s going on in the world at the moment. That’s the thing that I found works for me. And it’s, it’s gonna be a matter of experimenting, I guess in a lot of ways and finding a handful of things. Let’s say five things that work for you, someone’s preventative, some as when you’re already feeling a bit down are a bit burnt out that you can do to sort of pep yourself back up or help yourself recover a bit. So yeah, there’s no A plus B equals C kind of answer for it. But a lot of it is common sense is find out what’s essentially hurting you and either avoid it or you have it in moderation so that you can cope with it better, basically.
Thank you, Brock, we’re going to go ahead and wrap up. But thank you so much we value you and the input that you have provided us today. Very honored to have you with our virtual conference this year. So thank you so much.
Brock Cook 56:54
Firstly, I want you to know that your support with this project is massively appreciated. I’d love to hear, drop me an email or DM on the socials and talk to me about how I can add even more value for you. If you know any other OTS who also get value from occupied or occupied last let them know and send them occupied podcast.com And remember, keep occupied