Brett Kelly (who is offering a 10% discount on his Evernote Essentials ebook to the readers of my blog [coupon code: SOCIALWORK]) is a very intelligent guy who has inspired the way I keep control of the awesome ideas I come up with.
He got me into Field Notes Brand, of which I have a collection of mini notebooks.
I bring up Field Notes because they have been good to me and this is a low-tech way for me to cope with a technology problem I have been having…
Read More about note-taking via traditional methods versus on iPad after the jump!
Psychotherapy Note Taking
Logging session therapy notes has been hectic for me on my iPad. As previously mentioned on my video, it is very distracting to have the turned-on iPad on my lap, bright screen flashing on my brown face, and halfway paying attention to my client as I try to finger my way into coherent sentences on my iPad. My $700+ device is very useless in taking therapy sesssion notes.
iPad Apps I have Tried
GoodReader (#OfficialIggyEndorsement) is a very excellent application where one can store different types of files for easy access. It’s a very good file management application and the best PDF annotator. The image below shows the freehand ability to annotate a PDF.
Things didn’t work out because of the way my handwriting comes out (sloppy) and still, the distracting element of entering data into the pad.
Bento (no link = no endorsement) is a fairly decent application that is focused on database application. Typing on the iPad is not a magical experience.
Penultimate is a more promising app than Bento and works decently as a note-taking application.
The Problem With Touch Screen
The iPad is a truly magical device. For instance, I accessed it multiple times in all my therapy sessions this week – using the GoodReader App as a central location for my files, I:
- Pulled up a Paulo Coelho Story
- Pulled up a flier on boundary development
- Pulled up a Youtube video about coping with depression
- Led three clients in guided mindfulness meditations
- Used the keynote application to teach a client about domestic violence
The touchscreen is a dealbreaker for taking notes in a psychotherapy session. Typing out notes is tedious and requires much more attention than writing down on pen and paper. On pen and paper, one can continue to write without looking down, but G-d help you if you try to type a note on a touch screen without looking… What results is a garbled incoherent mess. What I found is that one mistake takes about 10-15 seconds to fix as you press your finger on the mistake, drag it to the mistake, backtrack, delete and retype – It’s too much work!
Good Old Pen and Paper
Enter pen and paper. Thank goodness that hasn’t gotten out of style! I feel that I have much more control by having my notepad sitting on top of my iPad. Today, in the mail, I got my Field Notes Brand Steno, which I am incredibly excited to use!
Pen and paper is fluid to use, I don’t have to worry about HIPAA violations, and I can maintain perfect eye contact with a client in session. On a whim, I can write down what is on my mind, circle a thought, doodle, and so on, without worrying about the application crashing or having to go back and decrypt whatever cluster-mess that results.
Marrying Old School with New Tech
On my iPhone, I have an application called JotNot Pro (also #OfficialIggyEndorsement), which acts as a scanner. To see how it works, compare my pre-processing image
with the scanner output
As you can read above in the processed note, you can then upload to Evernote and have the text be recognized!