In March 2013, I registered socialworktechtools.com and in a timely fashion, I launched that portion of my site tonight after receiving feedback that my tools were hard to find on my site.
Every time I launch a tool, I will post a blog and will outline the interventon on the Social Work Tech Tools portion of my site.
My Tool Development Process
There are times when I am in need of a tool that either doesn’t exist or needs a severe makeover. There are times when an intervention I’m want to use with a client is a 7th generation photocopy of a fax that had distortion all over it. There are other times when a tool doesn’t exist or it exists in a single page of an over-priced book I don’t want to buy. As a true social worker, I mobilize and take action!
Real Life Intervention and No Tool
While in a session the other day, I was conducting a less-intense safety plan with a client and their family. It was less intense because I did not want to overwhelm the family with too much information, however, I did need to have a solid foundation for determining my client’s:
- baseline functioning
- behaviors that indicate relapse
- what relapse feels or looks like
- what action can be taken by client and family member
Again, I had no tool at my disposal.
I took a crude note and knew I needed to develop something more concrete when I got to my computer.
Prim, Polish, Generalize
I took that scrap of paper to come up with this:
I took the four realms and attempted to make the language contemporary. For example, rather than ask the client, “What is your baseline?”, I want to know, “How do I know I’m okay?”.
I transposed this idea so that the client can understand it, and so other helping professionals (once this is finalized) can use it with their clients (and hopefully, their families) in dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, or other behaviors that the client wants to manage.
In the last year of finding professional looking fonts, getting a crash-course on typeset, as well as a crash-course on Adobe InDesign, I came up with a professional looking document that is (hopefully) not daunting to the helping professional or client.
A Word on Aesthetics and Presentation
I’m a big fan of aesthetics and presentation. If you take anything away from my blog to apply into your own professional life, it’s that aesthetics (e.g. beauty, order, something desirable) and presentation (i.e. giving dignity, having order, being grounded in fact, being collected, and being ethical) are important aspects to have – it gives you legitimacy to your clients and colleagues.
It takes years of practice and goofing up (unintentional, of course) to become the consummate and polished professional. In spite of that, never quit your desire to learn.
Of course, I put this picture on Facebook and Twitter to get feedback. I’m assuming that while this has been starred and shared with others on the two social media networks with no substantial criticism or other feedback, that I’m good to go.
Most of the tools I develop I will provide to my beloved online social work community via creative-commons licensure, which means it will be free but you can’t sell it. My aim is to empower other helping professional with aesthetic, functional, and ethical use of these tools.
In the future, I am considering offering tools on the freemium model, where there would be a free version and a “deluxe” version at an inexpensive cost.