Category Archives: Digital Talking Mats

Talking Mats Digital App Subscriptions

New DTM 2

What they are called, what they cost and what you get. 

The re-developed Digital Talking Mats is nearly ready to launch with its new look and new functions.  How you can buy it is new too so the team here thought we should put the new price structure down in black and white.  The blogs we normally publish are interesting and thought provoking.  I can tell you now, it is quite tricky to make a list of prices interesting or thought provoking, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the flexibility and creativity offered.  

There are a lot of words used in these descriptions and because we use them every day we are used to them and know what they mean but sometimes we have to just stop and remember that’s not the case for everyone.  So here is our Talking Mats Glossary to help. 

Glossary: 

DTM – Digital Talking Mats.  Also referred to as the digital ResourceDigital App or digital V2 

Foundation Level training – our training course that can be complete online or face to face (Covid 19 restrictions permitting) 

Resource – a collection of symbol sets that has been created to look at a particular areaeg Health and Well Being. 

Resource library – all the symbols you have access to on the DTM depending on your subscription level, including on any photos you may upload. 

Symbol set – a collection of around 15 symbols looking at a particular topic. 

Top scale - symbols that show what a person thinks with a positive point, a mid-point and a negative point. 

 We are switching to a ‘subscription’ model.  This means you choose the level you want, and then how often you pay for it – monthly or yearly. For individuals whave 3 levels that provide increased flexibility and choice.  Organisations can buy subscriptions for groups of staff at our most flexible level. 

Individual Subscriptions:

DTM Starter Level

DTM Enhanced Level

DTM Complete

Organisation Subscriptions:

The subscription model for Organisations that want to buy several digital resources can be either a Yearly charge or a 3 yearly charge. 

DTM Organisational

To offer more control over your Organisation’s subscription each Organisation will be able to appoint someone to oversee the account who will be able to switch user emails as staff change.  

Current Users:

Finally, for anyone who currently has a digital logon for our V1 app we will ensure the following: 

DTM Existing

We always recommend people access our Foundation Training course to ensure effective use of our resources.  Our training is currently available online – find out more  here: https://www.talkingmats.com/training/online-training/ 

So that’s it, the new Digital Talking Mats, What it’s called, what it costs and what you get. As always, we can be contacted on info@talkingmats.com if you have further questions.  

 

 

 

 

Webinars about the new digital Talking Mats

New DTM 1

During May we are hosting 3 one hour webinars which will demonstrate the new digital Talking Mats that is currently being developed for us by our technical partners MTC.  

The webinar will focus on demonstrating its new features including: 

  • technical specification for use
  • the range of symbols sets availableincluding Keeping SafeThinking Ahead, Health and Housing and the Leisure subsets of Sports and Out and About  
  • how to add your own photos 
  • how to make sub mats ,
  • how to useit to support effective remote  conversations  
  • how to file restore and retrieve individual mats. 

The migration from our current system to this will be explained as well as how to purchase and use if you are a new user. 

Please note this is not a Talking Mats training. 

Choose a webinar that suits your time zone and work pattern and book a place. All times are GMT 

All webinars are free and we would love to see you to show you  he new digital Talking Mats  

Counselling across Communication Barriers (Part 2): Learning in Lockdown

Action Group Stock Photo 2 crop

Following on from last week’s guest blog, Edith Barrowcliffe from the Action Group describes how she has continued using Talking Mats throughout lockdown.  Please note that the image used in this blog is from a mock session and has been taken for publicity purposes only.

In the second week of March I was running a 9 week old pilot counselling service (HearMe at The Action Group) for adults with cognitive and/or communication difficulties, supported by Talking Mats.

A week later lockdown catapulted me into remote working and demonstrated just how crucial Talking Mats were. Without access to the digital app or a suitably high resolution webcam my first online sessions were conducted without them. One client immediately began struggling to retain the thread of their subject matter.

indoor_work

I quickly rigged up a secondary webcam, allowing me to shift between my face and a clear view of the physical mat on my desk. Clients direct me how to place the symbols for them.

I’ve recently acquired a Talking Mats digital license and am pleased to find I can add in additional images. My experience with the physical cards is that allowing the client to direct the session often means searching through multiple different sets or hastily drawing new images. We move at a slower pace because of this but it seems to be an important way of giving weight and attention to whatever the client (Thinker) brings. My fantasy version of the digital talking mats app would include an image search function allowing me to rapidly search all the symbols in all the sets, pick one and caption it appropriately mid-session!

The client I mentioned above uses Talking Mats in this very freeform way – when they tell me something I ask if they want to put it on the mat and they will reply yes, or no. Once I’ve located or drawn the image they tell me where to place it. Towards the end of the session we review the mat, photograph it, and I send them the picture.

 Another client uses a more structured approach. I present a choice of symbol sets based on topics that seem to be important to them (eg home environment, relationships, mobility). They select a topic and we begin a more typical talking mat, giving us a framework and focus to explore their feelings around each symbol. After a while the client/Thinker moves on to other emotionally weighted topics unrelated to the symbol set and we transition into something more akin to “regular” counselling – albeit with simplified, concrete, reflections of the kind proposed by Garry Prouty [1] Yet the Talking Mat seems to provide a “way in” to these deeper feelings that we otherwise don’t reach.

Not everyone uses Talking Mats. Lockdown has limited my capacity to offer it – not all clients have a computer/tablet for video calls and some clients actively prefer the phone. I’m continuing to learn, explore and find my way with this very diverse client group, but there is no doubt that Talking Mats opens up emotional exploration for some who might not normally manage it.

 Edith Barrowcliffe, Hear Me, The Action Group

With thanks to our funders and partners for making this work possible – Hospital Saturday Fund, The Action Group Board, Leith Benevolent Society, Port o’Leith Housing Association, and The  Scottish Government.  And to the team at Talking Mats for their support and help!

[1] [PROUTY, G. (2008) Pre-Therapy and the Pre-Expressive Self. In: PROUTY, G. (ed.) Emerging Developments in Pre-Therapy. Monmouth: PCCS Books; also PÖRTNER, M. (2007) Trust and Understanding. Revised Ed. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books, pp82-85].

 

A new, updated version of our Digital app, will be available in the New Year.  You can download a free taster version of our app here:

  https://www.talkingmats.com/product/talking-mats-taster/

For more information about using Talking Mats remotely, check out this recent blog:    

https://www.talkingmats.com/using-talking-mats-remotely/

 

 

Using Talking Mats Remotely – PART 2

remote DTM

Thanks to everyone who joined our second Zoom session on using Talking Mats remotely.  The notes from the first session can be found here. It was great to share experiences and to welcome our international Talking Mats’ community too. We were impressed by your ingenuity and creativity in making TMs work remotely and there were lots of great stories of the use of it in practice. Here is a summary of the main points, with special thanks to Sam Quinn for explaining how to use 2 devices in order to see the person as well as the Mat.
Using a second device on a virtual Talking Mat session can help you to capture the thinker’s reaction to the mat and symbols. This can be particularly useful for recording videos to watch again later (obviously with the appropriate video consent). To do this on a tablet or mobile device and assuming you have already set up the meeting:
1. Open the Talking Mat app on your first device and prepare the symbol set you would like to use. When you are finished, minimise this app.
2. On the same device, open your communication app (Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and join your meeting.
3. Click ‘share’ and ‘screen’, then switch to the Talking Mats app. You should be able to control the Talking Mat while other people in the meeting can see it. It is advised you mute your volume to avoid interference.
4. On your second device (this could be a laptop, tablet or mobile) use the meeting ID that you sent to yourself to join the Zoom meeting.
5. On your second device, there is an option to split the screen so you can see both the thinker and the Talking Mat at the same time.
6. If you are using a PC or laptop as your second device there may be an option to record the session if you wish to do so.

Device one (tablet or mobile) hosts the Zoom/Teams meeting and is used to control the Talking Mat.
Device two (tablet, mobile or PC) acts as a second guest in the meeting and allows you to view the Mat and the thinker at the same time and record the session.

You can invite another device using Near Me/Attend Anywhere.
Remember you can still use the physical resources by holding the Mat to the camera and asking the thinker to tell you where to place the option on the Mat. Some have done this successfully.
You can try iPad mirroring https://tactustherapy.com/telepractice-how-to-mirror-apps-computer/ You can download a guide for how to do this if you follow the link.
A couple of people reported setting up Talking Mats by using https://miro.com/ and https://jamboard.google.com/ but, word of warning, it takes time to do this.

Remember you can use your digital login for the app (from Apple Store) and through the web browser http://www.digitaltalkingmats.com/ – make sure you enable FLASH.

And finally just to remind you that you can currently get a discount on the Digital Talking Mats resource:

DISCOUNTED DIGITAL TALKING MATS REQUEST FORM

Our online Foundation training is taking place throughout the year.  Forthcoming courses are starting on 22nd September, 6th October and 3rd November.  Reserve your place here.

If this is all new to you and you want to find out more about it, please listen to a webinar arranged by the Health and Social Care Alliance where Margo and Lois talk about Digital Talking Mats and how it can support wellbeing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84CY3QFFa_g

Having Better Conversations – Using Talking Mats Resources (Part 2)

Talking Mats

In the second of two blogs, we talk about how using Talking Mats Resources can help people have better conversations.   

Our first Resources blog (https://www.talkingmats.com/resources-with-training/) focused on the resource bundles which are available to purchase with our Foundation Training course.  This second blog focuses on the resources which are available to people who have completed our Foundation Training course. 

Remember that most of our resources are available in both low-tech, and digital, formats.   

Post-Training 

Once you have accessed one of our Foundation Training courses, you can purchase our resources at a reduced rate: 

1.    You can buy these in established sets using our post training order form, for example you may choose to buy a social care set, the secondary Children and Young people resource, or one of our Advanced sets (see 3. below). These sets all have 3 topics of conversation in them.

2.     New for 2020! – you can now buy individual topics of conversation from our ‘pick and mix’ selection, which includes topics  from our Health and Well-being Resource (also available as a bundle purchase with our Foundation Training course), as well as our Conversation Sets: 

conversation sets

 3. Our advanced sets, for example Keeping Safe and Thinking Ahead, are only available for those who have completed foundation training:

  • Keeping Safe: Give people time to reflect on their lives and raise concerns using this resource. This can help you to explore sensitive issues in a non-threatening way by creating a listening space, simplifying abstract ideas, supporting thoughts while encouraging expression and decision making.

keeping_in_touch

  • Thinking Ahead: Support people to express their views and help them plan for end of life using this resource. It will also be helpful for many other people to consider future options in their lives.

We are also planning to add a how was school today?‘ topic to our ‘pick and mix’ selection soon – so watch this space!

nursery        school

To find out how our resources could help you in your professional area of work/setting, check out these links here:  https://www.talkingmats.com/where-you-work/

For more information about these resources please contact the office on 01786 479511 or email info@talkingmats.com