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“You can’t do this Mark… it’s not going to work!”

A light-hearted look into technology from a self-confessed technophobe

mark resized.pngI’m Mark, a member of the MS-UK Counselling team. We have recently offered clients with multiple sclerosis (MS) a way of face-to-face talking via Zoom conference calls. Up until this recent development we have worked with clients on the telephone only, so this is a big step forward for both clients and counsellors.

Now for someone the wrong side of 60 and with very little technological know-how, this is quite a challenge. If research is to be believed, the average 10-year-old has more technical expertise than the average 60-year-old… this sums me up to a tee!

I have worked with Zoom before. We have team meetings via Zoom. I get emailed a link which I activate on the correct

day and time and lo and behold there I am, like witchcraft on the computer screen, with my other team members.

Working with clients, however, is different. The meeting is initiated by MS-UK. The client receives the link and I am responsible for starting and hosting the meeting. This slight difference plays directly into my technology-based anxiety and I can hear my inner voice saying “You can’t do this Mark… it’s not going to work!”

MS-UK’s Head of Services, Diana, set up a test meeting this week in preparation for my first Zoom client. This proved problematic in itself. For some reason, Zoom did not recognise the microphone or video facility on my PC.

I contacted the MS-UK IT support team. They looked into my Zoom account and could not identify anything wrong, “it should be working fine,” they said. By now my inner voice was screaming “I told you… we’re all doomed.” Then Diana suggested I download Zoom on my telephone to see if it works… and it did! Diana and I did a couple of test meetings over the telephone and all was well.

I’ve had my first Zoom client and I couldn’t have wished for a better experience. It was good to work with clients face to face again and to watch their body language. I’m sure there will be hiccups along the way but my inner voice is silent… for now! Even my grandson thinks I’m ‘cool’ working with Zoom… so bring it on!

I’ve realised that my anxiety, like everyone’s anxiety, is fuelled by a perception of lack of control, assumptions of what other people are thinking and a fear of what the future has in store… counsellors are human too.

To find out about MS-UK’s counselling service, including video counselling over Zoom, visit www.ms-uk.org/counselling