In August 2008, the CFT program at NDSU moved into a new state-of-the-art training facility. The new space houses the entire CFT program including the faculty offices, instrumented classrooms, a graduate student center, and the Family Therapy Center (our clinical training facility). The Family Therapy Center has four therapy rooms with one-way mirrors for live observation and is equipped with state-of-the-art recording and editing technology. The new technology is a server-based digital recording and editing system that greatly enhances the quality of our training and supervision experience. Sessions are recorded directly onto a central server and confidentially stored in files under each of the therapists' names. Rather than spending valuable time searching through videotapes to find segments to review in supervision, the software makes it possible for students to mark certain segments of their sessions, name them, and store the particular segments in a file for future review. Once files have been named, supervisors can immediately access the segment by clicking on the therapist's folder on her/his computer and the named segments will appear on the screen for viewing. The system makes it possible for students and supervisors to search through thousands of segments in less than a second!
Another way the technology enhances student learning is that supervisors have the capability of highlighting segments of the therapits' sessions while the sessions are happening. For example, if a supervisor is watching a session and sees something positive that stands out or something that a therapist might need to work on, s/he can mark that segment (or several segments) of the session and invite the student to review the segments before her/his upcoming supervision session. This system gives students unprecedented access to their clinic work and greatly enhances the development of their clinical skills.
The new technology is also a valuable research tool. Since all of the sessions are digitally recorded to a central server, the entire database can be searched for segments related to a particular theme or skill. For example, if we are interested in exploring a particular clinical technique (e.g., joining), the researcher can simply type in the term and all of the previously marked segments with that theme will appear on the screen. Faculty and students will now be able to conduct clinical process research in ways that were simply not possible with videotaped recordings.