By: Samantha Congdon, LMFT
Technology has changed the way our children interact with the world. With the recent quarantine requirements to decrease the spreading of the Corona Virus, screen time is at an all high. Let’s talk about how kids and teens can benefit from Online Therapy; the good kind of screen time.
A quick refresher on Online therapy, also known as E-Therapy, Teletherapy or Cyber-Counseling involves a licensed mental health professional providing support over the internet. The primary tools for communicating with Online Therapy consists of email, video conferencing, and internet phone call communication accessed by a desktop computer, laptop or other mobile device. Online Therapy is popular due to its convenience and accessibility.
Who will benefit from Online Therapy? The answer is anyone can truly benefit if they are open to it. “In a 2016 study of teens in Australia, 72% of adolescents said they would access online therapy if they experienced a mental health problem, and 32% said they would choose online therapy over face-to-face meetings,” (wwww.verywellfamily.com). Adolescents and teens are already so familiar with video chat and texting to connect with others, so chatting over a screen with a licensed professional may be easier for your teens than you think. Other things to consider when preparing your adolescent or teen for Online Therapy is help them create a safe, uninterrupted space, where they feel comfortable to talk about any feelings, thoughts and emotions. Therefore, making sure no one in the home will walk in on them or interrupt them while in session is vital for successful Online Therapy for this age group.
Let’s not forget younger children can also benefit from Online Therapy too. When it comes to engaging a younger child in Online Therapy, the licensed professional will consider session time, the interventions performed and be able to modify the session to fit your individual child’s needs. Younger children can benefit from parent child session where the licensed professional is helping teach both the parent and child behavior techniques/communications skills. Parent child sessions are a great opportunity for you to get feedback in the moment on how to better support your client when certain behaviors arise. Individual sessions are also an option, if you have paper, a pencil and any sort of coloring tool (crayon, marker, color pencil) Art Therapy, Play Therapy and Narrative Therapy have many interventions that translate well to Online Therapy. So next time you think about decreasing your child’s screen time, remember Online Therapy is a good kind of screen time that can support children’s mental health of all ages.
For more information on online therapy, please visit our website https://www.georgetownpsychology.com/services/online-therapy/ or call 301.652.5550 to schedule your first online therapy session today!