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What To Consider About Online Teen Therapy

For many teens who are teenagers, sitting in a therapist’s office discussing their feelings isn’t a particularly appealing experience. However, speaking to a therapist online might not appear to be all that bad.

Parents often wonder the question of whether the internet is would be beneficial. There’s evidence that speaking with a qualified mental health professional over the internet can be beneficial for teenagers.

However, it’s vital to educate yourself about the possible risks and ensure that your child is suitable for online therapy before starting treatment.

Online therapy may be called various names, like e-therapy, internet counseling, or Telepsychology. Much like the name suggests the online therapy option allows clients to talk with a therapist in an online setting instead of meetings in a physical office.

Therapists can communicate with clients via text messages, mobile app, email, or even a particular website. Therapists who use video chat may be in the minority while others use text only to communicate.

Online therapy may be used alongside face-to face therapy or it may be employed as an alternative. Most people never see their online therapist in person.

Studies show that online therapy is Effective

Research has shown that teenagers are more likely to accept working with therapists using computer-based therapy, through mobile apps and texting and also through video chat. The quality and quantity of research available on the effectiveness of each technique However, the results are not uniform.

Some highlights from the research that has been done seems to indicate that teens can benefit from using online methods for accessing mental health services.

For example, a 2016 study of teenagers in Australia discovered that 72% of teens admitted to using online therapy in the event of mental health issues. 32% of them said they would choose online therapy over face-to-face meetings.

In a study from 2015 teens who participated in the study stated that they would prefer online therapy to discuss sensitive issues such as sexuality. But for other concerns (such as bullying, peer conflict, and general guidance) most teens in the study said they would prefer face-to-face treatment.

As of 2017, a team of researchers from Quebec assessed the effectiveness of text-based therapy for Canadian young people. Although teens were able to respond well using text messages to communicate but the therapists who participated in the study noted that it was difficult to address complex mental health issues compared to face-to-face sessions.

A study that was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology in 2016 revealed that although more research is needed, the increasing range of e-therapy programs that are available for children and teens is a good sign of the efficacy of these techniques of treatment.

However, some online methods of delivering therapy services being explored do not even have a human counselor. In a study from 2017 scientists evaluated the effectiveness of a web-based cognitive-behavioral therapeutic app called Woebot for adolescents with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The majority of the participants who participated in the study said that using Woebot was fun and gave them increased emotional insight. But, the participants also mentioned that the app’s technical shortcomings could cause frustration.

Potential Benefits

There are several reasons you may want to think about an online therapy program for your teenager as opposed to traditional therapy.

Teens are at ease with the internet. A majority of teenagers enjoy online chat and therefore therapy on the internet may be more secure than talking to a therapist face-to-face.

Therapy online can be more practical. Online therapy can save time because you don’t have to travel to the clinic for therapy. For teens who live in areas with limited access or who don’t have transportation or have no access to transportation, online appointments could provide an easier way to access therapy.

There’s less of a stigma associated with it. Many teens feel embarrassed about visiting a therapist. They might be afraid that their friends will be aware that they’re receiving treatment. Online therapy can reduce many of those concerns.

It may be less expensive. Online therapy prices may be lower than those for in-person therapy. Therefore, it could be less expensive.

Potentially Disadvantages

There are a few drawbacks parents need to consider before enrolling their child in online therapy. Here are a few potential disadvantages:

Issues with technology could be a source of trouble. If your internet goes down or is not working, you will be unable to get in touch with your therapy. Special software programs aimed at keeping the information confidential may be complex.

Insurance companies may not provide coverage for the cost of online therapy. While your insurance provider might cover the cost of in-person treatment, you may not be covered for online health.

In the absence of face-to face contact, it can hinder treatment. Mental health professionals are able to learn much by watching a person’s body language. If your teenager is communicating via an email account, the professional won’t be able to read the body language of your child or observe the tone of your child’s voice. Although video communication may be better but it’s not a substitute for face-toface interaction.

Your teenager’s writing skills might be lacking. Online communication requires your teen to be capable of reading and retaining details from their therapist. It also requires that they be able to express themselves effectively in writing. Teens who have difficulty with written communication are not likely to be suitable candidates to undergo online counseling.

The referral to other services could be more difficult. The therapist you choose to work with may not reside within your city, and may not be aware of local services within your city. It could be a problem if the therapist is considering offering referrals to other local services, for example, a psychiatrist or a support group.

Boundaries may get blurred. Online chats and text messages may cause your teen to see the mental health professional more as a friend rather than an actual service provider. The blurred lines can lead to confusion about the role of therapists.

Questions to Consider Before Signing Your Teen Up

The fact that your teenager is enthusiastic about online therapy doesn’t mean it’s an ideal choice. You must consider the negatives and rewards carefully.

Before you sign up for online therapy for your teenager, ask the following questions about the therapy you’re thinking of using.

Are they licensed? If someone claims that he offers online therapy doesn’t mean that they are licensed to provide mental health services. There are many people who claim to be mental health specialists, however they’re not licensed. Online mentors, life coaches or others who offer advice may lack appropriate education.

Is online therapy for teens the most effective choice? It’s not suitable for every situation. If your teen is engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as alcohol use or are contemplating self-harm or suicide, in person treatment is more appropriate.

How can information be kept secure? Mental health providers have to keep the information confidential. So , it’s essential to inquire what procedures are in place to ensure that your child’s private information won’t be compromised.

What are the payment terms? Online therapists establish their own payment methods. Some allow clients to pay monthly fees for unlimited emails, whereas others provide video sessions that are charged at an hourly fee. Make sure you find out what you’ll be charged and how you’ll pay before you start treatment.

How can I get involved in therapy? While your teen must have access to confidential conversations with the therapist even without you being present, it’s important for you to understand how you can help your teenager’s efforts. If you work in a traditional office, you may be able to be present.

How are the records maintained? Find out the method used by the therapist to record sessions. Each therapy session will be documented? Do notes from therapy be provided to the primary physician upon request? A good online therapist should be capable of providing details on how the data will be recorded and stored.

How does the therapist handle situations of crisis? Online therapy can be a challenge when there is a crisis. Find out what the therapist could do if there was an emergency situation, for example, whom should the therapist call should your child say she was contemplating taking her own life?

Where to Begin

If you’re thinking of online therapy for your teen, or you suspect that your teenager has a mental illness, first talk to the doctor for your teenager. It is important determine if there are any other underlying medical issues that might contribute to mental health issues that may be of concern.

The doctor of your teen can inform on whether it is a suitable option for your teenager based on his needs. If your teen is suffering from an extremely serious mental health issue or if the doctor is concerned about safety risks, the internet is not the ideal option.

If the doctor thinks the internet could be beneficial to your child, you should contact your health insurance provider. Find out if online therapy will be covered and ask if they have preferred providers.

Finally, talk to your teen concerning online therapy. Discuss the possible benefits and negatives of working with a therapist face-to-face versus online.

You should take your teen’s views in consideration. No matter what kind of treatment your child receives, her investment and interest in the process will make a huge difference in the effectiveness of the treatment is.