2nd April 2020
Online therapy allows your child to participate in one-on-one therapy sessions, live with their therapist from a computer or tablet. Therapy and learning delivered online is a flexible and convenient way to access therapy in today’s busy world and can assist children’s engagement in sessions and reduce missed appointments, leading to more positive outcomes. As a parent or caregiver, doing therapy online allows you to have unique opportunities to support your child’s therapy and progress.
Is it Effective?
Yes! Online and virtual therapies are well-studied and can be an effective treatment option for various mental and behavioural health conditions experienced by children and adolescents. In fact, much of the research suggests that online therapy is just as effective as therapy conducted face to face, with additional benefits.
Use online therapy to your child and family’s advantage!
Online therapy can help improve kids’ engagement in sessions leading to better therapeutic outcomes! Let’s consider some of the potential benefits below.
- Online therapy can be done from the comfort of your home. It does not require any complicated equipment, all you need is a stable internet connection; and a computer, laptop, phone or tablet with camera and speakers.
- Flexibility and convenience for parents! We know parents have busy schedules; online therapy means no traffic (win!), and no running late to appointments.
- Online therapy represents a unique opportunity for your therapist to support you to support your child. Doing therapy online is an excellent opportunity for parents to learn to become co-therapists and to be supported to assist their child to develop and practice new skills.
- Learning skills in the home can be beneficial for the child, making it easier for them to generalise those skills to various day-to-day tasks.
- Children respond well to routine and consistency and online therapy supports your child to have continued access to their therapist whatever the circumstances!
- Working online provides the opportunity for your therapist to teach your child valuable skills including not only how to use technology (although it may be your child teaching the therapist about this!) but also flexible thinking skills, adaptability and coping with change, and developing independence.
- Online sessions also provide a unique opportunity for parents to play a key role in therapy and for both parents to attend if desired. We know your schedules are hectic and that even though both parents may be interested in learning the skills to support their child it is difficult to co-ordinate schedules so that everyone can attend. Online therapy allows all family members to attend sessions together from different locations.
Will my child engage online?
- Kids generally love anything related to technology, so seeing their therapist online is kind of “cool” for them. In fact, it could even result in improved engagement in therapy!
- Children are generally very technology savvy. Online therapy can increase having a sense of control and ownership over sessions, which can help with engagement in sessions too.
- Online therapy can be very interactive, utilising creative means such as videos, drawings, chat, games, pictures and sharing of documents and useful resources.
- Because online therapy is conducted in your own home, your child may actually be more comfortable than they would be coming to a therapy clinic. They can show the therapist special items or areas in their home and can maintain access to any tools that help them to regulate their emotions more effectively and to feel safe.
- Parents can assist their child to engage effectively online by participating actively in sessions, preparing any materials requested by the therapist beforehand and working as a co-therapist for their child.
It is important to keep in mind that every child is an individual and has individual needs. If you have concerns about whether online therapy will work for your child’s individual needs we recommend discussing this directly with your therapist. Your child’s therapist will brainstorm with you and your child ways to address concerns you may have in order to make online sessions more valuable for your family.
Online therapy can help support your child’s wellbeing and mental health by providing an opportunity for flexible, convenient, consistent treatment and improving engagement in sessions. It also allows parents a unique opportunity to learn and practice skills to support their children in generalising learnt skills to the home environment, which overall leads to better therapeutic outcomes for your child and your family.
Want to read more about online therapy?
If you liked this post and want to read more, please check out this other post on same topic “What to expect when you see a therapist online”: thetalbotcentre.com.au/online-therapy
Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
Michaela is a caring and compassionate psychologist who is passionate about reducing barriers and increasing access to high quality psychological support to improve every person’s mental health and wellbeing.