Many troubled teenagers will completely shut down if you attempt to take them to a therapist’s office, but is online therapy effective for teens struggling with mental health issues?
Since the pandemic, online therapy has gained more popularity and continues to support people of all ages with mental health needs. With teenagers, parents are concerned whether virtual therapy can be a good idea, however in some cases it is the only way they might be able to convince their troubled youth to talk with a professional.
3 Benefits of Online Therapy for Troubled Teens
1. Convenience of home. Parenting difficult teenagers is becoming more challenging especially if they need mental health services.
Many parents are not able to get their teenager in the car — which makes getting to the therapist’s office nearly impossible. With online therapy you can connect with a therapist from virtually anywhere at any time. Online services provide access to therapeutic support quickly and with little hassle.
2. Reduced stigma. Teens are all about appearances, with online therapy it is unlikely they are going to bump into peers at the therapist’s office, nor do they have to share they are going to a doctor appointment. Many teens feel embarrassed about seeing a therapist and fear their peers may find out. Virtual therapy can reduce many of these concerns.
3. Comfort of the internet. Let’s face it, this generation grew up online, most teens enjoy and are most comfortable chatting over a computer than talking to a therapist in-person.
3 Cons of Online Therapy for Troubled Teens
1. Lack of personal interaction. The absence of face-to-face contact may impair treatment — this is a serious drawback to online therapy especially when it pertains to troubled teens that can be manipulative. Mental health professionals learn a lot of information by watching someone’s body language and nonverbal cues.
2. Technology glitches. Online therapy comes with the added pressure of you and your therapist relying on an internet connection. One or both of you may lose service, interfering with your ability to connect when desired or needed. This should be discussed with your therapist on how this situation will be handled if internet service is lost.
3. Lack of privacy and confidentiality. Although they are in the comforts of your home, do they feel it is a safe space to speak freely? Are there distractions? Keeping your personal information private is a major concern in psychotherapy, but online treatment adds a layer of complexity. Confidentiality is just as important in online therapy as it is in more traditional forms of treatment delivery.
Is online therapy effective for troubled teens? It depends on the teenager, research has found that online therapy can be effective at treating anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Online therapy can be an effective and convenient way to access mental health services. But that does not mean that it is right for everyone. Whether or not online therapy may be appropriate for you depends on your teenager’s condition and the severity of their issues.
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Have you exhausted your local resources and your troubled teen is refusing to attend therapy? Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about how residential treatment can help your family.