Online therapy has been emerging for a few years, and its impact has been assessed in research projects during the last decade. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the majority of face-to-face therapy had to move to an online version: as a result, many more professionals and clients started using different technologies in order to access support from their own home.
Cyber Security for Online Therapy
For online therapy, some important requirements need to be met, in order to make sure that the whole process is safe, efficient and confidential. For this reason, an encrypted platform that looks and feels a lot like popular video-calling apps may be used. This will protect confidentiality and ensure compliance with GDPR regulation.
Preparing for the Therapy Session
When children take part in an online session, they will need to access a computer with internet of a good speed in a room with a door that closes, to make sure that the conversation will stay private. Headphones may make hearing and talking easier. Some children (or parents) may feel nervous the first time: it is okay for parents to be present in the first session if they need to, as long as they inform the therapist about their presence, they remain in a visible spot throughout the session and of course, the child agrees with this.
Before the session, the parents may have to help children gather some materials they may need, like paper and crayons, a glass of water or a favorite toy that may make them feel more comfortable. Depending on the child’s age and needs, a therapist may use videos, images, audio or other interactive games, either to help children stay engaged or as therapeutic tools.
An Effective Therapeutic Method
Even though online therapy, especially for children, has not been researched extensively, the existing literature and the clinical feedback from professionals of various mental health disciplines supports its effectiveness when the technical requirements are being met. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that online therapy may not be the most suitable option for children that are very young or need a more interactive approach and enjoy mainly physical play. In this case, parents can be supported instead on how to work with the child.
Online therapy is a suitable option for children that live in remote areas, have difficulty traveling or need to stay isolated for health reasons.
If you want to further support your children online or in person, you can always explore your options by seeking professional help.
Elena Marinopoulou is a Behavior Analyst with Willingness Team. She works with children and adults and has a strong interest in parent training, sleep, feeding and sexual behaviour issues, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Elena Marinopoulou is a Behaviour Analyst with Willingness Team. She works with
children and adults and has a strong interest in parent training, sleep and feeding
issues emerging during childhood, as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
ReferencesSchueller, S., Stiles-Shields, C., & Yarosh, L. (2017). Online Treatment and Virtual Therapists in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics Of North America, 26(1), 1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2016.07.011