These days, normal looks a lot different than it did even a year ago, and how we take care of ourselves is no different. A year of quarantine has brought us to a new height to accessibility in technology, bringing much needed help to people who couldn’t access what they needed until COVID made it a necessity. Online therapy is one area that has gained a lot of popularity recently, as it should; there are tons of benefits to starting the conversation about mental health young. Here is everything you as a parent need to know about online therapy for your kids.
Before we talk about the kids, let’s start with you. You’re busy, we hear that loud and clear. You have to juggle work, school, cleaning, clubs, and more on a daily basis, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for you to take care of your own mental health. When you factor in the troubles your kids will no doubt bring to you for advice, you’re completely booked. Giving your kids the opportunity to speak to an online therapist provides them with someone who can give their complete attention to helping your kids solve their problems. We know you want to help wholeheartedly, but real life doesn’t always allow for that. Online therapy gives your kids an expert to go to when they need help, giving you more time and brain space to take care of your own mental health.
Online Counseling Provides a Judgment-Free Zone
You also give your kids someone to talk to who they don’t have to worry about potentially punishing them for what they say. No matter your relationship, at the end of the day, there is a special understanding between a parent and a child that a therapist doesn’t have to work around. If your child is stressed about something they did wrong or something they think you might judge them for, they may not be honest with you about their feelings on the situation. Online therapy is a great safe space for kids to process thoughts and emotions without fear of judgement.
On the kids’ end of the conversation, online conversations are often much less intimidating than in person ones. Kids today are fluent in online interaction, something like a text chat or a video call is basically second nature for them. Engaging kids in places where they feel most comfortable will help them feel more at ease with their therapist and be more open about what is troubling them. The benefits of these online conversations can start almost immediately and can include improvement in mood, communication, stress and violent behavior reduction, and a positive outlook on the days ahead.
Early Counseling Can Have Benefits Even in Adulthood
After a few sessions, you might start to notice an improvement in confidence, improved relationship skills, and improved academic results as well as decision making skills. Starting early will also build familiarity with the process of therapy and working through mental health, which will be extremely valuable to them as adults when they are exposed to new stressors. Knowing how to process the struggles of life before they come will prepare them for what comes ahead and keep them happier as adults.
What Forms of Online Therapy are Available for Kids?
There are several different options when it comes to online therapy treatment for kids. Talking to a psychiatrist will help you decide which one will best suit your little ones, but here is a brief overview of some of the options your doctor might suggest to help your child develop healthy mental habits. One of the most common treatments is cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT. CBT centers around identifying negative patterns of behavior and forming a plan to change these into healthy actions and thoughts. This kind of therapy is helpful for things such as depression and anxiety disorders in kids and issues such as eating disorders, alcohol dependency, and drug problems for teenagers and young adults. CBT focuses on what a person can do moving forward instead of what led them to the problem they are hoping to resolve.
Mindfulness is another form of treatment that focuses on bringing attention to the thoughts and feelings that the brain has been avoiding. This also often involves working to stay in the moment and keeping close tabs on the way that one’s brain works. Psychotherapy is a talking based treatment option that is more long term than others. This form of therapy is good for issues that require a long term recovery plan, such as depression and eating disorders.
Finally, family therapy focuses not only on the child but the way the entire family impacts an individual’s mental health. This form of treatment focuses on involving everyone in the family and developing strong communication skills. During your initial meeting with a psychiatrist or therapist, they may suggest one or more of these methods for your child as well as provide more detailed information on what the treatment will look like.
As you can see, the benefits of online counseling for kids heavily outweigh the bad while also being more accessible than it ever has been before. This means it is extremely easy for you to give your child the tools they need to begin their mental health journey at a young age and take some of the weight of growing up off of their shoulders. Whether you are hoping to help your kid address something that is bothering them or simply giving them a safe place to process their emotions, we are here to help however we can.
Posted on: 4/22/2021
Written by: Jennifer Hamilton, RN.