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Is online therapy suitable for children?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    Is online therapy an option for working with children? My daughter is having some anxiety issues. We live quite far from the nearest medical center and my daughter has expressed a reluctance to go and sit in an office for therapy. I am hoping she might be more comfortable talking to someone at home, on the phone or through video chat. She is accustomed to video chat and is a quick typist. Are there any ethical or effectiveness issues that would make online therapy for a 12 year old a bad idea?

  • Art Matthews Says ...
    Art Matthews

    Using telecounseling with adolescents and children is considered controversial and probably not recommended. Brain development continues through the mid-twenties and the area of the brain involved in communication and emotion regulation is one of the last areas to develop. Regardless of the speed at which she can type, she still may not be able to formulate what she wants or needs to say. A counselor sitting in a room will be able to see her facial expressions, body language and engage her in activities that won't fit in an online setting. I'd stick with face-to-face and help her challenge her resistence to that process, rather than allow her to use an avoidant coping skill to deal with her anxiety.

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