How well does Skype therapy work with teenagers? The answer: It depends.
Some adolescents can do internet counseling sessions very effectively and others do not do as well. There are a lot of teens who benefit from videoconferencing sessions just as much as the traditional face to face sessions. I have found this format to be great for many of my clients because of how busy their families are. For some, getting to the office every single week is too much of a challenge. Taking the time out to drive to and from the office for sessions is really difficult. This is particularly true when there are other kids in the family who have commitments like soccer practices, tutoring, etc. For the teen to be able to do their sessions from home is helpful to the whole family.
It actually simplifies the scheduling process as well. It is much easier to find an appointment time that works. Therapists keep specific office hours. For example, I only work Thursdays and Fridays in the office. However, I do internet sessions any day of the week except Sundays. If your adolescent has school, sports, time with friends, etc., it’s nice for them not to have to miss an activity in order to make their therapy appointment.
Are you wondering whether your teenage son or daughter will benefit from online counseling sessions? What are the answers to the following five questions?
- Is your teenager conversational? In other words, do they speak readily?
- Does your adolescent want counseling?
- Can your teenager pay attention?
- Is your teen moderately comfortable with technology?
- Can your adolescent find a private place for their sessions for an hour at a time?
If you answered yes to all five questions, your adolescent very likely will do well in the online setting.
I have been working with clients using Skype since 2010. The clients who have worked in this format have actually had a better continuity of care. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but the reason this is the case is that they are able to have a session when they need it at any point in life. Some clients have gone off to college. They are able to begin therapy and then continue while they are at school without interruption. I have had clients who have moved away but they still request a session from time to time. Basically it creates a relationship between client and therapist that can last longer because the therapist is accessible even if the client’s circumstances have changed.
If you know your teen needs help and you either live out of the area, you just don’t know how you’ll have the time to make one more appointment, or you just feel comfortable with videoconferencing sessions, this is a great option for you. Please give me a call and we’ll talk about how this can work for you and your teenager.
Helping teens grow and families improve connection,
Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT