Online counseling for kids, or cognitive behavioral therapy, can be a great way for young children to address mental health issues or simply talk with a mental health professional. Both children and teens can benefit from talking with licensed therapists, especially as they endure their most formative years.
While counseling in general may be appealing for children and young adults, parents may be unsure of online therapy for kids. If you communicate with your child and their doctor, you can find a licensed professional that creates a rewarding experience.
What Is Online Counseling for Kids?
Online therapy for children is a form of mental health treatment conducted through virtual therapy sessions. It is designed to help children and teens with the challenges they face. Some of these include mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Mental health professionals are trained and licensed to address your child’s challenges. Often, people think that anyone younger than age 13 cannot regularly see a therapist. However, child counseling does exist and can help your child face mental health challenges in their day-to-day life.
Who Is It For?
Online child counseling is for any child younger than 18 who wants to communicate with a trained mental health professional. It is perfect for children with inconvenient transportation or for those who live in more rural areas.
When meeting in person, there is more stigma attached to mental health discussions. Meeting online is different. Children can feel more comfortable talking through electronic sources because they are so accustomed to technology and because there is a further separation that helps eliminate some of the stigmas.
When Should I Start?
Many parents do not recognize the early signs of a mental health disorder in their child. Like anxiety disorder, illnesses present early indications that, if addressed by a mental health professional, can make the condition easier to manage.
If may be time to look for a child counselor if you notice any of the following symptoms in your child: mood changes, refusing to eat, forcing themselves to throw up, inability to focus or sit still, sudden personality change, difficulty sleeping, frequent fighting, worrying and stress that affects daily tasks, and suicide attempts.
If your child’s behavior becomes difficult to cope with or manage, a mental health professional can help.
What Are the Benefits of Online Counseling for Kids?
The most important benefit of online therapy is that your child gets the help they need to grow into a healthy adult.
Other benefits of online counseling include not having to drive to sessions and saving money. Online therapy usually costs less than face-to-face sessions. Additionally, you don’t have to drive to meet with a therapist—which also saves money.
Since technology has made major strides in our society in the last twenty-or-so years, children today are very comfortable with it. This means that children are also more comfortable using technology to talk about mental health and address their mental health issues.
Overall, online counseling is a convenient method for children to get mental health treatment during the most formative years of their lives.
What Is the Difference Between Online and In-Person Counseling?
Besides the difference in being physically present, online and in-person counseling have some other distinctions. Online therapy sessions are usually more convenient since they do not require any mode of transportation. They also cost less, usually, since therapists do not have to rent out space.
Online therapy for children also has less of a stigma. While meeting in person, children can feel embarrassed and uncomfortable sharing personal information about their mental health. Being online creates a little bit of a separation.
On the other hand, in-person therapy sessions are more reliable since they do not rely on an internet connection. Plus, it is easier to conduct more interactive treatment and play therapy, which younger children are often more receptive to.
How Does Online Child Counseling Work?
Online child counseling usually takes place using video chats. For teens and adults, online therapy can use email, texting, and other reading-based communication methods. However, children—especially younger children—have a better time communicating through video chats.
As a parent, you should give your child privacy when conducting their sessions. Let them sit in a room with a closed door so they can feel most comfortable. You may also want to provide them with paper and some writing utensils, like pencils and markers.
How to Choose the Best Online Child Counselor
The best way to find a licensed therapist is through your child’s doctor. Ask them about where to start your search and if they have any recommendations.
Overall, your child can greatly benefit from online therapy, especially if they demonstrate any of the symptoms listed above. Before deciding on online therapy, ask your child’s doctor if online is better than in-person, given your child’s situation.