In a world full of influencers and online marketing schemes, it can get difficult to divide truth from semi-truths. I share most people’s skepticism about services rendered online especially those with taglines like “This is a limited time offer!” or “I don’t want you to miss out!” (for which I have nothing against, I'm sure it works for many), and can definitely understand anyone’s skepticism about receiving health services online.
Being a therapist, I value evidence through research and peer-reviews and use these as a guide for my clinical reasoning, approach to therapy, and the services I provide.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll list down links to some of the research articles that relate to providing/accessing therapy or medical services through telehealth (which can mean phone calls or video conferencing) down here:
There's more out there, but I did not want to drown this blog post with links! So hopefully those were enough to pique your interest towards telehealth/telepractice.
There are also many private, government, and non-government organisations around Australia (and the world) that provide telehealth services. If you're unsure, just do a quick Google search and you'll find them quickly!
With that out of the way (or you can read more of the various articles and debunk your telehealth fears in this post), let's get on to the meat of this post:
1. You, as the parent or caregiver, will be equipped and empowered
In all the research towards telehealth for children so far, a very common feedback is that parents end up feeling very equipped and empowered to provide strategies for their child.
Online therapy focuses more on teaching parents how to see skill and/or development through "therapy lenses" and apply strategies that are appropriate for their child's needs.
Equipping parents will ideally decrease stress over their child's development, how to address their challenges, and improve their relationship with their child.
I believe that the main goal for therapy is independence, and that can include a parent's independence from a therapist. Gaining confidence to be acting therapist in their own home to their child/children given proper training and guidance from an educated and experienced therapist, is often a parent's dream.
2. Sessions occur in natural settings
Through video conferences, the phone or laptop, tablet, or computer can be situated anywhere that is appropriate in the home.
A child is struggling with how to navigate the kitchen? Let's do therapy there so the therapist can observe in real-time.
Does a child usually play in a specific place in the home? Therapy can occur there.
The child has a tendency to have a meltdown, or increase their stimming behaviour, or display self-injurious behaviour during a specific time in the day and/or in a specific place in the home, or even when a show is on which the family likes to watch? The therapy session can happen during those times in those areas and real-time support or advice can be given to you from the therapist.
Therapy can even happen at the school with support from a child's teacher or the teacher aide.
Completing therapy in a child's natural environment provides an opportunity to incorporate teaching moments into everyday situations so that the child has more chances to practice what they have learned within the environment.
3. Therapy sessions integrate with your family schedule
Another great thing about telehealth is how well it integrates into a family's schedule. Removing the necessity of travel, or organising time in the day allows for ease and accessibility of therapy services.
This research article reported on how parents felt that telehealth "fit with their contexts, routines, and situations as a family".
Online therapy also means your child receives the necessary intervention sooner rather than later. Especially in a time when waiting lists are prominent across the country, getting linked in with a professional ASAP within a brick-and-mortar clinic has become a commodity. Getting support sooner than later means we make use of precious time and minimise further delay or challenges.
I could go on and on about the benefits, but I know these days lengthy reads are a bore for most people so I'll keep this short.
If you want to know more about the service that I offer on The Digital OT, send me a message or book a FREE 15-minute consultation with me and I'll be happy to chat with you!
Until next time,