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Virtual Counselor

Kristina Kennedy-Aguero ∙ Updated: 04/21/2020 Medically Reviewed 

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Teenagers today are under more pressure and stress than ever before. This can result in a variety of behaviors and symptoms. Without treatment, these issues can make the process of transition to adulthood more difficult and they could even develop into mental illnesses. Depression and anxiety commonly begin to manifest themselves in the teenage years. A virtual counselor can determine if your youngster has a mental illness. Moreover, they can help teenagers to learn techniques to reduce stress and anxiety and to create positive experiences during the challenging teenage years. Your youngster does not need to be experiencing severe problems to be able to benefit from online counseling.

Virtual Counselor for Teens

A virtual counselor for teens can help youngsters to develop emotionally in a healthy way. The physical and emotional changes during puberty combined with external stresses can make this a difficult period. High school students are confronted with a lot of stress during the school year. These may include problems at school, pressure from teachers or the stress involved with college applications. The chance to chat with a qualified professional or even a school counselor can give students the guidance they need to pass through this period and into adulthood with greater ease. Teen counselors are experts at getting troubled youngsters to talk about what is bothering them without intimidating or judging them.

Why Teenagers Don’t Like Therapy

Many teenagers don’t like therapy. Let’s explore a few reasons why this might be.

They Don’t Fully Understand What Therapy Is

Teenagers don’t necessarily understand what therapy is. Learning more about what therapy involves and what it aims to do can help teenagers to accept that it might be a good idea for them. They could, perhaps, realize that it can provide a safe place for them to express themselves.

Teens Think They Don’t Need Therapy

Most youngsters think they don’t need therapy and that they will only be receiving it at the request of an adult such as a parent, teacher, doctor, or judge. Yet, if they were more open to learning about what therapy can do for them; they may realize that it could, in fact, be just what they need to help them to feel more like themselves again.

They Don’t Want to Be in Therapy

To teens, the concept of “being in therapy” can sound like they have something seriously wrong with them or that they are crazy. They need to understand, however, that therapy during the teen years can help to prevent serious problems in later life.

The Importance of Therapy for High School Students

Teenagers experience a huge range of different changes that can cause stress. Their bodies are changing, their hormones are running wild, they are losing old friends and making new ones, and they have to adjust to the many changes after middle school. They are under constant pressure to maintain good grades in school and academic or social problems can cause added anxiety. Moreover, parents often unwittingly add to the pressure.

Additionally, in high school, students have to begin making careers choices and they have to start thinking about college admissions. These days, it all happens at a far younger age than ever before. All of this can make the teenage years a very challenging time during which many youngsters could benefit from the support and guidance of a virtual counselor.

What Is Online Therapy?

Online therapy is also known as virtual counseling, e-therapy, telepsychology, web therapy, text therapy, phone therapy, internet therapy, or internet counseling. Instead of physically meeting face to face in a doctor’s office, virtual counseling allows a person to meet with a therapist over the internet. Communication is frequently over a video chat which allows the therapist to observe body language and to hear inflections and tones in the speech. Some therapists, however, prefer to use text messages, email, a mobile app, or to work through a specific website. online therapy can be used alongside traditional visits to the therapist but many people use it exclusively and never actually meet their therapist in person.

Virtual Counseling

3 Reasons Why Teenagers Might Prefer Virtual Counseling

Let’s look at some reasons why teens would perhaps prefer using a Virtual Counselor.

Teenagers are Comfortable With the Internet

Today’s youngsters spend a lot of time chatting online with their friends and, therefore, they feel comfortable communicating this way.

Virtual Counseling Seems Less “Forced”

You can take part in online therapy from anywhere at any time. It is very convenient and it will feel more natural and normal.

It Eliminates Stigma

There is still, unfortunately, a stigma attached to therapy. Most teens would feel embarrassed if their friends knew they were in therapy. Virtual counseling is more private and youngsters do not need to reveal that they are receiving therapy.

Things to Consider Before Your Teen Starts With Online Therapy

Before starting online therapy, you will need to have a good reliable internet connection. If your child is going to communicate via text messages, they should be able to read and to express themselves clearly in writing. Make sure that the therapist you choose is a licensed mental health provider in your state. Keep in mind that not all therapists who offer online counseling are professionally trained. Your therapist’s site should at least be HIPAA-compliant and you should be able to verify the therapist’s identity and they yours.

Are Counseling Sessions Confidential?

Virtual counseling sessions, just as in-person ones, are completely confidential even for minors. Therapists use special software to keep all your information private. Ask the therapist how they will store your records and if they can send copies to your local doctor if required.

What Is the Cost of Online Therapy?

Internet counseling can be less expensive than face to face therapy. Some therapists charge a set fee for unlimited monthly e-mails, while some have a per hour fee for video sessions. Be sure to understand the billing system before starting treatment. online therapy lets you shop around to find the best options as you are not limited to therapists in your area. If you have health insurance, you should check to see if it covers online therapy. You should also find out if they have any preferred providers.

Is Online Counseling the Best Option?

Studies have shown that online therapy is a good option for young people. It is especially helpful for issues like anxiety and depression, and it can be just as effective as face to face therapy. Teenagers find it easier to talk about sensitive issues such as sexuality in a virtual situation whereas issues like bullying and peer conflict may be better dealt with in a real setting. In-person treatment is also a better option for youngsters who are exhibiting risky behaviors such as substance abuse, self-harm, or who have attempted suicide or expressed suicidal thoughts.

While complete privacy may be considered a plus for online therapy it does exclude parental presence and support which might be included in face-to-face sessions.

How are Emergencies Handled?

As the therapist may not be from your local area, they may be unaware of all of the services that are available to support the teenager’s therapy. Therefore, referrals to local services could be difficult. Discuss with the therapist how they would handle an emergency situation and if they would be able to organize a hospital admission if it should become necessary.

How to Know If Your Teen Needs Therapy

If your youngster is displaying hostility, aggression, extreme moodiness, or seems withdrawn, therapy could help them. If they are self-harming, abusing drugs or alcohol, or have expressed suicidal thoughts help should definitely be sought immediately.

Before starting online therapy, discuss your youngster’s symptoms with their doctor. He/she may want to run tests to eliminate any physical health issues that could be causing mental health symptoms. Ask if he/she feels that online therapy would be a good option. If your doctor agrees that a virtual counselor could be helpful, then discuss the subject with your youngster. The success of therapy depends on establishing a solid therapist-client relationship so your teenager should be willing to commence with therapy. They should be part of the decision as to whether to receive in-person therapy or online counseling.

Resources

  1. https://www.verywellfamily.com/online-therapy-for-teenagers-4134833
  2. https://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/article/227/why-teens-hate-therapy
  3. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/struggling-teen-therapy-can-help/
  4. https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/online-therapy

About the author 

Kristina Kennedy-Aguero

Kristina Kennedy-Aguero trained as a psychiatric nurse (RMN) in her home town of Bristol, England. After graduating she lived a nomadic life travelling around the world. Finally, she settled in Costa Rica where she and her husband have a traditional pottery-Barrofertil. Her medical knowledge and life experiences make her writings in the health and wellness field authoritative and compassionate. She also has an impressive portfolio containing SEO product descriptions, website page development, and regular blog writings.


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