04 Oct 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Online Counsellor / Online Therapy / Online Therapy Safety / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / Trauma

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Online Trauma Therapist

Article by Marvis Bih,

Choosing an online trauma therapist

Last week, we talked about PTSD and its causes. This week, we are looking at what makes a good online trauma therapist, and patients who choose to make use of online therapy.

What makes a good online trauma therapist is their ability to abide by ethical considerations in the same way as with face to face therapy. These considerations include confidentiality, privacy and knowing when it is unsafe to work with trauma patients online.

Who seeks online trauma therapy?

People who need online trauma therapy are diverse and have different reasons for choosing this option. Sometimes, online therapy can be the first step to recovery for people who suffer from agoraphobia (fear of being in places you can’t escape) that could develop after a traumatic event.
Hence, online therapy can be the first step to get assistance for people who are unable to leave home, which include challenges or fears of using public transport (Maples & Han, 2008). Furthermore, during 2020, people were forced to stay indoors, and those who tested positive for Covid-19 had to self-isolate. This increased the need for online therapy. Also, people who do not feel comfortable going out due to trauma, the fear of contacting the Covid-19 virus or any other phobias may choose the online option.

Is online therapy for you?

Online therapy can be the best option because it is generally cheaper than face to face counselling due to savings on travel and time. This convenient option can be accessed from the comfort of your home, car or office. Besides, the flexibility of online therapy can be the best option for clients who work 9-5 jobs and are unable to see a therapist during working hours (Speyer & Zack, 2003).

Online counselling will not be suitable for all clients in all circumstances, for example, when a client requires a rehabilitation service or psychiatric care. The best a mental health practitioner can do in these situations is to offer referral services.

Confidentiality and privacy

It is important to ensure that you are in a secure setting so that your online conversations cannot be overheard. When working through trauma, make sure you have a support person that can provide extra support after your counselling session. The software used for online therapy is encrypted, and counsellors will inform clients when sessions are recorded. Make sure that you have updated your own software and that your virus software is up to date. Stay tuned for more on online cognitive behaviour therapy next week.

Want to learn more? Feel free to complete the form below and an online therapist will get back to you.

References

Australian Counseling Association. (nd) Guidelines for online counselling and psychotherapy. Available at: https://www.theaca.net.au/documents/Guidelines%20for%20online%20counselling%20and%20psychotherapy.pdf. Accessed 01/09/2020.

Maples, M.F., & Han, S. (2008). Cybercounseling in the United States and South Korea: Implications for counseling college students of the millennial generation and the networked generation. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 178-183. 44.

Speyer, C. & Zack, J. (2003). Online Counselling: Beyond the pros and cons. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265565618_Online_counselling_Beyond_the_pros_and_cons. Accessed 01/09/2020.

29 Sep 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Anxiety / Depression / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / PTSD / Trauma

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Treating PTSD using Online Therapy

Article by Marvis Bih,

What is PTSD?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder refers to a severe anxiety disorder that a person develops after being exposed to one or more serious life situations that result in deep psychological trauma (Nicholls, et al., 2006). Persons suffering from PTSD may have difficulty engaging in interpersonal relationships, have flashbacks and experience paranoia. Anyone can develop PTSD and it can happen at any age.

What causes PTSD?

Some causes of PTSD include witnessing serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse or assault (Spitzer, 2009), major man-made or natural disasters, war, genocides, major accidents, sicknesses or pandemics such as COVID-19 (Frans 2005). Many studies have linked PTSD with other comorbid psychiatric disorders (Gershuny, 2002; NIMH, 2020). In addition, some biological factors such as genes may make some people more likely to develop PTSD (NIMH, 2020).

Age and the effects of PTSD

Children and teenagers are more vulnerable to trauma and have extreme reactions. Symptoms in children may include but not limited to; unusually clingy with a parent, unable to talk and wetting the bed. However, older children often display symptoms like those seen in adults such as destructive behaviour, being disrespectful and disruptive (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020).

When to seek help

When a child or an adult’s symptoms last for a few weeks and not getting better, it is advisable to seek for help. A mental health counsellor or a trained therapist can recognise and treat trauma in children and adults, by addressing the root cause of the child’s behaviour and promote healing (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2014).

The traumatic effect of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world, leading to nations shutting down their economy and services and people were encouraged to work from home. This situation created anxiety and mental stress for many people. Therefore, in these emotionally draining times, mental health practitioners need to be flexible in their approach to therapy.

Benefits of Online Therapy

The flexibility of Online Therapy means that practitioner can change the way they deliver therapy. With the age of technological advancement, we can now offer and receive therapy from the comfort of our homes through online therapy. Online therapy is different from face to face therapy, but certainly no less effective. Online therapy takes place online by connecting through technology such as smartphone, iPad, laptop or a desktop.

Online therapy platforms

There are different types of interventions used to deliver online trauma therapy. Methods include virtual technology such as Skype counselling or Zoom, telephone counselling, chats or a combination of any of these. More on online therapy and finding a good online therapist coming up next week. Join us next week as we explore online therapy, a good online therapist and how to find an online therapist.

Need to get hold of one of our psychologists? Please feel free to complete the form.

References.          

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2014). Parenting a child who has experienced trauma. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.

Frans O, Rimmo P A, Aberg L, Fredrikson M. (2005). Trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 2005. 111(4): 291-299.

Gershuny B S, Baer L, Jenike M A, Minichiello W E, Wilhelm S. (2002). Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder: impact on treatment outcome for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Psychiatry, 159(5): 852-854.

Lindefors, N. & Andersson, G. (2016). Guided Internet-Based Treatment in Psychiatry. Switzerland: Spriner International Publishing.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2020). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Bethesda, MD: NIMH            

Nicholls P J, Abraham K, Connor K M, Ross J, Davidson JR. (2006). Trauma and posttraumatic stress in users of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site. Compr Psychiatry, 47(1): 30-34.

Spitzer C, Barnow S, Volzke H, John U, Freyberger H J, Grabe H J. (2009). Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and physical illness: findings from the general population. Psychosom Med, 71(9): 1012-1017.

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