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Reaching adolescent clients through new media

November 21, 2008

Yesterday I clipped an article about counselling being offered over mobile phone in Japan. Today I found this article about counselling professionals in Canada who find that teens don’t access counselling services through the established channels but can be reached through new media.

And as counsellors are noticing a reluctance on their young patients part to get involved in traditional forms of therapy, theyre wondering how they can help use technology to reach out.

“Youth do not as liberally access support services face-to-face,” says Constance Barlow, a counselling psychologist and a professor at the University of Calgary.

“Weve been considering one of the options as – they do use technology, they do use Facebook. How can we do that?”

Liz Hides, a grief counsellor with suicide services at the Canadian Mental Health Association in Calgary, says her group just finished doing a needs assessment for people between the ages of 17 and 24 after noticing they didnt fit into the groups traditional services.

“They often report they dont fit in the support groups if they decide to do them,” she said, adding teens reported difficulties such as “There wasnt anybody else my age,” or “It felt like I was being parented by the other participants.”

“They are very unique in their grief needs,” Hides said, adding teens seem to want a mix of face-to-face counselling, peer support, and books. Some also need a sense of anonymity that comes with being online.

Hides says theyre currently trying to figure out how to incorporate new media into ways teens can get professional support, as well as get across the message that grief counselling can look like whatever a teen needs.

via The Canadian Press: Counsellors look at different ways to reach out to reluctant teens


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