Live coaching is a technique that is helpful to parents of children who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In the traditional setting, live coaching is conducted with the therapist behind a one-way mirror. The therapist instructs the parent on how to interact and respond to their cognitively-impaired child. The parent then responds through an earpiece. Although this method of treatment has proven to be effective, it is not always logistically or economically feasible. “Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of several complex, low-incidence conditions for which skilled providers may not be available in a given community,” said Shari L. Wade of the University of Pittsburgh. “TBI can result in parental distress, as well as long-term changes in a child’s cognitive and academic abilities, behavior, and social skills.” Additionally, TBI can create significant behavior problems that cause immense stress on the parents. “Parent skills training coupled with education regarding TBI may reduce parental distress and improve child outcomes.”
For her study, Wade chose to use the Internet-Based Interacting Together Everyday, Recovery After Childhood TBI (I-InTERACT) program. The program was similar to more expensive industrial models, but offered educational modules for the parents. The I-InTERACT also provided stress coping strategies. After an initial visit by the therapist in the home, the 13 families continued to use the web-based program independently. The user-friendly interface and colorful layout resulted in an overall acceptance by the users. “Nine of 13 parents preferred the web-based coaching to traditional treatment; they cited its ease of use and the comfort of doing it at home,” said Wade. “Therapists uniformly liked coaching over the web despite the need to address boundaries and troubleshoot technological difficulties. Therapeutic alliance was comparable to traditional therapy with nearly all families expressing a strong connection to the therapist. Individuals with less computer experience particularly liked the program because it gave them access to the web and a sense of empowerment.” She added, “Overall, our experiences suggest that web-based coaching holds tremendous promise and can be accomplished without industrial grade equipment.”
Wade, S. L., Oberjohn, K., Conaway, K., Osinska, P., & Bangert, L. (2011, November 7). Live Coaching of Parenting Skills Using the Internet: Implications for Clinical Practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0025222
© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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