Web-Based Therapy Helps Parents of Children with Brain Injuries

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.”

Reference:
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 Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Mark K

    Mark K

    November 15th, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    This looks to be pretty promising for the families who are so sadly and unfortunately having to deal with these experiences. The result of losing your family member and loved one to a traumatic brain injury can lead to such sadness for any family. But how noce to know that there can be such support and guidance via this online therapy and treatment venue.

  • cindy

    cindy

    November 15th, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    While they may be pretty happy with the results,I don’t think any web-based program is going to replace real therapy anytime soon. The reasons to use these new methods are mostly economical and not really because they offer the same kind of an experience. That is my belief. If people have enough money and have a choice I am sure they would choose the traditional method on any given day!

  • Johnna

    Johnna

    November 16th, 2011 at 5:20 AM

    These are families who are holding hope for support of any kind. Something like this could be a real life changer for so many families who are having to deal with a brain injury and provide the care for a family member that they probably never expected to have to give. It makes counseling and this kind of support accessible to those who may not have had this kind of chance before to take advantage of something that could be so beneficial for them, in not only teaching them how to care for the patient but teaching them how they can still live through a tragedy like this.

  • C.Johnson

    C.Johnson

    November 16th, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    When there is support,be it in whatever form,it just gives that little push to a family and hopefully will bring in big changes.And for treatment or therapy that is not always affordable,a solution like this which gives convenience and reduced costs is always welcome.

  • Coleman

    Coleman

    November 16th, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    How would I go about finding out more about this and if it is something that my cousin could look into being a part of? Her child suffered this kind of injury last year and they need all the help they can get.

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