Saturday, October 11, 2008

Text messenging as a therapuetic intervention in eating disorders

A raise of hands how many people use text messaging with their therapists? I haven't come across many that have. Do you think it would be helpful?

In this article out of Nursing Times, Amanda Hazelwood, a consultant nurse, uses text messaging as an adjunct therapeutic tool along with therapy for treating eating disorder patients. The idea of text messaging is to help clients express their feelings and emotions without enduring the face-to-face contact, especially for those who may have social anixety issues or feel guilt and shame. Text messaging can also help build trust in the therapeutic relationship as well as allow the therapist and individual to see the mind frame she or he may be exhibiting. There is also the aspect of being able to "save" a message or help in immediate crisis.

Overall, I think this is another tool, showing how our technology is evolving into treatment. I think my only gripe is the possible overdependence issue with some individuals. I'm sure the policies would be outlined beforehand, but the possibility is there.

I've actually always wondered how many therapists implement these types of tools or whether they feel it goes beyond boundaries. Though I'd consider myself more of an e-mail type, many of my therapists have not been. Or rather, they'd let me e-mail but just never respond or they had a disclaimer about how the internet wasn't private and e-mails could be lost. This is of course all valid reasoning. Most times, if I was e-mailing it was about things I thought about after the session or things I didn't say, and sometimes it would be brought up at the next appointment, other times not.

These days, I stick to my face to face appointments as I think my body language says a lot about how I'm really feeling. Therapy is probably the only place where I try to let go and forget about living behind the mask. It's not always easy as my natural reaction is to hide, but C. seems to pick up on this and ask about it. I'm still not sure whether I'd ever go the text route. It feels funny to me. I rarley text anyway, so maybe that is why. But I think for this new generation where texting seems all the rage, text messaging might be helpful as a part of therapy as long as the policies were told beforehand..

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