Facebook Therapy: Emotional self-disclosure issues for young adults
This is the internet age, where instant access to just about everything is but a mouse-click away.
It is also an age where face-to-face access to mental health professionals is harder and harder to gain, most especially in times of crisis. So it makes sense to turn to a more readily-available source of counselling, support and encouragement, doesn't it?
That was the question that Vicki L. Rogers and some of her colleagues posed to 328 Facebookers via an online survey.
And the result? Unsurprisingly, the vast majority (263:65) preferred face-to-face interaction. But that assumes that face-to-face is a readily-available option, which I can confirm is not the situation here in Australia, especially in rural and remote regions, and if you are aboriginal. I am not based in a rural and remote area, nor am I aboriginal, but getting any F2F (face-to-face) time with a competent practitioner able to deal at the required level of care and intervention is not something easily achieved.
Between the F2F group and the online group there were significant differences for the emotional self-disclosure subscales of depression, jealousy, anxiety, and fear, but no differences between them for subscales of happiness, anger, calmness and apathy.
However, of value to practitioners at low-level and early-intervention stages, both the F2F and online groups self-reported moderate to high willingness to disclose their emotions to a therapist, to the researchers suggesting that either format would be a viable option for nurses to provide individual therapy.
As they conclude,
Given the high number of participants reporting a history of therapy it would seem there is a need for psychiatric nurses to expand their repertoire of therapy delivery modes to include Internet based approaches. This would better equip them to serve clients in the younger Internet savvy age group. The emerging field of IT therapy offers nurse researchers and practitioners many opportunities to advance their knowledge and expertise in this field, thus allowing for delivery of quality care to those who would prefer this therapy format.
Source: Rogers, Vickie L., Griffin, Mary Quinn, Wykle, May L. and Fitzpatrick, Joyce J.(2009) 'Internet versus Face-to-Face Therapy: Emotional Self-Disclosure Issues for Young Adults', Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 30:10, 596 - 602
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