This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 13 table of contents.

Family, Peer, and Internet Counseling

Increasingly, families are becoming involved in therapy processes. In the treatment of autism, for example, Ivar Lovaas of UCLA achieved good results by using parents as therapists. Previous studies showed that intensive therapy in clinics was reversed after therapy ended. Only when parents act as therapists can positive reinforcement continue for years and cover all different facets of behavior.

What is an advantage of using parents to do therapy with autistics?

For what sorts of problems is peer counseling often effective?

The internet is increasingly a place where people can go for therapy. It provides anonymity, which is often an advantage when a person is reluctant to discuss difficult problems face-to-face with a therapist. Sauls (2001) describes "e-therapy" as "the new frontier."

A uniquely effective form of group counseling, for some problems, is peer counseling. In peer counseling, people who have "been there" or shared similar problems in the past act as discussion leaders for a group of individuals suffering from a common problem. Peer counseling is widely used in drug treatment (for example, the alcoholics anonymous program, see p.638). Peer counseling is also effective in helping parents who have lost a child, comforting victims of violent crime, and giving support to caregivers of Alzheimer's Syndrome sufferers. Peers "know what to say," because they have been through the experience themselves, and often there is no substitute for experience.

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