This is useful for:
- Daily reminders and encouragement to practice skills
- As an adjunct to weekly work with a young person, particularly specific areas in which you might be encouraging reflection
- As a boost to motivation for change, therapy readiness and hope in the midst of a difficult life situation
How SMS tips help
The ReachOut.com SMS tips tool allows young people to subscribe to campaigns of daily SMS tips and reminders, which help them to develop skills and protective factors for greater resilience and wellbeing. The messages run for 14 days, with the recipient getting one message per day at approximately 4pm (depending on location).
Message topics include:
- Problem solving
- Change and acceptance
- Identifying values
- Learning from failure
- Random acts of kindness
Where to access this tool
ReachOut.com SMS Tips - App homepage
How to use this with a young person:
- Open ReachOut.com on a computer and select SMS Tips from the Apps and Tools menu
- Get the user to sign up, or log in if they are already a ReachOut.com member
- Get them to select the relevant campaign and enter their phone number
- Click Send me Tips! to complete the subscription process
They will receive the first message within 24 hours.
Let them know:
- Messages will stop after 14 days
- They can unsubscribe if they wish by going to the SMS Tips page on ReachOut.com and deselecting the campaign
Check back in at your next session, and ask which of the tips was the most helpful and why.
Advice on using this in professional practice
By Anna Sidis, Consulting Psychologist
After a thorough assessment of concerns, goals and wishes along with engagement and development of rapport I might discuss the concept of SMS tips, and check in with the young person about whether they might find this useful. If they were agreeable I would take them through the content options and allow the young person to choose a topic of particular interest to them. This process may lead to further conversations around connection to goals and motivation to change.
Following this I might ask a young person to reflect on each daily message and potentially journal some thoughts and ideas to bring to therapy, I might also ask them to consider what was happening for them at the time they received the message (mood, events or thoughts). The SMS tips might therefore additionally function as a daily reminder to complete a mood diary.
During the next session I might pose some questions related to the tips they found particularly interesting and/or useful. In this way allowing the young person to guide the direction and scope of therapy, promoting engagement and targeting the issues and concerns most relevant to the young person.
In working with young people engagement and empowerment is key. Many young people feel ambivalent about psychotherapy, are not sure what the point of it is, or find it difficult to stay motivated to continue.
Considering this along with the ‘tasks of adolescence’, any tools that can provide encouragement and an opportunity to reflect in between therapy sessions can be very useful. SMS is a format that young people are familiar and comfortable with and would allow them to bring and apply skills learned in therapy into their daily lives.