As above, the logical extension of 100% online or a blended model of face to face and online is that this opens the opportunity for specialist, evidence based interventions such as Functional Family Therapy to be delivered to remote or sparsely populated areas which otherwise could not sustain the infrastructure costs of a specialist team. For example, an FFT team could work out of a centre in Edinburgh and service the Islands and Highlands. It could send a therapist for one week a month to a remote area to support the initial engagement of families and to ensure their comfort with online working through set up of the system for example. This could then move to online through the course of the intervention to the end point (usually 3-5 months of weekly sessions). Given that many young people travel to school for weekly boarding on the mainland, their engagement through online working could be secured to.
The challenge is partly one of technology but also a cultural one and a practice one. Therapists will want to return to face to face and their practice may well improve as they do, however being able to deliver services to the hardest to reach geographically is a noble aim and easily achieved if the service model can be successfully adapted to be good enough. The win is a locally delivered service plus the potential for significant cost savings if young people are prevented from entering care.