This is a quick post to share a resource that I created for my telehealth sessions with kids. And to share some encouragement for anyone wondering if they can still do creative interventions through online therapy.
So, first, the encouragement – You can still be a creative, playful therapist and support your clients, even from a distance. I am by no means an expert in online art therapy or telehealth and have been learning along with all of you over the past couple of weeks, but in case you are needing some tips, here are some of the things that have worked well for me and my clients over the past few weeks:
- Be confident and reassuring to your clients about the telehealth transition. Let them know that they will still be able to create art, have fun, and get support…even if it looks a little different right now.
- Plan some activities in advance so that you can have your supplies ready and send things in advance (e.g, handouts, supply lists, etc), but be prepared to be flexible and respond to what clients need or are interested in.
- Have clients (or parents) set up art supplies right next to wherever they will have the online session. This makes the transition to art a lot easier during the session.
- Take an inventory of what clients have available so that you can suggest art or play that uses what they have on hand.
- If you are doing art, talk to clients about having a special folder, drawer, or notebook where they can keep all of their therapy work safe and private.
- Ask clients to hold up completed artwork or writing, then get permission to take a screenshot. This allows you to look at the image more easily, as well as save a copy to the client’s records.
And here is the resource for you…
I created a printable PDF game board that you can use with child or teen clients for online therapy sessions.
How to use the game: Email a copy to your client so that they can print at home and have it set up. You can also have your own board setup if you want. For a shorter game, just use pages 1 and 3, omitting the middle page of the board. For a longer game, use all 3 pages of the board (or print extra copies of page 2 to make it even longer). Decide together with your client about what happens on each color. Some of the things that I have tried this week are – talk about a feeling, answer a question (I used my Ungame cards for the questions), do a mindfulness practice or relaxation strategy, try a yoga pose, name a coping strategy, say something you are grateful for, lose a turn, and roll again.
To get your copy of the game board, click on the button or image below and enter your email address. You can choose to subscribe to the email list for future resources and blog posts, or opt-out and just get the game. Feel free to share with other clinicians and families, just don’t remove the copyright attribution or resell.
If you use the game in play therapy or online therapy, I’d love to hear how it goes! Share in the comments below.
Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC is an art therapist in Austin, Texas who works with children, teens, and families. For more information about telehealth and online therapy, individual therapy, child and teen counseling, and art therapy services, please visit: www.therapywithcarolyn.com.
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health conditions. All directives, interventions, and ideas should be used by qualified individuals within the appropriate bounds of their education, training, and scope of practice. Information presented in this blog does not replace professional training in child and family therapy, art therapy, or play therapy. Art therapy requires a trained art therapist.
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