Content warning: Mental health care for children under 10
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our Bridge therapists had to quickly alter how they operated their counseling sessions. One of the biggest challenges they faced was changing the medium they used to deliver therapy services. Providing in-person sessions was no longer an option, which called for them to be flexible and creative. Some clients chose to hold off until they were able to return to office, while others were willing to give teletherapy a try. Thankfully, our Bridge therapists were able to successfully provide this online service through a HIPAA compliant site. Although some clients preferred to stay on the phone rather than show their face on camera, our therapists were able to touch base and communicate with their clients from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
One client named Jack, who is younger than 10-years-old, was able to smoothly transition from in-person to video sessions. Before the pandemic, he was regularly participating in play therapy. This technique allows for a child to express emotions and situations in a more creative, imaginative, and in a natural, safe manner. Instead of having to directly share their feelings, they can portray it through a character in a story line. This form of therapy has proved to be very successful, especially with kids who have experienced trauma or have difficulty talking about their experiences. Jack has dealt with his parents’ divorce, issues pertaining to grief, and bullying. Due to these life experiences, he tends to be very anxious and has a tendency to experience emotional outbursts.
Fortunately, with the help of technology, Jack was able to continue participating in interactive activities and play therapy, but in a modified way. Although video sessions can create barriers, such as poor internet connection, getting creative and innovative can eliminate some of these obstacles. For example, Jack and his Bridge therapist were able to play Legos with one another. He would have his set of Legos while the therapist had their own, and they would incorporate each other’s dialogue into the play.
Jack also enjoys drawing, which resulted in his therapist integrating art therapy into their sessions. One prompted art activity included creating a heart map. Both the therapist and Jack made their own, which displayed all the things and people that made them happy, especially during tough times.
Being able to do a variety of activities that enable creativity and innovation via teletherapy has allowed for treatment progression regardless of the unusual and difficult circumstances. Because video sessions have been going so well, this client has decided to stay virtual for the time being.
Thanks to the innovation and flexibility from our Bridge therapists, Jack is continuing to progress and work on coping skills to manage and communicate his emotions in a healthy way.
The client stories shared on our blog are based on real scenarios, but names and identifying details have been changed or removed.