During this time of physical distancing, many of us are becoming familiar with the term telepsychology. Telepsychology is the use of digital platforms that allow us to access therapy services remotely through secure online video conferencing technology or telephone. While there is currently a new emphasis on telepsychology in response to social distancing, psychologists have actually been seeing clients, both adults and children, via video conferencing for a number of years!
Like adults, children can benefit from accessing psychological services using digital platforms and with the increase in stress on families as a result of COVID-19, many children may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety. Although it may seem like a difficult task to engage children in meaningful ways using digital platforms, it is absolutely possible! Below are some examples of what a telehealth psychology session might look like for young children 🙂
– Games: Feelings games that help to build emotional literacy can be incorporated into telepsychology sessions. For example, the therapist can create different colored “feelings cards” and ask the child to pick a color. The therapist/child can alternate acting out what that feeling looks like, tell stories about a time they felt that feeling, or discuss helpful thoughts they can think about when they experience that feeling… the options are endless!
– Building challenges: The therapist can ask the child to build a specific structure using toys they have at home such as Lego. Challenges like this can be a fun way to work on many skill areas such as: following directions, visual motor, fine motor, and receptive language.
– Many children enjoy drawing pictures and creating art. Children can draw pictures of how their day is going, what their worries look like, or their friends/family, and then share them with the therapist using the camera. This is a great way to engage children and open up conversations about how they are feeling.
– Emotional Regulation/Mindfulness: Therapists and children can play fun games together that allow for movement and build emotional regulation/mindfulness skills. For example, the therapist can play the “freeze game” with children. When the music is playing the child and the therapist dance, and when it stops they take different kinds of breaths together (e.g., ocean breathing, bumblebee breathing). This helps children learn how they can quickly regulate their bodies from an ‘alert’ state down to a more ‘calm’ state!
These are just some examples of fun activities that can be done with children using telepsychology. There are so many ways to help children process their feelings and work on therapy goals in creative and playful ways! Many online video platforms also have great features that allow therapists to share their screen/play videos/play games. Therapy sessions can also be tailored to meet the needs of the family and the child. Sessions can be divided to include both therapy for the child and consultation for parents, or the length/frequency of sessions can be modified.
We have a team of psychologists who can provide sessions for children. We are flexible and happy to tailor the sessions to meet your family’s needs. If you are concerned about your child and feel they may benefit from telepsychology please feel free to connect with one of our therapists. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or call 403-454-7600.