I've gotten a lot of questions about how I do tele-therapy with young children. There are a number of ways to do this, so it depends on the child, but I've mostly been doing dyadic/family therapy.
Teaching Therapeutic Play Skills to Parents: A great use of session time has been teaching therapeutic play skills to parents. Especially during a quarantine, they may have more time to practice these skills between sessions. The following are three evidence-based dyadic therapies.
- Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) teaches parents basic play therapy skills that they can use to respond more effectively to their children's emotional and behavioral needs.
- Click here for a handout that outlines this technique for helping families set up "Special Play Time"
- Child-Parent Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is conducted through "coaching" sessions, typically done using a two-way mirror set up where the parent and therapist wear headsets, but is easily modified to work well as teletherapy.
- UC Davis has a FREE 10 hour online training on PCIT that can be found here.
- Theraplay features simple sensory-based child-parent activities that promote attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement
- Here is a list of 132 Theraplay activities. It is also easy to find videos on YouTube
Parent Support and Coaching: Sometimes devoting time to a full parenting session can have ***. I've been starting out all of my cases I am moving to tele-health with an "assessment sessions." During this session we figure out the logistics of sessions (informed consent, location, platform instruction, materials, need for privacy). The rest of the session focuses on parent what their most immediate needs are. During this stressful time many parents are struggling themselves and need extra support and may have questions about talking to kids about COVID, structuring their day, managing behaviors, etc. You may also do a full session where you are teaching CPRT/PCIT skills before you start the live coaching sessions.
- Here is a resource "Parenting with COVID" that is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese
Family-Therapy Activities: Sometimes they will do the activity and process it with me in the session, and other times I may explain the instructions and then have them complete the activity on their own during the week.
- When I have more time I will probably create a post of just family interventions.
- I usually select the activity based on what my goal is for the session: Examples are (bonding/attachment, communication and problem solving, etc.)
- Here is a link to Liana Lowenstein's free ebook that features a number of family therapy activities than can be adapted for teletherapy. You can also buy her Family Therapy version.