I don't know what your current relationship with Tele-Play is or who needs to hear this but, we need to find gratitude in our Tele-Play practice. Some play therapists LOVE it - they have found a platform that works well in serving their clients and feels like it is a better fit for their lives. I definitely know the commute of Tele-Play has its perks! Others are burnt out and completely over it! Wherever you land, like I said HERE, I think Tele-Play is here to stay, at least in some form.
I like to think about gratitude as one of the antidotes to burnout. An article published by the Greater Good Science Center from UC Berkley has linked workplace gratitude to "more positive emotions, less stress and fewer health complaints, a greater sense that we can achieve our goals, fewer sick days, and higher satisfaction with our jobs and our coworkers." Doesn't that sound like something we could all use?
I would encourage you to sit down and create a list of things you are grateful for within Tele-Play. Really dive in and consider what that looks like for you. Okay, I'll go first.
I am grateful for clients who are vulnerable enough to allow me to enter their lives in a new way. To allow me to be present in their homes when life isn't always perfect, neat or picked up. I am grateful that allowing me into this space has actually lowered defenses and allowed them to be more comfortable than in our office setting. I am grateful that I get to see dogs, cats, and exotic pets, their favorite toys, and the space they feel most comfortable. This is a side of young people we don't often get to see.
I am grateful for the ability to allow clients to keep therapy commitments when life happens. When families go to the cabin, to stay with grandparents, or have relocated I am able to continue to support them in their mental health journey. There are less barriers to logging on to services and even if someone forgets usually a quick phone call leaves us minutes away from our session instead of the 20-30+ minute process to get out the door and into session. I am grateful that when I relocated there were some clients that could have the choice to keep their therapy consistent.
I am grateful for the lessons I have learned that less can be more. Without the security of my play room and variety of carefully selected toys I can still do meaningful therapeutic work. I am grateful that Tele-Play has allowed me to get clear about what I need, what my clients may need, and that beautiful therapeutic work and healing can be done with a small selection of toys, like I talk about HERE and HERE.
I am grateful, in a practical sense, that Tele-Play has allowed me to keep my practice alive and continue to serve those struggling on my caseload. AND children are getting better, progressing on their goals, healing, and are able to terminate, just like my in office practice. In COVID-19 the only other option would be to cease therapy all together OR expose myself and clients to significant safety risks before having all the appropriate information. Both of those are undesirable to say the least.
Lastly I am grateful to have witnessed resilience - within myself and the teams in both of my practices. It was amazing to watch therapists get clear, form plans, and execute what has been (for me) likely one of the most significant, chaotic, and scary transitions of my career. Within 48 hours to go from seeing clients in office, business as usual (with more sanitizing and cleaning), to a full telehealth operation with forms sent out, orientation info given, and clients re-scheduled was amazing. I am also grateful to see the resilience within myself. If I can practice Tele-Play therapy in less than a 5 foot by 5 foot space I can literally do therapy anywhere. This re-frame of having done hard things in my practice will carry with me my entire career.
Now, It's your turn. What are you grateful for in Tele-Play? Drop a comment below!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC, RPT-S, and EMDR Consultant. I help other therapists grow in their passions as play therapists, trauma therapists,and child and adolescent therapists.