“Type it in the chat”
Well...this is something I never dreamed would become a part of my therapy practice on the regular. I have continued to be amazed and inspired by ways that play therapy and Tele-Play combine into something that is uniquely all of its own.
I wanted to share some of the themes and interventions I am seeing with the chat feature in hopes that you will get curious about diving deeper beyond the video stream on your screen!
I have some older middle school clients and teens that don’t have the most secure environment to meet in. Sometimes there is something they want to say but are aware that others could be within hearing distance. Sometimes the chat feels safer, even just to kick off a detail about a topic that otherwise feels too private to even speak.
For other young people I see they aren’t quite sure HOW they want to say something. They will use the chat feature to communicate and “edit” what they want to say, read, re-read and then hit enter when it seems to be the closest to what they want to say to you and how they want to say it.
To express dysregulation
Kjsdflkjs lf dlkfa dklsdj;f kldsf lsdk f
Do you ever get multiple sentences like this in the chat? Sometimes it’s funny, but sometimes it can show up as something different.
Sometimes it is the way young people communicate through actions that they don’t like something that is being said. Or they are bored, anxious, or really any other form of dysregulation. You know, the way in office that they might yell, interrupt, or show you in some other way that they are dysregulated. It’s another way they communicate their inner state to us!
Testing limits and boundaries
Sometimes the chat feature is used to see where the limits are. What if I say something in the chat that I wouldn’t say out loud? What if a drop a POOP emoji? What about a gun? Is THAT allowed? How will you respond?
This last one is by far my favorite and one of the most amazing ways I have seen kids adapt to Tele-Play! Sometimes in response to a prompt, noticing statement or question there an emoji pops into the chat. Sometimes they invite you to respond in emoji. Sometimes you can co-tell stories and in the chat the play takes on a life of its own!
Chat Feature Intervention: Tell Me a Story
Here is one of the interventions I have enjoyed doing. It is similar to using story cubes, like I talk about in greater detail HERE! BUT instead of rolling the dice to identify the symbols in the story you can use the chat feature in the following ways:
There is not a lot of structure to this and it is incredibly flexible. If the therapist chooses the child could have an invitation to reject or “re-do” one of the emoji’s. You could choose to base it on some of the rules from the free printable HERE!
This one is really the quintessential “no supplies play therapy” intervention!
What have you noticed about the chat feature and Tele-Play? Have you developed any interventions? Drop a comment below!
PS if you are not sure how to get emoji’s - if you are in DoxyMe right click in the text areas of the chat and the top of the menu will say Emoji. When you click on that it opens up a beautiful array of emoji’s to choose from. OR you can hit the windows key (on a PC) and period at the same time and the box will pop up!
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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.