What is Tele-Play Therapy? Is it the Same as In-person Child Play Therapy? Does it Work?

What is Tele-Play Therapy? Is it the Same as In-Person?

Tele-play therapy is another term for virtual, online play therapy with children. The relationship between the child and therapist is a key piece to the effectiveness of play therapy. While play looks different--more expressive arts-based and virtual game-based interventions--the relationship between the child and therapist will still develop. Through this relationship, and the therapist's stance of unconditional acceptance, a safe space is able to be established. Once established, the child will begin to unpack and process those unmanageable and often overwhelming feelings that lead to some of the concerns parents and teachers see in the child's day-to-day life. Through tele-play therapy, the therapist is still able to help the child identify concrete coping skills that can be taught virtually and utilized in-between sessions.

Does Tele-Play Therapy Work?

The short answer is yes! In my experience, tele-play therapy sessions have been just as effective in allowing the child to process, make sense, and integrate feelings and stressors. Children are often times more adaptable than us adults. They come into session with an internal sense of what they would like to accomplish. While tele-play therapy is more therapist-directed than in-person sessions, the child is still given decision making opportunities and time to work on what they may be bringing into the session.

Are Parents Involved?

Always! As with in-person sessions, parents are involved throughout the therapeutic process. With younger children, tele-play therapy may consist of more parent-child interventions, as the therapist is not physically there to ensure safety. With older children, the parents are brought into the first 10 minutes of the session for talk time where they get to meet with the child and therapist to explore positives and concerns. After every 3 sessions, parents schedule individual parent consultations with the therapist. This is time where parenting tips, continuing concerns, and further support are provided.