When Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist Lacey Ryan opened the doors of Creative Family Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky in 2019, keeping those same doors open through a pandemic was not in her five-year plan. However, that’s exactly where Ryan, the Founding Director of Creative Family Counseling, found herself in the early months of 2020 as COVID-19 started to make its way into the lives of Louisvillians across the city including her staff members’ and patients’. While plenty of businesses were forced to close their doors over the last year and a half, Creative Family Counseling has done the opposite. After a period where Ryan and her team worked together to realign their business approach to meet the new normal that included telehealth and social distancing, the practice continued to offer therapeutic services throughout the pandemic. And now, 18 months later, Creative Family Counseling is preparing to open a second office location in Prospect, Kentucky as the team of therapists and the list of specialties and services offered continues to grow.
Adapting to the pandemic was a learning opportunity for the team at Creative Family Counseling and the knowledge they gained throughout the experience will not be soon forgotten despite Kentucky lifting mask mandates and loosening social distancing restrictions. According to Ryan, “when the COVID-19 pandemic first began in the U.S. and things shut down in Kentucky, the initial impact on our practice was that appointments for counseling significantly decreased. Since we specialize in working with children and families, using expressive therapies like Play Therapy and Animal-Assisted Therapies, our services were difficult to convert to virtual platforms like telehealth. Many client families decided to try to wait it out until we could get back into the play therapy rooms for in-person appointments. So our practice was very quiet, both in-person and virtually. After the pandemic continued for several weeks, and weeks turned into months, we all realized the need to find alternative ways to meet the emotional and mental needs of our community.”
So, Creative Family Counseling did just that. The practice not only opened up their appointments to telehealth, despite Ryan and other staff members believing that the art of their therapy approach is best received in-person but also developed tools to offer parents support from afar. One such tool was the Positive Discipline Foundational Parenting Package (PDFPP), a downloadable Positive Parenting, self-paced, parent education program. The PDFPP includes interactive learning to help parents develop positive parenting tools, mostly from the Positive Discipline curriculum, which focuses on a non-punitive and non-permissive approach to parenting. Despite in-person therapy sessions being available once again at Creative Family Counseling, the PDFPP remains available for purchase online as a means of support for parents within the local area and across the country.