As Kentuckiana families prepare for another 4-6 weeks of being “Healthy at Home,” the Team of Marriage and Family Therapists at Creative Family Counseling has been busy finding creative ways to provide support for existing clients and their families as well as the community at large. Effective this week, all Therapists at Creative Family Counseling are able to provide Online Counseling Services and various kinds of support through secure Telehealth options.
Many parents are struggling to manage the multiple roles they are now assuming as children participate in Non-Traditional Instruction (online schooling). Most businesses that are able continue business remotely have employees working from home. This creates stress for parents trying to pull triple-duty – parent, teacher, and employee all at once.
Children who are used to having lots of opportunities for out-of-the-home engagement at school, with their friends, and in extra-curricular activities, are now finding all of their time spent at home. When children experience stress and drastic changes, they act out emotionally and behaviorally. Because of a child’s developmental stage, the ability to say, “Wow, this is really stressful right now and I’m overwhelmed and sad,” is sometimes not possible. This leads to children having more disruptive and acting-out behaviors and emotional outbursts. Even for children whose parents have not told them about the Pandemic and all the stressors surrounding it, children can still pick up on the general feeling of the home changing, causing them to react. Dealing with disruptive behaviors and the out of control feelings of their children, while experiencing huge amounts of stress to begin with, causes family members to feel as if they are drowning.
Many families are experiencing incredible amounts of financial strain as certain types of businesses are closed altogether right now. The Pandemic of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) continues to spread daily, exposing more and more to the threat of its symptoms and even death.
We are in crisis.
The Therapists at Creative Family Counseling are offering various types of support for Kentucky and Indiana families during this crisis by using Online Counseling and support. The practice is offering a variety of length of time for appointments, ranging from a 15 minute check-in to a typical 50 minute session and even a 90 minute session option. All services are offered at reduced rates for those experiencing financial strain. “Online Counseling allows therapy to continue and for a client to maintain momentum on the progress they’ve made so far. Or, if people are struggling (during the Pandemic crisis) they have consistent support through that,” explains Dawn Pendleton, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Creative Family Counseling. Dawn specializes in treatment of teens and adults who have experienced trauma and utilizes EMDR in her practice with clients. She has even found success using EMDR with clients through use of Online Counseling.
As the practice is most known for its use of Play Therapy with child clients in the Play Therapy offices at the practice, Therapists at Creative Family Counseling have made adjustments to the ways they offer Therapy to Children and Teens. Many Therapists are continuing to utilize expressive therapies such as offering Bibliotherapy (therapeutic picture books), use of art interventions, use of virtual games, and use of other types of toys. Many times, the Therapist is able to tell the parent before the appointment to gather the supplies that will be needed during the appointment time, such as crayons and paper. At just a week in, Therapists have already had success in this.
Megan McCarty, a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate who primarily works with children and teens has found that her teenage clients are actually enjoying Online Counseling with our Telehealth option. She explains, “My teenage clients who struggle with anxiety have experienced more comfort and less anxiety about their work in our counseling sessions as they meet with me virtually in the comfort and safety of their home.”
Because Creative Family Counseling provides a systemic approach to working with children and teens, the ability to provide Parent Support, Positive Discipline Parent Education, and Family Therapy has not been effected by converting to TeleTherapy. With flexible appointment times available, parents and families are able to participate in these services at times that work well for the entire family while at home.
Additionally, the Team of Therapists at Creative Family Counseling is organizing some Support Groups for both parents who need help providing Positive Parenting during the Pandemic and for Individual Clients needing support during the crisis. Information about these Groups will be posted on the practice’s Facebook page.
Some families initially requested to hold off on using Online Counseling, preparing for the at-home time to be a couple of weeks. Now that the time-frame continues to be extended, currently until May 1st, families are re-evaluating the option. Therapists are offering a free 10-15 minute checkin via the Telehealth platform used by the practice so clients can see what it’s like and determine if they’d like to take advantage of that option for continuing therapy during the Pandemic. Rebecca Street, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Creative Family Counseling who works with children, teens, adults, and couples states, “In general most of my clients have appreciated being able to continue therapy through the use of Telehealth during this time, even though we can’t meet in person, and even in spite of some technological issues one client had. I’ve had some clients who haven’t wanted to move forward with Telehealth at this time, and that’s fine as well. We just want our clients to know we’re still available if they need us.”
The practice has had such positive experiences with use of Telehealth that some of the Therapists at Creative Family Counseling have decided to continue to offer Online Counseling even after the Pandemic ends and the practice re-opens its doors for in-office appointments. Creative Family Counseling Therapists use a user-friendly Telehealth program called Telehealth by Simple Practice, a HIPAA compliant and secure platform. Clients can log in to their appointments by using their SmartPhone, Tablet, or Computer, at no additional charge to them.
Therapists have openings every day of the week and at various times of day. If you or a family member would benefit from support during the Pandemic, visit www.creativefamilycounseling.org or call 502-709-0410 to talk with a Therapist today.