By Amy Chouinard M.A. CCC-SLP, COM®
We have all been turned upside down over the last week. Every single person in the world is affected somehow by COVID-19. For me as a therapist, I cannot see clients in person. This is tough, really tough. Earlier this week I missed being able to see smiley faces, I missed the high-fives, I missed the close contact with people, I missed the social interaction, I missed feeling like I am making a difference and really helping people. As the week went on, we frantically developed a new plan. This new plan is teletherapy. Most of us on my team had never used teletherapy before. We have been pushed to think outside the box for what therapy should look like and what it will be. We are learning a new video meeting platform and are talking about creative ideas for how to do occupational and speech therapy in this new way. Last night we learned our governor mandated that teletherapy will be covered by insurance. Yay!
I have done a few teletherapy sessions this week. You know what? They have been AWESOME! Seeing my clients on the video screen has been an absolute day brightener and I think they have also enjoyed seeing me! The sessions have gone way better than I ever could have imagined. Even though I could not see the client in person, I was still able to make a difference and we worked toward achieving our goals. Cool new things are happening in teletherapy: I “met” a dad yesterday who is usually at work, my dog joined the session and my client started interacting with me, and I learned you can play hang-man through a monitor.
In these scary uncertain times, we do not know what the next day will bring. Many of us feel out of control and helpless. To remain calm, we all need to remember what we can and cannot control, take a deep breath and possibly try something new. See change as good, not something that is bad. What can I learn from this situation? Even in the midst of this chaos, I have found a new way to do therapy and to be connected with people. It feels good. This is a gift. Teletherapy is my silver lining. What is yours?