We are several weeks into the UK’s lockdown now, working online and in creative ways with our clients who may be children and young people. The new ways of working are sometimes challenging, and boundaries need to be thought about in a different way, however, there are some really (sometimes surprising!) positive outcomes.
I have been working with a 9-year-old boy for four weeks and during that time, we have developed a coping tool to help with his automatic negative thinking patterns and core beliefs. Through this process during FaceTime, it enabled him to visually see how quickly and effectively negative thinking patterns can be flipped into positive ones. I cannot take the credit for the title of his coping tool – I suggested a mind map or drawing what the positives are and what they mean to him. He came up with a fantastic name for ‘The Positive Thought Shower’ himself, and I love it!
He has been so creative using colours, ideas and pictures to resemble his perception of his positives. At a greater depth, he has also written poetry, exploring his own thought processes and linking this to the here and now. He has described how he feels as weight has been lifted. By creating this visually and exploring his feeling with me during our FaceTime session, he has enabled us to link his internal thoughts and feelings, as well as develop a fantastic creative coping tool that he can use again and again.
Initially, we both wondered and considered how working together using FaceTime would be. Concentrating on his colouring and writing feelings, ideas and strategies down, during the session, whilst exploring how he feels with me, in his own words, has ‘felt really good!’.
My concerns when using FaceTime or other video calls when working with clients, had been that I would find using my empathy skills to be difficult due not physically being in the same space as the client, meaning that emotions may feel more distant or less palpable. However, this has not been my experience, I have felt connected to my clients, been able to experience their emotions and, along with the client’s feedback, been able to adjust to an effective new way of working.