Photo by Jessica West on

Who didn’t love charades as a kid? Well, I didn’t because of my social anxiety, but most people really enjoyed it! Therapeutically, charades can help shy or anxious kids come out of their shell and can normalize being “silly” when the therapist takes their turn. It can also be a way to model different emotions or bring up topics related to the child’s treatment goals or history.

I can never think of things to act out, so I use websites like this one that have lists of prompts or this one that generate random ideas to act out.

Although the concept is pretty simple – you take turns acting something out in front of the camera while the other person guesses – this can be a challenge in telehealth. Kids often need prompting and redirection to stay centered in the frame so that I can actually see what they are doing. Also, the “ideal” home office setup does not leave me much room to act out my own prompts, so I have to try and choose things I can do sitting down.

This is a great opportunity to get creative and engage children through body movement rather than relying on verbal conversation, which is tempting in the telehealth session. Not only that, but hyperactive and restless kids stay engaged in the session better when I provide ways that they can move around and still be present.

What kind of movement-based activities have you done with your clients?

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. Her clinical interests are varied and include child and adolescent therapy, TF-CBT, rural psychology, telemental health, sexual and domestic violence, psychological assessment, and mental illness prevention. Dr. Marschall presently works in the Child and Adolescent Therapy Clinic at Sioux Falls Psychological Services in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where she provides individual and family therapy and psychological assessment to children, adolescents, and college students. She also facilitates an art therapy group for adolescents and college students with anxiety and depression. Dr. Amy Marschall is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Telemental Health.

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