Telehealth Activity: Duo Survival

A year ago, I never would have considered using flash games in therapy sessions, but then again a year ago I thought I was only working from home “temporarily.”

Anyway, cooperative games are a good tool to have available when working with kids. If a child is very competitive, cooperative games can build rapport better than games with a “winner” and a “loser.” They reduce power struggles if a child shows a lot of oppositionality. And anxious children sometimes prefer non-competitive games.

My favorite cooperative game for in-person sessions is called Max the Cat, a game where the client and I work together to get three critters to their home in an oak tree before Max catches them. (Shameless self-plug alert: I created a telehealth variation on Max the Cat featuring Vera, and it’s FREE at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.)

A series of flash games called Duo Survival features two characters who have to work together to solve a series of puzzles. You can play Duo Survival, Duo Survival 2, and Duo Survival 3 on Poki.

Cover image for Duo Survival

The game features two characters (who are presented as a man and a woman). The man is large and slow, and the woman is small and fast. She jumps higher than he is, but he can push heavier things than she can. They have to work together to get through the levels, including removing obstacles for each other and giving each other boosts on various levels.

Each character has strengths that the other character lacks, but the same qualities make them need each other. For example, the woman fits into smaller places that the man cannot reach, but she also can’t keep her head above water and needs him to carry her when they cross rivers.

To play Duo Survival over telehealth, you can pull up the game on your computer and then share the screen with your client. This is an activity that requires you and the client to both have easily accessible keyboards, so I recommend only using it if they are on a Chromebook or Laptop. You grant the client remote access, and when they accept remote control, you can both use the keyboard at the same time to each control one character. The man uses up, down, left, and right for controls, and the woman uses, w, s, a, and d.

This game is a great way to demonstrate team work, especially since it emphasizes working together, asking for help, and how different people can have different strengths. Not to mention, kids get really into it because what kid doesn’t love computer games? I recommend checking it out!

Published by Dr Marschall

Dr. Amy Marschall received her Psy.D. from the University of Hartford in September 2015. She completed her internship at the National Psychology Training Consortium with specializations in assessment and rural mental health. Currently, she specializes in trauma-informed and neurodiversity-affirming care, and she is certified in telemental health. Dr. Marschall runs a private practice, RMH Therapy, where she provides individual and family therapy as well as psychological assessments across the lifespan. Dr. Amy Marschall is an author and professional speaker.

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