Way back when I regularly saw clients in-person, I kept a basket of sensory items handy. That basket included a Rubik’s cube, which was a favorite with some of my clients. A couple of them could actually solve it, and some just liked taking it apart and putting it back together solved (which I maintain is just an alternative way to solve the puzzle).
Recently, I found an online Rubik’s cube! While you can’t take this one apart, it has still made for an interesting intervention in sessions. In person, the Rubik’s cube is kind of an afterthought, something my clients fidgeted with while we discussed other things, but in telehealth sessions, it has been a more direct intervention.
To use the online Rubik’s cube, I go to the website, screen share, and grant my client remote control of my screen. They can then either point and click (or use their finger with a touch screen) to manipulate the cube, or they can use keyboard controls.
You can use the Rubik’s cube for real-time problem solving, emotion regulation, and frustration tolerance. You can work through feelings brought up by the task as they happen and work through them with appropriate coping and emotional expression. I find activities like this to be particularly helpful for clients who might not want to talk directly about anger or frustration – they can work through these emotions as the feelings are occurring. They don’t need to think of a time when they felt that way because they are feeling it right now in their session. And I can model regulation, cue use of coping skills, and demonstrate unconditional regard for them as they work through their feelings with me.
The online Rubik’s cube is a very different intervention than the one in my office, but for many clients, this has allowed us to work toward some of their treatment goals in a new way.