Telehealth Activity: Zen Photon Garden

I have been back in my office part-time the past few weeks, and it has been pretty great to be able to interact with my clients in person. We’ve been able to use actual, tangible fidgets, and when kids need help with something, I can usually actually step in and help them. I played Twister for the first time in over a year, and I definitely should have been more consistent with my home yoga practice because my body is not as bendy as it was before. (I think I can come to terms with body changes, though – I just survived a pandemic!)

Although it is exciting to see people in person again, it’s pretty clear that telehealth is here to stay. More than half of my clients want to keep their sessions online for the convenience, and I’ve been able to expand my practice to help those who did not have the option to come in person. (Quick shameless self-plug, this is why the lovely people at PESI have asked me to write a book about telehealth with kids – details coming in approximately August 2021!)

Since we know telehealth is not going anywhere, I am going to keep accumulating kid-friendly interventions. You can never have too many choices, right? This week, I discovered something called a Zen Photon Garden. You may recall when I wrote about sand drawing and traditional Zen gardens. This is similar, except instead of raking sand, you rake light.

“Draw On Me”

They can tweak different settings – diffuse, reflective, and transmissive – to change how the light interacts with the lines they draw. This is a great mindfulness activity, and it gives kids control over the light. I use this intervention simply by pulling up the website, sharing my screen, and giving my client control of the screen. It’s so fun to see what they come up with, and you can save the final product if you would like.

My photon drawing

Every time I think I have found everything the internet has to offer for telehealth, something else pops up on my radar. This increased access to mental health care is benefitting so many people in rural areas, and I am so honored to be a part of this shift in my field.

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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