Telehealth Resource: Board Game Arena

Today’s telehealth resource is not a specific activity but a platform with a whole bunch of games to choose from. Board Game Arena even has some games I have shared before on a new platform with different options, which is great for tailoring activities based on individual needs. For instance, I talked before about how the telehealth version of Connect Four that I use has a timer that stresses kids out, and the Board Game Arena version doesn’t use a timer.

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To use this platform in telehealth sessions, I recommend making an account. I made one connected to my personal email address, and it allows me to create private game rooms with clients playing as guests. It only took a minute to set everything up.

When you log in, follow these steps:

  1. Under “Select Game Mode,” choose Simple Game.
  2. Under “Select a Speed,” choose Real-Time.
  3. Under “Play With,” choose “Play With Friends.”

It asks, “Will both you and your friend share the same screen?” You could choose “yes” if you are going to share your screen and take turns with remote control, but there are more game options if you do not share your screen. If you choose not to share your screen, you will get a link to share with your client that brings them into your private game room.

The site then asks if your friend is registered to the site – I ask my clients not to register, since they can play as a guest anonymously. Send them the link via the chat feature on your telehealth platform, and they can choose a guest display name.

Scroll down, and you can either search for a specific game or click “show me all the games.” If you browse all games, you can filter by number of players, play time, and complexity based on preferences, treatment goals, client interests, and client developmental level. You can save games you use a lot as favorites to save time.

When you finish your session, return to the lobby screen. Guest players remain in the room even after they have logged off, so you have to “kick” them from your lobby by selecting the X next to their avatar.

This is great for groups too, since you can have multiple players in your room at a time. The platform is also helpful for kids who are not the most tech savvy, since you can switch between games without sending a new link. I talk the parent or guardian through helping the child get into the room, and then they can navigate the rest of the session independently.

I love finding new telehealth platforms, new versions of games I have been using for a long time. It allows me to tailor the session to the client’s needs, which is what I am there for, after all!

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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