Telehealth Activity: 8 Ball Pool

When I interned in a residential setting, a lot of kids bonded and had great therapeutic moments around a pool table. We could play teams with a group or have a casual one-on-one game while talking about a larger issue. A pool table is something that I never thought would be practical for my therapy practice because of space constrictions, but once again, telehealth has shown me that nothing is impossible!

Photo by Tomaz Barcellos on

I use this version of 8 Ball Billiards for telehealth. Pull up the website, choose human versus human, and share your screen. Take turns with screen control to play with your client. They can use any device with a mouse or touch screen for this activity, though I have found that phone screens are challenging due to the small size.

Another version you can use is on Cool Math Games. If you can’t screen share or grant remote control, this version lets you create a private game. Choose “create match,” set the match to private, and send your client the code generated. They go to the same website and input the code to “join match.” This version requires you to time turns, which can cause anxiety for kids who struggle with timed tasks, but this can also be an added way to help them flex their focus muscles.

The goal of using pool in the residential program was to give the kids something to do with their bodies while we talked. It gave them the opportunity to relax enough to explore deeper issues. You can get a similar effect with telehealth pool, though there is less body work due to the nature of the virtual game.

Telehealth pool works focus, planning, problem solving, and of course frustration tolerance. It requires taking turns, and since the rules are coded in, following instructions. Sometimes there are no good shots, so you have to decide which option is best when what you really want is not available. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

Play interventions for telehealth are endless!

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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