In between sessions, I’d glance out my long glass window for my ETC families as I waited for you to come to my door. I watched over a car-filled parking lot and cerulean blue skies. Well, realistically, more often than not, it was probably a dismal cloudy day in Pittsburgh. A month ago, none thought that we’d be joining with one another through a computer screen. How odd.
My new window is silver, rectangular and somewhat lifeless at best. Then, in a matter of moments, it comes to life as I “see” you in my waiting room. While not quite the same view, it still brings a smile to my face knowing that you are there, waiting for our time together for you to share moments with your child. The landscape has changed, sometimes to a fuzzy, time-delayed movie. It has an initial aura like Alice through the Looking Glass as we enter into our new world.
This time is peculiar and ambiguous for all. As a clinician, I am grateful to continue to serve during this transitional time. Some families may have opted out. The “window” and tele-health therapy are an added stressor, certainly understandable. For these families we have found alternate ways to work from afar. But most have chosen to gaze through the new window, and for those families our days evolve somewhat more regularly.
There is a learning curve. Tele-health is uncharted territory, but essential in many ways. Lives have changed under stay-at-home orders; therapy offers a routine. With school closed with no certain time for return, therapy builds connection for a child and their family and helps to support a “steady” regulation for not only the child, but also for keeping parents aware of their own experiences and mindful of their own feelings. Our established relationships give a “secure base.” If I am welcoming you as new children and families, I offer a new-found anchor. My clinical tools are still there. The architecture, a little different, yet the valuable process remains the same. Our work together continues.
Looking into this new window, therapy transforms. It gives me a vantage point into my ETC family’s world since COVID-19. Glimpses into family may be different, perhaps even more realistic amidst a crisis. I take note, that this window gives uncertain feelings of my own as a clinician. There is a lack of the ability for “hands-on” and elimination of en vivo moment cueing gives rise to providing therapy in a new way. Subtle signals or gestures that are readily apparent in a live session are sometimes lost in a hazy connection. Managing technological hiccups takes finesse and extra attention. Occasional blips in time cause a loss of the sequence taking place in an interaction. The sounds are somewhat distorted. I must stay even more present in the moment. We operate in an adapted way, but we get there.
We have translated our experiences to be viable and effective, only now through a virtual medium. Working to move forward amidst global upheaval, we take greater moments to pause rather than shift toward the next step. We share and endure the challenges. Coaching opportunities in a virtual world are abundant; holding across cyberspace is unaccustomed. However, training and years of practice support our work. Some sessions transition more seamlessly. Each process moves ahead based on child and family needs. As the therapist by your side, we find ways of prioritizing, balancing life activities, working, playing, or simply “being” in the moment as we settle into a new rhythm. Therapy still gives a chance to address all that might transpire.
My hope is that your “window” into ETC provides safety. While at first foreign, as I step into it, tele-health opens up a world where I can offer support from a distance, slow families down to connect and realize that life continues as I glance “in” and we descend down the rabbit hole together.
Author: Stacy Sue Rosello, MA, OTR/L
Founder, Embrace the Child, ® Ltd.
Editor: Grace Rosello
Copyright © 2020 Stacy Sue Rosello