By Helene Stovall
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, commonly known as an LCSW. You may know those in my profession as psychotherapists, counselors, or for some, head shrinkers. Clinical Social Workers focus on individuals and how they function within their environments. When working with children, it is important to meet and engage them as quickly as possible. Their attention span is anywhere from three to fifteen minutes, depending on their age and developmental stage. When working with latency aged clients in my office, I have a large “bag of tricks” to offer. Sand trays, dollhouses, punching bags, and more bears than any adult should be allowed to have. Kids run into the room and head for their favorite corner, going into a world safe enough to play out whatever is on their young minds. Creating the same Gestalt on-line, with telemedicine patients, has been a challenge.
The answer was at my ankle all along – meet Dr Bailey. Dr Bailey is a certified psychiatric assistance animal. Using animal assisted therapy on-line, allows me to connect quickly with young patients as well as many adults who have a hard time knowing where to begin. Dr Bailey is trained to stare into the camera, attentive to every move on the screen. In future blog posts in this series, we will review a typical session with Bailey, and how his inclusion in telemedicine sessions has made accessing patients successful for the patient and the therapist.
Helene Stovall is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for mdlive.com.