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Asking a child to sit for an hour of family counseling is one thing.
Asking a child to pay attention to a virtual session, also known as a telehealth call, is quite another.
Michelle Villarreal, a Child and Family specialist in Central Texas, finds that younger children may wander away from a video call. Older children may leave quite deliberately. And spouses who are arguing will not sit close enough for her to see both of them on her laptop screen. “The rules for telehealth look different than in person,” Michelle says, “but we figure it out together.”
Stay-at-home orders can make it difficult for a client to find privacy. Child and Family specialist Brenda Siller serves families in and around Midland, Texas. “I ask kids, or parents, to move to a more secluded spot so we can talk genuinely,” she says. “One girl acted very differently when she was with her mom, so it was important to have private time with each of them.”
PCHAS staff are known for innovation. If an hour is too long for a virtual session, they will suggest shorter, more frequent sessions. They combine patience and compassion with evidence-based methods such as Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®). They specialize in daily routines and healthy interactions, so they are a great help during this time of quarantine, when many families chafe under “the new normal.”
As families and those who serve them adjust to the realities of telehealth, PCHAS is staying at the forefront of best practices and remains focused on the agency’s mission to serve children and families in need. In-home family counseling and telehealth services are available in Texas, Missouri and Louisiana at no cost. PCHAS works with single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren and families struggling to stay together.for more information.