Helpful Tools for Telehealth Sessions

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Using Projective Cards in Online Therapy with Children

by Gali Salpeter (Story and Therapy)


(Original Article Found Here)

This can be the perfect time to enrich your online sessions with new professional tools. Projective cards enable clients to process the issues bothering them in a ‘safe’ metaphorical space of images and stories. Working with projective cards can lead to a wide range of creative activities such as storytelling, drawing and role playing, alongside techniques from fields such as play therapy, psychodrama, art therapy, and drama therapy.

Following are suggestions for using projective cards online, demonstrated with reference to the “The World of Trains” set:

1. The therapist holds the deck facing downwards and shuffles them until the client says “stop!”. The therapist reveals the top card that was randomly chosen and the two tell a story together, with the illustrated card as its hero. The therapist begins with an opening sentence and then the client and therapist each add a sentence in turn.

Ideas for opening sentences:

o “The carriage could not leave its station for a long time. This made it feel…”

o “The carriage misses the train it was once a part of. That train was…”

o “My passengers like to drive with me because I am a carriage that…”

The therapist writes the story down and can later read it aloud or send it to the child. During the next sessions they can add chapters to the story or choose new cards to create new stories.

2. The therapist shows the client a few illustrated cards and invites the client to choose a card s/he would like to work with. The client describes the card or the reason s/he chose it. Then, the therapist invites the client to make a drawing of a train that

o the chosen carriage would like to be a part of

o the carriage misses traveling with

o the carriage finds it difficult to be a part of

3. The therapist shows the ten Engine Cards to the child and invites him/her to choose one of them to lead a train on an imaginary journey. Once the engine is chosen, the therapist invites the client to choose a random number. The therapist holds the pile of carriages facing downwards and chooses a card according to that number. If the client’s number was 15, for example, the therapist takes the 15th card in the pile and places it next to the Engine Card to form a train. They can continue with this method of choosing cards until the client decides that the train is long enough. The therapist can then send a picture of the train to the client and invite him/her to tell a story about an imaginary journey of that train. The therapist can suggest the type of journey or leave the instructions vague.

Some options:

o A journey during which each carriage wants to travel to a different place

o A journey of funny adventures

o A journey during which one carriage saves the train

o A journey to a magical station where the wishes of carriages come true


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  • Out of Context has the 5 options below utilizing communication skills that would be perfect for a family or group: https://www.outofcontext.party/

    • Raconteur – Collaborate in writing stories one line at a time with minimal context.

    • Scribble – Players alternate between drawing and describing in a telephone-Pictionary hybrid game.

    • Redacted – Collaborate in writing, tampering, and repairing stories one line at a time.

    • Hodgepodge – Collaborate in splicing together recipes for anything.

    • Wurderer – Players are each given a target and a word they need to get their targets to say. This website is only a setup for playing the game in person.

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