As much as a struggle as it can be with keeping our clients engaged over video chat sessions, I’ve had a lot of success with using online games and apps to play while in video sessions. The classic card game “UNO” and now a Yu-Gi-Oh app called “Duel Links” have been fun.
I was having a little trouble keeping “Sam” engaged and interested in video chatting, so I asked him what he’s been doing to stay busy and he told me about “Duel Links” and asked me to please play it with him. I have to be honest, I don’t know much about Anime/Yu-Gi-Oh other than what I’ve caught wind of in sessions when some of my clients talk about it. I always thought it was too complex to even try to learn, plus it just wasn’t my thing.
I downloaded the app and “Sam” told me I have to get to Level 4 before I can even play him, so blindly I went in and just started playing. Even with “Sam’s” initial help I had no idea what I was doing. Eventually just playing by myself, I got a glimpse into how it’s played, then would ask “Sam” for tips and clues. I got to level 4 and he couldn’t be happier having video sessions as now we could play this against each other!
Even though I still really don’t totally get it, “Sam” looks forward to our sessions and I feel a stronger rapport with him, as we are both participating in something he’s extremely interested in. He’s never been so talkative with me!
As far as UNO, I have several clients who love playing that with me but mainly with one of my challenging clients, “Saul”. “Saul” has autism so it was also difficult to have him engage for a while with video chat. When we would hang out in person, we’d go to the library and play several rounds of UNO.
When I spoke with “Saul’s” therapist for our weekly session, I really wanted to know if he had any ideas on how to keep him engaged over the phone. I didn’t know at the time, but he informed me about a specific website made just for playing UNO online with anyone you wanted. It was free and easy to sign up and the good part is, you get your own room with private link to send to the client and when they click on it, they don’t even have to sign up, they can just play as a guest. Ever since we started, we play multiple games together while talking via video chat, a few times a week and his mother is very happy about it.