By way of introduction, this is the title of the training manual for the AAIT Fellowship Training Group. Participants fondly refer to it as the Big A $% Notebook. As you can imagine, it’s packed with resources and information to ensure that my students’ clients get the same reliable benefits that my clients get.

Our offices are also crucibles of transformation. We intentionally create spaces that will allow the tranquility of being. We make sure our clients have water (or tea ð ??????). We checked the tissue box and the lighting. We set up white noise machines when necessary to protect confidentiality. We create crucibles for transformation.

With telehealth, some clients report that they will wait until offices reopen. They just don’t want to do the telehealth option, they want to be in our offices in person. Many are concerned that the work is not so “deep.” By the way, AAIT professionals who have switched to telehealth continue to get the same reliable results they get face-to-face. The work is still so deep and transformative.

Still, the crucibles in our office are a stark comparison to some of the spaces our clients find themselves in when they connect with us … bathrooms, closets, and even cars. Finding privacy and creating a space for therapy at home is a real challenge. Combine that with technical challenges and, well, it’s easier to quit.

All of you, we have gone too far to dismiss the value of therapy so easily because our therapeutic environments are now more challenging. A client has told me that he will wait until I welcome people to my office and call three people eager to take their place.

Our skills are needed now more than ever. Now it is incumbent on us not only to have great therapeutic skills, but also to help our clients create their own crucibles for transformation. And that doing this is GOOD for them. Creating spaces in our own homes that feel calm, content, and loving is a form of self-care when self-care is very necessary.

Here are some tips:
I have?? Neutralize your own tension about this new work scene. Otherwise, the threads of your charged energy will prevent you from gently stepping back and supporting clients who long for the days of in-person care and put their own mental health and well-being on hold until that time comes. The ending of words can really help with this.

I have?? Schedule ten to fifteen minutes with your clients to guide them through the technical aspects of telecare. This would include setting the camera angle, making sure your face is lit, how to make your own image on the screen disappear. Answer any technical questions they have, including what is plan B if there is a technical problem or if they have incomplete internet service. This may include turning off the screen and talking on the phone for a bit. Be sure to leave space to answer your questions and address your technical concerns. It’s very difficult to open up emotionally and then deal with screen freezing and choppy connection.

I have?? Discuss together where in your home you feel most secure and private. What is the best place for you to be while you meet? What can you do to make the space more intentional? Again, this is a form of self-care and it is good for most of us to view our surroundings in this way. Do you have tissues? Water? What should they do to gain the support of those with whom they share space?

I have?? Analyze the value of white noise applications or machines to access greater privacy. Explain how they can use them when they are in session (IF they are not using the phone for the session). Discuss what else they might need to make them feel secure in the privacy aspect of their timeshare.

I have?? Use the here and now. When technology fails, when it seems they are frustrated with the format, discuss it. Use the here and now as Irving Yalom would guide us. From time to time, check out the tech setup and what they’re discovering about working together in this way. Include space for any requests you may have that may make this time in this environment more conducive to your transformation.

What tips do you have to help our clients adjust to this new norm as they long for the good times?

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