Playing Away the Trauma

Telehealth Practices with Foster Parents and Young Children


  • Sebastian Del Corral Winder LSUHSC School of Medicine
  • Dr. Amy Rinner
  • Dr. Amy Dickson


With the COVID-19 pandemic, the practice of telehealth has increased dramatically around the U.S. allowing a greater accessibility of services for some families. However, telehealth has brought significant challenges to clinicians who practice play therapy with young children. Caregivers’ need for fast solutions, children’s limited attention to the screen, and clinicians’ felt distance have been a few of the greatest challenges experienced by the authors. This article explores these challenges while also discussing cultural and contextual considerations during psychological treatment of children using telehealth. The authors discuss two case examples referred from child welfare due to the young children experiencing physical and emotional trauma. The authors utilized a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive relationship framework by incorporating the young children’s respective caregivers in Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) treatment to facilitate the children’s exploration and resolution of their traumatic experiences while in foster care. The psychotherapeutic relationship with the dyad and the holding space served as primary vehicles to help young children explore and resolve their internal conflicts. By discussing play themes, symbolisms, cultural factors, and the child-caregiver relationship, the authors explore treatment progress and ways to overcome challenging situations brought by the pandemic and the children’s own trauma.