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Telehealth Enhanced Client's Therapy

Maria* presented to therapy with Paula Moore, PsyD at the IDD STARS Clinic due to depression, pervasive anxiety and a preoccupation with protecting herself.  She was also diagnosed with mild Intellectual Disability and ADHD. Early on, although cooperative, progress was minimal.  After securely establishing rapport, she began to show signs of growth in therapy.  She responded particularly well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  Not only was she responsive in therapy, but she also demonstrated a keen ability to follow-through on CBT strategies outside of session. 

Although there was concern about the need to move to telehealth, as a result of the order to shelter in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic, surprisingly, Maria seemed to flourish.  Paradoxically, telehealth videoconferencing gave a balance of distance and intimacy that created comfort to grow for many of the individuals we treat in the IDD STARS Clinic.  Consequently, her growth in therapy accelerated as she began to open up.  It was during this time that she revealed she was the victim of a traumatic experience.  As a result, we quickly shifted gears in therapy and began implementing Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for the treatment of trauma.  Maria was supported in working through the trauma while utilizing a related app to further process her feelings outside of session.  Consistent with many of the individuals we serve diagnosed with IDD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), she was amenable to the incorporation of technology (e.g. apps, and online tools) in and out of telehealth sessions which encouraged motivation. 

 

Over the course of therapy, Maria was able to graduate with an associate’s degree and obtain employment with Katy ISD.  She is now pursuing her dream of working with individuals diagnosed with IDD, Autism and other special abilities.  Earlier this year, she successfully completed therapy.  At that time, she understood that should she need to return that too would be a sign of success because returning to therapy, when necessary, is a sign that one is monitoring and working toward maintaining mental health stability.

 

Maria is indeed a "STAR" and her story is a testament to the power of a good therapeutic relationship, client motivation and maintenance as well as the utilization of a client’s strengths and interests in the IDD population.  Our greatest congrats on her success!

 

*Client's name was altered to protect the client's privacy

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