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Every day, innovative new products and tools are changing the way helping professionals conduct their jobs. As immigration evaluation therapists, some of these tools can allow us to create a more comfortable environment for our clients, guard their privacy, and help them on their journey to better mental well-being.
In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at six such tools to help you conduct your work and improve the comfort of your practice. Let’s dive in!
1. Laptop Privacy Screen
The last thing a client wants to worry about is whether or not the information they provide you is truly being kept private.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys varying the scenery where they work (e.g., writing evaluations at coffee shops or outdoors), give yourself some peace of mind with a good laptop privacy screen. These work by limiting the readability of what’s on your screen to a narrow 60-degree viewing window (click here to view).
2. Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets are gaining popularity for being a comforting way to fall asleep. But they can be helpful during therapy sessions, too.
A small weighted blanket over the lap can be very grounding for clients, especially when talking about their trauma (click here to view).
3. Fidget Toys
Did you know that fidgeting with your hands may increase your ability to pay attention (Farley, Risko, & Kingstone, 2013)? Giving your clients the option to fiddle with something while they speak may also make it easier for them to talk about difficult topics and can help both your child and adult clients alike. Consider stocking up on things like playdough, fidget spinners/cubes, or stones of different weights and textures.
Of course, keep in mind that anything you make available will need to be disposable or disinfected between uses during COVID-19.
4. Essential Oils
Never underestimate the power of smell to invoke memories or bring about a sense of calm. For a serene waiting room or office, consider adding an essential oil diffuser to your practice. I recommend lavender, jasmine, or lemon balm for their known calming properties (click here to view).
5. Laminated Sheet of Grounding Techniques
Posting a laminated sheet with simple grounding techniques, such as breathing exercises and ways of focusing one’s senses, may help your clients both during and after their evaluation. You can even duplicate these in the form of cards so that clients can take them home and practice the exercises during difficult moments (click here to view).
6. The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
This book is beloved by therapists, medical practitioners, and social workers alike—this is essential reading for anyone who has experienced trauma and an excellent book to recommend to your clients.
In the book, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a leading expert on trauma, draws on scientific findings and human stories to show how trauma reshapes the brain and body and how recovery can be found across a range of innovative treatments, including sports and neurofeedback (click here to view).
Keeping on top of the latest in terms of therapy tools is more than just about avoiding a stale office environment—it’s about maximizing the comfort and support you can give to your clients.
That being said, a few new tools can be just as refreshing for a space as a coat of paint, and for a much lower cost. So, the next time you’re at Target, spoil yourself (and your practice) with something new!
P.S. For more information on tools for immigration evaluation therapists, be sure to sign up for my Quickstart Guide to Immigration Evaluations.
Farley, J., Risko, E., & Kingstone, A. (2013). Everyday attention and lecture retention: The effects of time, fidgeting, and mind wandering. Frontiers in Psychology, 4.
I’m Cecilia Racine, and I teach therapists how to help immigrants through my online courses. As a bilingual immigrant myself, I know the unique perspective that these clients are experiencing. I’ve conducted over 500 evaluations and work with dozens of lawyers in various states. Immigrants are my passion, I believe they add to the fabric of our country.
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