Brooke Bendix
Brooke Bendix (Therapyology.com)
This piece is part of a collection of stories profiling local camp alternatives for summer 2020. Read about Camp Michigan Mom, Camp-in-a-Box and Camp Fox.

Therapyology meets three mornings a week and includes the usual friendship bracelet making, water balloon tossing and even team-building activities.

Jennifer Sobol’s 13-year-old twins Ezra and Ruben arrived home from their first morning at Therapyology, a new outdoor day camp program wearing the biggest smiles they have shown since before the pandemic. Sobol and her husband, Louis, are both physicians who have best managed their practices, patients and family life as their sons coped with distance learning and missing their social life. 

“I saw the spark going down out of them from the isolation,” said Sobol of West Bloomfield. “When summer came and Tamarack was canceled, I could not bear to encourage my sons to have more screen time. When I learned about this all-outdoor day camp program, I saw Therapyology as a great change of scenery for them.”

Taking place in designated parks around West Bloomfield and Birmingham, Therapyology was hatched by family therapist and social worker Brooke Bendix. Therapyology meets three mornings a week for tweens and teens and includes the usual friendship bracelet making, water balloon tossing and even team-building activities with toys provided by Toyology. 

Campers also participate in facilitated discussions that touch upon building healthy relationships and coping with the anxiety and uncertainty that we all are facing in coronavirus times. If in-person school is canceled for the fall, Bendix said the program may continue as a limited after-school program.

Bendix cherishes her memories as a camper and counselor at Camp Walden. She and her staff were months into rebranding her family therapy practice when coronavirus began to send children into physical and social isolation. 

Bendix said while many families held out hope that overnight summer camps would not be canceled, she and her staff brainstormed about safe ways kids could meet and socialize outside in person.

“When April came around, my staff and I scrambled to come up with a plan,” Bendix said. “Could we provide them with a safe in-person social outlet as well as a cool way to address mental health practices to help them deal with all the uncertainty?”

Bendix and her staff facilitate discussions modeled after group therapy classes she has taught for the last four years at the School of Social Work at Wayne State University. 

“After being in social isolation for so many months, kids need a platform to talk about what’s been going on in the world and around them,” Bendix said. “Kids can feel safe to say they are nervous, that they don’t know what the future is going to hold and to know they can feel the connection of others who are feeling the same way. The camp is designed for kids to make trusting connections and to let them know they are not alone.” 

For more information, visit therapyology.com.

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