When I work with children, I play, We play games and/or do simple art work. We color and paint, or play with the doll house, dolls, non-electronic toys, cards and more. While I am playing in this way, a very relaxed atmosphere comes in, and the children are able to tell me so many things either directly, or non-directly through the play.
The children love coming because it is 50 minutes of pure play. If they are drawing picures, sometimes I suggest putting words to their pictures, so they can make a picture book. I can discern a child’s dificulties through the pictures they create, and Ican help them talk about these difficulties by asking questions about their pictures. Many times, simply reamining quiet is also very therapeutic. I can discuss the meaning of the drawings with the you, the parents, at another time.
I don’t expect anything of the children, they are allowed to be completely who they are. In this way I can assess more clearly where the difficulties and strengths are. Once I can assess this, I pull on the strengths in order to raise self-esteem and help the child build more self-confidence. Once the strengths are shining it is easier to place their weaknesses in a place of light and love.
The children may not “get it” but that’s not the point. They feel happier from their core, and to children that’s all that matters. All children want is to be happy, that is what they gravitate toward, and I base my work on that truth.
I work with children who have anxiety, ADHD, depression, poor grades, learning problems: I work with children going through changes such as divorce, moves, remarriages and stepfamilies. I also work with children who have difficulty getting along with siblings; parents/teachers and/or friends.
I often include the parents in the play/art therapy because you are the two most important people in your child’s life. So sessions can include the parents only, can include the child with the parents, and the child only. In this way I receive a really good understanding of the family dynamics involved and can help your child even more.
See also: Story & Poetry Therapy & Storytelling Therapy