Play Therapy Techniques Across the Ages
Athena A. Drewes, MA, PsyD, RPT-S The Astor Home for Children Director of Clinical Training and APA Internship firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Play Therapy?
Therapy is a Modality It is a Method for approaching children on their level. A means for building a therapeutic relationship. A cluster of approaches that utilizes play. Play therapy is an attitude!
Empirically-Based Play Interventions for Children – L. Reddy, T. Hall, & C. Schaefer (Eds.), American Psychological Association, In Press. Ray, D., Bratton, S., Rhine, T. & Jones, L. (2001). The effectiveness of play therapy: Responding to the critics. International Journal of Play Therapy (10)1, 85-108. Bratton, S. & Ray, D. (2000). What the Research Shows about Play Therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 9(1), 47-88.
The Healing Powers of Play – Dr.Charles Schaefer
Overcoming Resistance Self-expressive communication Competence Creative Problem Solving Catharsis Abreaction Role Play Fantasy and Visualization
The Healing Powers of Play
by Metaphor Attachment Formation Relationship Enhancement Positive Emotion Mastery of Childhood Fears Game Play
Recommended play materials
Dolls, bottles, dollhouse, multi-cultural people Aggressive and domestic miniature animals; puppets (include people puppets too) Clay, arts/crafts materials Cars, trucks, emergency vehicles, planes Wooden blocks Therapeutic Board Games Sandtray or tupperware bucket with sand
Reasons for Using Directive Techniques
Child does not use playroom and prefers to talk. Psychoeducational issues need to be addressed. PTSD/Sexual abuse Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy School Settings – pressure of 30 minutes Time limited number of sessions Group Therapy
Integration of Somatosensory Memories
“See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil. (Paris Goodyear Brown)
Small bottles of various smells
Objects in bag to touch
Techniques for Identifying and Integrating Feelings
BASKET OF FEELINGS
Bag of Words
A Simile from Angry/Feeling Words
Simile – a comparison between two unlike objects (e.g., anger is like a thunderstorm). Regularly the words “as” and “like” are used in similes. Examples: Silent as a guilty child Excited as a wiggly puppy Sad like an unused toy
What I Can Be by Steven, 15
I can be FIERCE like a LION. I can be RAGING like a TORNADO. I can be RESILIANT like a PLANT. I can be RELAXED like the wind. But most of all I can be ME!!!!
Clay as Metaphor
CAUSE AND EFFECT
an animal from the pictures or think of one you like How does this animal remind you of yourself? What are its strengths? What attributes do you wish you had?
Questions to Ask
What drew you to pick this animal? Describe the animal. How do you resemble this animal? What positive qualities do you share with this animal? - What positive qualities does this animal have that you wish you had, but don’t? - What keeps you from having these positive qualities? - What changes are you willing to make in your life to get those positive qualities?
Pick an animal for each member of your family. -Describe each animal, pluses and minuses. -Describe how the family member resembles the animal – strengths/weaknesses. -Describe how each of these animals relates to your animal. -Which of the children in the family of animals is the mother’s favorite?
More Animal Family Questions
Which children in this family of animals is the father’s favorite? -Which child animal is most like the mother animal? -Which child animal is most like the father animal? -Which of these animals is most like your animal? How? Which of these animals is most different from your animal? How?
colorful stones or ones found Use stacking boxes
First box: When you hold the magic stone from this box you can change anything you want about your family Second box: Change anything about school Third box: Change anything about friends Fourth box: Change anything about yourself
index cards, child creates power
cards. Pick an “evil” power and name it, such as being called names (teased by bully). Draw the creature and on back write what powers it has. Draw a competing good force that will overcome what hurts you.
Accessing the Inner World of the Child
Projective Drawings and Guided Imagery – “Boat in the Storm” (Oaklander, 1988) - “Your Place” (Oaklander, 1988)
Boat in the Storm (Oaklander)
Imagine you are a boat in a storm out in the ocean. The waves are very high and are very rough and toss you about.
You can see the lightening flash across the dark sky and hear the roar of thunder.
Boat in the Storm Continued
Imagine that you can smell the salty sea, and feel the rain as the wind blows against your sides. Listen to the wind howl as it blows at you. How do you feel as the boat in the storm? What do you do to take care of yourself in the storm? Does someone help you or are you all alone? Finally, the storm blows over and you find your way back to a safe harbor.
Use of Guided Meditation
Place – (Beverly James)
a personal power shield that shows who we are.
Circle, divided into four parts: 1) Strengths or skills 2) Fears 3) Dreams for the future 4) People who you can trust to help
Helping Children Learn Coping Strategies: Gradual Exposure
Inside – Outside (Beverly James)
First Box: Put a self-representation of how others see you. Use slips of paper with: “I am”… And “I feel….” Middle Box: Barriers the child uses to prevent others from seeing them, or getting to know you. Smallest Box: A representation of their core self. Can be words, drawings, items.
Create a Feelings Cinquain
Cinquain is a short poem consisting of five lines. The lines usually do not rhyme. Create a cinquain about anger. “Anger” can be the title and the first line of the poem. 1st line – one noun (anger feeling) 2nd line – two adjectives describing the noun in line one above. 3rd line – three words that express feeling. 4th line – four related words that express a feeling, describe lie one, and tie the poem together 5th line – another word or synonym for the noun in line one
“Anger” Cinquain - Example
Anger Upsetting, disturbing Poking, bumping, pushing Not always a friend
up a Board Game Use of Board Games
Bush (Violet Oaklander)
a Picture of Yourself in Your Favorite Weather Book
Good and Bad of Being Very Angry
Think of things you like, and things you do not like, about when you get angry. Look at the sad snakes. Color in the ones that you agree with. The ones that make being angry a lot of the time too hard or too horrid for you. Look at the shiny stars. Color in the ones that you feel make being angry feel good for you. Do you have more sad snakes or shiny stars?
Family Genogram (Gil)
Make up genogram of your family
Select miniature that represents how you feel about each member of the family
Select miniature for the relationship between each person
craft sticks and have child make one for each member of the family. the stick puppets to role play situations with family members or classmates.
stick puppets to problem solve situations
magic wand. What would you change if you could? What would you change about school? What would you change about your friends? What would you change about yourself? How would your life be better with the change?
If you could have any of the following, what would you like most to stop people from bothering you or hurting you in some way? Color in or mark the ones you would like.
If it is none of these, what would it be? Draw it in the empty box.
Boxes: A fort, so they can’t reach you. Magic dust to make them disappear. Your very own army. A coat of spikes. To be able to blow fire like a dragon. An invisible cloak. A magic sword.
up a short story or draw it:
The tiger who never felt safe
The volcano which could not stop exploding
The dog that bit and bit until everything was bitten up
Wall Around the Heart
a picture of a baby Draw a heart in the baby picture Draw second picture of a child who is same age as at time of client’s trauma Draw third picture of child, older again Final picture of child, now in foster care or with adoptive family
Squiggle Game (Winnicott)
Each person takes a different color.
Child makes a squiggle first. Therapist tries to make something out of it, by using the shape to create design Taking a separate piece of paper, the therapist then makes the squiggle. The child then finishes the squiggle making it into something. Keep going back and forth until each person has made 6 or 7 squiggles each (12-14 pictures). Put out all the pictures in sequence and process each one with the child (what is it, anything else they say).
Deep breathing Humor Repetitive Motion
Chewing gum Swinging Listening to music Modeling with clay or play dough Building something Jumping on a mat, using a jump rope
Change of Scene or Activity: