Sunday, March 23, 2014

Notes from a Play Therapy Workshop

Do you ever use play therapy when counseling students?

As I become a more seasoned counselor I find myself drawn to play therapy theory, techniques, and application. In an effort to learn more about play therapy I attended a full day workshop at the The Play Therapy Training Institute (PTTI). The workshop was Pyschodynamic Play Therapy given by play therapy guru Heidi Kaduson

From the minute I walked into PTTI I was impressed! The institute was filled with toys, art supplies, and so many fun things for children to play with. Literally, every toy you could think of was in this space. It was VERY cool. I would imagine that any child that works with Dr. Kaduson would be thrilled to play in this space.

Some of the highlights I took away:

1. Inside/Outside Masks. Allow children to use any art supplies you have handy in your office to make a mask of their outer selves (how the world perceives them), and then flip the mask around and create their inner selves (how they feel about themselves).
2. News Network. News Network is an activity for therapist and child to role play together. The child plays an "expert" on a certain topic (grief, bullying, family issues, etc). The topic should be something the child is currently dealing with. You, as the therapist, call into the news network asking the "expert" for advice on how to handle that issue. This activity will allow you to gain insight into their world.
3. Children act out their "stuff" (grief, anxiety, depression, etc). 
It is natural to for kids to play! They use fantasy to work out the things they are experiencing. 

As give away prizes I won these cool toys to use in my office!

I love a training when I walk with BOTH concrete things to do with my students, and more knowledge about the topic. This training provided both! If you are from the tri-state area I highly suggest attending a training at the The Play Therapy Training Institute . If you are not, be sure to check out Dr. Kaduson's books.

The The Association for Play Therapy put out this adorable video a few weeks ago to celebrate National Play Therapy Awareness Week.

I'm considering becoming a registered play therapist. I would love to hear from any current play therapist, or professionals working towards their certificate. Do you feel play therapy is beneficial in your work with children? Share your thoughts below.