Play Therapy: Getting Kids and their Families Involved in the Action
begges-White, Phb, LMHC, LPC-NC, NCC
Kim Harrison M.S. Ed.
"The Family Fish Bowl - this
activity invites participation from alt family members simultaneously as they
create a drawing that reflects their self-images and relationships to each other
using the concept of a "family aquarium".
Your Life this activity invites children to choose colors that reflect their feelings
and then they use the colors to illustrate how they feel about issues or events
they are facing or experiencing.
"Mandalas" - this
activity involves the use of pre-printed mandala drawing sheets and allows clients
the opportunity to choose colors and patterns for their work.
Story-Tellinq and Narrative Therapy
Story" - this is an intervention in which the counselor helps clients reframe
experiences in such a way that negative events are ref ramed to reflect more positive
"Animal Families" - this intervention invites
each family member to describe each other as specific animals and then invites
the family members to share their reactions and feelings about the projected labels
Music and Games
"Communication Sounds Like..."
- this intervention utilizes hand-held musical instruments and requires that the
family communicate via "music and sounds" rather than words during the
duration of the intervention. The family can either choose or be given instruments
chosen by the counselor, and then the counselor encourages them to show how they
currently communicate. After processing the current patterns of family communication,
the counselor invites the family to trade instruments if desired, then to practice
new ways of communicating that reflect the changes they feel they need to make
in the family.
"Popping Problem? - this intervention is
designed to be used with a group and requires the each child think about the problems
they are having that are causing them the most distress (i.e., poor behavior in
different settings, lack of friends etc). They then use markers to write down
their problems on inflated balloons. The group brainstorms solutions for each
other, then the child is asked to "pop the problem" by choosing which
solution they will try, then they can pop the balloon.
Portable Play Therapist
If you must travel from client
to client or office to office, here is a list of items that can easily be carried
in a "makeshift dollhouse," so that you are prepared to offer the benefits
of play therapy in any setting:
1. crayons, newsprint &
2. nursing bottle (plastic),
3. rubber knife
clay or Play-Doh
6. dart gun
8. toy soldiers
9. two play
dishes and cups (plastic or tin),
10. spoons (avoid forks because of sharp
11. small airplane
12. small car
13. Lone Ranger-type mask
Nerf ball (a rubber ball bounces too much),
15. bendable Gumby (nondescript
16. Popsicle sticks
17. pipe cleaners,
18. cotton rope
20. aggressive hand puppet (afligator, wolf, or aragon)
doll family, doll house furniture (at least bedroom, kitchen, bathroom)
a small cardboard box with rooms marked on the bottom (cut door in one side and
23. another; doubles as storage container for toys)
25. costume jewelry
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