This blog creates a space for for social workers and therapists to share their favorite interventions, resources, activities, etc. If we all share the wealth of knowledge and experience we have then all of our clients benefit.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Non-Directive Play Therapy
1. Non-Directive Play Therapy
Before you actually do non-directive play therapy and see the amazing results, it is often hard to imagine it working. It is a simplistic technique and I was definitely skeptical at first, but was told by my mentor that if I just “trusted the process" I would soon begin to fully understand its impact. You really ave to be open to the idea that way children express themselves and process things is completely foreign compared to adult functioning.
“In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is their language" (Gary Landreth)
The therapist provides an unconditional positive environment where the child has ultimate control over the play and is free to express themselves.
Child’s play is highly symbolic and full of metaphors
Restate content and reflect the emotion or affect you observe (in the child or the play)
Track the child both verbally and physically
Watch with interest and remain engaged
Look for themes (ex. Aggression, need for nurturance, etc.)
Examples of reflective language: That’s where you wanted it; That’s how you…; You know how to…; You know what to do with that; You’re figuring out what that is; That’s your plan; You made it happen just like you said; That’s how you wanted it; You’re going to pick; You know how that works; You know what you like; You’re showing me how; You did it; You know all about it; You’re curious about that; You try and try and don’t give up until you figure it out; That was hard but you did it; You can take care of yourself; You worked hard on that; You fixed it.
3. Do Not Engage in Play Unless Invited
If invited, let the child completely direct your play
Ex. Whisper “What should I do now?"
4. Avoid Labeling
Do not label a toy unless the child does first.
Labeling something, even if it is obvious (ex. a dog), takes away from the potential symbolism the toy has to the child.