We, The Apple Tree Centre, have launched ourselves excitedly into the arena of providing Continuing Professional Development! We have a programme of interesting and creative workshops for practitioners to come and learn and experience and play. My workshop: ‘Introduction to Play Therapy Skills and Principles’ took place in our training room with fifteen professionals a few weeks ago. It was a big step across my comfort boundary and I felt exposed. I had however, chosen this, I was in the lead, I had the clicker for the presentation and I was in control (of the clicker, at least).
Several of my clients have recently made comments which seem to lead back to the same big questions: What do I know about them, and how do I understand what’s happening in counselling?
As a child, I lived and breathed Arthur Ransome’s “Swallows and Amazons” books. I loved the idea of setting out with a pile of sketched maps, a pencil and a bottle of ink, to explore uncharted waters.
The process of play therapy can be very hard to explain in a way which has any meaning for people who haven’t experienced it. Often, though, those people ask great questions which go to the roots of what play therapy is about and how it works. I’d like to use this blog, among other things, to answer some of those questions.
So, today’s question (from a medical student): “Do you ever worry that you don’t know what a child’s play is about?”
Imagine that a child is using their therapy session to make a story about an elephant. Making a story can happen in lots of ways: they might be drawing a picture (and describing it, or not), or moving figures around in the sand tray, or putting on a puppet show, or pretending to be the elephant, or telling me to play the elephant, or just talking: “my friend Elliot, the Elephant, he said…”.