I often get the question --teens & play therapy, how does that work? Parents look around my office and sometimes think it looks too elementary and their teen won't play in the sand tray. I was surprised too when my first 15 year old client started digging in the sand. I no longer am. There is something about that sand feeling on our fingers we all love. For those who don't go there, I put on my creative hat and figure out what it is they like. Just this morning I was hiking on a trail, picking up sticks and looking for birds with a teen client. My husband asks, "and that's therapy?" I answer with a big YES! Meeting the child where he is, exploring the things he likes to do-that is where I find the "true" self. In order for growth to occur, we must go through the process of "peeling the onion" to find the authentic self. Creative therapies help do this. For those of you who have peeled a real onion, you know there are many layers on top of the core. We are like that too. All of our experiences, our hurts and joys build on each other. When I work with a teen who is struggling with anxiety or depression, even lack of self confidence- I am looking for the layer that began those feelings. I want it exposed and dealt with so it can be peeled off and thrown into the compost. See, we oftentimes hold onto our hurts. This reminds me of an onion that has a bad , mushy spot in it. If the spot isn't cut off, eventually the whole onion becomes rotten and unusable. I look at my clients this way and it helps me better understand the problem and solution. My goal is to help that onion become a part of some sort of fabulous dish by peeling off the rotten parts. Kinda sounds gross, but hey you get the point. Play therapy helps this process because kids don't even know it is happening, even teens aren't clued in. Playing dominos with a teen isn't just about playing dominos. Remember this when you play games with your kids. Think of the onion! Your goal is to get down to the core, the "true" self. Once there-- work can begin, hearts can be changed, tasty dishes can be made. Oh the feeling I get when I witness the onion being peeled in therapy! I will never look at one the same again.
Not only are the flowers starting to pop up everywhere, fresh & new & exciting ideas have been popping into my mind endlessly. I don't believe this is just coincidence. I truly believe God is placing them there. I am trusting Him to show me the work I am to do in our community and I believe He has! Because of this, I am starting several homeschool therapy groups. These groups won't be like what you are imagining either. A fresh idea has come to mind, something that hasn't been done before (at least around these parts anyway)!! I came up with the idea while I was doing a research paper on groups for children a few years ago. I knew back then I had a great thought and I was reminded of it last week. What is it that makes it so great you ask? Sand tray therapy and group work mixed together! As we speak my wood carpenter is diligently making 5 small sand trays to be used by each member of the group. Thank-you Jack! One of the most popular things in my therapy room is my sand tray. Kids of all ages love digging their hands in it. I could go on for endless pages listing all the benefits of sand tray therapy and at some point I probably will, but you have to trust me when I say it works and kids love it! This led me to the idea of incorporating sand tray into group therapy. The combination is going to be epic! Not only is sand tray great in so many ways, so is group therapy. Groups create universality (they learn they aren't the only ones with problems), sharing (they learn to share their feelings and give feedback to their peers appropriately), relationships (they create supportive bonds with others in a safe and structured environment), social skills (they learn and model positive communication skills through social interaction), improved self-esteem (they learn to help others which enhances self-worth), and increased coping skills (they learn ways to deal with their emotions from their peers and therapist). If your child is struggling with anxiety, depression, socialization, a life change or just needs a little extra help dealing with emotions...he/she may greatly benefit from group therapy, especially this one with sand tray therapy as an added bonus! My plan is to have these groups (Mon. at 11:00 Boys ages 9-12) and (Tues. at 11:00 Girls ages 9-12) up and running in the next few weeks! Group sessions will last for 90 minutes. Cost is $100 for 8 sessions if paid in full upfront or $120 for 8 sessions if paid weekly. Stay tuned for more information! If interested contact me so I can reserve your child's spot as they are limited to 4 per group. This is going to be so good, I can't wait to begin!