20 January 2013

20/365: A New View

View from a courtyard, Corrales, NM
This weekend's training in play therapy gave me excellent theoretical grounding and practical skills in what I consider the best and usually the only truly effective way to work therapeutically with kids. It also affirmed what I've been doing so far, mostly winging it with help from books, DVDs, and consultation with other play therapists. I was surprised to learn that most therapists and psychologists, when asked directly, say they don't really want to work with kids. I suspect it's because kids don't usually talk openly or logically or coherently, at least not to relative strangers peppering them with prying questions, leaving us left-brainer adults at a loss and, I'll admit to this if no one else will, feeling kind of dumb for not knowing what to say or what to do when faced with kids who can't or won't talk about what's going on with them.

The key: communicate with kids in their "language," whether verbal or nonverbal, and be open to viewing things from new, unexpected perspectives. Watch them play to learn their language. Accept them for who, what, and where they are - if they sense that, you already have a good connection to build on.

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