Sunday, June 29, 2008

Play Therapy

The child had complete freedom to select and use the available toys.The principle was to be a friend and a playmate and use as many positive words as possible. You were to accept aggression toward you. You could protect yourself from injury but in no way reprimand or retaliate. This to me was an application of the Biblical principle of "turning the other cheek." There was a variety of games and toys to select, some requiring a partner, some you could play by yourself. There was a punching bag to vent your aggression. The playroom was well designed for children through the Elementary school age. My client was nine years old. His first outlet was the Punching Bag. He used a baseball bat made from heavy plastic. He let one of the back swings hit me a pretty hard lick. This was called testing. I passed the test by not reacting. I used a positive remark: "you are real strong". He involved me in one game the first day. We threw the basketball back and forth. He threw it to me as hard as he could. We were not at the friendship level until several days later.
He was a father absent boy which made me think about my research project. My partner learned that the divorce took place when he was three years old and his father had moved to a distant city.
I worked with the parents of a ten year old girl. The problem was readily apparent. She was housed in the room with her teen age sister who was now budding out in a beautiful way. Her father was large in size and his genetics has gone to her. She was large and unattractive. My partner received some of these feelings from her in their friendly conversations. The first discussion was getting her a private room which was not easy to accomplish. The father saw the light and built on an addition. The second point was to have more one to one situations when the sister was not around. The third was to teach her some skills compatible with her largeness. She liked to sing and this became a real opportunity. She was given voice lessons. All of these talks came one at a time but the parents understood fully and set their thinking in the right direction. These were my two practicums that put my psycholgy knowledge to work.
Another course I took called the Psychology of Stress was beneficial to me in a personal way, but opened the door for a new course when I returned to teaching. It could replace the Child Development course which my department head took away from me.