Here are some examples of the therapeutic work I do with children.
The movie Inside Out provides great clips for exploring the usefulness of emotion and the importance of helping our emotions to work together as a team. (Worksheets are for ages 8 and up.)
Learning and expression through play helps the younger children develop trust and find their voice. Sometimes the play is related to the referral concerns, other times it is a way to connect and settle, to learn while having fun. Parents and I chat calmly and kindly about the child’s needs as we play and create. During grown up talking time, my conversation is designed to be overheard by little ears so they can feel validated and supported.
All ages love to tell their story through sand play. This child told a story about two pirates who were brothers. One pirate stole his brother’s treasure and buried it under the bridge. The queen watching from her castle is sad. In the end, the pirate who stole, returned the treasure and his brother shared it out between them. Yes, this child was working through issues of sibling rivalry!
My child-friendly take on the Stress-Vulnerability Model of Mental Illness: The sunshine balloons represent protective factors (that enhance wellbeing) and the raindrop balloons represent risk factors (that can create difficulties). Just as we need rain, we also need adversity to grow. But we need to keep the rain bucket from overflowing by getting out into the sunshine to dry up the rain!
(Blue balloons- “hurt body”, “out of routine”, “hurt feelings”, “tired”, “sick”, “lonely”. Yellow balloons- “sunshine”, “friends”, “sleep”, “healthy food”, “play”, “love”)