Play Therapy: Introduction (14:00)
Dr. Christine Dargon will present the lecture on play therapy. She defines play and states that it is useful across the entire age spectrum.
Development of Children (13:28)
Dr. Dargon explains the changes in cognitive and intellectual development of children up to the age of eight.
Theory of Cognitive Development (16:16)
Dr. Dargon describes the stages of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and how it affects play. She says he was wrong in stating that everyone reaches a stage of formal operational thinking by adolescence.
Foundations of Play Therapy (19:50)
Play therapy began with Freud—moving from being passive and observational to structured play, behaviorist, and Jungian approaches. Dr. Dargon emphasizes getting information from many sources, working with parents, and developing a good relationship with the child.
Projective Technique (11:51)
The Children’s Apperception Test works well in at the beginning of therapy. Dr. Dargon describes using the technique with a client named Serenity.
Play Therapy Tools (11:49)
Tools are either directive (any medium with a set form) or non-directive (such as sand or clay). Non-directive mediums stimulate emotions. A sand tray work is generally non-directive.
Making Sand Trays (09:07)
To set up a sand tray for therapy, Dr. Dargon recommends getting an inexpensive plastic storage box with a lid and special silicone-based, fine sand that is a neutral color.
Sand Tray Therapy (16:37)
For sand tray therapy, instruct the client o make his or her world in the tray with miniatures. The therapy allows the client to communicate using metaphors and analogies in a place he or she can control.
Repeating Patterns (14:08)
Repeat play is an indicator of trauma. Dr. Dargon gives examples of children who used sand tray therapy to express issues and traumas. She cautions not to jump to conclusions, but to look for patterns.
Different Issues (15:17)
Dr. Dargon explains how sand therapy allowed her to identify the following issues: a boy with abandonment issues, a 63-year-old woman who was raped when she was a girl, and a family who was having relationship issues.
Sand Trays as a Launching Pad (13:07)
Sand tray therapy facilitates conversations. Dr. Dargon discusses item removals and trusting your instinct. The client will tell the therapist when he or she is ready to move on.
Non-Directive Therapies (18:58)
Effective therapies with children include painting with watercolors, fingerpainting, and working with moldable materials. Creating grounding objects with moldable material is a good directive activity.
Directive Therapies (18:45)
Directive techniques can invoke reactions from children, revealing their problems and traumas. Dr. Dargon states that combining play therapy tools is a good idea.
Other Directive Therapies (16:41)
When working with children who have bad dreams and nightmares, help them realize they have some control. Using a magic wand to change "thing" and working with movement and music are beneficial.
Drawing is technically non-directive, because the individual controls what the picture will be. Dr. Dargon describes how drawing develops as children grow. Look for correlations and symbols in a client’s drawings, but be aware of context.
In this therapy technique, the client creates five drawings. The therapist then examines them for symbolism and details that reveal his or her issues, problems, and traumas.
House Drawings (12:18)
Dr. Dargon shows examples of drawings by Braden and Serenity, describing how the drawings show signs of their issues. When the client finishes drawing, ask specific questions.
Tree Drawings (10:54)
Size, details, type, impulsivity, or tentativeness in drawing can reveal unconscious feelings toward the self. Dr. Dargon discusses Braden's and Serenity's tree drawings and what they reveal.
Drawings of a Person (17:15)
Look for omissions and exaggerations of body parts. Drawing the back of a person, excessive shading, poor line quality, explicit genitals, and complete avoidance of drawing the genital area are red flags. Dr. Dargon interprets pictures of a person by Braden and Serenity.
Drawings of Families (06:30)
Drawings of families have common themes. Look for omissions of people, facial expressions, and what they are doing. Dr. Dargon analyzes Braden’s and Serenity’s drawings of their families.
Family Matters (09:31)
Dr. Dargon describes how a family creating separate drawings, revealed much about their relationships to each other. She describes a drawing by Serenity with her in it. Children drawing themselves at school can reveal their emotional states and issues.
Board Games (12:39)
Board games can address issues of social skills, open communication, and develop relationships with children. Resist the urge to win. Allow children to cheat, but deal with it non-punitively.
Emotion Faces (10:20)
Emotion faces on posters, flash cards, and drawn on paper plates are an appropriate tool to let children to express how they feel; children often struggle with emotions. The law protects the confidentiality of what children draw and write.
Special Problems (13:08)
There are specific games and techniques to use with children who have attention deficit disorder, impulsive behavior, or trauma. Dr. Dargon emphasizes communication, using the right play media, and taking care of one’s self.
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