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Why a Credential in Play Therapy Matters

I have noted many counselors’ websites stating that they use play therapy. As a parent, I would think that then this counselor would be good then with working with my child.  It is important to note that play therapy is “in” right now.  Many counseling practices are using “play therapy” to bring in new clients.  It is very popular for counselors to claim they offer play therapy when in fact they are not trained.  So parents should be aware of the differences between someone that is learning play therapy skills, is trained in play therapy, and those that took a class in play therapy.  When a counselor goes to a 2-day training where play therapy techniques are taught this does not make a counselor a specialist in the field of play therapy. By the time I graduated with my master’s degree in counseling, I had already completed 164 continuing education hours in play therapy. It is very unusual for a counselor to obtain that many hours without attending a college program that specializes in play therapy.  I was aggressive in learning play therapy because I knew that was the lens for how I saw people healing. Becoming a Registered Play Therapist was a major professional goal for me. There are some important questions you can ask a counselor that states he/she is trained in play therapy.  1. What is your training in play therapy and expressive art?   Counselors may take college classes in play therapy.  There is annual state training

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Play Therapy are for Teens and Adults

I love the smiles and fascination when adult clients first enter my office as they look around the room.  So many teens and adult clients walk into my office and say, “Wow you are a collector!” or “My son would love it here.”  They do not think that play therapy will be for them.  Oh, but it is! I have become passionate about Sandtray and expressive therapy techniques as a way for clients of all ages to see their issues and address them.  It works as a visual representation of their issue(s) whether it be a 65-year-old processing his life, 50-year-old processing the loss of a parent, a 33-year-old working toward reducing anxiety, or a teen dealing with self-esteem issues.  I had an adult client (who did not want to engage in play therapy) after four months of counseling, ask, “what do you do with those?” as he pointed to the shelves stocked with miniatures. I explained the process and encouraged him to create his own Sand tray. He created his first Sand world using miniatures, structures, symbols, rocks, and other items that told his story, thoughts, and feelings. He saw, for the first time, the world he was living in as he processed his Sand world with me. The placement of miniatures in the sand tray had meaning as he continued to process his world.  In the next session, he then wanted to do more.  He said, “I like what I am learning about myself.”  The client was then introduced

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Why I love using Miniatures

I use miniatures in Sandtray worlds, family genograms, and individually. Clients tell me how they feel about their family, about changes in themselves, and what is going on in their world as they place each one. Just the act of choosing miniature taps into the unconsciousness of the client, showing me how they feel, what is going on in their life, or about their relationships with others.  I use miniatures from the Disney store, fairy miniatures, houses, miniature food, miniature animals, rocks, coffins, and other small items to assist my clients in telling their stories.  Miniatures allow me to get to know my clients on a deeper level. A client may choose a villain miniature to represent himself when he feels bad about himself or the direction of his life.  He may choose Tigger to represent a brother with ADHD because he bounces everywhere.  The clients tell me what the miniature depicts in their own view. I do not decide for the client.   Many young female clients feel that they are a princess.  Many young boys will choose the Hulk for being strong or a young man to show his anger.  Sometimes Bambi will be used as a weaker family member. Sometimes a client needs to feel powerful, and says, “I like to scare others” as he chooses a monster. My favorite is when a skunk is used for a baby sibling because he needs a diaper change all the time.   When we use miniatures to look at families, the

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