play and creativity

Creative play is an important outlet for children in therapy because it allows them to express feelings and ideas that are too difficult to communicate verbally.

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In the beginning I let the child know (in age appropriate language) that their sessions are confidential and I give them an empty box of their own. This box is where they will store whatever art work they produce during their sessions. The box is only seen by the child and myself, and is left with me for the week in between sessions.

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This concept is commonly used in child (and art) therapy. The purpose is to give the client an opportunity to create, freely, without the need to sensor their work in order to please others. Instead, their art work is reflected upon and accepted without judgement, then left for the therapist to hold and contain. 

                  The final session

When the course of therapy comes to an end, it is crucial that a child feels they have the autonomy to choose what happens to their work. This means giving them time to revisit the contents of their box and extract what they don't want to keep. They are given a choice to throw what they don't want away, or leave it with me to hold on to. The box and remaining contents is then theirs to take away.

Children often look forward to the day when they can take their box home but it is interesting to note what pieces they remove beforehand.