Research Press authors Dr. Jodi Ann Mullen, Child-Centered Play Therapy Workbook, and Dr. Jaime Dombrowski, Power Up: Gamification Tools for Social and Emotional Learning, shared their successful methods as certified play therapists in a recent podcast.
In the podcast discussion, they talked about how they allow the child to decide what they play with – or talk about – in each session. Both Dr. Mullen and Dombrowski shared how play therapy will differ in style depending on the therapist and the particular needs of the child.
Dr. Dombrowski says, “No matter what someone is going through, you can connect through play and they can express themselves through play. It’s an expression they can do non-verbally, have fun…it’s engaging. And work is being done when they don’t even realize it’s being done because you’re just having so much fun.”
One aspect of play therapy is to remind kids how to use the tools they learn in a session, to carry it over to use at home. Dr. Mullen adds, “If a child is reflecting on something that is important to them, I might say, ‘I’ll be you could tell your mom that. I’ll bet you could do that with your sister’. I might just highlight that. I’m not going to tell them what to do, but I try to just highlight or illuminate things that I think might work outside of the playroom as well.”