Therapy for Children
My introduction to the world of child therapy occurred when I tagged along to the ATTAch conference with a group of therapists. This introduction only provides a small glimpse of the wide range of therapy modalities used by child therapists. It is a field that I am only beginning to research. While sitting in the sessions listening to professionals describe their work with children who have suffered attachment wounding and trauma, I was sure Wonderland had materialized.
If I, as a child, could have accessed the professional expertise of these therapists, BRAVE would be a completely di er- ent book. I would not have waited until past the age of sixty to advocate for chlildren who are hurting! Knowing my dad lived to be 100 gave me some comfort. There was still time!
I was on a mission. I visited my former student’s therapy office several times while working on a teacher in-service presentation. Her explanation of how sand play was used during therapy fascinated me. I watched several online videos to learn more about this form of therapy and jumped at the chance to participate in a practice opportunity in which dreams were utilized as the basis for the sand-play therapy. I chose a dream I had before beginning therapy, that perfectly described my dissociative system (but which, oddly, I never mentioned to my therapist during therapy).
The sand play experience enabled me to use symbols to tell my dream and concluded by my reframing the dream to illustrate my healing and integration. Being able to use the symbols and play in the sand tray was a breakthrough moment as I felt myself beginning to embrace play in this new form.
The therapy modalities used by child/play therapists hold immense power because they enable the child to process through the natural avenue of play—and often allow them to be able to experience play again. It is easy to misjudge the depth of work taking place through what only appears to be child’s play!