Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.
Louisa May Alcott
For this Time Travel Tuesday, I played in the sandbox. Literally. The sandbox was located in the office of a local play therapist. Lisa Schweitzer, MS, LMHC, NCC counsels children and the adults who love them. Her office is nestled in a big old house with moss covered oaks perfect for swinging and a wrap around front porch that begs for a rocking chair. Lisa answered the door barefoot. I followed her into an office that looks more like a cool mom’s living room, functional but lived- in with toys stacked in every available corner. She sat cross legged and explained to me a little bit about play therapy.
“Just as adults talk through their problems, children play.” The mom and licensed counselor said.
Lisa says she uses reflective listening and allows children the space to freely express themselves as they play. Whether it is puppets or story telling or art, children use play to explore emotions, than learn to manage those feelings through more play. When working with families, Lisa breaks out the games.
"When the families play games, that is the therapy. It allows them to relate to each other in a new and fun way instead of focusing on any "problem". When people enjoy each other and themselves, old behaviors of relating to one another change naturally," Lisa says.
I had never heard of “play therapy” before a few weeks ago. But the concept is not new. Freud was the first doctor documented to employ play as a means to diagnose and treat an emotional issue. Freud may have borrowed the idea from Plato (429 B.C.) who said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.” Or maybe Freud read The Education of Man whose author Friedrich Frobel said “play is the highest development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in the child’s soul...children’s play is not mere sport. It is full of meaning and import.”
Yes, yes. Obviously, play is an important part of childhood. But what about adults? Can adults benefit from play therapy? Lisa has seen it work wonders on clients dealing with everything from addiction to divorce. I am not going through any trauma, but I figured if something can heal pain and suffering, maybe a dose of it on a regular basis can have a preventative effect. At least that is the whole theory behind this blog experiment to Be More Childlike and Time Travel Tuesday play dates.
I did not feel bad when I walked in to Lisa’s office, but I did feel better when I walked out. I enjoyed talking as I dug into a box of figurines and placed them in groupings in the sand. I didn’t know what I was looking for or why exactly I was going for the lion and shell but passing over the brick wall and people. But somehow, when it was done, I liked what I had created. The arrangement in the sandbox told a story. It actually made sense.
Lisa’s parting advice was “Play with your kids or just play!” For more information about Lisa Schweitzer and play therapy, please visit her website at http://www.playful-therapy.com
When is the last time you really played?
For "Sky's the Limit" on what you can learn- a little bit about the holiday. Did you know January is named after the Roman God of beginnings and endings named Janus. Janus had two faces- one reflecting on the past and one looking toward the future. Roman emperor Julius Caesar declared January 1st the date of the New Year in 46 B.C.