I have a 5 year old little girl client who has been in counseling with me for approximately 1 month. She has been pretty much superficial in her talks with me, we have been doing play therapy with puppets and a book called “brave bart” that talks about bad things that have happened to this cat it’s a child’s book that addresses sad, scary and bad things that happen to people, she has not been able to get passed a certain few pages and then stops.
I invested in a kids tea party set, bought some teddy grahms and animal crackers.. and for tea I bought apple juice and decided to have a tea party with her in hopes of encouraging her to talk a little more. I was surprised at the success of this type of play therapy. She was a chatterbox and revealed things she hadn’t revealed before. These revelations gave real insight into her issues and I was very proud of her for talking more in depth than she had before. It seems like a simple thing to do, kids love to play tea party but I think it took the pressure off of her to talk because we were eating and drinking “tea” and having a good time.
The next session she came running up to me when she came in and asked if we could have another tea party and of course I agreed and she saw that as a safe way to talk about her problems. I'm always looking for ways to encourage children to feel safe in session and talk about their problems and help them develop some coping strategies.
I wanted to share this idea for those who work with children and encourage counselors to try this technique if they have a child who is not talking with other forms of play therapy.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder