I wanted to share with you my Fold Out Doll House! This project has been a loooong time in the making! When I started out working with children I was in a contracted school based position and needed to travel between several schools. I definitely didn’t have the budget to buy multiple houses for one office let alone 2 or 3.
I scoured stores and the internet for foldable doll houses and doll house books, but came up pretty empty handed. I then transitioned into a nonprofit position that had a semi-stocked Playroom so the project went on the shelf.
After that when I transitioned to private practice I now needed to stock my own Playroom and had the tiniest office I had ever been in. They literally built it out of a small waiting room so I could join the practice and at the end of the day I was ecstatic to join, buuuuttt I knew I needed to get creative. I spent hours trying to make both furniture and a play space fit. I literally had ½ inch to spare from the end of my couch to the next piece of furniture.
I ended up purchasing a house like this one HERE at Fleet Farm. This is one of my favorite seasonal places to shop for pretty inexpensive toys. I would pop the house up before sessions and take it down and store it behind a shelf during my non Play Therapy sessions.
If you check it out you can see where some of the problems may come up. It is completely gendered and was a bit of a pain to set up and down. I didn’t think it had the permissiveness for my male clients and they definitely gravitated towards it less than the ones I have now.
My other dilemma with houses is that you need two. This is VERY important so children with two homes can play out themes related to transitions, divorce, etc. This isn’t the only reason however, two homes can help give children the space to process other dynamics such as moving homes, visiting friends (or conflict) in their neighborhood, being away from parents over night, and the list could go on!
The houses I have now are gender neutral and wooden. At $100 - $200 per house it is definitely an investment in your Playroom. As therapists are problem solving with COVID-19 I came back to the design that had been mulling around my head since the early days to send out in my Portable Playroom. They would also be excellent in office as they are easily to wipe down!
Sooo, in comes the solution of the printable doll houses! Check out my FREE download of my Pop Up House HERE! When designing this I went back and forth between having pictures of furniture vs. blank walls. Due to these going into kits (with limited furniture included) I thought adding pictures of furniture would make for richer play.
I also was also intentional with what rooms should be included. I created a kitchen/dining room, living room, and bedroom. This ensures that there are the rooms needed to play out eating, sleeping, and toileting difficulties if needed.
After you print out the four sheets there are instructions of what sheets go back to back. You will be left with two sheets (back and front) that you will laminate. Then, cut along the dotted line, scissor together, and set up! I didn’t tape the cut lines, however you certainly could.
The other fantastic thing is that if you are in need of an additional house this is a really easy and nearly free thing to create, which is amazing if you have multiple offices! They also fold flat for SUPER easy storage and they are perfect for sticking in a tote bag or cart!
Get the FREE download HERE!
Does your idea of a great night after work include coming home, kicking off your shoes, and settling into a stack full of notes? No?
What about during your weekends? Wait, you don't want to do that either?
I totally hear you! Nobody goes into this field just chomping at the bit to dive into the paperwork of the practice. You go into this field because you want to help people achieve mental wellness, move forward, heal, and grow. The paperwork just happens to be part of the deal.
AND I don't know about you, but my graduate school classes came nowhere near close to preparing me to write progress notes. I had never heard of insurance audits or compliance let alone got the training or support I needed to start my note writing practice confident and prepared.
All of this usually leads to cumbersome notes, trying to get it all in, and feeling frustrated and out of control.
I wanted to take you through this 5 Step Roadmap to Faster Progress Notes that I used to write a fast and seamless progress note, between sessions! Check out the free mini webinar HERE! The webinar and free companion worksheet will help you develop the framework to shrink your progress notes.
PS: Also check out some of my best tips on writing Play Therapy progress notes HERE! Annnnnd if you are behind on your notes (like, really behind) check out this resource HERE!
Who here has ever been behind on your notes? *looks around at nearly everyone raising their hand*
It happens, one note turns into five. Those consultation calls (or let’s get real – crises and things that need your attention, like NOW) eat up your precious note time. OR maybe you are so burned out you are scrolling Facebook, mindlessly looking out the window, or toggling between three windows to figure out what emails to answer.
Somehow those couple notes that you are “just going to finish up” turns into 30, 50, maybe even 100? Or more? AND are likely paired with guilty, anxious, and panicked feelings. No judgement here. I know it feels so awful, and, you don’t have to stay here.
If you are a therapist that wants to gain control over their paperwork flow, but you're so behind you don’t know how to take the first step The Progress Note Catch Up just might be the kick you need to get back on track.
This six part mini course and companion worksheets will guide you through the intentional process of getting back on top and in control of your paperwork – one note at a time. Each video is a couple minutes long with companion guides and worksheets to help guide you through step by step.
AND I’ll be hanging out with you, cheering you on through this six part pre-recorded mini course to help you take back control over your notes.
What would you do with that freedom? Find out and get started HERE!
One of my favorite topics in supporting Play Therapists is the work that happens at the edges of the practice. Like, all the tasks that you need to do when the client leaves the office (or the camera is clicked off)! The notes, the documentation, the scheduling, and coordination. All. The. Things.
One thing I have realized is that most therapist really hate progress notes.
Okay, so here’s a secret, I actually kind of like doing my notes. I get so much rich insight during my documentation that I might not have realized due to high levels of attunement and presence during the session.
Like true lightbulb moments.
I also realize that I am in the minority here and that most therapists despise notes. I think I have the uncomplicated relationship with notes because I get them done within my workday without any paperwork hours. No late nights, no weekends, just tucked into my regular therapy day!
I wanted to share some of my Play Therapy documentation tips for progress notes that might have you reevaluating your relationship with your notes….like from completely stressed out to seamless?
Here are my top 4 tips on more efficient notes for play therapy:
Know your theory
The content of your note is going to come directly from the theory you use. My Child Centered Play Therapy Notes sound completely different than my Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy notes. It makes sense, right? Different theories are going to use different interventions and different techniques. Go back to your foundational trainings/texts and identify the top interventions from your theory that you use in your practice and use that exact language in your notes.
Include the “What” and “How”
Identify the top toys the client engaged with during the session. Include information if they focused on one toy/type of toy or multiple. Did they play in the doll house for the entire time? Did they switch between 15+ toys including the dart guns and the swords? This is not meant to be a narrative of the entire play session, but include important information about the feel and the flow. Was the energy high or low? Were there periods of chaos followed by calm?
Get clear on your top interventions and techniques
After going back to the basics write down your top 5-10 interventions that you use most frequently and separate list of what goals you may be wanting to accomplish. Why is the child engaging in a sand tray? What is the purpose of playing Candy Land? How does all of this tie to therapeutic goals?
Keep it simple, keep it short
Spoiler alert – my notes are very boring. Well…maybe not to an auditor who is introduced to the turtle that was viciously attacked by a lion, but they are pretty cookie cutter. I have a lot of the same types of sentences altered for the specific client content. I created this training HERE on writing seamless notes as efficiently as possible and reviewed tons of my notes to come up with the basic phrases I use most often. I guarantee if you do a note audit you will quickly identify your top statements you use with clients to begin to compile your own list.
Check out some of these examples of my most used phrases in my Data section of my notes:
Child Centered Play Therapy:
Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy:
There you have it, some of my best tips to help you streamline your Play Therapy notes! What are your favorite sentences? Leave a comment below!
If you need a little more note writing support take The 5 Minute Note Course - where 10 days transforms your notes from novels to efficient and effortless! The course also includes special bonus play therapy note templates!
I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC, RPT-S, and EMDR Consultant. I help other therapists grow in their passions as play therapists, trauma therapists,and child and adolescent therapists.