Tele-Play Therapy is still very much a reality for my practice, and we are nearing the year mark after making the shift.
I wanted to touch on something I included in my Play Therapy Kits HERE! In this post HERE I talked about the handouts I gave parents to orient them to the Play Therapy kits and included a FREE download as well as kit numbers and labels for the Play Therapy Folders.
I wanted to take some time to talk about the importance in Tele-Play of having a Play Therapy folder! I have reflected SO MUCH on the differences between in office therapy and Tele-Play, starting back to when I transitioned my practice from the Twin Cities to Duluth and especially in the pandemic.
One of the things I kept reflecting on is the sacredness of the containment of the therapy office. Toys are kept in this space that are only used for therapy and at the end of the session the child walks out, into the waiting room and back into their life.
I have been reflecting a lot on the containment that the Play Therapy office provides. Although when I oriented my families to Tele-Play Therapy we discussed the importance of containment for art work, one can never really be sure what happens after we wave goodbye! I know projects that were meant to be done over a series of sessions can get misplaced or lost. It happens!
I also know that in the office there can be some self consciousness, anxiety, or distress of not wanting to share a project or drawing with a parent. When that presents in Tele-Play it can lead to restricted play or processing as it doesn’t feel safe, and to be honest sometimes it isn’t safe. OR sometimes, for whatever the reason, they just want to leave it behind. In the office they trust that you will keep it safe.
But, what about when you don’t have that physical ability to contain the art after they leave the appointment?
The best way I came up with to recreate this dynamic for children was the Play Therapy folder. Each child I see has a folder they can write their name on and keep to store art projects, drawings, or materials. It stays in the kit to minimize anything getting lost or put somewhere “special”, that we never can remember where it was!
We incorporate this choice into our closing ritual. An invitation to keep the art, share the art, destroy the art, or put it in their folder. Whatever feels right to them.
Also because it is in the folder it is not easily accessible and out for parents, siblings, friends, or whoever to see. While it is not 100% private it has definitely been a helpful and essential tool in my practice.
The stickers I used to label the personal Play Therapy folders (above) are available as a free download HERE! The labels were printed on Avery 15264 Labels (3 1/3'' x 4'') BUT you can also print on paper and just tape onto folders too!
Have you been using Play Therapy folders in your Tele-Play practice? Have you found other ways to create containment? Drop a comment below!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,