If you ever have taken a Child Centered Play Therapy course (which I hope you have!), read a foundational text (like Play Therapy: The Art Of The Relationship), or seen a video of Dr. Garry Landreth in CCPT glory you have inevitably noticed the beautiful, pristine, spacious Playrooms. Not a desk or office chair in sight.
If that leaves you with a little Playroom envy, same. There are a lot of therapists who have hybrid playrooms (including me!) or play on the go. The fact that they need a separate Playroom to do "real play therapy" is one of my Top 5 Myths About Working With Children! It’s also the reason I created this course HERE, which you should check out if you need support designing your Playroom!
If you need some ideas about designing a playroom on the go, like now, or are looking for more inspiration for your Playroom check out my FREE resource for The Portable Playroom - full of free downloadable resources and links to all of the categories of toys for Child Centered Play Therapy!
Sometimes Play Therapists can get caught up in having just the "right" space to play in. I remember being so inspired when I read Terry Kottman and Kristen Meany-Whalen’s book Doing Play Therapy where Terry talks about doing Play Therapy in the corner of a secluded hallway. Just a Play Therapy legend, doing her best, meeting kids where they are it - even if it happened to be in the hallway or a conference room!
And at that moment I felt so seen! I had been attempting to hold fidelity to Child Centered Play Therapy in the smallest of offices without a separate playroom for years and to hear that one of our top experts in the field (although not a CCPT) was making Play Therapy work wherever she could access children was so inspiring!
So the real talk about my offices? I have played in the corner of conference rooms with large tables taking up the majority of the room, in an extremely tiny office that housed the custodian’s closet inside of it (like the custodian took three steps through my office to access their cart, which did disrupt play sessions from time to time - but I'll take what I can get!), an office that had floor to ceiling windows looking out at the hallway, and small offices with no windows.
And, I have been grateful for all of these opportunities to see young people. In all of these offices and settings, with toy collections large and small, I have seen immense healing and growth. I have seen children grow into the best versions of themselves - confident and able to regulate.
Children were able to heal just as much next to the janitor’s closet than the biggest office I have ever had. They were able to heal with my Playroom that held probably $100 worth of materials as well as in my Playroom collection (through many years) likely holds thousands of dollars in toys and play equipment.
Here are my top 5 things needed (that you can find nearly anywhere) to do Child Centered Play Therapy:
1. At least some toys from each category of toys in the playroom. Check out the categories HERE!
2. A space that is confidential and private
3. Enough floor space for some movement
4. Enough space to have the toys accessible to the child
I hope this encourages you that you are enough without a fully stocked play room. The relationship you provide to the child is enough. AND that it is possible to have fidelity to CCPT with a small amount of toys and a less than ideal setting.
Now - go play on!!!
AND - I would love to hear from you! What is the most creative or challenging office you have played in? Drop it in the comments below!!
Looking for more support in your Child Centered Play Therapy practice? Check out Child Centered Play Therapy: Troubleshooting the 13 Biggest Stuck Points!
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I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,