Monster House Play Therapy Session

by Chris Wilson
(Atlanta, GA, USA)

Monster House Play Therapy Session Picture One

Monster House Play Therapy Session Picture One

Monster House Play Therapy Session Picture One Monster House Play Therapy Session Picture Two Monster House Play Therapy Session Picture Three Monster House Play Therapy Session Picture Four

Boo!
As a child, my family made the pilgrimage to Disneyworld. All I remember from the trip is hiding my head during the ride through the Haunted Mansion, looking up sporadically only long enough to become irrationally traumatized. When I first took my children on the same ride a few years ago, I felt a certain amount of nostalgic pride; I also felt a certain amount of parental guilt as my five year old son tried to crawl into my pocket.
What adults deem as entertainment can easily be traumatic for children. This point was effectively driven home to me when I bought what I thought was a cute kids' Halloween movie. After watching a few minutes of the show, my oldest son ran out of the room, then came back long enough to stop the movie and take it out of the DVD player. I was afterwards forbidden by my children to "ever watch that movie again."
Kids can be absolutely traumatized by what they see on television and movies. Doing this project has shown me how it would be helpful to reconstruct the scene from scratch.
Movie magic is about creating the illusion of reality. Dealing with trauma is about reconstructing the individual's perception of their reality. If the individual can recreate the illusion that led to their perception of the traumatic event, they may be able to change their reality.
The house is made of chipboard with a card stock veneer. The tongue is made of red card stock and is extendable to grab items. The trees are used as arms for the house in the movie, so the ones here in the model have hands. In the opening scene of the movie, a little girl's tricycle is consumed by the house, and it is represented by the tricycle in the tree. The house also consumes a basketball which is also represented in the model. The house is possessed by the spirit of the wife who is buried in the basement. She is represented by the tombstone in the backyard.
The project was therapeutic for me, and hopefully for my children as well. While I was working on it, my oldest son brought the movie case (because i was dong it wrong), then said we should watch the movie. He didn't stay for the whole movie, but that's progress, right?

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