Play Therapy Doll House Technique: Build a Childhood Play Therapy Dollhouse

by Play Therapy Student

I experienced a lot of resistance when I first sat down to design the play therapy dollhouse. I had to decide on which time in my life I would build the house for as we lived in a couple of different homes. My childhood was not all bad or all good, but building the house left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I was met with resistance every step of the way. I went back and forth as to which one I was going to build. Even as I was working on it, I was flooded with memories of that time in my life. I built the apartment from my teenage years. I lived there from the age of 13 until 19 when I left for college in the south.
I chose this time in my life because this was when it became clear to me what our family dynamic was and what role everyone played in it. As a child, things were not as clear. I felt things and understood what I could not articulate. However, as a teenager, I could write and talk about it, I could also try to ignore it or avoid dealing with it.
As a teenager all I wanted to do was leave home. In building the play therapy dollhouse, I was taken back to those feelings of being trapped and stifled. It did make me really appreciate where I am now and how much I’m in charge of my life, as opposed to where I was before.
The first couple of times I sat down to design the house, I could not follow through. Eventually I had to ask myself why I was resisting so much and what I could do to get past the resistance. One of the things that helped was actually admitting that there was some resistance to creating the house, and it was not just a case of procrastination.
Once I identified that I was experiencing resistance, I sat down with myself to investigate why I was resisting. Ultimately I discovered that it was because I did not want to feel exposed and vulnerable to critique. I did not want my childhood to be on display for judgment. Then I took the thought process a little further and thought about who was going to see the doll house and what was going to happen during class. I remembered that I was going to display this part of my life to my classmates, who were going to do the exact same thing. It did not seem as frightening once I realized who the audience was.
When I was able to overcome my fear of being exposed and vulnerable in front of class, I was able to get into the building of the dollhouse and deciding which features I wanted to show. I spent more time on decorating my room and getting the proximity right between the bedrooms. I chose to focus on this because it reflected how I felt in that apartment. I felt isolated, either by choice of circumstance. In the picture, I’ve placed my miniature in the window. That was where I spent a lot of my time when I was home. I would sit in the window and stare out of it waiting for the day that I would be able to leave home. I would look out on the activity happening in the street and wonder where everyone was going, what everyone was doing and why I wasn’t a part of the busy world around.

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