by Play therapy student
Play Therapy Activity Therapist Must Try - Mystery Counseling Session Personal Fairy Tale
Mystery Counseling Activity for Therapist to Try1
For my play therapy mystery counseling session, I was assigned a “personal fairy tale”. As a young child, I remember being transfixed during a visit to Callaway Gardens’ Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. At the butterfly center, over 1,000 tropical butterflies freely fly around as visitors walk around intertwining pathways. I remember being amazed by the living environment. To me, it represented life’s endless possibilities.
I selected a green backdrop for a mystery counseling session. The construction paper represents the lush canopy at the butterfly center. I pasted several butterflies, flowers, and a bumble bee sticker on the paper. Next, I created three-dimensional butterflies out of construction paper. I decorated these insects with glitter markers and jewels. Finally, I added a fourth dimension – the blue Callaway Gardens sign.
Dream interpretation can be a powerful glimpse into the subconscious of a play therapy client. When I looked up the meaning of butterflies in the dream dictionary, I realized my personal fairy tale may have several practical uses in the school counseling setting. First of all, butterflies may represent transformations or transitional stages. I could certainly use this mystery counseling example when working with a ninth grader who is acclimating to high school. Additional examples of transitional phases could include a new romantic relationship, or mild adjustment disorder associated with a changing family dynamic. Other school-aged evolutions could include developmental milestones such as the beginning stages of puberty.
These butterflies could also represent the pressures associated with being a social butterfly. For example, this scene at Calloway Gardens could represent a student’s need to settle down and avoid the distractions of sophomore year (getting a drivers license) or senior year (downward trending grades after college acceptance). These boundless butterflies could also represent freedom. A student graduating from high school may be happily anticipating the newfound freedom associated with life on a college campus.
Play Therapy Mystery counseling sessions are powerful because the client is the ultimate interpreter. For my personal fairy tale, these butterflies represent romance. These flirty, carefree creatures symbolize fertility, wellness, and happiness. They allow the past, present, and future to converge. This exercise was both informative and fun!
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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.
*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.
"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.
For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.
Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.
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