Play Therapy Dollhouse Final Exam - The House that Built Me

by Andrea E. O'Neal
(Play Therapy Student for Play Therapy Class)

Play Therapy Dollhouse-The House that Built Me

Play Therapy Dollhouse-The House that Built Me

The process of making the play therapy dollhouse was such an incredible experience. I found myself becoming emotional just shopping for supplies. Recreating my childhood home brought up many feelings and many good memories. I grew up in a small town in East Texas called Marshall. My grandmother lived three doors down so my brothers and I were always going between "Big Mamma's" house and our house. We spent lots of time in our den watching television, eating, and laughing at some quirky something. My dad was a music instructor at a local college about five minutes away from where we lived so there was always a variety of musical genres to become acquainted within our house. My mom loved collecting things and it would change every 4-5 years. She started with African violets, then buttons, then different treasures at estate sales. In a small town, one must find something that speaks to the heart of what they like to do. There were no museums, there was nothing like a YMCA so often times we had to create our own fun.
At a certain point I found myself weeping uncontrollably because I looked through pictures that brought back fond memories of my family with all members present. My dad was there. He passed away about 9 years ago now and I still miss him. He was quiet, kind, and like me loved music. My grandmother was also present in the pictures. I spent lots of time at my grandmothers and enjoyed the smell of her house. There was always the sweet aroma of something cooking and clothes washing.
As I started with my shoeboxes and supplies, it was scary really. I always ask in the beginning of a project, what will you become, what can you become? Of course the answer lies within me. At first I was afraid because I was working hard and putting in countless hours and it looked as though I had not done anything. But I kept working and trusting that it would become something. Slowly I saw a world beginning to form. In the beginning, I was afraid of measurements, tearing up something, not having enough, but then I said to myself, "stop being afraid of making a mistake, trust yourself, you are enough and you have enough supplies and if you don't, you can make them". After this, I pressed on unafraid and excited about the end result. My play therapy dollhouse has a simple look but it took lots of thought, time, patience, and energy to create it from scratch. When I observed my work, I said this is not bad for someone who was afraid and so unsure. I guess my lesson was to trust myself, trust in my abilities, have courage, and rest in those things and the result will be as it should be.

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*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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