Play Therapy Technique Case Study Part 3

by Latia Nell
(New Zealand)

Creative Counselling 101 : Play Therapy Technique 101 Assessment and Case Study : Part 3
Case Description
T is a 6 year old boy. He lives in a blended family. His mother remarried a man with a toddler, G (3). T and G get along well, as T enjoys being the ‘big brother’.
T’s mother has a new baby with her new husband (L, aged 6 months). The mother has brought T for counselling as he has become withdrawn and weepy, and has started wetting the bed again. She feared he had been bullied at school.
Presenting issues
T is feeling that he and G have been rejected by his mother, who is now busy with her new baby. He is in a state of distress at the thought of losing his mother.
Counselling goal
The goal has been to relieve T’s fear and pain at his perceived rejection.
Session progression
T immediately set up the dollhouse. The mother and other significant adults were in the main rooms with the baby, and gave all their love and attention to the baby. The two older children were put in the garage (only in his play, not in reality). The older of the two children often stood in the corner, and T explained that this child would soon be sent away, because the mother only wanted the new baby. The child in the corner felt he would have to take the middle child with him when he left, as this child was also unwanted.

I met with T’s mother, and explained what he expressed through play. She was quite distressed about this, and explained that she feeling frazzled as she was struggling with the new baby who had very bad colic.
• We set up a list of activities T and G could do with their mother, away from the baby.
• The mother was also encouraged to undertake more self-care activities, for the sake of her own mental wellness, as well as that of her family.
• We also arranged for extra home-help with the baby to give the mother respite time.
• We also set up tasks the boys could do to help with the baby, because they are the ‘big brothers’.
• T’s mother also came and played with T. Her character spoke to the baby, explaining how much she loved T and G, and how lucky she (the baby) was to have such great big brothers.

T’s distress decreased rapidly, and within a month, he had stopped wetting the bed. In his final session, he played happily with other toys, and showed no residual worries about his relationship with his mother.

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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.

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