by Play Therapy Student
The play therapy dollhouse assignment was not what I expected it to be. Although I enjoyed the mechanics of creating the play therapy dollhouse (building and decorating), I was forced to re-visit the dynamics of my childhood when growing up in this house.
As one can see from the attached photo, the play therapy miniatures that I chose to represent my family are: the hen (mother), watermelon (father), my siblings and I (small fruits and vegetables). The choice I made in selecting these miniatures depicts my childhood experience, and it was difficult for me to re-experience.
Basically, life in our house was a daily struggle. My mother was physically and verbally abusive. She was also extremely controlling; a classic authoritarian parent. My father was a kind, gentle man. Basically, he tried to appease my mother in order to keep the peace; however, that rarely worked because we did not have a peaceful home environment.
I chose the hen to represent my mother because she exhibited characteristics of a hen, such as keeping her chicks in line! My reason for selecting fruits and vegetables is simply this...my mother was all consuming. She treated us as though we were objects.
Although re-living this experience was painful, I did see the therapeutic benefit. I came to realize that I had not dealt with the "psychodrama" of my childhood, and I needed to deal with it. As a result of this dollhouse assignment, I was able to cognitively restructure the negative aspects of my childhood. This type of therapy can reveal an enormous amount of information for the play therapy client and play therapist.
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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.
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