School Counselor and Play Therapist Activity: The House on the hill

by play therapy student #6
(Atlanta, GA, USA)

School Counselor / Play Therapy Art: The House on the hill

School Counselor / Play Therapy Art: The House on the hill

I have to say that I would have done this school counseling / play therapy project much differently if had not learned the symbolism first. I saw the examples and thought “oh, this is going to be easy.”

I can draw a house as well as a five year old. A tree is likewise an easy project. I can even draw a decent pig. But after learning the possible interpretations, it made me want to try harder. I did not want to represent the people closest to me with something simple. There is still a lot this drawing says.

Something I noticed all three drawings last week in my play therapy class is a tendency to artistically create things as I wish they were rather than they really are. With that being said, and even though I understand the symbolism of the images, I was still shocked by how much of my drawing unintentionally represented unspoken feelings.

The sun is a predominant figure in the picture, giving warmth and light. The water embraces the shore and home. The birds are freely flying in the sky. The trees are of special significance. They appear to be in the early autumn of their cycle, still retaining a few green leaves, but quickly changing colors preparing to fade to winter.

Yet within them, there is the evergreen, a lasting symbol of the life of the forest. The house is solid, stable, and has some age, but still has a fire burning, welcoming everyone back home.

It still amazes me when working with art therapy / play therapy / school counseling techniques that the mind knows what it needs to create, and when it is complete, the artist knows it. I found myself visualizing what the picture needs, the spontaneously putting it paper.

As I was drawing the images, I could feel myself analyzing my work, asking myself “what does this mean to me?” Even though some of the results were nothing I would ever express openly, I felt compelled to complete the drawing as I envisioned. It feels like the soul knows what it needs to express, and the mind allows it to express those needs through this medium.

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