Play Therapy? Ever heard about it?
Do you think it is just restricted to merely playing with a child?
Here’s a Case Story we developed on how young Sofia* found contentment through Play Therapy.
*Name has been changed to maintain anonymity* A set of extremely worried parents approached a certified therapeutic play practitioner one day. Sofia*, their young daughter, a primary school student, constantly seemed anxious and unhappy. She had always been a reserved child, they knew, but lately, she had been more withdrawn than usual, seeming unusually nervous when asked questions.
The therapist took on her young client, attempting to decide how best to approach Sofia*. She was, however, immediately faced with a problem. Sofia* was reluctant to engage with her. The play practitioner, however, had been faced with the same problem from clients in the past as well. She knew what to do. Using play in her approach usually helped her clients open up. In this case, however, this approach had several hiccups. Sofia preferred playing by herself, interacting with her therapist only when absolutely necessary. Unwilling to explore the play area that was given to her, Sofia spent most of her time in a corner drawing and painting.
Despite the minimal interaction between therapist and client, however, Sofia’s therapist was able to advance significantly in her observations of the girl. The key to this? Her drawings.
Each and every one of Sofia’s drawings captured a disturbing theme: isolation. While Sofia often resorted to painting sceneries, a lone girl in each of her depictions was startlingly evident. It dawned upon the therapist that the activity of painting was Sofia’s safe refuge, and that her refusal to explore the play area was a reflection of her emotional inhibition. Upon establishing this metaphor, the play practitioner was then free to engage the child with several therapeutic stories. These stories transformed Sofia like nothing before. Gradually, there seemed to be several changes in the young girl’s demeanor. She no longer sat slouched over her drawings; sitting confident and upright, Sofia even commented in retrospect that she no longer felt the heaviness that had seemed to constantly weigh upon her before.
While Sofia’s therapist was pleased to note these changes, there existed another key indication to the changes that play induced within Sofia. Her drawings had undergone a significant transformation from the initial sessions of play as well. They were all bright and colorful, much like her future.
It was developed based on one of the cases encountered by Play Therapist, Alizeh Haroon
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