Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My first play therapy session was fascinating

Watching my daughter in her first play therapy session was really something.  And this is a for real play therapist.  Not an incorporate play to engage the kid therapist.  I do that.  Because I am not a play therapist.

Dr. A welcomed us into her office.  CD immediately noticed a "baby lizard" on a table and a "mommy lizard" on the couch right next to us.  She immediately put the baby lizard on the mommy lizard's back.  As she leaned right up against me.  Then CD noticed that there was a bowl full of squooshy balls on the table too.  One by one she dropped them to the ground as she continued to lean against me.  I started to stop her but Dr. A told me that it was ok this time.  I immediately realized what Dr. A was telling me.  CD is testing her.  Is this lady going to criticize me? yell at me? scare me in some way?  When Dr. A did not respond with any negative feedback CD allowed herself some space from me and began quizzing Dr. A about everything in her office.  What's that? What is this for?  Do you play with this?  If CD didn't like the response that Dr. A gave her about anything, CD told her to "stop!" or that she was wrong.  Dr. A accepted it.

CD noticed the doll houses and asked if THEY could play, does she have a family to go in the houses.  She went to the other side of the room with Dr. A while I continued to sit on the couch.  Dr. A allowed CD to be in charge.  She could pretend anything she wanted, could ask anything she wanted and could control Dr. A's play. CD spent a lot of the time simply exploring the gazillion little doll house figures and accessories.  At one point she found a wheel chair and decided that the mommy hurt her back and needed the wheelchair.  Daddy and the baby go to the drug store to get medicine and the mommy feels better and says thank you to the daddy (When I hurt my back 2 years ago it was very difficult on both CD and me. I couldn't carry CD anymore and she wanted to be carried.  And I wanted to keep carrying her).  Most of the play was nothing profound, it was just relationship building between Dr. A and CD.

When it came time to the five minute warning that we were almost out of time, CD got angry.  She wanted to play with the lizards after the five minutes she said.  Then she found a ring that she wanted to take home.  When Dr. A told CD that this was a toy for all the children that come, CD threw the ring in the garbage.  Though I laid back and stayed quiet throughout the session I intervened and told CD that I understood that she was angry that she couldn't take the ring home but throwing it in the garbage was not the right thing to do.  CD retrieved it from the garbage and gave it back.  She then told Dr. A that she wants a different "feelings doctor" and that she was yucky.  Dr. A kept a poker face.  CD threw a few other mean things out there.  Dr. A kept a poker face.  Dr. A said goodbye and told CD that it was nice to meet her and that she would play again with her next week.  CD responded with a goodbye in a melodramatic angry tone of voice.

Fascinating, right?


  1. Sounds like a therapist who knows what she is doing. Did CD say anything about her afterwards?

  2. Yup. She has asked multiple times if we can see her again "today." Considering that each and every OT appt is torture because of the power struggles that she gets into with the OT, I am wondering if there is an OT out there that can read CD like this therapist and find a way to work with her. I am going to go searching.

  3. Thank you for sharing amazing experience with us.


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