Fill your minds with those things that are good
and deserve praise; things that are true, noble,
right, pure, lovely and honorable.

Phillipians 4:8
 
only search Prairie Counseling

Children are emotional beings. Their feelings are projected in their play session, and it’s feelings that govern behavior; not facts or information. A child’s feelings arising from her life experiences and her reactions to these experiences, is what Dr. Landreth finds to becritical in the assessment of a play session.
Essential to the child-centered approach are the four therapeutic healing messages that reflect the importance of how a child perceives the therapist and himself. The first healing message is “I am here”. It is important to be fully present and look through the eyes of a child. It’s counterproductive to want to evaluate what’s good or bad in a child. If the practitioner is thinking about what they are going to be doing at the next home visit or wondering what time it is, the quality and depth of the relationship is compromised. It’s critical that a child feel that the therapist is fully present.

The first healing message is “I am here”. It is important to be fully present and look through the eyes of a child. It’s counterproductive to want to evaluate what’s good or bad in a child. If the practitioner is thinking about what they are going to be doing at the next home visit or wondering what time it is, the quality and depth of the relationship is compromised. It’s critical that a child feel that the therapist is fully present.

The second message is “I hear you,” where the therapist is secure enough within himself to hear without interference what is going on in the child’s inner world. If in a play session a child says “I hate you,” the therapist’s developed ego is secure enough not to personalize that statement. The child’s play may reflect her need to feel competent, solve a problem, or simply convey feelings of anger. In this mindful way of listening to the child’s inner world through play, the child’s needs are honored.

The third message is “I understand”. The child needs to know that the therapist is a person who genuinely cares and that she understands. Through the play relationship, the therapist learns about a child’s deepest pain, loneliness, grief, sadness, or failure.

The final message is “I care”. Once the first three messages are delivered, then the child feels the genuine caring of the therapist. As these messages are conveyed to a child in a play session, a safe space is created for the child to release his intrinsic, dynamic potential. This touches the “center,” or the “authentic self” of the child and then healing begins.