Respond to at least 2 colleagues by expanding on evidence in support of play therapy.
Colleague 1: Christine
There are many ways play therapy can benefit children and in this case 6 year old Claudia. As children experience trauma service providers may also have difficulty with young children and self disclosure. Here is the list that I came up with after reviewing this discussion resources in relation to how this approach can benefit:
1) Creating a safe space to explore with safety can hold children accountable for responsible behaviors while developing successful insight to harness positive strategies to cope.
2) Children can also benefit as they learn new solutions toward dealing with issues while learning skills to express new and old emotion.
3) There can be a gained awareness to self; understanding thoughts and emotions.
4) Children can learn new social skills as they work with their provider and how to relate to self through creativity. Also, gaining communication skills as they use various forms of play therapy.
5) Children may also develop an awareness toward new and old abilities using a strength-based approach toward therapy.
Another form of play therapy that I am fond of while working with children is storytelling. It isn’t for all children specifically concentrating on those that feel comfortable opening up and speaking to others. Storytelling has been beneficial to me while working with children in the past as it has revealed fear and anxieties. Utilizing different platforms of storytelling, self disclosure can build various survival strategies in children as they explore different situations through actions, movements, and changes. (Chiesa, 2012, pp 5)
Overall I feel strongly play therapy in all forms whether it be art therapy, role playing, non-directive/directive play, can promote healing, through self expression of feelings. It can also encourage children to build creative ways to deal with current and future trauma, and allow the development of healthy decision-making.
Chiesa, C, (2012). Scripts in the sand; Sandplay in transactional analysis psychotherapy with children. Transactional Analysis Journal. pp. 5 Retrieved from Walden Library databases.
Colleague 2: Tiffany
Play therapy can be beneficial because Claudia is a young child who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and saw a mugging which caused her to be fearful, and develop anxiety. Play therapy helps the child to relax and the child is interested in playing with the toys in the sand. The sand can help the child relax and the toys can help the child create her own world. Usually, children will repeat behaviors or experiences during play. This can help the social worker assess the magnitude of trauma or abuse the child has experienced. This also makes it easier for the child to talk about their trauma or experiences. Play therapy helps children address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy helps to communicate with others, express their feelings, modify behaviors, develop skills to help them solve problems, and they can also learn other ways of relating to others.
If I worked with Claudia I would use play therapy with the use of a little town or city with people in it. This would help Claudia tell her story. I would ask Claudia to create her family and support out of a few of the characters, I would then ask Claudia to choose characters that she felt were bad. I would then work with her on the bad characters by using strengths of her supports to build a safe environment and reassure Claudia her environment is safe by adding the police and security guards to the characters to reassure her she is protected and safe.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]. Working with Children and Adolescents: The Case of Claudia (pp. 15–17)
Taylor, E. R. (2009). Sandtray and solution-focused therapy. International Journal of Play Therapy, 18(1), 56–68.
Respond to at least two colleagues who identified strategies different from your own by proposing alternative strategies.
Colleague 1: Christine
Countertransference occurs as a reactionary behavior by the service provider as they direct emotion or feeling onto the client. This can looks like and mean various things for the provider while meeting with a client. I’ve seen this amongst co-workers in the fashion of meeting with clients that are either the offender, or the abuser in a scenario, which would mostly be indirect feelings or emotions in regard to having worked with clients that have a background of being the abuser or someone that has a criminal sexual charge. I’ve seen providers project feelings onto these individuals with a less empathetic approach than say if they were working with the actual victim.
Handling countertransference in a therapeutic setting can be difficult for the provider and the client. However, approaches can be taken to either avoid or dismantle these unconscious feelings. First, I think recognizes these feelings is crucial toward any situation where this may arise. Moving this unconscious emotion to the conscious state of awareness will be key in creating healthy boundaries between the provider and the client. Meanwhile, this can provide the effective mode of therapy both parties seek. By becoming aware of such emotion, the service provider will have more opportunities to discover those underlying motives or needs in the client through assessment. Understanding and becoming aware of those triggers from clients is important as well. When we are aware of our triggers we can become better equipped toward that empathy we seek as providers and dismantle any personal conviction we may have. This can lead to a well-rounded understanding of cultural competence. As service providers we can also keep unwarranted self disclosure out of our work. Excessive disclosure may allow for those unwarranted emotions from the provider onto the client. Keeping within our professional boundaries is key here. Staying away from becoming over-involved, feelings of blame onto other’s as the provider and really pushing the client to change due to personal convictions are all motives to discover ways to change the professional relationship.
Transference can be exhibited by the client toward the service provider as a way of projecting fears, or emotions onto the provider. These emotions can be generated from past experiences or trauma and isn’t always viewed as negative or positive in the helping relationship. There can be many ways this will be seen in a helping relationship with ideas from the client of association toward the provider, negative feelings, or even romantic feelings toward the provider. I saw this a few times in my field work while working with younger clients. I once had a male client view me as his mother after meeting with him over time. Here, the first thing I did was seek supervision as this was all new to me. Seeking supervision assisted me toward understanding new approaches and building boundaries between me and said client. There was also a decrease in our meetings with each other, for which allowed my client to gain more independence in self and less dependence on me. I also found after seeking supervision that opening the table up more for discussion in regard to feelings and boundaries, the client and I were able to gain insight on the differences of emotion and feelings. This allowed for our working relationship to grow and it also assisted him in other unhealthy situations in his life. The insight gained here allowed him to grow a new perspective on self-sustainability and grow more independent toward reaching his goals.
Colleague 2: Tiffany
Why transference and countertransference are so common when working with children. Then, identify some strategies you might use to address both transference and countertransference in your work with children.
Informed practice based on the psychodynamic concepts such as transference and counter-transference can be very helpful as they provide invaluable insights into the world of children as well as into our own inner world as social workers.
Author Ariola Vishnja Zjarri states that using psychodynamic concepts such as transference and counter-transference as well as an understanding of projection can aid social workers in our work with young people, but while it is helpful it also presents us with difficulties. It can be helpful for the children if we, the social workers, become aware of the transference feelings which flow to and from between the child and the worker which results in us providing more informed and sensitive support to the child. At the same time, it can be difficult because engaging with young people in this way involves a lot of searching and sometimes painful introspection and self-containment for the worker. It demands that we receive skilled supervision and management, and requires insightful supervision and skilled management to help us deal with our feelings as well as with those of the child. Most importantly it helps us understand that we don’t always have to stomp a foot down every time we sense there is a possibility of losing control of the child. A knowledge and awareness of transference in our work can assure us that we can emotionally contain situations without recourse to drastic action because we understand that by not acting on transferred feelings, but rather by acknowledging them we can help a child explore their behavior and feelings with us by comparing their feelings from the past with their current reality.
Zjarri, Ariola Vishnja. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from http://www.goodenoughcaring.com/the-journal/transference-and-counter-transference-their-therapeutic-value-in-residential-work-with-young-people/
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