Hope you’re all well!
Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to go along to the NSPCC Centre in Cardiff to discuss blogging and see the work that they do.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m really interested in writing therapy and the way in which emotions can be expressed through creativity. Although the practitioners at the NSPCC don’t solely concentrate on writing therapy, it was SO interesting to hear about how they use art & play therapy with children.
We saw two pieces of artwork that a teenager had painted to represent her anger and they were spectacular. The colours were so vibrant & her illustrations were striking. Just from looking at the art that she had produced, you could tell that no words could have ever described what she had been able to paint. The practitioner also told us that while she was creating this artwork, it was almost as if a change came over the young girl; she become very quiet & engrossed in what she was doing. It was extremely interesting to see her emotion displayed in such a stunning array of colour.
The practitioner also showed us how play therapy can be beneficial to children with the use of sand trays & a doll’s house.
The children can use little figurines within the sand trays to play out scenarios such as a princess fighting off a bird of prey etc.
The figurines can almost become a metaphor for the child’s real life situation and they can therefore express their feelings in a more indirect way. A child may even feel empowered by their ability to change the destiny of their characters. Since the action takes place in the sand, it can be altered over and over again. As the practitioner explained: play is fundamental to a child’s development & also, something that comes naturally to them. It would make sense then that this could be a very cathartic experience for a child.
The doll’s house is obviously a closer representation of real life and children have the opportunity to use it – perhaps to play out situations that take place within their own home.
While situations in the children’s lives are often beyond their control & perhaps even their understanding, the play equipment offers a refreshing change and the opportunity to talk through their concerns with a practitioner. Rather than having a very intense one-on-one conversation, play therapy can offer children a more indirect way of expressing feelings that they may never feel comfortable talking about.
I really enjoyed learning about the different forms of therapies that the NSPCC practitioners use and the way in which creativity encourages children to express their feelings – the children sometimes write things too!
Writing therapy is definitely something I want to look into more in the future. I’m so grateful that I was able to see the fantastic work that the NSPCC do & find out more about how different therapies work – a huge thank you to Charlie for inviting me!
If you want to find out more about the NSPCC, visit http://www.nspcc.org.uk/