“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein
I was sitting with a child last week who was struggling with depression. She was sad, couldn’t get away from the feeling and said, “I feel like sadness follows me where ever I go.” So I asked, “What does your sadness look like?” and handed her a tub of Model Magic clay. “Can you make it for me?”
She began mixing the black and white clay together and a few minutes later held up a blobbish creature with large white eyes. “Meet Sasquatch!” she said.
That was the first time I’d seen her smile all session. Making Sasquatch relieved the pressure of trying to get rid of her depression and made her feel it was something she could handle – both developmentally and emotionally. We talked about how Sasquatch follows her around and she came up with a response, “Get lost, Sasquatch!” She practiced a few times, each time with more enthusiasm.
Then I shared Freddy, MY ANXIETY, (pictured above) and explained that I have a problem with him, too. He shows up when people are mad at me and when I make mistakes. Somedays he wants to stay all day and other days he doesn’t show up at all. To this, she smiled. She was no longer alone.
She has Sasquatch. I have Freddy. (We all have something).
This is a great activity to use with kids who are struggling with painful emotions. It helps bring the emotions to a tangible, developmentally appropriate level so they can manage it. The best part is to make your own feeling right along with them. Make your own Freddy and show them that you have feelings, too and sometimes those feelings get the best of you. Parents, counselors, virtually any person who works with kids can use this activity. Try it and let me know what you find!
Please share your feedback on Twitter. What is your child struggling with the most? What do you want to know more about? Other suggestions? Let me know! Just send a tweet to @allisoneLPC
Have a great week, everyone!