balance · play

Play Every Day #soul #playeveryday

Watching TV shows on Netflix is definitely one of my coping skills after a stressful day.

I don’t think of this as my healthiest coping skill; it’s not super-productive and it’s sort of a way that I shut my brain off, rather than keeping myself in the present moment and dealing with my stress.  GOOD VIBES

However, lately I’ve been playing with one of my new coloring books during my evening TV watching – and it is AWESOME!

I received three coloring books for Christmas or my birthday this year (my birthday’s the day after Christmas – the gifts all run together), and I am absolutely in love with adult coloring.

These are my reasons why coloring rocks:

  • It’s a way to add a positive element to a mindless activity.  I especially love coloring mandalas that include affirmative phrases in them – like go with the flow or enjoy this moment – because then I feel like I am slowly brainwashing myself into embracing the affirmation while I’m coloring.  (YOU WILL GO WITH THE FLOW.  YOU WILL GO WITH THE FLOW.)
  • It’s a visual artistic activity, which is not something I am naturally into.  When I was little, my childhood best friend always had art projects at hercoloring page birthday parties.  I would messily splash paint onto whatever craft we were making, say “Done!” and then run off to play tag.  (Sidebar: When I picked up my dry craft at the end of the party, it always looked perfect – because my friend’s mom would be too OCD to send me home with the messy and careless craft I’d actually created.  This may be why I get surprised by my lack of innate artistic talent; I’ve been programmed to believe that whatever I do, my creation will end up perfect.)
  • It’s helping me with one of my new year’s resolutions – yay!  I really want to write more letters and cards.  Lately, when I finish coloring a page, I turn it over and I write a brief letter to a loved one on the back.  Then I drop it in the mail – done!  It’s a nice way to keep myself in the habit of sending letters.  Also, what else am I supposed to be doing with all these coloring pages?  There’s only so much room on the fridge.

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play

#mind #ElianaGil #playtherapy

When I first considered, many years ago, the possibility of attending graduate school and pursuing a Master’s in Social Work, part of the appeal for me was how incredibly broad the degree and the field are.  I didn’t have to decide where I wanted to work, if I wanted to work for a non-profit or a big company, if I wanted to be a therapist or an advocate – I knew that I loved helping people, and that I had a special heart for children with special needs.  And I knew that when I checked Idealist.org, looking for jobs, every job that sounded awesome to me had “MSW Required” somewhere in the job posting.

Now I’ve been a Licensed Social Worker for almost four years, and the path I want to take with my career is narrowing.  I absolutely love my job – I work at a school for children with special needs (autism, intellectual disabilities, mental health diagnoses) between the ages of 7 and 21.  Recently, I’ve been taking steps toward seeing clients privately, though that’s still in the planning stage at the moment.

Throughout the past few years, I’ve been to many, many trainings, and now I feel like I am zeroing in on the modality and area that most appeal to me in this work: play therapy.0e275905c49cb3173ab2e9548c7f6d62

Play therapy is an approach that uses the curative powers inherent in play to help children to express themselves, to heal, to grow – to become the healthiest and the whole-est that they can be.  (And, as I’ve been learning, it can be incredibly powerful for adults, too.  I had an amazingly therapeutic experience this past week, while learning about Sand Tray Therapy with the wonderful and renowned Eliana Gil at the Starbright Institute.)  The training with Dr. Gil definitely reinforced my motivation to pursue certification as a Registered Play Therapist.