Posted in Role playing stories

The therapeutic benefits of clay work in play therapy.

potter at work

Clay work is like the Cinderella of the art therapies. She still waits to be discovered with her magic, her beauty and her ability to transform the wells of human suffering into places of insight and celebration. Her dark earthly solid mass, often appearing in greyish, brownish or terracotta dress, is hardly alluring at first sight. Touching this sticky cold mass, you sense she has a longing and determination to merge with your skin.” (Sherwood, 2010)

Children have always played with clay however more recently it has become a valuable tool for play therapists as it provides children with a natural method of connection and expression. This research project is going to examine the therapeutic benefits of using clay in play therapy. The reason I choose this particular topic to research is because when I started play therapy with my clients I did not include clay in my tool kit. After a few months, clay was introduced into the play room and it was very apparent to me from the outset that my clients were instantly drawn to it. They all used the clay but interestingly they used it in very different ways. Its many qualities such as its strength, malleability and its concreteness make it very responsive to human feelings. My clients liked feeling, modelling, squashing, rolling and pounding the clay. I felt undoubtedly it was instrumental in moving the clients forward in their therapeutic process. Children are naturally attracted to clay and are drawn to its visual appeal (Henley, 2002). It is a strong expressive medium and is ideal for enhancing children’s development and holistic learning (White, 2006). This research project will attempt to give some insight into what the therapeutic benefits are of using clay in a play therapy setting.  I will do this by examining relevant literature on the subject and by using some of my own personal experiences dealing with clay as a play therapist.

Landreth (2002) states that it is difficult for children to access their feelings at a verbal level as children do not have the cognitive or verbal ability to express what they are feeling in a manner that can be expressed into words.  Since the inception of play therapy, clay has always been an important tool for therapist (Axline, 1947; Landreth, 2002). It is advocated by many psychotherapists as one of the primary devices for helping clients to explore difficult concepts and express fundamental emotions in a non verbal manner (Freud 2006). However, while many therapists’ advocates the inclusion of clay in the therapy room and recognise its therapeutic potential. Goryl’s (as cited in Sherwood 2010) survey showed only 25% of therapists used clay in their practice while in contrast 99% believed that clay was very therapeutic. There has not being much research done on the therapeutic aspects of clay or clay as a therapeutic medium in general (Sherwood, 2010, Gavron and Sholt, 2006, Souter-Anderson, 2010). The dearth of research and books on the subject may be a result of the belief that clay therapy comes under the umbrella of art therapy. Souter- Anderson (2010) in her book “Touching Clay, Touching What?” refutes this and claims clay therapy has a “unique theoretical anchoring in the same way that sandplay, music therapy and authentic movement have their respective theoretical bases” (Souter-Anderson, 2010: 13).

In order to explore the therapeutic aspects of clay it is important to briefly describe the role clay has played in history. Clay products such as vases, pots, symbolic figures have been present in past civilizations. In addition to the functional aspects of clay in creating a variety of containing tools, it has been used in many cultures as a method of expressing the religious dimensions in human life. Clay originates from the earth and as the earth is viewed as the source of all things it can be inferred that clay can anchor very powerful emotions. Sholt and Gavron (2006: 66) claim there is a link “between symbolic clay products and mental spiritual realm of human kind early in human history. Accordingly, clay figures which are made of earth may reflect the connection between the human mental world and the material world”

Clay involves a very primal mode of expression and communication as it involves touching (Henley, 2002).  Tactile contact is actually the first mode of communication that a baby learns (Bowlby, 1969). It is the sense of touch that enables people to understand the very boundaries of themselves (Sunderland, 2004).  Touch, before all else, is the primary, non-verbal way a child has to relating to its mother.  From the moment of birth, touch is the way in which feelings are communicated and experienced. The sense of touch is closely linked to early attachment. (Bowlby, 1969). Attachment is the bond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver.  It is characterised by the interaction patterns which develop in order to fulfil the infants’ needs and emotional development (Bowlby, 1969). According to Bowlby (1969) not developing a secure attachment in early life, could prove damaging to the child emotionally and these difficulties could filter through to adult life. Souter-Anderson (2010) states that many therapists see their clients’ relationship with clay as a metaphor for their attachments with different people in their lives. Cattanach (1996:196) states that the medium of clay have its own specific qualities and says “it responds and reacts and has to be grappled with, in the same way as a human relationship does if it is to progress”. Baring this in mind it could be concluded using clay in the playroom could help children or adults not only to explore their early attachment bonds but also help them examine and look at their current relationships.

Clay leaves an imprint and feelings move through hands into clay making the invisible visible. In addition to touch, modelling clay requires body movement. Touch and movement are interlinked.  Real past memories and the “central window to the unconscious” can be unlocked through touch and movement (Oaklander, 1988). Clay therapy can allow the clients see their inner trauma and places of wounding (Sherwood, 2010). Nez (1991) made use of clay in order to facilitate healing with adults who had difficult and traumatic childhoods. He found that clay encouraged a more spontaneous and less controlled expression and response then other art mediums. He stated that using clay put the client in touch with primitive sensations and emotion.

Clay is cathartic in nature as it allows the child to express an array of emotions. Catharsis allows for the release of previously restrained and interrupted affective release via emotional expression such as pounding clay (Schaffer, 2006).  When children feel stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed by life challenges, the use of clay in therapy provides a safe place for releasing stored up thoughts and emotions, and unlearning old, destructive or unproductive habits. Some children find this particularly soothing and it can be useful for releasing tension or can be safe outlet for frustration and aggression (Hart, 1992 as cited in Sholt & Gavron, 2006). Sholt and Gavron (2006:67) states that working with clay could ” function as a control window to these unconscious non verbal representations and maybe helpful with people who find it hard to express themselves verbally or who are defensive.

Clay is malleable and three dimensional and it can become anything a child wants it to become. It can embody a representational form or an abstract one, for example a child could create a shape that represents a monster which could  look like an animal or a fantasy figure or it just might be a shape that maybe symbolic.  Once form has emerged from the clay, it may become fixed and permanent, or be crushed and rolled back up into a ball. Creating different forms can help a child find a way of expressing their inner emotions and thoughts.

Souter-Anderson (2010) states that clay is particularly useful when exploring feelings of anger. It can also act as an outlet to prevent the build up of negative emotions and feelings in the child. Macks (1990) as cited in Henley (2002) talks about a client who dug her nails into the clay over and over again. He says that in order for “the therapeutic process to progress than all suppressed or imploded anger must first be imploded” (Sherwood, 2010:72). I found this to be very true in my experience of working with a nine year old boy. He was referred to play therapy as he had some difficulties mixing with other children in the school. He became very aggressive and anger at times and the school were concerned. His mother said he appeared sad a lot of the time. He was an only child who lived alone with his mother. His parents were young when he was born and his father is drug addict. His father has been in and out of prison due to his drug addiction. He does see his father but it is very irregularly and he has come to see him as an acquaintance rather than a father.  He used to just come into the room and throw the clay at the board. I noticed he did this when he was annoyed or angry about something not necessarily his father but something that had happen in school or if he was anger with his mother or teachers. He eventually made it into a game. He drew a circle on the board and the nearer he threw the clay to the centre of the circle the more points he received. Sherwood (2010:105) states in her book is a particularly good way “for the release of anger since it splats on the board. The release is dramatic”.

Clay being an earthy medium by its very nature can take a lot of anger and rage. Clay in therapy provides a medium to work through issues such as anger, grief, and fear and move the client on in their therapeutic process. Another client used the clay to represent lot of different emotions. The client was a ten year old girl that lived with her mother, her brother and half sister in a disadvantaged area in the city. Her parents had separated two years previously and at the time the sessions commenced she was having difficulty accepting the situation. Her father and his new girlfriend had a baby and he moved in with her and created a new family unit. She did not consider herself to be part of this new family and over the course of the sessions she became more isolated from her father and felt abandoned by him. She had difficulty using any of the tool kit but when the clay was introduced she used to throw at the board and the walls. She used feel energised and it would improve her mood. Interestingly, in the latter phrase of her play therapy she began to make smiley faces. On one occasion she used the clay to do this. This client found it very difficult to talk about her real feelings so I felt the clay gave her an outlet to express them in a non verbal way.

Self esteem

Working with clay can be rewarding for children who are hesitant about their creativity. You need very little skill to use clay and so there is hardly any chance of failure (Henley, 2002). The play therapy is non directive and as the play therapist does not enforce any expectations or boundaries on the client, he can express himself freely in a confident matter and with out restraint. Additionally the important aspect of using clay which is often ignored in play therapy as we focus on the process rather than the product is the way it enables children to produce lasting pieces. This permanency of creation promotes a child’s self-esteem and when functional pieces are produced (e.g. cups, bowls) children see themselves as capable of engaging in a truly purposeful activity (White as cited in Schaffer, 2006).

I had this experience with one of my clients. This specific client had abandonment issues and was suffering from low self esteem. In the early sessions, she preferred to talk but in one session she choose to work with the clay.  She made a SpongeBob out of the clay and she wanted to take it home however this conflicted with the boundaries we had set out for the play therapy sessions. She had agreed to leave everything in the playroom until her therapy was finished. However, this seemed very important to her and up to this point she hadn’t asked to take any thing else out of the room so  I spoke to my supervisor who told me get her to make another one that she could specifically show her mother and her friends. The next session we created another SpongeBob (see photo below) in the room and she took it away.

The next week she told me how great her friends and mother thought it was.  She was extremely pleased with herself. The fact is clay can give children the material to make something out of nothing. They can put their own imprint on clay and therefore they bring something from the unconscious to the conscious (Heimlich and Mark, 1990 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Clay products are tangible and can be examined at a later stage and the importance of this was evident in the case of my client. She used to look and admire her clay creations every week. Play provides children with unlimited opportunities to create, through the construction of clay, whereby they gain a sense of confidence and self efficacy that boasts their self esteem (Schaefer 2006).  Oaklander (1988) also advocates projective techniques such as clay sculpting which she claims is very useful to facilitate children and help them explore negative self image and increase self acceptance and self esteem. I found from my own clients that using clay can be a satisfying experience that enables a child who can be hesitant about their creativity be creative.

Group work

For many years clay have been used by psychotherapists and art therapist. As clay has been advocated by therapist as something that advances the therapeutic process in not only in individual but also group therapies (Anderson, 1995; Mattes and Robbins, 1981 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Using clay can also be a very social activity. When appropriate, groups of children with similar presenting concerns are encouraged to interact together verbal communication skills, confidence and social skills are developed and promoted. Children will often exchange ideas and suggestions on how something can be made, and being able to show another child how to make something can be particularly rewarding (White, 2006). Co-operation and sharing of ideas in groups promotes a sense of identity and a sense of belonging.  In a study carried out by Sweeney and Thomas as cited in Souter-Anderson (2010) focusing on the issue of transition, clay was the second most popular medium used. Sand tray work was the first. I found this very apparent in a group of four girls who were aged eleven I had for group play therapy. The overall aim of the therapy was to enable the clients to become more confident, more self assured and to have a more positive image about themselves. One of the girls had difficulty in each session trying to decide what to do. The others in the group would just ignore her but one of the weeks we were using clay the other girls gave her ideas on what she could make. She felt supportive and gave the strength to finish her clay model. She made a face – see photo below.

Up to this point she had never completed anything. After she had completed her model with their direction, they as a group decided without being asked they decided to make a clay model together. They decided to make a plaque and decorate it with glitter and stars. The girl who could never complete anything to that point became very much involved and suggested that they are put their initials on the plaque (see photo below).

The group had been quite separate up to the session we used the clay and I felt it was definitely instrumental in the bond in the group becoming closer and for moving them forward in the therapy. The client who found it difficult to decide what to do every week became much more confident and uninhibited when working with the clay. She put the clay all over her face (see photo below). She was enjoying the freedom of using the clay with no pressure to get it right or produce a perfect model.

Another interesting observation I made was when one of the girls in the group made an ashtray for her father she spoke to the group of how she was very worried he would die if he didn’t stop smoking. These revelations led to another member of the group opening up about her fears for her mother who also smokes see photo below it is the clay model at the front.

Sherwood (2010) says using clay in groups is very productive in prompting discussions about feelings and relationships and I felt this was certainly true with this particular group I had.

Using clay as a metaphor

Using clay to create metaphorical meaning can directly progress a client’s therapy. As mentioned earlier clay allows a client to access to their unconscious. If a client can tap into their unconscious they can begin to face the underlying cause of their difficulties. Winner (1998) as cited in Henley (2002) says that metaphors are a more effective way of capturing meaning than talking. The use of metaphors allows for the exploration of client’s social and emotional difficulties without having to confront the issues directly or resort to negative criticism (Henley, 2002) by creating symbolic equivalents to their thoughts feelings and behaviours. Working with metaphor as a means of problem solving is an enjoyable and fun way of confronting serious issues.  The photo below shows one of my client’s clay representations of how he sees his mother. He sees as her as a snake.  It wasn’t a negative thing as the snake can represent protection and transformation.

Henley (2002) states the in order to use clay as a suitable therapeutic medium it is important that the child has some ability in to think abstractly. Thus he believes that using this medium is most suitable for children over the age 6. He believes that younger children may enjoy using the clay they would not necessary to benefit from it therapeutically.

Summary of findings

This research project attempted to explore some of the therapeutic benefits of using clay in play therapy. I have discovered that it undoubtedly helps a play therapy client express their emotions and this is due to the tactile nature of the clay. It is this mode of primal communication (touching) that helps emotions such as anger, greed, and grief be expressed in the clay. Using clay therapeutically allows you to grab an emotion and look at it in the face, touch it, shape it and feel it. It makes the intangible touchable.  From my research and my own personal experience I have concluded that clay is extremely cathartic as clients have a strong emotional experience working with the clay. Due it is to its ability to be three dimensional, it can represent real life objects. It can lead to regression and according to Henley (2002) regression that occurs through clay work leads to a cathartic release. It is powerful and penetrating and it enables an enormous release and transformation without the client having to talk about what is going on. However the use of clay can tap into the unconscious mind and a therapeutic conversation about the visible product with the client can unlock the hidden memories. I have also seen how clay can act as a catalyst in encouraging group interaction and it helps with self esteem and self confidence. It also helps clients develop their social skills and helps the group members to support one another. It also can be instrumental in developing empathy. I feel that clay work that is symbolic or metaphoric can facilitate verbal communication and encourage people to speak about matters they wouldn’t have normally disclosed. Additionally I think because of need to focus on the clay when one manipulates clay can led to improved concentration.

Recommendations

From this research I have some recommendations for using clay in play therapy.

  • It is important to make clay more widely available in the play room. The use of this tool by more play therapists in a broader range of contexts and with a broader range of population groups like special needs is important. As mentioned in the project although 99% of counsellors believe clay has some therapeutic value only 25% of therapists make it available.
  • Clay can be used very effectively in group work to promote social skills and empathy. Be more directive ask the group to make a shape representing themselves, or how they felt this morning. By doing this you are promoting an interactive discussion within the group but remember never force someone to speak if they refuse to do so.
  • Therapists often feel under confident in terms of using clay (Souter-Anderson, 2010) which is probably one of the reason that it is absent from many therapists tool kits. I would recommend that therapists should spend time getting to know the medium and feel what is like working with it personally.

In conclusion before I began this research essay I knew clay was very effective but this essay has helped me realise how and why clay is such a powerful medium and it is an essential part of a play therapist’s tool kit. This research has helped me improve my understanding of the therapeutic uses of clay and it undoubtedly informs my future practice as a play therapist.

Bibliography

 

Axline, V. (1947). Play Therapy: The inner dynamics of childhood. Cambridge: MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Axline, V. (1969). Play Therapy. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and Loss (vol. 1). Hammondsworth: Penguin.

Cattanach, A. (1993). Process in Art Therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Freud, S. (2006). The Interpretation of Dreams. London: Penguin Group.

Henley, D. (1996). Clayworks in Art Therapy: Plying the Sacred Circle. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Landreth, G. (2002 ). Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. New York: Routledge.

Oaklander, V. (1978). Windows to Our  Children. New York: The centre for Gestalt Development Inc.

Schaffer, C.  & Kadoun, H. (Eds) (2006)Contemporary Play Therapy. New York: Guildford Press.

Sherwood, P. (2010). The Healing Art of Clay Therapy. Melbourne: Acer Press.

Sholt, M. & Gavron, T. (2006). Therapeutic Qualities of Clay-work in Art Therapy and Psychotherapy: A Review. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 23 (2) pp.66-72. AATA, Inc.

Souter-Anderson (2010) Touching Clay, Touching What? Dorset: Archive Publishing.

Sunderland, M. (2003). Using Storytelling as a Therapeutic Tool with Children. Oxon: Speechmark Publishing Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, expressive arts, Role playing stories

Acting out some emotions:

Emotions emoticons

  • try to maintain each expression for 10 seconds, even if other people lose it!
  • try to challenge yourself further, you can try to manage links between each emotion convincingly!

Try out the following:

  • waiting for something
  • confusion
  • physical ache or pain
  • thinking about something deeply
  • bored
  • something’s caught my attention
  • quietly amused
  • trying to remember something, but failing
  • remembering something painful
  • remembering something happily
  • frustration
  • anger
  • elation
  • trying to hide your irritation
  • scheming, or devising a plan
  • despair
  • verge of tears
  • relief

Now let’s try some more complex techniques, still not involving words:

  • Guffaw (short laugh)
  • Sniff, perhaps to show awkwardness
  • Clearing throat, perhaps to show you’re trying to clear your thoughts or perhaps to get attention
  • Sigh, perhaps from tiredness or perhaps because you’re relieved or frustrated
  • Muttering in panic, irritation or disbelief
  • Mmmm, perhaps thinking, perhaps ‘agreeing with yourself’ or confirming your own thoughts
Posted in Drama

Drama workshop based on addiction (Alcoholism)

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Drama workshop based on addiction (Alcoholism)

The group will be asked to stand on an imaginary line across the room – one end represents STRONGLY AGREE and the other end represents STRONGLY DISAGREE with NOT SURE in the middle.

Possible statements to discuss are:

Adults have double standards when it comes to drinking

All/ very few young people drink alcohol

There are never any problems using alcohol

Most drinking problems involve young people

Peer pressure is the reason why young people drink

Young people with high esteem are less likely to drink

We have a serious problem with drinking in this area

Legal drugs (alcohol and tobacco) do more harm to society than illegal drugs

We learn our attitudes towards drinking from our families

Once everyone is on the line at a point which represents their view discuss the statement before moving on to the next one. It is best to hear one argument at a time from the opposing positions on the line and you will need to chair any discussion to make sure all the opinions are heard.

Once the various opinions have been heard offer students the opportunity to move to a new position if they feel their attitude has changed following the discussion. Repeat this process for all the statements, keeping the discussion brief.

Complete the statement

Either in small groups or as a whole class ask students to discuss and complete an unfinished statement

Suggested statements

The main reason why people drink is…

The main problems caused by drinking are…

Parents and teachers are very ignorant about talking to young people about alcohol because…

The best people/places to get information about drinking are…

 

Hotseating – in groups of 4 hotseat these characters. Each person in the group chooses a character and each takes a turn in the hotseat.

A victim of a drink driving.

A parent of a teenager who was involved in drunken fight.

A teenager who wants to drink to fit in with his friends.

A college student who has had to get their stomach pump after an excessive bout of drinking.

 

Still Image

Make a still image of each story. Choose one story and make 6 still images of what had actually happened.

Improvisation

Improvise the story in your groups. Then the teacher can call out freeze. The group freezes the teacher goes to each person and asks them what they are thinking. Only the person the teacher taps on the soldiers speaks or moves. When the teacher says continues the scene continues.

Closure: To finish, conduct a round of ‘the most important thing we have discussed is………’

Then in pairs each person sculpts their partner into how they are feeling at the end of the session.

 

Posted in Group activities for low self esteem

Group Session for children dealing with low self esteem

The following six weeks programme is designed for clients aged 7 to 9 with low self esteem. The group compromises of 2 boys and 2 girls. The sessions take place weekly and last for 50 minutes. The programme is based on the premise the clients in the group have the following difficulties:

  • They have unrealistic expectations of themselves.
  • They find creativity difficult.
  • They have feelings of incompetence and worthlessness.
  • They have poor social skills.
  • They suffer from feelings of being frightened, scared, anxious or ambivalent.
  • They have difficulty making friends.
  • They have difficulty conceiving and reaching goals.

The overall aim of the sessions is to enable the clients to become more confident, more self assured and to have a more positive image about themselves.

Session 1:

Aim of session: Introduce the group to the process and help them operate as a group with the support of the therapist.

  1. Contract – As a group get the clients to come up with the boundaries for their group. This will help them feel part of the process and encourage them to operate more effectively as a group. There should not be more than five boundaries but they should include respect for themselves and others, confidentiality and punctuality. Put the rules on poster paper and get each one of the clients to sign it. If they wish the therapist can type them out and give each member of the group a copy the following week.
  1. Tell them why they are there. Invite the clients to talk about “what is self esteem?” Write the ideas on the poster paper. Things that could be included are:
    • knowing who you are,
    • What can you do?
    • What can’t you do?
    • Feeling good about yourself,
    • Being a good friend.
  1. Invite discussion about the things that contribute to low self esteem such as:
    • Listening,
    • Communicating,
    • Receiving positive messages,
    • Understanding that differences happen,
    • Accepting yourself,
    • Accepting others,
    • Learning about others.
  1. Get the clients to decide on the name for the group.
  1. Machines: The entire group works together. The therapist calls out the name of a machine and the group have to use their bodies to create that machine. Each person is a different part of the machine. Examples: photocopier, dishwasher, computer, bicycle, fridge, plane, coffee machine etc.., This will encourage co-operation, communication and help the group form.
  1. If I was…. In a circle get them to close their eyes and imagine they were a tree or flower.  Which one would they choose? What would they look like? How would they move? How would they feel?
  1. The clients draw a picture of how they would look as a flower or a tree.
  1. Ending RoutineRelaxation exercise – Be a STAR!The clients lie down on their backs and spread their arms and legs as far as they can go. They feel like they are making a four pointed star. They stretch as hard as they can and suddenly the star collapses.

Session 2:

Aim of session: Accepting difference within themselves, looking at expectations and accepting limitations.

  1. Starting routine: Weather chart- a large sheet is divided into four. Each section has a picture of a different weather situation such as the sun, rain, wind and a tranquil lake. An arrow is in the middle of the sheet. The clients point the arrow to the weather picture that best represents their feelings at that moment. (Other clients in the group could guess why a certain client is feeling that way).
  1. Guide dogs: Divide the group into pairs. One person in the pair closes their eyes and the other person who is their guide dog guides them around the room making sure she doesn’t bump into anything. They do not talk during this game. Reverse the process. This is a very useful trust exercise.
  1. Polarities – Give them a sheet of paper and on the paper are the following statements:

I am friendly

I am a bully

I am loveable

I am dull

I am lonely

I am wanted

I am hated

I am a failure

I am fun

I am winner

I am not ok

I am lively

I am successful

I have good ideas

I can make good decisions

I can solve problems

I can ask questions

I am not a good listener.

Each client has to underline the statements that applies to him/her.

  1. Dragon Hunt; Tell them they are going on a dragon hunt. Get a picture of a dragon a divide it into 8 pieces. Hide the pieces around the room. A leader is chosen randomly. In order to find the dragon they have to go on an adventure through a river, mud, long tall grass. They have to go up a mountain. Masking tape or chairs can be used to define the areas for the river, mud etc..,. The leader must work with the others to come up with solutions of how they will overcome the obstacles in their way. They will need to help each other. When they eventually get to the Dragon’s cave they may need to split into 2 groups in order to find the dragon. This is a good exercise to do in terms of giving and accepting instructions and encouraging and supporting others.
  1. When all the pieces of the puzzle are found they work in a group to put it together.
  1. Ending routine – relaxation exercise – candles – everyone is a candle standing up straight. The candle has been lit and the candle slowly melts to the ground.

Session 3:

Aim of this session: to help with creativity and feelings of competence and self worth.

  1. Starting routine: Pick a Pillow: Have a selection of pillows of all shapes, sizes and colours. Once they have chosen their pillow they can say how they are feeling.
  1. In pairs get them to represent how they feel about themselves in the sand tray. Do not partition the sand tray as “this creates paradox and contraindicated in joint sand play: it is like saying play together but do not play together.” (the handbook of group play therapy P.227). After they have done the sand tray allow the members of the group to quietly sit before the sand tray created by the other pair. Invite each pair to share a story or an association to their own sand tray. Give time for asking questions and initiating sharing about the group process, the impact the sand tray has on individual group members, the relationships of the issues raised in the sand trays ad how they correspond and represent the clients’ feelings.
  1. Ending routine – smoke in a chimney – stand comfortably and start to undulate the whole body starting with the feet (allow the heels to be raised from the floor) Imagine ripples moving up the body and flowing out of the top of the  head. These ripples are making you move forward and backwards. Now change and undulate from side to side. Imagine you are some smoke meandering up a chimney.

Session 4:

Aim of this session: To work closely and co-operatively with each other to help minimise anxious, frightened or ambivalent feelings.

  1. Starting routine – get each individual to draw a line or shape of how they feel at that particular moment.
  1. Give them the handout of the magic forest and get them as a group to fill in the gaps.
  2. Get them to paint a group picture of their magic forest.
  1. Sardines; (depends on the size of the room) One client hides and the others look for her. When they find her they join her and eventually all four clients will be hiding in the same spot – this is good for finding a safe spot in the magic forest – it helps with fears and anxieties and it shows the usefulness of support..
  1. They create a group story using the sand tray about what happened in the forest.
  1. Ending routine: relaxation exercise – rubber puppet – The clients imagine they are a rubber puppet. They are being pulled from above. They are pulled up and their limbs fly about in all direction. Their feet are being pulled off the ground. Finally the strings are cut and they relax.

Session 5:

Aim of session: To help children to focus on their personal attributes and be aware of their strengths and limitations.

  1. Starting routine: Pass the cushion – the clients sit in the circle and pass the cushion to one another. When a client has the cushion in their hands they must say their and adjectives to describe how they are feeling.
  1. Simon says: – encourage turn taking, listening and communication.
  1. Body image – divide the group into pairs. One person stands with his/her back against a sheet of paper on the wall while the other draws around their partner’s body. Each client takes their body image and fills it in with a self portrait.
  1. When everybody is finished they reflect on their own portrait and the other clients’ portraits. They are invited to share their thoughts and feelings in the group.
  1. Ending routine: relaxation exercise – candles see session 2.

Session 6

Aim of this session: To experience the feelings of being supported in a  successful group and bring the sessions to a close.

  1. Starting routine: Each client makes a movement of how they feel to-day.

  1. Each client chooses a musical instrument and one by one everyone joins in until everyone is playing their instrument together.
  1. Get the group to think of a nursery rhyme and use the musical instrument to represent the nursery rhyme. This can be done in pairs or as a whole group.
  1. Make a clay shape about how they feel about the group coming to an end. Each client can join their shape with another client if they both wish. Some clients may wish to stay alone with their shape and feeling. The clients can also change their shapes if they wish.
  1. Ending routine: Each client choose a small world symbol to represent how they felt being part of the group for six weeks.