I now have my play therapy dolls house and today I went looking for play figurines and play furniture to put in it. Again I am perplexed by myself. I discovered that I know stuff that I didn’t know that I knew. How can that be?
I visited a number of stores and walked around looking at all the play material. Looking along the shelves I am going, “No, no, no, no, Yes!, no, no” and so on. As soon as I came upon an item that I wanted I knew instantly that this is what I wanted. But I couldn’t have told you before what that was. How can that be? I knew exactly what I wanted but wasn’t aware of what that was before I saw it.
I also learnt that Barbie, Teletubbies and Monster High are the high demand items at this time. They cost twice as much as other similar figurines. Good old Barbie, she is still there. Not a Ken doll in sight however!
Monster High is very cool and would be my thing if I was a kid. But they don’t really have boy Monster High stuff.
However there was one thing I did know I was looking for and that was sets of furniture items. For the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and so on. And I found them. They have these sets you can buy that will furnish a whole dolls house. If you had asked me what I wanted I would have told you these sets are what I want but as soon as I saw them I knew I didn’t want them.
And I knew exactly why I didn’t want them. Because they are too formulaic. Children have played with these doll’s house items many, many times before so they know the formula to follow, how to play with them and arrange them in the house and so forth. This is exactly what you don’t want. You don’t want the child following a formula because it tells you nothing except that they can follow a formula.
You need a bit of a mish mash of items so the child is forced to innovate. That is what you do want as the child is then forced to display its unconscious decisions and drives. Which is the point of the whole therapeutic exercise in the first place.
However I am sure there are many therapists who do buy those sets, because they look nicer. To the grown up adult’s eye they look prettier and it’s nicer to have in one’s office. But they won’t do the job as well and be of much more limited therapeutic value.
I discovered that I knew exactly what I wanted but I didn’t know I knew that. How can that be?
In play children will tend to do what they think is the right thing. Follow formulas that are known to them. In play therapy the therapist does not want this but wants the child to play in a non formulaic way because then they will display things like any unresolved oral issues they may have.