Families across the globe experience heartache and joy, separations and reunions, loss, and celebrations throughout their lifespan. The manner in which a parent is able to attune to and connect with their child serves as a template for all future experiences and the ways in which a child views themselves, their own capabilities, and their seeking for and seeking out love and connection with others.
In traditional child therapy, the majority of the training for clinicians focuses on the individual child client. I believe that we are giving children unrealistic expectations that they can be the only or main agents of change within their family system. We cannot expect the least powerful player to make long-standing improvements in the family unit and the dynamics that rule it. We are not addressing the critical relationship between parent and child. Since you work in the mental health world, you understand that the relationships between parents and their kids can either fuel success and security or foster chaos and uncertainty. If parents had any idea how much they matter, it would change everything.
That is one of the reasons I wrote the book Attachment Centered Play Therapy. As I have been traveling the globe training play therapists, teaching up and coming graduate students-therapists at Universities and working with my own clients, I recognize that there is a huge missing piece in the work done for children after trauma. We have a duty, not just to work on the immediate behaviors that often brought desperate parents to receive help, but to create transformations in the hearts and homes, including working on the parent-child relationship. Parents are the only people who have the power to create lasting changes. If we do not involve them, we are missing the kid.
Attachment Centered Play Therapy was written with you in mind – centering on the different types of traumas we see in our play therapy room and mental health clinics. It was written to help you, the therapist, understand the nature of trauma – from natural disasters to divorce
If you are a therapist and in any way, your work touches the lives of children, directly, or through the parents, this book is a must-have in your library! My hope for clinicians is that by reading and implementing what is this book, that you can see what is really in front of you, not just the problem or the behavior of the child. I hope to pique your curiosity and courage to delve into what is under the surface with the kids you work with, and their parents! This book starts the process of learning how to do that. It is not a model of doing; it is a therapeutic model of being and of including and inviting the parent into the therapeutic process. As a wise play therapist once said, “You are the most important toy in the playroom”. It is all about being present. It is about being brave. It takes vulnerability on the part of you as the clinician to do that. But if not you, and if not now, we are going to miss that kid. And that is too high a price for anyone to be left behind.