Lessons from the Playroom
Podcast Ep. 159

We’re so excited for this next topic. It’s a topic that’s never been addressed on this podcast series and a topic that is rarely explored in the  field of play therapy. So settle in, grab something to take notes because Lisa is joined by Ludmila (Mila) Golovine to talk about using interpreters in play therapy. 

Mila is the CEO and President of MasterWord Services, Inc. As a professional interpreter, Mila is familiar with the toll interpreting for survivors may have on the interpreters themselves. For the past 15 years, she has applied her training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) therapy, Synergetic Play Therapy and Trauma Informed Care, as well as skills as a Master Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and a Certified Demartini Method Facilitator to tirelessly help promote health and wellness for language professionals and raise awareness about the experiences of human trafficking survivors and their language access needs. See below to know a bit more about Mila and her organization MasterWord Services.

We know that interpreters are sometimes used in play therapy, but there’s not a lot of training for play therapists to understand what the interpreter experience is or how to attune and work collaboratively with the interpreter in the shared goal of helping the child heal. 

This is a brilliant and powerful conversation! And has so much helpful information for us as therapists. In this episode you’ll learn about ….

  • The role of the interpreter and how to become aware of the language that is most comfortable for our clients;
  • How to recognize the different cues in our play therapy sessions for our clients when we are speaking to the person in their primary language or in the language in which their trauma occurred;
  • How the play therapist can be both the external regulator for both the child and the interpreter who is also becoming activated as they are channeling the trauma information through them (…as Mila shares, sometimes the interpreter becomes even more deeply affected than the therapist in the room); 
  • How to set boundaries in a session that support interpreters who are asked to come into the session and relieve a trauma in a way to help us understand what the child is going through (…that’s a huge ask! Let’s appreciate this and make sure we are supporting interpreters in being in their window of tolerance.);
  • The need for awareness and attuned collaboration between a play therapist and interpreter when facilitating healing for a client; 
  • Why we do not want to use family members as interpreters; 
  • The challenge interpreters have in the interpretation process itself (e.g., cultural cues, body language and non-verbal cues being different, etc.);
  • The possible ruptures and challenges that can occur within the client-interpreter-therapist relationship with differences in culture and language and how to support interpreters in more mindfully aware ways;
  • The attribution bias and how this can show up in the therapy session in the relationship between client and therapist; and
  • The important takeaways and calls to action that Mila has for all of us as therapists when working with children and their families when there are language/cultural differences.

Plus, check out the amazing trauma-informed resources that Mila has on her website MasterWord.com for interpreters that you can share with the interpreters you work with. 

*Ludmila is also an advocate for social justice and is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker. Her work has been recognized by numerous awards, including California Healthcare Interpreting Association (CHIA) Trainer of the Year Award, Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award; Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Gulf Coast Area regional winner, and Congressional Recognition G7 “Excellence in International Service” award. She’s a rockstar!!!! Thank you Mila for your vision and your heart 💕

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