Aggression in the Playroom: A Synergetic Approach for Working with Trauma and Intensity in Play Therapy: One-Day Workshop – Seco, Maine
Although aggression is a common part of the play therapy process, many therapists don’t have a clear understanding of what to do and how to facilitate the intensity when it enters the playroom during play. The result can lead to inadvertently promoting aggression and increasing low brain disorganization. It can also lead to the therapist feeling beat up, exhausted and hyper-aroused themselves, which can over time significantly impact their longevity in the field, as well as their ability to stay attuned and present to a child in the play room.
With the help of neuroscience, interpersonal neurobiology, and a Synergetic Play Therapy framework rooted in Child-Centered, Gestalt and Experiential Play Therapy theories, therapists will learn how to effectively work with aggressive play in a way that supports nervous system regulation, reorganization of the child’s lower centers of the brain and promote healing for the child. Through role play, discussion, and experiential exercises participants will learn practical techniques that can be used right away in the playroom. Topics such as boundaries, co-regulation, nervous system activation, emotional flooding and use of aggressive toys and play will be explored.
This workshop will also guide participants towards a deeper understanding of what it means to become a child’s external regulator during aggressive play while practicing how to care for their own nervous system thereby decreasing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. The result is the transformation of aggression into ways of connecting, healing and mutual trust.
- Describe strategies that maintain self-regulation in the midst of intense play/trauma play in a play therapy session.
- Define the term, “external regulator” in the playroom and explore strategies that support nervous system integration.
- Identify the link between a child’s dysregulated states of their nervous system and their aggressive and traumatic play.
- Examine and practice how to facilitate aggressive play in the play therapy process without increasing or promoting aggression.
- Examine the Synergetic Play Therapy concept of “The Set Up” in the playroom as a way to understand what the child is trying to communicate.
- Demonstrate how to set boundaries without shaming or shutting down a child’s play.