Section 3
Play therapy is a technique that is generally employed with children aged three through eleven. This technique provides a way for these children to express their traumatic experiences through a natural, self guided and self-healing process. Through play therapy you can be able to discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. Apart from helping children overcome their traumatic experiences, Play therapy also helps them develop social skills, learn problem solving techniques and coping skills.

Play Therapy can be used to address the problem of the case study above of the child coping with grief due to the loss of his dad.  Axline (1947) states that play therapy is essential since it gives the child freedom to express their emotions in their exact states. First of all, the room is supposed to be well equipped with all kinds of toys, art materials, dolls, puppets, trucks and cars, household items, books and games. This great variety will provide a wide range of freedom for expressing different emotional traumas such as grief, depression or anger.

Mat, the child in question, will be taken in such a room and allowed to interact freely with the toys in the room. The choice of the toys will provide cues to the therapist which is essential in determining the causes of the grief.  The therapist is also able to determine the level of concentration of the child. Each toy and each style of enjoying them represents a different emotion and feeling.

Upon the completion of interacting with the toys, the therapist will then engage in desensitization exercises which are aimed at eliminating the sources of the grief in the child. This will include letting the child realize that death will always be there and everyone is eligible for it. The child should be let to know that the most important thing is the love and care that they get from the rest of the members of the family. The therapist should also be in a position to let the child know that it is good for him to grieve for the loss of the loved one, but it should not extend to a point of affecting his life.

The toys in the room should be dull maybe representing crying children and also ones representing a mature male figure. These will help to elicit some painful emotions as the child remembers the dad that he lost. Art materials such as paints will also be useful as the child can do drawings which can be used to reveal his unconscious thoughts and experiences.

Some of the developmental issues I would like to address are that the parents should try as much as they can to bridge the gap of communication with their children. Much of the problems children are facing, like Mat, is from parents who do not understand the emotional needs of their children as their interaction is little or not at all. Parents should listen carefully to their childrens needs and be empathic and non-judgmental.

Play Therapy is vital since it provides a secure relationship between the child and the adult so that child is free to state himherself in his own terms, exactly as he is at that moment in his own way and his own time.  Parents should pay attention to the emotional needs of their children, love them unconditionally and let them know that they are appreciated as they are.

Section 4
Individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as part of their family as family is an emotional unit. The family system theory states that family systems are interconnected with interdependent individuals of whom none can be understood in isolation from the system.

The family members should first of all be let to know that each is an important component in the system and that if there is a dysfunction in one, then the whole system is likely to collapse.  Bowen (1990) states that family systems cannot be understood in isolation. The father, mother and the children are the main components in the system with each having different statuses, roles and responsibilities to meet in order to maintain equilibrium in the system.

Therapists should help the entire family members realize the importance of solving their emotional and psychological problems together. This will however be facilitated by factors such as good communication, a sense of empathy, genuineness and expressions of unconditional love towards each other. Abidin (2002), noted that good relationships between the family members are essential for there to be good understanding in the family and for healthy living.

For this system to function properly, there are rules and boundaries that are to be met. One of these rules is to realize that each member has hisher responsibilities to fulfill. Secondly, members should respond to each other in a respectable way. Each member should be allowed to express hisher feelings and should also be listened to. If one member is angry, he should be in a position to let it out in an appropriate way without fear. (Abdin, 2002)

In conclusion, every member of the family is important and should be given a chance to express their emotions and should be listened to. This fosters a family environment whereby each family member is able to thrive, and be all that they can be.


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