Play Therapy, Unpacked

For those not familiar with Play Therapy, it may seem like an odd concept. As a required course in my graduate studies program, I distinctly remember thinking that “this is definitely not going to be something I utilize as a therapist.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. In a nutshell, the Play Therapy treatment method helps children process what they have experienced, make sense of their reactions and feelings to their experiences, and ultimately helps them achieve a greater sense of self so that they feel okay with who they are. Play, in its simplest form, is a natural – yet dynamic – self-healing process children engage in. Just as adults use talk therapy to help process their experiences (trauma, grief, anxiety, relational issues, etc.), children use toys and simple play as symbolic self-expression. Spend five minutes observing a park full of kids — you’ll see all kinds of stories, imaginative play, active motor skills, and self-regulation happening. Garry Landreth, a pioneer of Child Centered Play Therapy, sums it up well: “The toys are their [children’s] words, and play is their language.” 

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Are You In? InCourage

Movements start with one voice declaring, “It’s time.” In a world of confusing messages directed at women, the stakes have never been higher to raise daughters who are confident in their identities, courageous to impact their world, and rooted in grace. But raising daughters who have sustained relationships with a personal, loving, and grace-filled God, and who know their purpose in life, requires more than just hope or routine attendance at Sunday morning church services. It requires more than just solid self- esteem, a good education and parents who love their children. Those things are important, but what is really required is laying down our lives for our daughters—entering into their world to support them and committing ourselves to becoming Courageous Girls alongside them.

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Raising Young Daughters

One of the special things a dad can do for his daughter early on in her life is to lead her into fun and exciting shared experiences where she learns how to risk. Not only is this a natural inclination for many dads (who enjoy active pursuits themselves), but it directly connects to a father’s commitment to help his daughter develop as a courageous girl for life.

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Hope Heals

Life is unpredictable. Sometimes it takes us through twists and turns we feel unprepared to face: We get a diagnosis; a child struggles in a way never expected; our spouse betrays us. Grief weaves us through a wide range of emotions including sadness, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. Healing from the hardships of life is a continual process, one that never runs in a straight line but rather like a fun house at a carnival after a nauseating meal. You desperately want out, but the only way out is through it.

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Feed Your Faith and Starve Your Fear

The other night Terra and I were up talking about some exciting shifts happening in our lives right now, both on the personal side and in our business. Almost simultaneously, we realized that we were standing together at that familiar intersection where fear meets the opportunity to deepen faith. There’s a nervous energy at that intersection isn’t there? Have we thought this through well enough? If I make this decision to step out in faith (for really good and grounded reasons), will it work out? Yikes! What if it doesn’t and my hopes are dashed?

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Fishing and Fighting with Wisdom

The other day, a colleague from the office shared about a recent fishing trip he had with his father on one of Oregon’s gems: the North Umpqua River. As a fisherman myself, I’d drop almost anything to talk fishing, and can easily become distracted by this passion of mine. But this story gave me pause, quite literally, and reminded me of a powerful tool.

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Shortcuts Are Overrated

I believe that everybody is born with either an anxiety gene, a depression gene or a denial gene. Setting goals in January, with high expectations for the year, quickly reveals which gene we can thank our parents for passing on. Which one do you claim?

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Over Being Overwhelmed: The Heart of the Matter

This time of year brings nostalgic memories, painful losses, and a whirlwind of a running to-do list. It’s the most wonderful time of year, and yet the hustle and bustle is so counter to the meaning of the season.

We said good-bye to Thanksgiving before Halloween even started. All my favorite stores were stocked with green and red before October could close it’s last pages. We are all in a hurry in every sense of the word this time of year. Anxiety is high and expectations are even higher. I, for one, am pledging to strike and not participate in the overwhelming any more. You with me?

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