More about my relationship with play

I am a counsellor who often uses play/playfulness to support others to access the knowledge they already have but sometimes struggle to access.

I love learning and playing whether that be directly with toys, when invited by a child, with words as is often the favoured tool of adults or with ideas invented by adolescents.

Why play?

As a child I often lived in my imaginary world. Along with my sisters, I created games and stories full of magic and wonderous things. Items as mundane as pillows became magic carpets, clouds to float away on or building blocks for palaces.

We imagined glorious gowns and could be anything or anyone we chose to be just by imagining it was so.  We fought over story-lines, learned to compromise or quit, made allowances for age difference (sometimes!) and invented universes.

With the on-set of adolescence I stopped being playful and concentrated on trying to be an adult (still not convinced they actually exist!). My world became small and my dreams were put away with my childish toys and life didn't glisten any more!

I concentrated on growing up and doing what I saw grown-ups do.  Life became mundane, practical and I followed someone else's script.

I fell into relationships that kept my world small and familiar. I became a Mother to five children, yet still the spark of magic was not re-ignited in me.

Then I found Fresh Start 2000 which was a course of courses for single parents.  I was re-introduced to play through learning. I played at creative writing, interior design, massage, aromatherapy, nail art and psychology. Freud captured my imagination and sparked my curiosity and playful side.

My path took me through college as I trained to be an adult counsellor, learning to be playful with ideas and words. Learning to be critical and to disagree and enjoy the challenges.

I met an amazing woman called Ros Kane who started a small charity called Carefree Kids and I started to work with children using therapeutic play. Wow! I was re-introduced to the way children have such an amazing ability to tell their stories through the use of play rather than words.  (I still find it easier to communicate through analogies and pictures when upset but maybe that is because I am now a grown-down!).

Play is a safe way to express and explore all that troubles us, creatively through drama, role play, writing, thinking, talking, art, movement, music etc. Play is how we discover who we are or aren't, who we do or don't want to be, how to make sense of the world and our part in it.

I went on to University and qualified as a Child Counsellor and through my training with Place2Be discovered that there was much more to life than work and worry. Play re-connects me to joy, helps me make sense of the dark stuff, inspires my passion and my hopes for myself and for others.

I have watched people of all ages learn to move forward through the challenges life has thrown at them through having a space where they can play safely, confidentially in a therapeutic relationship.  Sounds easy doesn't it but it's hard work for all involved and play isn't always light and airy sometimes it is dark and fearful but never dangerous when there is someone there with you.

I don't have and never will have all the answers because those I work with find them for themselves, they are the experts on their lives not me.  I am a tool bag with some ideas and tools that I like to share playfully in order to assist others playfully find their way through this thing called life!