61: The Art of Setting Up Your Play Therapy Room with Pam Dyson MA, LPC-S, RPT-S


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Pam Dyson, MA, LPC-S, RPT-S, is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, child development expert and parenting coach. In addition to her private practice www.pamdyson.com in Plano, Texas she provides consultation and supervision services and facilitates play therapy workshops at conferences throughout the US. She is the recipient of the Association for Play Therapy 2013 Key Award for Professional Education and Training and is currently serving a three-year term on the APT Board of Directors. Pam is the founder and director of the DFW Center for Play Therapy Training. www.dfwplaytherapy.com

In this episode, Pam shares with us how she put together her office space.

After a few times of moving her office, she has tweaked her set up until she created it just like she wants it.

Pam selected her toys and materials strategically, based on influence from Garry Landreth’s work. She referenced his book, Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship .

She has toys from each category: Expressive, Aggressive, & Nurturing. This helps her to determine what toys she has it in her play room.

Each toy that she has was selected based on its therapeutic value. How it can help the child express and release their emotions should be considered.

It’s important to have real-life toys, expressive materials, blocks, playdough, and more. Here’s a link to a recommended toy list: http://cpt.unt.edu/about-play-therapy/recommended-toy-list

Pam’s space is an organized and calming space.

Pam has 2 plain looking dollhouses in her space. Having 2 doll houses can help children play out what it is like transitioning between 2 homes.

“We can’t always change what’s going on around them, in their world, in their environment. But, we can help them improve the way they feel about themselves.” Pam Dyson

Naming the child’s emotion is helpful for the child to process situations in their life.

Playing activates the right hemisphere of the brain while naming the emotion activates the left. This supports integration of the 2 hemispheres, which allows the child to fully process.

Pam couldn’t imagine doing the work that she does without play because integrating both sides of the brain is so important.

In Pam’s space, there's a little table that she uses with her clients for many different purposes.

Pam intentionally puts everything in the same place, so that her clients know where things are located. Since they use the toys like we use words, it’s important for them to be able to find their words easily.

It’s important that there’s a sense of order in the playroom, so it feels like a safe, predictable experience for them.

Pam makes the distinction between Sandtray and Sandplay therapy. She uses Sandtray therapy in a separate room to use with older clients either individually with their parents.

Having 2 separate rooms, Play Therapy Room for younger clients and a Sandtray Room for older clients, Pam can best help both ages. And it helps lesson clean-up time as well.

Pam allots 15 minutes for clean-up time before the next client. She doesn’t feel too rushed in between clients. She starts each session on top of the hour.

She has an observation window in the play room to facilitate Child Parent Relationship Therapy. She also uses it to train other therapists how to work with the child. It has recording capacity for training purposes and self-evaluation as well. She always obtains written permission before recording. She records for clinical trainings mostly.

Pam is the director the DFW Center for Play Therapy. She offers 2 workshops a month for people interested in learning how to do Play Therapy. She’s an approved provider for the Association for Play Therapy. Her trainings offer continuing education credits. She really enjoys it.

Play Therapy can be used across the lifespan. It looks a bit different but can be used with any age.

Merchandise is available at Pam’s trainings. Her trainees can buy toys and miniatures and begin to implement what they learned right away.

Her workshops are experiential in nature to support that integration of the brain for the therapists as well.

To tour Pam’s space, visit www.pamdyson.com

Pam meets with the parents before she meets with the child. Based on the information from that session, she makes a recommendation on how to best work with the child. She has a parent consultation room that is comfortable and cozy, which she also uses for family therapy sometimes.

Pam keeps a bowl of fidget toys in the room to help ground and relax her clients and their parents.

Pam is a doodler! It helps keeps her focused while on the phone, at conferences, etc.

Pam models playing with the child for the parent. She stresses the importance of leaving the phone and other electronics in the other room while playing with their child so they can be more present. Weekly playtimes can be so valuable.

It’s really important to involve the parent in the therapeutic process as much as possible.

Pam shares lots of free videos on her social media sites.

Play Therapy Community www.playtherapycommunity.com

Tour Pam’s Office www.pamdyson.com

Trainings - www.dfwplaytherapy.com

Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/pamdyson/

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/PamDysonPlayTherapy

70 episodes available. A new episode about every 12 days averaging 31 mins duration .