Sunday, November 30, 2008

"DEEP FUN": A Website Devoted to PLAY!

What delight!

I found a wonderful site just on fun and play, especially, play for adults, and for everyone! It's called Deep Fun, and it's run by the resident "Fun Smith", Bernie DeKoven.

The following article, by Bernie, included in his page on "Pointless Games", shows just how play, especially silly, lighthearted play, can be a healing activity, especially for groups!

I'd really love to use it for one of the groups I belong to-- which has recently been going through a period of strained relationships -- SOON!

It's essentially based on the childhood game "A WHAT?" that i remember playing to the point of hysterics many times in high school. But here, Bernie has added a crazy twist!

Bernie calls this game...

"I give you a Glue Thing"

Following up on the Koosh experience, I managed to convince one of my favorite clients to agree to the vast expense of $5.95 per participant for what I hoped would prove to be yet another Kooshlike experience of finger-pleasing meditation.

I ordered a variety of Glue Things which were available at that time (but no longer) from Edmund's Scientific. (Similar sticky wonders are currently available from J. Rousek) These toys came in a variety of relatively "yucky" shapes like spiders and worms, and fall under the general classification of "icky toys." The catalog described them as: "Made of a soft, squishy, elastic compound with both liquid and solid properties, these amazing objects change shape in response to impact or shear forces, yet spring easily back to original form."

I waited for the first evening play session to introduce them to the group. This decision, to wait for the evening before distributing them, arose from that same mystical sphere of wisdom that purportedly protects fools and children.

Further, I started off by teaching the group how to play "A What?" -- one of my favorite games for engendering controlled mayhem. Everybody sits in a circle. They are each given an object (anything, really: a shoe, a set of keys, a piece of candy) and asked to give that object a name (any name, really: a Fred, a Pizza, a Furblick). Simultaneously, everyone turns to the person on the right, and says "I give you a...." (the .... being the name of the object). The people on the right then turn to the people on the left and say "a what?" This is repeated three times, and on the third time, everyone actually passes their objects, and the people on the right, must, upon receiving the object, say "Oh, a ...!" (the ... being whatever they think they actually heard the object being called. The goal, purportedly, is to pass all the objects completely around the circle, without changing the name originally ascribed to them. The actuality is that it is nothing short of miraculous when any of the objects retain their name.

After explaining the game, with great ceremony and serendipity, I gave everyone a Glue Thing. We made sounds of disgust and delight. We played. We laughed. We made it half-way around the circle and basically gave ourselves over to mass hysteria.

While I was introducing the next game, someone discovered yet another property of the Glue Thing. It turns out that if you throw it onto the ceiling, it actually sticks there for awhile. Within three minutes of this discovery, it began raining Glue Things.

In sum, we had spontaneously arrived at a new game, one that I hadn't planned for, one that brought the group together, and kept them together for the rest of the evening, and throughout the next day, until the very end of the two-day brainstorm, when somebody finally figured out how to remove the rest of the Glue Things from the ceiling.

Creative Commons License

- a guest post by Bernie DeKoven on Deep Fun

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

More on The Beadwork Journal!

I've already featured Robin Atkins' "Beadlust" blog and "The Bead Journal Project" (BJP) before, but I just saw a new post and I can't stop raving about them. :)

This week, Robin featured on her blog three more members of The BJP, and I'd just like to show some snippets of their journal work...

First, Robin features Christy H, a mother and grandmother.

Her journal "entries" portray different aspects of her life, and I'm just fascinated at how they translate to beadwork, just like I would translate mine onto a sandtray, or crayons and pastels!

Below is Christy H's February entry, "~ Memories & Dreams ~", which portrays relationships that claimed her heart in the past, and her heart dreams for the future...

Bead Journal Project, Memories & Dreams by Christy H

This one, below, is entitled "~ Little Christy ~" and features a sea turtle, for her love of the sea and yellow/orange colors for the exuberance and joy of her childhood.
Bead Journal Project, Little Christy by Christy H
* - * - * - * - *
Robin also featured Lunnette HH. She relates that she (Robin), Christy and Lunette get together nearly every Tuesday afternoon to stitch and bead, and "have the most wonderful, comfortable, quiet, appreciative and non-competitive relationship." Isn't that a wonderful description of a truly nourishing friendship?

Lunette's September journal entry features her extended family, with lots of subtle meanings to the way she's embellished the photos and her fabric selections...
Bead Journal Project, Family by Lunnette HH
In November, Lunette beaded and quilted a piece that honors her love for quilting and two of her quilting buddies...Bead Journal Project, Quilting by Lunnette HH
If any of you like to sew, bead, or work in other ways with fabrics and stitching, this would be a great alternative to journaling with crayons and colored pencils!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Art Therapy: Changing Lives, One Image at a Time

Art therapists at work all over!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Wonderful Person-Centered Philosophy of Carl Rogers

While i'm at it, here are a few more quotes from the Father of client-centered therapy, Carl Rogers.

These quotes reflect Rogers' inherent respect for each person, for each individual's uniqueness, for the gifts that each one possesses, for each one's unique process, and most of all, for each person's inherent capacity for growth and healing.

"In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?"

That is why, in client-centered therapy, Rogers emphasized listening to the client, accepting the client where he/she is, and thus creating a climate in which the client can grow.

"It is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried." --From On Becoming a Person, 1961

In so saying, Rogers inevitably encouraged self-acceptance-- acceptance of the client by the therapist, which in turn would help the client to eventually accept himself; but most of all, Rogers emphasized the therapist's own self-acceptance. This self-acceptance, this faith in the person, is at the core of Rogers' philosophy of healing and growth...

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change."

Rogers, therefore, championed the journey, the process of life, as most important, more important than any longed-for goal. For him, it was the ongoing, ever-dynamic process that was most precious in this life...

"The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change."

Thus, for Rogers...

"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination."

Let us continue this journey together...

Beadlust: Life, Creativity and Beadwork

I'd like to share here a blog that i stumbled onto recently. Robin Atkins is a bead artist who, in 1985, rediscovered a childhood fascination with beads, and very soon, "developed an incurable case of bead lust." Robin teaches, among other things, improvisational bead embroidery classes, and features her own improvisational beadwork in her blog, "Beadlust."Robin Atkins Love in Delicate Balance

Stumbling onto her blog was a real revelation for me, because i had never before seen improvisational beadwork. One beautiful example of her honest and heart-ful sharing is her post on this work (see above), which she entitled "Love in Delicate Balance." In the post, she describes the difficult, "character-building" heart-work of love and marriage in times of pain and difficulty.

This post touched me and so many! (more than 33!) others, sparking such an outpouring of appreciation, validation, expressions of support and empathy, leading me to remember again a Carl Rogers phrase that my teacher, Dr. Honey Carandang, repeats to us often: "That which is most personal, is most universal."

Robin and her fellow bead artists contribute to a monthly "Bead Journal Project" (BJP), an online journal where each member contributes a personal beadwork "journal page" each month. The goal of each journal page is "to give an impression about each month, to journal our experiences and record our feelings in a visual way. Another important goal is to stretch our creative and technical limits."

A stroll through some of the journal members' personal pages has left me breathless! Such beauty is life, and life in art!

In another blog post (Bead Journal Project... If At First You Don't Succeed....), Robin displayed how she had turned several of her BJP pieces into "soul cards," of her beadwork, featuring the beadwork on one side, and a painted/stamped paper on the other side, with some personal notes. So wonderfully creative and soul-touching. Here are just two of her pieces:Robin Atkins Wall of Denial

Robin Atkins Layers

Just so beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Thank you Robin, for such a beautiful sharing of life in art.

Perhaps one day we can get together our own online Creative Journal Pieces!

Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pocketful-of-Kids Toy Village

This just came in the mail today...pocketful of kids

For everyone looking for fun toys that can be used during therapy for your students and centers, you can visit POCKETFUL OF KIDS TOY VILLAGE at Unit A,15th floor Strata 2000 Building F. Ortigas Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, MM; landline 634-7888 and 634-2888.

They have a full range of alex toys, learning resources, educo, beleduc, melissa and doug, tatiri and smart toys. Items and books range from toddler to young adult, a must see especially for toy-lovers.pocketful of kids 3

pocketful of kids 2I haven't checked it out, but i'll let you know when i have. If any of you have seen/experienced it, do let us know what you thought!

ps. thank you to jayvee fernandez of "a bugged life" for these beautiful photos!

Sandtray Room at Stinson Beach, San Francisco

sandtray room stinson beach-outside

Check this out!!!

Just for inspiration...

A wonderful wonderful little sandtray room near a beach in San Francisco!

sandtray room stinson beach

I just couldn't resist this blog post, and its description of this adorable little shed, with a sandtray room inside! And the sandtray room is just so clean, simple, and totally engaging.

This sandtray room is part of a place called "The Healing Arts Store" on Stinson Beach.

Check out the original post on the blog "Spirit in the City".

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Seminar: Helping Children with Sexual Behavior Problems

Child Protection Unit Network
Annual Conference
Date: November 12, 2008
Time: 8:30am to 4:30am
Venue: Philamlife Theater

Registration on-site: P2,000 (with references; no meals)
Early Bird Rate extended to 11 November 2008: P1,800 (with references; no meals)
Inquire at (632) 525-5555 local 7008 or (0917) 890 0445"
Students with ID: 50% Discount

Download flyer/registration form here

Free Introductory Lecture on the Solution Oriented Approach

This is not on creative therapies, but could be a good adjunct to any counselor's major modality.
Solution Oriented Approach to Therapy
Free Introductory Lecture
By Debbie Hogan, M.S., C.S.F.T.
Therapist, Trainer, Coach

November 12, 2008
4:30pm to 6:30pm

In Touch Community Services
48 McKinley Rd. Forbes Park, Makati
Tel. 893-1893 or 810-6233

For those interested in training to be a Solution Focused Therapist, Practitioner or Coach

Solution Focused Brief Therapy is a goal-oriented, future-oriented, competency-based therapeutic approach developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. This model of counseling and consultation has been very successful in various settings and treatment centers as well as in the field of coaching. It is a model of short tem therapy that is highly applicable with the structure of EAP counseling.

Trainer: Debbie Hogan, Marriage & Family Therapist, Singapore
Debbie has a Master’s degree in Counseling with over 26 years of experience as a therapist and trainer. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Solution Focused Brief Therapy; is a Certified Solution Focused Therapist; and is an Approved Clinical Supervisor and Appointed Associate Examiner for the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC). She is also Board Certified in Professional Counseling with the American Psychotherapy Association

Debbie is the Program Director and co-founder of the Academy of Solution Focused Training in Singapore ( and conducts training in the Solution Focused Model in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

The Academy of Solution Focused Training is the only training company in Asia that is approved by the Canadian Council of Professional Certification (CCPC) to offer professional certification in the solution focused model.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Paula Petrovic on "Sandplay for the Soul"

This is a 3-minute preview to an incredible interview with Paula Petrovic, author of Sandplay for the Soul.

See the full video at Conscious Media Network !

"The Filipino Family Surviving the World"

A new book for families was launched this morning at Powerbooks Megamall. Co-written by Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang (better known as "Tita Honey") and Queena N. Lee-Chua, the book is a collection of essays on the challenges that Filipino families face in our world today, and how best to cope with them.

The book begins with a perspective on "Understanding the Filipino Family", its unique characteristics, and the unique challenges that it faces today. It then goes into the topics of family values, communication, developing our children's potential, and finally, "dealing with tough issues" such as trauma, poverty, abuse, having a special child, and the phenomenon of OFW families.

The book's tone is light but definitely authoritative and substantial, at the same time intimate and personal. The authors explained that they deliberately cut out as much theoretical discussion as they could, in order to make the content accessible, and thus useful, to Filipino families everywhere.

This is the perfect Christmas present for any Filipino family. I can think of many who would appreciate its relevant discussions and sound advice!

Anne Murphy on Play Therapy

Watch this wonderful introduction to Play Therapy!

How is art therapeutic?

(by art therapist Beverly A'Court, on her website Art Therapy.)

"Art-making involves a series of processes, from an inner image, impulse or subtle sensation to manipulation of materials and the completion of an entirely unique object. In this way art mimics life in many ways (physical, messy, unpredictable) and art-making is a form of play.

Art Therapists have tried many ways to describe how art therapy works.

Here are some components typically observed:

Art-making can provide the experience of resonance between an inner feeling and one’s depiction of it, of recognising oneself. The sense of ‘having made something’ of a bad experience, can itself be the beginning of a growing sense of agency and participation in both one’s illness, recovery from it and the creative and healing processes of life and the beginning of a growing self-esteem.

A sense of physical aliveness and re-connection as feelings are embodied in art-play, allowing a natural, childlike creativity to be brought to bear on painful experiences, experimentation to explore alternatives in art and everyday life.

The bringing together of pre- or un-conscious aspects of the self with the conscious, reasoning self, involving mind and body, matter and spirit, past and present, ‘inner adult and inner child’.

This has been likened to an alchemical process where a new state emerges from mingling aspects of the self, the art materials and the therapist’s witnessing presence.

Art making encourages a state of ‘reverie’ - relaxed absorption - where feelings, thoughts and perceptions outside our everyday thinking become accessible and can emerge as insight.

Despite the gravity of many conditions the art process itself, even when representing a negative experience, can be experienced as deeply relaxing, satisfying and positive.

Sharing with a therapist (who is also an artist), in a ‘public’ space, can be liberating from the strain of keeping painful experiences ‘private’ and hidden.

The rhythms and cycles involved in creative processes and the feelings associated with them can help us to develop appreciation of, and ways to work with, cycles and rhythms in our own lives and the rest of creation.

Exercising the imagination allows re-connection to deep dreams and life-aspirations as well as insight into deeply held fears, fantasies and negative self-images.

It is my view that Art Therapy often, if not always, involves transpersonal experience. Participation in creative processes in art therapy promotes an awareness of one’s profound interconnectedness with all of life and a deeper, broader sense of one’ self and one’s life.

It provides a context for the development of both mindfulness and meaningfulness."

If you have had this same experience with art in your own life, do send us your story by posting a comment!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Beautiful Song of Friendship

I would like to share here a beautiful song shared by David Epston in an article he wrote on Narrative, "David Epston Remembers Michael White."

To me, this song speaks, not only of the beauty of friendship, but the beauty of a relationship that respects, that holds sacred, and validates each other, that celebrates each one's uniqueness, and which is healing and growth-enhancing because it values the self of the other.

Of the song, David Epston writes:
"I wanted to end this with a song. This song was written and sung by Margarita Boom from Mexico. She did so at my request when narrative therapy was invited by the Cuban Psychiatric Association and Cuban Social Work Association to introduce narrative therapy to Cuba.... Margarita's song speaks to how we hoped to meet them and embodies for me the 'spirit' of narrative therapy- that 'loving eye' I referred to by which Michael looked to those he met through the course of his work and his life."

Brother of the Sun and of Time

Let me hold your story
and fill my hands
with new sensations
that I've never seen before
which have never existed
which I couldn't have understood
without your song
They bear your name
and trace out a road.

Let me take with me
a piece of our
time together
and savour the warmth
a friend leaves behind.

Brother of the sun and of time
who cares what colour the wind is?
We are joined by the taste of a

Of being hand in hand
a small piece,
a bit of a world
where you are allowed
to walk at your own pace
to feel what you feel
and, although different,
to sing your own song

Let me
take your conscience
and leave taking with me
the certainty
that although we are different
we're alike

That the heart beats
to the same beat
but your form
creates a new rhythm
Let me learn your music
and enrich my world
with the look of your eyes
and to find in your soul
a new home.

Brother of the sun and of time
who cares what colour the wind is?
We are joined by the taste of a

(photo by Sir Mervs at flickr)

Accessing Inner Voices: Successful Use of Puppet Therapy with Adults

This amazing post by Joanne Vizzini, Ph.D, LCPC, NCC, on her website, Accessing Inner Voices, shows the inifinite potential of the creative arts in helping us all to access our inner self.

From Joanne Vizinni's Creative Arts Puppet Therapy:

"The experience of puppet therapy with adults has successfully provided a means to disarm client’s resistance in a quick and easy fashion. There seems to be a regression in the service of the ego which facilitates adult play.

The ability to quickly unmask one’s defenses allows the adult to reach core issues. Childhood issues and feelings can resurface readily. The therapeutic image of offering a hand up and out is germane in puppet therapy where the client’s healing is literally at the counselor’s fingertips. The puppets have allowed many of the clients with whom I have worked the freedom to disarm defenses. They become free to face their pain and joy as never before. Steinhardt (1994), a follower of Winnicott, concluded that puppets allow spontaneous symbolic emotional expression, which otherwise may not occur, within a protected framework. (p.205).

The experience of puppet therapy as described by my clients is innately spiritual. They cite a transformative factor as part of their experience. Amorin and Calvacante state, ".... we believe that within the play element dwells an ulterior meaning, something experienced as magical or transporting which surrounds the concreteness of play itself" (1992, p.153). As puppet therapy with adults unfolds, I sense the touch of the sacred. Inner voices are accessed. I remain in awe of the healing I have witnessed as a puppet therapist."

Although I myself have used puppetry in therapy with children, I feel I haven't yet really maximized its potentials. Here, Ms. Vizinni shares with us how it has worked magic even with adults!

Some of Dr. Vizzini's client's comments on the experience:
  • When the puppet began to speak to me, I felt like I could tell her anything.
  • I learned that I am okay as I am. Just like the puppet, I’m free to be me.
  • I am able to access a piece of myself that I wasn’t able to touch; I’ll never have to hide again.

(ps. the puppet pictured here is from

Monday, November 3, 2008

Video: Art therapy for stress management

In this Mayo Clinic video, art therapist Hain Crown demonstrates three simple, but good-looking, art techniques that are perfect for stress management.

Her instructions are very simple and she demonstrates them step-by-step, making you want to do them right now!

As she demonstrates, she also gives many pointers for creating art in a way that is healing, relaxing, and freeing.

To watch the video, click here:
Art Therapy for Stress Management

Play Therapy Helps Children Grieve

They sat around a table in miniature chairs as a gentle woman guided them
through play with toys that might make some people cringe.

"This is a
coffin," Mary Vondra explained in a soft voice.

In this article and video at, Julie Cornell reports on a program for grieving children at Ted E. Bear Hollow, a center for grieving children and teens, in Omaha.

At Ted E. Bear Hollow, children, teens and adults go into separate small groups, where they are free to share their feelings without worrying how they will affect other family members.

Social worker and program director Sarah Flanagan explains the many ways in which family members are helped through the process of grief, through play and art.

Families are encouraged to decorate memory boxes to store letters, pictures and other mementos that remind them of their loved one. Memory pillows can be created, using an article of clothing that belonged to a relative.

To read all about it, and to watch the video, go to Play Therapy Helps Children Grieve.
Check out the center's website, at Ted E. Bear Hollow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Creative Journal by Lucia Capacchione

When i was in graduate school, one of our schoolmates luckily shared this wonderful book with us. A classic in Creative Journaling, it was born out of the author's own painful, beautiful, and magical process of healing and growth.

I have treasured it always, and was truly so sad! when, after leaving grad school, i couldn't find it in any other library. One fine day, a friend of ours walked into our house, said, "I thought you might like this," and handed me this book! He had found it at a second hand bookshop and had no idea how long i'd been looking for it!

The exercises in here are classic and always highly useful. I recommend it for use with children, teens, adults, and for yourself.

It's now on a reprint, and can be found at (see the Amazon widget, "Great Books to Check Out!" on my sidebar). Dr. Capacchione also now has "The Creative Journal for Teens", "The Creative Journal for Children", and "The Creative Journal for Parents."

Some of the exercises from the book are on an online version of the Journal! Check it out at .
You can also catch Dr. Capacchione at her own website:

Here is a very helpful website on Creative Journaling, by artist and creativity coach Amanda Joy, who was a student of Dr. Capacchione:


The Wonderful Quality of Play

Watch this beautiful presentation by Dr. Stuart Brown, president of the National Institute for Play, that shows the unique quality of a play interaction, even in the animal world!

You can read more about the great benefits of play, and the work of the National Institute for Play on their website, .

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Window Between Worlds: Providing a Window of Hope

“Did you know that my dad hit me and it hurt? I don’t like my dad and I don’t want him to hurt me anymore. I learned in Windows that it was okay for me to tell you that.” Three-year-old RJ recently spoke these words to Karen Martz, one of our newest Children's Windows leaders at Angel Step Too. Karen describes that right after this conversation, which happened at naptime, RJ rolled over and slept well for the first time since he had arrived at the shelter.

This is an excerpt from a news article about A Window Between Worlds (AWBW), a non-profit organization dedicated to using art to help end domestic violence. At AWBW, creative expression is used extensively to help survivors of abuse to develop a renewed sense of hope and possibility.

Read the rest of the article at:

Listen to Survivors Speak in this video: