Make learning fun!
It’s something I’ve heard often enough, but I’ve felt limited by money or time or resources or theoretical boundaries to actually attempt. The longer I practice counseling, the more I believe that counseling CAN be interactive and entertaining.
Let me remind y’all that I practice CBT so my approach is very standardized in the way our therapeutic process should progress and which techniques I should use session by session. Additionally, I currently at a site that is state funded so we are even more rigorous than some when it comes to the way we implement CBT.
HOWEVER it is my personal belief that learning CAN be fun if techniques are personalized and meaningful.
I went to the ACA Conference earlier this year, that I can and should write about in depth one day soon, and one of my most meaningful take aways was the exists of so many creative therapies and techniques. The conference was eye opening in more way than one, but this was one way I vowed to take back to Texas.
Since then, I’ve tried to incorporate several techniques including road maps, drawings, chair dramas, and movies. I’d love to elaborate on each of them one day! Some I took directly from that conference. Others I created, but, I know were indirectly motivated by the sessions I attended.
I am showing you just a glimpse into this Other World today to encourage you and say that it is possible.
Don’t get bogged down in particulars. Figure out what you want to achieve, decide if you think a more creative means than strictly talk therapy would be appropriate, and just try!
Making mistakes is OK!
Mental health practitioners are human. I think we can be guilty of trying to be too perfect sometimes and not pushing ourselves to try something new.
I know I have personally been guilty of this, but as I approach two months until graduation, I am trying to put my fear aside and TRY EVERYTHING.
It’s never to late to try. Ever. But as a graduate level counseling student, I really have no excuses. So this summer, in addition to my individual clients, I’m leading one group completely dedicated to creative expression as well as another – a weekly women’s support group (something I’ve never led).
In between my last groups and
these, I had a free week so I chose to use it for a fun night – while still bringing it back and making it back and making it therapeutic.
I sat up my group therapy room like a movie theater. I gave all my clients a bag of popcorn and some chocolate candies! It was definitely a different night. Everything about the look and feel of our room was different that night.
We watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and processed the experiences in the movie versus those of my clients in real life.
Y’all, I finish up this blog by sharing with you this silly experience of going to my “movie theater” and discussing this movie was one of the most therapeutic sessions we had all semester.
It cost hardly anything. They were more involved and attentive than ever. They disclosed more than usual- I would wager because the attention wasn’t on them so they felt more at ease. And it was. Awesome.
I wouldn’t advocate to watch a movie every single group, but the success of this experiment did validate my belief in creative therapeutic means.
This and similar experiences also helped water and nurture the seed that was planted at the ACA Conference.
So here’s to trying new things! Sometimes they won’t work out, but sometimes they will. We will not know until we try though. Think outside the box and try a new, creative way of reaching your clients today!