Why Play Therapy?

Sometimes I get questions from teachers and parents about the value of play therapy. Why, they ask, should students who are behaving badly in the classroom be rewarded by getting to come to my office to play?  How will playing with my child improve her behavior?  Continue reading “Why Play Therapy?”

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Is there such a thing as too much play? Part 2

In an earlier post, I wrote about the contradictions we in modern society have about play. On one hand, we trivialize play and see it as a waste of time, only appropriate for children, not for adults who should be attending to more serious matters. On the other, we express nostalgia for an era when there was more time for undirected play.

The work of psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe offers a framework for understanding this ambivalence and our split views about play. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much play? Part 2”

Two Winnicottian Podcasts

Two podcasts featuring Winnicott  offer listeners very different ways of thinking about human engagement with ideas, each other, the outside world and ourselves. Each asks Winnicottian questions about how an individual identity is constructed in relation to human and non-human objects and about how human thought and creativity emerges. Continue reading “Two Winnicottian Podcasts”

Lars and the Real Girl & Winnicott

lars-at-the-window

In the opening credits of Lars and the Real Girl, protagonist Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) is pictured looking out of the window of his garage apartment, warming himself with a blanket that we later learn was knitted for him by his mother when she was pregnant with him. In this close-up of his face, the blanket covers his mouth, so the only indication of his state of mind is the expression of his eyes. The feeling is somber, intensified by the apparent cold temperature. In the frosty window pane is the reflection of the dark and cloudy sky. The film opens with the shot of a lone man, one we will soon learn is terrifyingly lonely, and with a cold feeling, mediated only by the soft, handmade blanket. Continue reading “Lars and the Real Girl & Winnicott”

Drinking, Play & Identity

I have written in an earlier post about how depriving human beings of opportunities and spaces for play leads to increased stress, anxiety and depression.

According to Ashton Katherine Carrick, a senior at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, stress that begins in high school, with the imperative to spend all available time preparing a college resume, follows young adults right into college. In a New York Times op-ed piece , reflecting on her experience as a college student, Carrick observes that stress is the cause of drinking to blackout. Continue reading “Drinking, Play & Identity”

Mothers & Infants

mother-and-infant
Image by Bob Whitehead

This beautiful family photograph, posted on Flickr by photographer Bob Whitehead, offers an idealized look at the mother/infant relationship. Composed such that the mother and infant comprise the entire field, the image emphasizes the importance, in our culture, of motherly love. The emotional bond between this mother/daughter pair is emblematized in the “eskimo kiss,” noses touching and in the open mouth smiles of both members of the dyad. Continue reading “Mothers & Infants”