When children are brought to a therapist’s office, they often feel confused and/or that they’ve done something wrong. For children to be successful in understanding their feelings in the situation that brought them to therapy, they need help identifying their feelings. We start with “mad, sad, glad, and scared” and then expand from there. Many children are pre-verbal or have difficulty expressing themselves. So we need props! We need to show them the way to understanding!
The Feeling Blocks are the best prop I’ve found in 30 years working with children. We throw them, playing and naming feelings as we play. That…puts the “FUN” in Functional!
A Selective Mutism 4 year old patient could not talk to me but the Blocks got her to understand herself in her “scary” world of preschool and adults. Her smile was the first step to healing.
A family of 3 kids were tossing them back and forth, naming the worst and the best feelings in their family…as the parents contemplated divorce…something they could control was the expression of their feelings through the blocks…they eventually could even identify how they felt out of control regarding the divorce. Once this insight was gleaned, the sibling fights diminished and you could visibly see their love and closeness.
With a 7 year old profoundly gifted girl, she started with a simple expression of feelings then loved going to the most difficult level of feelings, using the blocks as a vocabulary lesson. At which point she said to me: “you know, animals have lifetime laryngitis.” I asked: “What do you mean?”. She replied: “They will never be able to talk; but I can say all these big words about my feelings!”
Dr. Valerie Maxwell – ADDSOI Center