Katie May is the “Group Guru”.
She works exclusively with teenagers in a teen support center in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.
Groups energize Katie. She says that groups can’ save th’e world.
In groups, people feel less alone in their struggles and they start to heal in ways that individual therapy can’t provide.
Her groups are focused on the ideas of connection.
She told us about a group that she runs that looks at being nonjudgmental for teens. She talked about using rocks to illustrate the judgements that they have for themselves. She has them decorate the rocks to describe the judgements and toss them away as a concrete expression of getting rid of their judgements. The teens put the rocks in a bag, weigh them and then toss them away into the water. This helps with processing of letting go of the judgements.
Sometimes her groups do a “compliment circle” to express and receive kindness from others. Her pre and post assessment of their state of happiness improves after the kindness circle occurs.
Katie prefers clear names for groups, rather than clever names. This helps to make the process for the parents and caregivers looking for support for their child finding the groups simple and understanding .
Many times, teens can present with resistance towards therapy.
Katie runs a skills group for teens. The connection that they have with each other is really important.
She offers Dialectical Behavioral Therapy that she infuses in many of her groups. She provides experiential activities to help them actually know what works for them and how it feels.
Group therapy helps clients feel understood and connected to a positive support system. When people can connect with their peers to feel less alone. Social support is so very important and can be a positive experience.
Group therapy isn’t the best setting for deeper individual work that may involve trauma. Also, it can be challenging to balance time between the group members. Another con is that the group members’ personalities don’t always mesh.
It’s so important to build trust and let the relationships form before diving into tough stuff. It’s important to put yourself into the group member’s shoes.
Build Love Maps
Knowing each other’s world is so vital to the health of a relationship. It’s important to make exploration of each other’s world an ongoing effort. This can help strengthen the relationship and help each person in the relationship to feel felt and cared about.
Share Fondness and Admiration
Fondness and admiration is noticing what’s going right and what’s good rather than putting a focus on the negative. If couples are in “Negative Sentiment Override” as Gottman calls them.
Turning towards your partner, both literally and figuratively is important as it sends a message that “you matter”, “I care”, “you’re important to me”. Gottman uses the metaphor of a RELATIONSHIP BANK ACCOUNT to illustrate the need for 5 times as many positives to every one negative in a relationship. Turning towards and accepting “bids for connection”, such as holding hands, inviting on an outing, snuggling, etc. is important to build the relationship bank account up so that when there are negatives, it doesn’t go into a negative balance.
The Positive Perspective
The positive perspective focuses on friendships. When couples engage in a strong friendship, then they can weather the storms better. They have a stronger tolerance for difficult circumstances.
Sixty nine percent of the conflict in a relationship is perpetual, which means it doesn’t have a clear resolution. Often couples need to move towards compromising on issues. It’s important that couples learn how to use soft startup and avoid the 4 patterns of communications that can eat away at a relationship: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, Stonewalling. Gottman refers to these as the 4 Horsemen.
Make Life Dreams Come True
Having fun, adventures and dreams together, as well as honoring each other’s dreams is so vital towards the health of a relationship. Couples that laugh and have fun together often have a much healthier relationship.
Create Shared Meaning
Together, couples build a shared culture that incorporates what each of them knew to be true in their formative years, as well as new things that they do together in their own relationship and their own family. Also, what legacy they want to leave in the world together is explored.
Trust and Commitment
Trust & Commitment are the walls of the sound relationship house. If these walls are weakened in any way, the entire house could be at risk from falling. Through repair work, couples can repair ruptures and move towards healed trust and commitment that can weather the storms of a relationship.
Double Mirror Doodle
What Happened Next
Tumbling Blocks Conversation Prompts
Through clay creations, the child or teen will mold the dough or clay to form a symbolic representation of the career. For example, they may create a toothbrush for a dentist. This can be modified to fit the topic of the area in need of supporting, such as emotional literacy and expression, family system support, and much more.
Social / Emotional/Friendship Thumballs
Fishing for Solutions
Therapeutic Books with Activities to Address Various Issues
Positive Belief "I am..." Activity
In this activity, the child “ranks” each statement depending on feelings of accuracy. Statements can be adapted to individual / group. The final rank of statements could then be discussed for self-awareness and a starting point for self-image concerns
Self-Talk Thought Bubble
Dr. Taylor is an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida.
She’s also the Center for Play Therapy Training and Research Director, as well as the Play Therapy Certificate coordinator.
She earned her graduate degrees from the University of North Texas.
She learned from many of the leaders in the Play Therapy world.
Dr. Taylor is trained in Adlerian Play Therapy developed in the early 1990’s by Terry Kottman, Ph.D., Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, NCC, LMHC
Adlerian’s belief is that people’s behavior is purposeful and goal-directed. Their early childhood experiences influence their behavior, as well as how they view themselves, others and their world.
4 Phases of Adlerian Play Therapy
(1) Relationship Building – This phase of the therapy is non-directive and supports safety in the play room. By creating a shared power, the client can really feel like a significant person in their world. This phase supports building trust within the child.
(2) Investigating the Lifestyle – In this phase, the therapist becomes more directive in their work. A focus is placed on how they view themselves, others, and the world. There are a lot of things to take into consideration for the client, especially information on their personality, how do they feel like they matter in the world.
(3) Gaining Insight – At this point in the therapeutic process, the therapist has a really good idea how the child is viewing themselves, others and world. The treatment plan is developed after phase 2, once the therapist has a good idea of who the child is and how they view the world.
(4) Reorientation –In this phase, the therapist teaches the children skillsets through role play, family work, and more. One of the goals is to directly support their ability to generalize the skills in different settings to support their self-efficacy.
The therapist looks for signs that the child is ready to move into each phase.
It’s important to truly understand the child’s lifestyle.
These 3 things are across each of the categories in the lifestyle:
Parent consultation is an important component of Adlerian Play therapy. Half of the session is spent with the child and ½ of the session is spent with the parent or every other session with parent then with child is scheduled.
During the therapy, the parent is also following the 4 phases. During the parent consultation, how the parent is viewing the world is explored since it greatly influences their parenting approach.
During the parent consultation, the parent learns many of the same skills as the child, so that they can respond to the child in a different way that is supportive of the treatment plan for the child.
Dr. Taylor highly recommends reading Partners in Play by Terry Kottman 3rd Edtion.
Crucial C’s of Adlerian Play Therapy
It’s important for each therapist to choose a theory that aligns with how you also view the world to foster authenticity of delivery of services.
The relationship is the most critical element of the therapy.
Dr. Stacy Van Horn is currently a full-time faculty member and School Counseling Coordinator at the University of Central Florida in the Counselor Education and School Psychology Program within the Department of Child, Family and Community Sciences. She teaches graduate students at both the masters and doctoral level primarily in the areas of career development, counseling with children and adolescents, ethical and legal issues in professional school counseling, and coordination of comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs. She also supervises practicum students in the Community Counseling and Research Clinic (CCRC) on campus and school counseling interns throughout Central Florida schools. Prior to her position as a Counselor Educator, Dr. Van Horn worked as a professional school counselor for over nine years in Orange County Public Schools working with diverse students, teachers, and families in Central Florida. Dr. Van Horn has experience in creating and coordinating comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs at both the elementary and middle school level. In addition, she has experience collaborating with exceptional education school personnel on developing strategies and counseling approaches for exceptional education students. Her current research interests include training and supervision of professional school counselors, counseling interventions with diverse children and adolescents, and the role of professional school counselors in providing effective career development in schools. Dr. Van Horn has presented at national, regional, state, and local counseling conferences, including American Counseling Association, Association for Specialists
Prior to her position as a Counselor Educator, Dr. Van Horn worked as a professional school counselor for over nine years in Orange County Public Schools working with diverse students, teachers, and families in Central Florida. Dr. Van Horn has experience in creating and coordinating comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs at both the elementary and middle school level. In addition, she has experience collaborating with exceptional education school personnel on developing strategies and counseling approaches for exceptional education students. Her current research interests include training and supervision of professional school counselors, counseling interventions with diverse children and adolescents, and the role of professional school counselors in providing effective career development in schools. Dr. Van Horn has presented at national, regional, state, and local counseling conferences, including American Counseling Association, Association for Specialists for Group Work, American School Counseling Association, the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Florida Counseling Association, the Florida School Counselor Association, and invited presenter at the Florida Association for Gifted Children.
School Counselors have a unique role within the school setting. A school counselor works as a vital part of a team and stakeholders.
Learn More about Dr. Van Horn at UCF http://education.ucf.edu/faculty_detail.cfm?id=591
Association for School Counselors, ASCA https://www.schoolcounselor.org
Jackie’s Play Therapy Community www.playtherapycommunity.com
Jackie’s Private Practice www.counselinginbrevard.com
Jackie’s Consulting Support www.jackieflynnconsulting.com