Friday, August 31, 2012

Metaphor (Fiddle) Basket: Parent Consultation and Individual Counseling

Pam Dyson in a Play Therapy Tip of the Week: Parenting Metaphors  explains how she uses a tray of objects to understand how parents currently represent where they are in their parenting journey.   Michele Strangline , a creative counselor, explains how she uses a “ fiddle basket” to begin conversations with clients of all ages and start the play therapy process.
I use metaphors a lot with individual students and parents.  I know it is better for the “client” to select his or her own metaphor.  Counselor generated metaphors have been around for many years, but newer theories and research suggest client constructed metaphors facilitates expression of inner viewpoint and emotional experience.  It is also less risky. I have made mistakes when I select the metaphor, especially with parents. The counselor’s meaning of the metaphor might be very different from how the client interprets it.  If a student or parent you are talking to is having a hard time explaining what he or she is experiencing or feeling you can construct a simple question, “Could you select one of the objects in the basket that best symbolizes what you are going through and explain the connection for me.”  Using objects is a play therapy technique that makes the metaphor concrete.  Having a student or parent select an object and use it to construct meaning can help the client feel understood and accepted by the counselor and facilitate change.
The objects are just a collection of odds and ends that I add to if I find something that might be useful. Some items to include are: a slinky, bubble bottle, balloon, ball, kaleidoscope, rocks, shells, die, bobber, rubber band, and some miniatures.  Add items to the basket frequently to keep it fresh.  You can also add items reflective of some of the specific countries or cultures in your school.

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