Michigan association for play therapy

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  • 12/28/2019 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    Presidential Ponderings

    As we have entered the holiday season, I am reminded how stressful it is for our clients and the challenges faced by the little ones. There is so much to do for the adults in their lives and many pressures faced. It's important as play therapists to be mindful of how to give the extra support needed at this time of year. It is also very important to stay connected with self and what our needs are as service providers, family members, and people.

    Asking for help can be a difficult task for our clients and their families. It can be a difficult task for care providers or play therapists as well. It's an important exercise to make sure we are staying connected with each other for support as well as our identified support networks.

    Do you know an outstanding play therapist in Michigan who has impacted the field of play therapy? Nominations for the Outstanding Achievement Award in Play Therapy are open through January 1, 2020. Please see information in the newsletter below to nominate.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and finds the time to work on their own self care.

    Play, laugh, enjoy.

    With gratitude,
    Shana Bombrys, MSW, LMSW, CADC, ADS
    Registered Play Therapist  

  • 10/18/2019 6:19 PM | Anonymous

    Presidential Ponderings

    Greetings from Dallas, Texas! I am fortunate enough to be attending the International Play Therapy Conference this year. It has been an amazing experience. I have learned so much and am getting so many wonderful ideas for the future of MIAPT.

    I am very excited about bringing back this information to our MIAPT community. There are so many knowledgeable people in attendance and presenting. It’s an amazing opportunity, and reinforces the benefits of involvement with the Association for Play Therapy. APT is working hard to get the word out to both the national and international community about the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) credential.

    We have a strong community of play therapists in Michigan and I was proud to represent our Branch. I strongly urge you to become more involved in the organization in various ways to strengthen and diversify the experiences MIAPT has to offer our community.

    In the future, I would love to see MIAPT continue to grow in the area of diversity. It was apparent that there are very strong advocates for play therapy, but it’s not totally representative of our outside world or the people we serve. I would also love to see MIAPT continue to encourage other professionals and those entering the field to become involved in play therapy and APT.

    If you ready to be part of this vision, contact mymiapt@gmail.com to find out how you can take a more active role.

    I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and experience so many different perspectives while at the conference.

    Play on! Play often! And self-care!

    With gratitude,
    Shana Bombrys, MSW, LMSW, CADC, ADS
    Registered Play Therapist  

  • 10/06/2019 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    Purpose: To recognize a Michigan play therapist(s) who has impacted the field of play therapy through innovative or advancement in practice, training/teaching or scholarship.

    For eligibility criteria and a nominations form, click here.

    Submission Deadline is January 1, 2020

    Award to be presented at the 2020 Annual State Conference.

  • 08/16/2019 4:56 PM | Anonymous

    Presidential Ponderings

    The last couple of months have been so filled with national news and crisis. I cannot help but wonder about the impact of the trauma experienced by the people we serve and the people who bear witness to these events. When I sit with the people I work with daily, regardless of background, age or experience, the theme remains consistent: fear; division; and trauma. I know that who we interact and work with are a small portion of the population, but these themes seem universal when reading the news or watching it.

    I was in Traverse City at a well-known water park, presenting on a play therapy technique. Was excited to be at this park with my family for the first time and share this experience with my son. It felt like a way to recharge and do the self-care that is much needed in our profession - to refill my bucket, so to speak, and his as well. In many ways this was achieved. While en-route to the family destination, I was startled by many of the messages I saw. Most were political in nature, this to be expected as we ramp up for elections. However, one in particular was quite jarring...and saddened me on many levels. It said, "Save a baseball, hit a ..." Reading this statement changed the tone of my experience. It brought fear for my brown child. It brought my walls up. 

    I cannot help but wonder - how do we as change agents address these messages and take care of self?

    Such messages are heard by the youth that we serve. The following questions are wrestled with in the playground daily: How do we care for self and family while being the one to hold space? How do we utilize our time to unify?

    I’m hopeful that we will find answers to these questions. I look forward to hearing from our play therapy communities with ideas on how they are addressing these national and international issues. 

    I'm hopeful (yet confident) that through the power of play, we will assist those who are most vulnerable to feel safe and heard. 

    I'm hopeful there will be a reduction of fear and anxiety.

    Play on. Play often. Practice self care.

    With gratitude,
    Shana Bombrys, MSW, LMSW, CADC, ADS
    Registered Play Therapist  

  • 06/15/2019 4:58 PM | Anonymous

    I am excited to begin the journey of President of MIAPT. There are so many thoughts that cross my mind as we enter into summer. It's a time for working in the yard and spending time with family. This is a strong reminder of the need for self-care, a word that is often spoken in my office to parents and teens. We have to make sure we are making time for our own needs as well.
    It's been a grand adventure volunteering with the board at MIAPT and a very enlightening experience. I have met new clinicians and have become more involved in the development of the play therapy community.  As we create more events and networking opportunities, I am hopeful that more and more of you will consider volunteering and attending. The use of technology has eased the need to drive and saves time, allowing for more ease of participation in the community of play therapists, which is pleasantly surprising.
    I was able to participate in a play therapy conference in the D.C. area earlier this spring. This was also an enlightening experience. The focus of this symposium was the African American community. It was a wonderful and innovative way to bridge community and culture with play therapy. I am hopeful that this method of community and joining together with the other chapters will continue to provide a bridge for learning and healing. The symposium really emphasized the need for cultural competency in a variety of ways. It's my further hope that we can continue to expand upon this idea of inclusion and cultural competency of diversity in our communities. 

    Play seems to be a universal language and its important to grow in our approaches to more marginalized groups. We should strive to make our gifts of play available to many and to expand the practitioners who utilize this wonderful modality.

    I am looking forward to a great year of learning and growth with MIAPT. Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity!

    With gratitude,
    Shana Bombrys, MSW, LMSW, CADC, ADS
    Registered Play Therapist  

  • 03/10/2019 6:36 PM | Anonymous

    As you receive this newsletter, we are embarking into National Play Therapy Week (February 3-9, 2019). This is such a great time to celebrate each of you and the difference you make in the world! We want to highlight the accomplishments of our local membership in our newsletter and with our award program. Yet we often hear crickets when asking what you do that is amazing. Why is that? Is it because we see our daily work as “just what we do”? Or perhaps because “other people do more”? 
    This is a week to remember that while our work may not show up in a journal or news article, it shows in the smile on a child’s face. We matter on a micro level, and the difference we make may or may not be seen outside of our therapy room. We matter because we care enough to be real and vulnerable with our clients. True empathy is truly vulnerable. It means we are willing to engage in our own emotion. We have to go to a time that we felt the pain the person in front of us is feeling and not just say, “Wow, that sucks.” We have to feel it so we can say, “That really hurts.” We also have to abstain from fixing the problem, from focusing on alleviating the pain of the emotion. The relief comes AFTER we feel with our clients, so we can give them the message, “It’s okay to not be okay.” That is real support; to be with the hurt and not run away. A lot of people don’t get it. A lot of people don’t want to get it. That makes it our gift. It’s a huge gift in a microcosm that ends up making the world better one person at a time.
    My challenge to you this week is to remember that every minute you spend with a client, you are with them in a way they need. They cherish this, even if they can’t say it. You are a Play Therapist. You don’t have to be able to quantify your impact with a prize or article because you know the toy dragon told you all you needed to know about life and emotion. And you loved by simply being in that moment. 
    Spread the word: Play Therapy is an honor and a gift. We are blessed to be present when someone shows with words, figures, or actions the pain they feel because they felt safe enough to show it. 
    I am honored to have served you as MIAPT President for the past year. This is my last Presidential Pondering and I thank you for the love and commitment you give to this field. Thank you for being a part of MIAPT! You are such a blessing to me!
    If you have something to share during National Play Therapy Week or in our newsletters (pictures, interventions, look what I did, play therapy is helpful because, member spotlight…), please email mymiapt@gmail.com. We love to hear from our membership because it motivates us and reminds each of us of what we do and what we can do! We also want to post on Facebook some extra fun things this week (and in general).

    With gratitude,

    Abby DuPree LMSW, RPT
    Phone: 248-779-6364

  • 01/19/2019 2:05 PM | Anonymous

    “Generosity” (but not in the gift giving sense)

    We often get inundated with ideas about how to act generously during the holiday season. My first assumption of that concept is to give a gift or financial contribution. I have rarely considered generosity’s role in trust and relationships.

    Brené Brown researched trust and identified 7 factors. She explained these in a captivating video called, “SuperSoul Sessions: The Anatomy of Trust.” I want to focus on the final concept she identified as “Generosity.”

    “Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviors, and then check in with me. So, if I screw up, say something, forget something, you will make a generous assumption and say ‘Yesterday was my mom’s one year anniversary of her death and it was really tough for me and I talked to you about it last month. I really was hoping you would have called, but I know you care about me. I know you think it was a big deal so I wanted to let you know that I had been thinking about that.’ As opposed to not returning calls, not returning emails, and waiting for the moment where you can spring, ‘Well you forgot to call on this important thing.’ You’ll make a generous assumption about me and check it out.”
    Brown, Brené, “SuperSoul Sessions: The Anatomy of Trust.” ©2018 Brené Brown, LLC.https://brenebrown.com/videos/anatomy-trust-video/

    I encourage you to be generous during this season within relationships. This can take form with strangers: letting a car into traffic, smiling at a shopper who is scowling in disgust, or thanking a merchant for their hard work. For us as therapists, generosity can be an internal response of genuine caring and empathy when a client talks about feeling isolated and alone. As described in the excerpt above, it can also peek out in our long-term relationships. When someone says something hurtful, we can respond with a generous assumption that they may be unaware of the impact of their words with a statement like, “I think you meant to be supportive. If you say it this way instead, I’m able to receive your support more easily.”  Or, “I care about you and our relationship, so I want to address this to help us stay close.”

    Even when we interpret a situation generously but our generous assumption is incorrect and trust isn’t built, if we interpret a situation generously, we are more likely to reduce conflict. We may even end up with a smile at a holiday gathering.

  • 11/11/2018 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    Does the growing use of “Avatars” impact our self-concept and ability to be loved? I recently heard a quote, “If you are never fully known, you will never know that you are fully loved.” - author unknown
    Avatar: An electronic image that represents and may be manipulated by a computer user.
    Definition of Avatar.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2011. (19 Sept 2018)

    There seems to be a societal expectation that we are “supposed to” present a version of ourselves that fits into our surroundings without making waves. Even moreso, with the use of social media, children see their friends and family and even themselves as “Avatars” from a young age. Parents tend to post the cutest moments of their child and share idealistic social media posts, shaping how kids learn to present themselves.

    The most powerful part of therapy is being fully present in the room with someone without judgment. We see everything that a child needs to show us, including their demons, fears, pain, messiness, and all the emotions that are and are not openly accepted elsewhere. One of the most significant gifts we give our clients is a space to put down their “Avatar” and be themselves. And in being transparent, they can feel accepted and valued.

    In the therapy space, we give clients a glimpse of the possibility that an imperfect human being can be accepted just as they are. We, as clinicians, may be giving them their first experience of the freedom of being loved and accepted by someone who knows the things they believed made them unlovable. We teach people how to express themselves so that they can begin to share who they are with others and to find those people who are more likely to accept them for who they are. This is the beginning of connection and love; love of self and love of others.

    My hope is that within MIAPT we can start to abandon our own “Avatars” and accept that our imperfections are an important part of who we are, that we can be respected and appreciated as perfectly flawed colleagues and friends. Maybe we can practice being gentle, non-judgmental, patient, and humble with ourselves and each other.

    This is something I am honored to experience within my networking group, case consultations, and some friendships. I hope that each of us can find a place within MIAPT to be our vulnerable, blemished selves and that we can be that place of acceptance for each other. Then we can start making the world a safer place to set aside our “Avatars” both for ourselves and our clients.

    Abby DuPree LMSW, RPT

  • 09/02/2018 12:22 PM | Anonymous

    Purpose: To recognize a Michigan play therapist(s) who has impacted the field of play therapy through innovative or advancement in practice, training/teaching or scholarship.


    Deadline for submission: January 1, 2019

  • 08/09/2018 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    Our national celebration for independence last month made me think about our country from another perspective. The increased intensity of political tension and division within our nation has made its way into my therapy room often in the past few years. It has led many of my clients to ask what it means to be an American and has of course impacted me as an individual and a therapist too. When I woke up to  “Happy 4th of July” texts from some former colleagues, many thoughts ran through my mind. Thoughts of clients who have personally been impacted by racism, the me-too movement, war, and news reports mixed with the words of teens wanting to move to Canada rang in my mind.

    My thoughts landed on a more positive perspective, the things I’m proudest of as an American are the individuals who embody the guiding principles I share. Those therapists who sent me that simple text reminded me of the freedom we have to be able to support those who are struggling in a safe, non-judgmental, space. The role each of us, as therapists, have is bridging the division created by politics, differences, pain, and ‘isms. We connect with our clients, sharing care and concern for the well-being of people who we have no requirement to love or care about, but do, immensely.

    I am proud to be an American because of each of you. Because we bridge divides and show individuals that it can be safe to connect to and love others. We put ourselves out there and are vulnerable so that others can be safe, making the world a better place, one interaction at a time. Keep supporting each other, we need to be pushed to keep giving and to care for ourselves because the world needs safety and connection and we can’t give it if we don’t get replenished.

    As members of MIAPT, I challenge you to support another therapist today. Remind them they matter and our world is a better place because they care.
    Thank you!
    Abby DuPree LMSW, RPT

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