Michigan association for play therapy

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  • 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

  • 06/07/2018 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    “Someone recently asked me why I am involved with MIAPT. It was an interesting question because my automatic thought was “I just am, there is no other option.” As I contemplated that question, I realized there are many reasons. As a therapist, I want to offer my clients multiple ways to express themselves and work through the pain they are feeling. I remember attending my first Child Centered Play Therapy training with Gary Landreth where I felt a mix of wonder and confusion. His beliefs tugged at my insides, making me see an entirely new way of thinking that went beyond the use of interventions. It moved me toward believing that my clients have, within themselves, the power to heal and grow. As a therapist, I get to be a witness to, and a safe place for, clients to find what they have inside already. I have since learned to respect a variety of methods and theories. I love that within MIAPT there are so many people with different strengths, interests, and theoretical bases. I often feel curious and encouraged rather than judged when hearing other perspectives within this group.
    We receive from MIAPT more than just playful interventions. We receive support, encouragement, and motivation to be more excited, fresh, and present with our clients. Through trainings, phone calls, trips to the Self-Esteem Shop, networking meetings… We are challenged to check our judgments and consider what we bring into the therapy room - it all helps us strive to be better therapists. I hope each person reading this can receive a piece of this gift of acceptance, growth, and encouragement that I believe MIAPT represents. We try to offer a few different settings to receive this support including both large and small conferences, networking groups, newsletters, and Facebook posts. If you’re looking for more, please come find us.
    Thank you!
    Abby DuPree LMSW, RPT

  • 02/02/2018 11:38 AM | Anonymous

    by Jesilee Bonofiglio LMSW, RPT 

    Happy New Year! A new year, a new month, a new day, all with new hopes and dreams! As well as new resolutions. Losing weight, exercising more, filling more buckets, or even improving your professional skills. One month in, and most people are already dropping their resolutions like the bottom line in your bank account through the holidays. Why do we do this? Why do we push ourselves into unreasonable ideas, like allowing a child into Tiffany’s and expecting them to actually not touch anything? 

    The most likely answer is that we want change. We want to believe that we can accomplish whatever we set ourselves to, whatever we dream. We forget that it requires determination, focus, and gut wrenching perseverance. Most importantly, self-forgiveness when we fail. 

    Too easily we “fall off the wagon” of resolutions. We decide it was probably not going to work out anyway. Maybe we just don’t have what it takes. Sometimes we just let go of the wagon and wave as it rolls away, choking on the dust. Did we even give ourselves a fighting chance before we became complacent? 

    If you want to make any New Year resolution plausible, give yourself permission to be human and allow yourself to make mistakes. Use them to decide how you want to improve yourself and/or the situation. Give yourself permission to grow. Share your resolution with someone you trust, who will dance with you when you succeed and hold your hand when you fall. The person who believes the best in you, no matter how many veggies you have stuck between your teeth. Want to take it up a notch? Be that person to someone else, filling your bucket and theirs. 

    So why not make every day, even every hour, the next momentum into your resolution for your life and self. Every minute is another minute you can live RIGHT NOW, that you will never get back. Don’t wait for the next big time stamp to improve yourself. You’ll be amazed at how awesome you truly are when you look back on the year, rather than resolving to make the future better.

  • 12/15/2017 12:32 PM | Anonymous

    Holiday music is on full blast. Santa has visited in the post-Thanksgiving parades. Kids are making wish lists so parents can frantically arm-wrestle each other for the most beloved gifts that will get the most screams on Christmas morning. Cookie decorating and ugly sweater competitions are ON. (Target has amazing ugly sweaters, by the way. *Shudder*) Anyone else feeling the stress of the season yet? As therapists and healers, we have a responsibility to provide a safe, calm space for our clients. A place where they can breathe, reflect, comprehend, and learn. A place to simply be…without pretense, judgment, or fear. Without pressure from any season, any obligation, or anyone. Our relationships with our clients allows this freedom, which allows the healing. It’s a beautiful circle. 

    Our ability to develop this healing relationship with our clients is quite dependent on our true acceptance of the client as a human being. A feeling, experiencing, perceiving person. We have the responsibility to accept their reality as that individual’s truth without judgment, and to accept and hold their emotional experiences. Let’s face it. All of the spectacular training and credentials in the world will not do an ounce of good for a client if they do not feel connected.

    This letter is to encourage you to find, or continue to light, that spark of your personality that draws people in. Your individual way of helping people feel comfortable, accepted, heard, and safe, regardless of their experience, emotions, actions, and *gulp* ugly sweater of the season. I truly wish for all of you 25 days of peace, fun, and therapeutic healing. And side-aching hilarious stories of scoring the very best scream gift.

    -Jesliee Bonofiglio, LMSW, RPT 

  • 10/30/2017 3:34 PM | Anonymous

    I am writing this after returning from the 2017 International Association for Play Therapy’s annual conference in Minneapolis, MN. There were over 1,000 therapists from around the world joining to learn new and fun ways to help children manage trauma and life stressors. The energy, fun, and desire to impact our world was palpable and contagious! We were able to dance and play with play therapy greats. The best part about it was that they joined us at our level, and inspired and encouraged us without judgment. That is also my hope for MIAPT. To bring together clinicians from every level of experience so all can feel empowered and encouraged. Please join MiAPT, and participate in our conferences, to help develop this great organization and your amazing work! 

    -Jesliee Bonofiglio, LMSW, RPT

  • 10/26/2017 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    Here are some ways you can volunteer with MIAPT 

    1. Newsletter content -Share a creative activity -Write a story or article -Format and distribute the newsletter -Share playful pictures for our newsletter 

    2. Networking meetings -Share ideas for meeting in your region -Find a free local venue for meetings -Consider starting a group in your area 

    3. Conferences (regional or annual) -Pick up and/or order food -Pick up craft supplies -Volunteer for clean-up and/or set-up -Design a flier -Find location for events -Request proposals of potential speakers 

    4. Membership updates (to add a directory) -Confirm member contact info -Consolidate/remove duplicate entries 

    **If interested in volunteering, email DCouture77@yahoo.com

2020 Raybrook Avenue, S.E., Suite 305 | Grand Rapids, MI 49546

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