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.
Shana Bombrys, MSW, LMSW, CADC, ADS
Registered Play Therapist