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Emotional Intelligence and Play Therapy

Review by Jeannie Dupont, LCSW

Friday, February 22, 2013

Holly Willard presented a workshop entitled, Emotional Intelligence and Play Therapy. The event was well attended with more than 20 people present.

Holly began the presentation by pointing out that academic achievement goes up 11% if students get social -emotional training. Furthermore, a nationwide longitudinal study found children’s emotional and social skills were dropping 10% each decade. These facts make it imperative that all students, not just those on the spectrum, receive socialemotional skills training.

Research has shown that even more than IQ, your emotional and social intelligence ismore correlated with  success and overall happiness. According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence includes self- awareness, self – management, social awareness and relationship management.

Holly presented several dozen interventions that could be used to teach social – emotional skills. Having children play feelings pantomime increases their ability to portray and recognize basic feelings. Geodes can be used to illustrate that what we see on the outside if someone is not necessarily what is on the inside of a person. A group generated strengths poster for each child can be invaluable in building self – esteem. A Feelings Box can contain objects that help soothe and calm a child such as squish balls, punch balls and playdough. Hoola hoops can be used to teach children about the importance of personal space, along with the book.

Personal Space Camp

Puppets such as hedgehogs, dolphins and turtles can be used to illustrate different personalities and how each helps or hinders friendships. The hedgehog repels friends,the dolphin is helpful and the turtle is shy.

Holly also shared some online sites for social skills games and materials such as: http://ifonlyihadsuperpowers.blogspot.com and iTouchiLearnFeelings. A lengthy list ofbooks and programs was also shared.

The day was fast paced, enjoyable, fun and educational. I personally felt stimulated and motivated to go back to work with new techniques and programs to use. I also spentmore than budgeted on Amazon ordering Holly’s recommended books and materials.