January 25, 2012

University of La Verne Conference: Cultural and Social Justice within the LGBTQ Community

The University of La Verne is hosting a free conference on March 24th. Details are included below:

January 17, 2012

Technology is a Social Worker's Best Friend: Using and Creating an Online Therapy Toolbox

Since the beginning of my internship for a Community Mental Health Agency in a Child and Family Outpatient Clinic, I have tried to get my hands on as many therapy-orientated worksheets and pamphlets as I possibly can. Utilizing worksheets is a great way to add structure to a mental health session, particularly for children and adolescents that are accustomed to completing assignments in school. It's also a great technique to re-focus clients who tends to veer off topic or become distracted within a 50-minute session.

There are literally thousands of therapy-oriented worksheets available for free via mental health blogs and websites. Therapy Worksheets is my go-to resource for finding great content around the web. The blogger has links to organizations that have created content for virtually every topic including anger management, bereavement, mindfulness, parenting, pain management, etc.

While having access to all this information is certainly appreciated, I started to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content I was exposed to. Luckily, I came across this great post on Social Work Tech Blog that detailed how to create your own digital social work toolbox via Dropbox. For those of you who don't know, Dropbox is a free online storage locker that let's you access your personal content from virtually any device that has an internet connection. It's the perfect system for busy students or professionals who need access to their documents from several computers and devices (i.e. smart phones, internship computer, personal laptop).

To create my Therapy Toolbox, I simply made a Therapy "parent" folder, which includes several sub-folders so I can easily file worksheets based on their relevance to a particular topic. This way, any time I come across a great worksheet online, I simply upload the file to the proper Dropbox sub-folder. Below is what my Toolbox looks like via the Dropbox iPhone App:

Any time I feel that a worksheet might assist a particular intervention (they are great to hand out to clients), I simply print them out prior to a session. Below is an inside peek into my "Anger Management" folder, which contains several worksheets, questionnaires, and activities aimed to assist individuals who struggle to understand why they have anger issues, and what they can do about it:

January 10, 2012

Therapy with the Experts: Adlerian Play Therapy with Dr. Kottman

As someone who is new to the field of child therapy, I appreciate any and all direction when it comes to utilizing toys, games, and art projects as an avenue to deliver therapeutic interventions with children. Recently, I was browsing the video library of Counseling and Therapy in Video, and I came across a didactic demonstration of Adlerian Play Therapy for children. What is Adlerian Play Therapy? The following clip provides a nice description:

Bad hair and wardrobe aside, Dr. Terry Kottman, a registered play therapist, goes on to provide viewers with a very concrete example of how she utilizes core Adlerian concepts in the therapeutic space with a young child. Dr. Kottman outlines five broad categories of toys that she typically utilizes while practicing Adlerian play therapy with children, including the following:
  1. Family and Nurturing (e.g. kitchen set, baby dolls, bottles, doll house, etc.)
  2. Fantasy (e.g. puppets, costumes, etc.)
  3. Expressive/Arts (e.g. paints, paper, crayons, markers, easel, play-dough, etc.)
  4. Aggressive (e.g. handcuffs, weapons, bot bags, etc.)
  5. Active Play (e.g. animals, etc.)
Utilizing various toy categories above, Dr. Kottman demonstrates how to create choices for children when playing therapy games, as well as how to roll with resistance with children. I really like how Dr. Kottman leverages the child's interest in drawing to achieve the intended goals in the play therapy setting (link to video)

Lastly, the following is great demonstration of how to promote working as team, how to make deals with children, and how to encourage children in a therapy session: