Play Therapy Resource


If you are interested in play therapy, I highly recommend this book. It has several specific activities for storytelling, expressive arts, games, puppet play, toy activities, etc. I recently tried the rosebush activity on page 11 with an individual client, age 8.  The activity went very well and provided us both with further insight and a piece of artwork that we have referred back to in other sessions. Enjoy!

Cab ride…

Thanks to my wonderful professor, we were asked to read this story for my school counseling course. What a great reminder for all of us to keep an open-mind and an open-heart…

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget by Kent Nerburn

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.

The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a
portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and
intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and
took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers.”
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the
sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of
that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was
impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re
conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often
catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Metavalues – values for our values

According to Strupp (1980), clients/scholars are:

  • entitled to personal freedom
  • entitled to conducting their own affairs
  • entitled to have their individuality respected
  • entitled to not be dominated, manipulated, coerced, or indoctrinated
  • entitled to make mistakes and learn from them

As an educator/parent how might our own values be imposed upon a student and violate one of these values?

What is your metavalue?

Reference: Williams, R. (2008) Check you values at the door. Retrieved from:

Same Love activity for youth. (Based on ‘Same Love’ by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)

Same Love discussion activity:

Show this video to your group or class:

After the video split up the scholars into 6 smaller groups and provide each group with a segment of the song lyrics, which have been already separated in this linked document:

Same Love Song Lyric Segments and Questions

Have each group reflect on their assigned lyrics with the guiding questions for each segment in the linked document. Please modify these questions as needed.

After the small-group discussion, have each group present a summary of their conversation. If time allows, ask for audience comments after each presentation.

Wrap-up the activity by reading these last lyrics of the song:

Love is patient
Love is kind

Ask each scholar to finish this statement for themselves and share.

Love is ____________.

Emotion Coach

Have you heard of an emotion coach?

Working with youth can often involve being an “emotion coach”. This is defined by Greenberg (2002) as guiding clients to greater awareness and acceptance of their true feelings, helps them access their primary feelings, encourages them to listen to healthy feelings, and facilitates the transformation of less healthy ones.


Broderick P.C., & Blewitt P. (2009) The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals (3rd Edition) Pearson.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a helpful tool for all professionals. Eventually you may need to support another in making a positive change in their life. Here are the stages of change used in motivational interviewing:

  1. Precontemplation: The scholar is in denial. No desire to change or awareness that change is necessary.
  2. Contemplation: The scholar is open to the idea that behavior is problematic, but not yet ready to change.
  3. Preparation: The scholar has recognized their problem and negative impacts. They are ready to begin taking steps towards change.
  4. Action: Change plan is implemented. Scholar will need help in remembering why change is important and why they are capable to make the change (self-efficacy).
  5. Maintenance: Continual work to maintain new behaviors. Relapse is expected, but shouldn’t be dwelled upon.

This process is very similar to the Safe School Ambassadors training framework and I also see this model used within the school counseling program at Berkeley Maynard Academy. How could you apply this change model in your life?


Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M.D. (2012). Foundations of Addictions Counseling, 2nd Ed. Pearson Education: Upper Saddle River, NJ.