Play Therapy symbols and miniatures in the playroom are so important for children. They offer an opportunity and permission for them to explore and process the ugly, scary, unhealthy and healthy aspects of their life.
Children can only use these symbols and miniatures if they trust the therapeutic relationship. It's important for the child to feel they are able to explore their issues and worries without being judged or questioned. We accept the child as they are and reflect when needed. This understanding fosters the therapeutic relationship.
I have lots of symbols in my play room and play therapy kit. Some of them are listed below:
Animals, furniture, religious figures, fences, building blocks, gems, mythical creatures, super heroes, vehicles, people, food, villains, characters.
Symbols and their meanings can be interpreted by anyone. There are many books that do that. The role of the Play Therapist is to reflect the feelings shown not interpret the meaning of the symbols used.
The dragon symbol can often be seen as a danger figure, evil or the devil. In Chinese culture, the dragon is seen as good luck, protection and fertility. It's important to see the images and symbols children use as one piece of the puzzle and not the whole answer. Often children are showing so much more in the playroom. The role of the Play Therapist is to assist the child on their therapeutic journey and not jump to conclusions.
This acceptance of the 'whole child' sets the therapeutic boundaries in which they are able to unpick and process their own thoughts.