Shush, shush, it's time for silence. The one you hear in your heart ... (Budka Suflera)
When I started working as a Play Therapy therapist I tried to reflect back to the child verbally everything they were doing, everything I could see in the child's behaviour, everything the child said. I even remember one child saying to me: ?do you have to talk so much?
After putting my first impression after that comment aside, I started to think about it:
- why did it bother the child?
- Should everything be mirrored, as the American School of Play Therapy teaches?
- When to reflect and when not to do so during a session?
- if and when can mirroring be intrusive for the child?
- are there children who do not accept mirroring verbally?
- why should a child be quiet during a session?
- who and when does the silence during the session annoy?
Silence is commonly understood as the absence of sound. In the therapy room, however, silence is not a manifestation of inaction. It is a powerful therapeutic tool. In everyday life you have probably encountered the message: go and see what is going on in the children's room because it is too quiet. Sometimes after a session with a child, his/her parents waiting in the waiting room say that ?today the session was somehow quiet?
Silence is a tool, for example, for communication (paradoxical in children with mutism), but also a tool for communicating extremely important things (let's celebrate with a minute of silence). In music, silence is as important as sound.
In the therapy room, silence is first and foremost a time and place for the process. It is like a nest in which eggs can mature to hatch chicks. A Play Therapy therapist deciding to break a child's silence during a session should have something really important to say. It can only be something that brings additional insight into the child's feelings, self-understanding, self-awareness. Silence initiated by the child can express trust in the therapist, whose task is, among other things, to keep the child as long as possible in this state of focus on himself, his inner world. Once again, let me remind you of the golden rule of the 3W in child therapy: watch, wait and wonder.
If the therapist is disturbed by the silence during the session or disturbed by the fact that the child does not speak to him/her, this is definitely a topic for supervision, as for some reason he/she may be preoccupied with his/her own difficulties and not focusing on the child's needs.
Reflecting emotions verbally is one of many forms of mirroring. Sometimes a child does not accept only the verbal form. Then we are left with other forms of mirroring and other therapeutic tools through which the child can achieve insight.
Shush, shush, it's time for silence. The one you hear in your heart. Come up and plunge into it, the crystal and purity of its depths....