Play Therapy & an Emotionary

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

These past few months have gone by quicker than I care to accept. Despite having been worried about initial plans for surgery being postponed, I am happy they were.

On the one hand, I will not deny that the waiting and not knowing took its toll on me and yes, I was very worried that something would go terribly wrong, but if I look past the waiting, not knowing and worrying, I see us having made the most of the summer days, and that’s what counts.

More importantly, is that this time has helped heal some of the ever-increasing fears and anxieties of a little boy visiting the hospital on a regular basis.

But, allow me to rewind back a few months. After our last experiences in London I knew something needed to be done to help with easing some of the fears of hospital appointments, especially post surgery. We have since, been in touch with a Play Therapist at GOSH and not only has the she already been extremely helpful by email, but has scheduled Henry in for a few sessions prior to his surgery.

I cannot even begin to imagine how scary it all is for him and he needs to understand that it’s ok to be afraid. I will not take away his freedom of expressing any of these emotions. What I do want to do is help him understand and express those feelings. But alas, I am not a therapist and I was lost for words. And then I came across Emotionary!

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

By reading the title, can guess what this book is about?

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

Yes, in a nutshell, it is a dictionary of emotions. Emotionary is everything you need from a dictionary of emotions – great descriptions and beautiful, unforgettable illustrations (makes my artistic heart sing).

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

We have been slowly reading through the different emotions and Henry loves looking at the whimsical illustrations. The colourful pictures also serve as a good association to the defintions as we get through the pages at a pace suitable for a toddler.

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

What I love about the book is that the definitions of the emotions are connected and there is a wonderful continuity to help further explain each emotion.

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

The Emotionary is useful for parents, educators and therapists alike. It is really a gem of a book!

As Henry grows, so does his reluctance to co-operate, but being home and having less frequent visits to the hospital these past few months has helped him cope. Our last few hospital appointments have been relatively easier for him to handle, and thats a big relief. It’s not to say that he is not afraid or resistant when we need to take bloods or other routine procedures as part of his check up, it’s only that he is a little more co-operative instead of down right refusing.

I have been corresponding with the PT for advice on what can be done before our next trip. I was relieved to learn that I was already on the right track, thanks to some hospital toys and the Emotionary.

A Bird with a French Fry - Play Therapy & Emotionary

Things have become real, very quickly and it has only been these past few days that I have calmed my own fears and anxieties enough to sit and write the post. I was a blubbering mess and could be found in a puddle of tears on most days. And when he turns to me and says ‘mommy, I want to go to school’, my heart shatters like glass dropped from 100 stories high, because while most parents are preparing their children to start school in the next few weeks, we are preparing to go to London for surgery. While kids are learning how to read, to hold a crayon, and how to use scissors, we are learning how to use a catheter, and we are talking about surgery and anesthetic masks.

I go through the same series of emotions every time. First denial, then anger, followed by sadness and then the eventual ‘kick my own butt – we’ve gotta be strong’ phase. He needs me to be strong (he is extremely intuitive to my feelings) and there are no other options. The greatest thing is that there is now one major difference from when he was younger (less verbal) – he tells me himself how brave he’s going to be. And that makes me feel proud, strong and darn lucky to be this little boy’s mom. He is my soldier and we will continue to be pillars for one another and hold each other up.

I am dreading our next visit, but we will cope one day at a time.

4 Comments
  1. Thank you for sharing, for so many different reasons kids need to get in touch with and understand emotions and emotionary looks so interesting. Do you know if it can be purchased in malta? Once again from one mum to another… a big hug. Good luck!

    1. Hello Christine, yes I find that if you tackle fear at its root and try to explain why, it helps so much. The book isn’t available locally but it can be ordered on amazon. Follow the link in the post to go to their site. Thanks for following! And a big squishy hug right back at ya, fellow mamma!

  2. Hi I happened to come across this article on fb! I am a Play Therapist and am Maltese and work locally. I had no idea about this book. It looks really interesting and I will certainly look it up, thank you! It will help me both in my work and as a mother of a young child. Its also great that Play Therapy is promoted within the Health sector and not just in Education so thank you once again!

    1. Thank you for your comments! The book is really useful and beautiful. I think Play Therapy need to be integrated into our local health system as it makes such a difference when helping children deal with and process health issues.

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