Hey there MIAPT Members!
I want to start by saying that, although I’ve been a member of MIAPT for 20 years, I’m SO EXCITED to be writing to you for my FIRST TIME AS MIAPT President. It is such an honor to be part of the board again!!!
Thanks for all that attended our annual conference this year. The polls that were conducted during this year’s annual conference showed that many of you are interested in becoming more involved with our chapter … and we would LOVE your help. Feel free to contact me anytime if you would like to be a part of a committee, help with the newsletter, or have suggestions for the chapter. This is YOUR chapter - we want to hear your voices and ideas!
During this past year we have all faced so many different challenges - which has forced us to find creative ways to connect with each other and our clients. It has caused us to grow as a community, and as therapists. And we need to continue that growth!
As discussed in our last MIAPT virtual support meeting, many children we see are finally heading back to school for the first time in awhile - or will be in the fall. This is an important moment to think about how we can help these kids, their parents, and their teachers to adjust to another transition. As play therapists we can remind them the effects of the past year may have on each child’s social and emotional development. We can help them prepare for underdeveloped skills that our clients and their classmates might have due to the lack of exposure to their peers and other adults. Our position as therapists to children gives us the unique opportunity to reduce over (or mis-) diagnosing children with behavior, attention, or social problems. We can give information to parents and teachers about normal childhood development of social and emotional skills - and discuss how these may be affected by the pandemic. Helping others to adjust expectations can definitely impact how our clients and their peers will be viewed and treated. Explaining to parents and teachers the importance of PLAY and the need to make up for lost time and experiences with peers is essential. These key elements will in turn influence each child’s mental health.
Laura Hutchison, PsyD, LP, RPT-S
President, MIAPT 2021