Depression… generally speaking, it is a mental health condition, in which life just ceases or seems to be at a dead end. All of us get struck by depression in some or the other part of our lives in varying degrees. Death of a loved one, loss of job, a bad break-up, trauma, life-transition, failure, environmental conditions, terminal illnesses, shocking life events… All these are some of the causal factors that can literally shove you into depression. And once you slip into depression, everything related to your life starts falling apart like a deck of cards. Helplessness, hopelessness, social withdrawal, lack of energies and motivation, change in sleep and diet patterns, suicidal thinking, are some of the symptoms that may start bothering you. These symptoms are enough to jostle you off your physical health, psychological well-being, social life, relationships, self-concept, work/studies, and the entire outlook of life as a whole.
Therefore, if you or your loved ones feel depressed then it is very important to come off it via strategic therapeutic interventions. In some cases, medication also becomes necessary. There are many ways in which depression can be successfully treated in today’s world. Hey, have you read another blog on depression that I have written? I would suggest you to read that too once you have read this blog. It is based on the technical know-how on depression and the treatment techniques for depression.
Among the different treatment interventions available for depression so far, play therapy is sometimes amazingly effective. I know you must be thinking that when you are depressed, sad and dejected how can play therapy help you with depression? It is possible folks. Let me tell you how play therapy works:
- Taps the feel-good hormones and chemicals of your body and brain
- Works on your lack of motivation when you are depressed
- It engages you in adaptive behavior
- Makes you feel fresh and energized
- It also serves as a gateway to the happy and colorful moments of your life
When done with the help of an experienced practitioner, play therapy can help you in significantly dealing with your depression. It can be done both in individual and group settings. A typical play therapy session can last up to 30-40 minutes. Once you try the play therapy methods, you will surely crave for more! Now let us look into some of the common play therapy methods:
In this form of play therapy you would be given sand/mud as a medium of therapy. First you would be asked to shed your inhibitions, feel the sand and try to enjoy that feeling. Then you need to use the sand/mud to illustrate your major life event – events that have changed your life, events that you like and/or events that have significant influence on you. Based on your illustrations your therapist would assess your symptoms, and help you more in the treatment process.
The pick-up-sticks Game
I am sure you must have played this game in some part of your lives. This game has therapeutic value too. In this game there would be sticks of different colors depicting the different colors of your life. The therapist holds all the sticks together and releases them. You would have to pick up one stick out of that without disturbing the others and describe events, moments/experience of your life that are related to the color of the stick that you have picked.
This game is very helpful to re-create scenes from your life and resolve them through therapy. It also gives a boost to your creative thinking, memory, concentration, and other cognitive skills.
Have you ever tried blowing bubbles from a can/or a container having detergent/soap water? I just loved the game when I was a kid. But, today I know that it has great therapeutic value. When you are depressed, your energy system becomes low. When your energies are low, it exerts a negative influence on your brain and body; your respiratory system needs to work hard in order to pump oxygen to the vital organs of your body to keep them functioning.
In this form of play therapy, the practitioner would blow bubbles first and ask you to pop them. If you are too fast in popping them, then the therapist would ask you to take a deep breathe and then pop the bubbles. So what is the whole rationale behind it? It is quite simple yet effective. Bubble breath help you to understand your mind-body connection, it helps in impulse control and above all it makes you to breathe deeply as a result of which there is adequate supply of oxygen to your brain and body. This helps a lot in reducing depression symptoms and the physical symptoms related to it.
So folks! This was a brief overview of how play therapy can help in the reduction of depression symptoms. It may sound silly and kiddish at first, but has deep therapeutic properties. Once you start practicing it you will yourself see and experience its magic!
“No matter how worse life can become, no matter how harsh life can become… there is always a way out. So never give up”