There are different aspects to a child’s therapeutic experience, the toys and objects available in the counselling room is one of them. After all, ‘toys are used like words by children, and play is their language’.¹
In my suitcase of resources I have toys for aggressive release, toys that reflect real life as well as art and craft materials. I also include slime in assorted colours, a popular tactile material enabling children to engage in messy play.
I have found with a few of my clients that their interactions with slime seems to mirror their counselling experience. When a child first encounters the slime they are curious but tentative. If they are quiet and unsure about being in the room, this soon changes as they verbally respond to the slime’s slippery texture, initially startled by its strangeness and then later feeling at ease with it. As the child becomes more familiar with the slime, they explore the various ways it can be used such as to release stress, express happiness or as a weapon.
On reflection slime appears to represent power, danger, destruction and death for some of my clients, and along with the other play materials gives them a means of expressing their thoughts and complicated feelings.
Melissa Abraham Counsellor
* Reference: Garry L. Landreth Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group; 2012