Working with Children in the Therapeutic Group

Alina Comendant (Psychotherapist)

Richard Schouten (Pedagogue/sport & movement therapist)

Conference: Saturday, October 26th, 16.15 - 18.00

“…every child is a group” (Poda, 1999)

Passionate about psychotherapy with children and inspired by Dolores Munari Poda and Maria Teresa Romanini- TA masters in this field, Alina Comendant and Richard Schouten propose an experiential workshop about working with children in therapeutic groups.

The therapist meets frequently special children, functionally sophisticated and extremely vulnerable, children with a difficult personal and relational history: children “too”: too philosophical, too meditative, too loud, too quiet, too firm, too mobile, too agitated and therefore the therapist observes different degrees of adaptation. The therapist also meets “no” children: no time dedicated exclusively to them, precocious children, adult-like and over responsible children (Dolores Munari Poda,1999; Maria Teresa Romanini, 1999). The vitality within these children and within the therapeutic process differs.

In the workshop, we invite participants to reflect together on working methods and intervention within a therapeutic group so as to facilitate the calibration of vitality and healthy emotional development of children.

The focus will be on both general aspects and particularities of working in group and on contact – which we consider to be an essential element of vitality. Contact involves the ability to be present in a situation with all aspects of the organism: body, senses, emotional expressiveness, intellect (Violet Oaklander,1997).

The workshop addresses to psychotherapists/ psychologists / educators/ teachers/ people who work with children or who are interested to work with them. It will be predominantly experiential and the theory of TA (concepts like strokes, life positions, TA philosophy, games) will be combined with Gestalt Play Therapy and elements of pedagogy (group design), body- work, elements of neurodevelopment within the development stages- the hemisphere lateralisation.

We consider our proposal within the conference theme to be relevant from the following aspects:
– vitality is an essential aspect of childhood and the Child ego state;
– the therapeutic group acts as a secure environment in which children can learn, develop and where they have the opportunity to refine their script mechanisms;
– therapists working with children will find in this workshop a space for exploring contact in working with children.