Tag Archives: play therapist

*Taps Mic* … “Um, Is This Thing On???”

20 Nov

Not long ago, I mentioned that I attended my grad school reunion at Bankstreet not too long ago. At the end of the social hour, we were invited to participate in a live Skype session with world-renowned play therapist Gary Landreth. While I’ll mention the specifics of Mr. Landreth’s discussion in a later post, there was one major point he made that completely struck me. Actually, the comment was moreso a story that was so poignant and meaningful I to share it. Although, I can’t recall the exact wording (ironic right? : ]), I will attempt to give you a gist of the narrative …

I was walking into the store when I passed a man in a wheelchair greeting customers at the entrance. I asked him how his day was going and he replied, ‘It’s not my day, it’s my LIFE. Some days I feel like I just want to die.’ With a sad expression, at the door of this shopping establishment, he began to tell me about his life. I listened. He told stories of his struggles, his pain, his seeming disconnection from the world. When someone came to finally relieve him for a break (about an hour later), he apologized for the long story, then thanked me before he departed. Apparently, I had been the first person to truly listen to him in quite some time. As I walked away, it is then I realized that all around us are people longing to simply be heard. How many are born, live, go through life, but are never truly acknowledged? Never truly knowing if they’ve ever existed? ~Gary Landreth

Tear-jerker right? I admit my eyes watered a bit after that story. I’m sure we can all think of a time where we’ve passed a needy stranger on the street, promised to call back a friend but somehow forgotten, or just may not have been as attuned to those in our surroundings as we could have. So many people are suffering in isolating silence. If only we as a human community were more attentive. The essential message I took away from Mr. Landreth’s story was simply become more mindful. Am I valuing the humanity of each person I meet? Do I give others space to express themselves fully, without interruptions or formulating my response as they speak? Am I willing to enter each encounter with another without preconceived notions? Do I listen to little ones as much as I listen to elders? I won’t say these things are easy feats, but I will say that I plan to make much more of an effort. After all, everyone deserves their moment to exist. A chance to take center stage, grab the microphone, and be listened to. What type of audience will you be?