Pre-therapeutic Aspects in Godly Play
What happens in a classroom or in a child during a lesson often cannot be perceived in its entirety through the pedagogical eye. Often times children will reach into a deep dimension of their existence when they are allowed as Godly Play does to be responsible subjects in the learning process (and not the objects of it). They can reach deep layers when they choose the language for what is going on in the learning environment, when they identify with stories (or parts thereof) through play and imagination. Touching deep into themselves allows children to “play through” their own life stories and problems giving them a safe space to re-live and test out situations.
Such processes occur outside the framework of a therapeutic process of diagnosis and intervention.
What does it mean then for adults to lead a Godly Play lesson? If pre-therapeutic processes do take place in Godly Play, teachers should be given opportunity to learn and increase skills how to observe and respond.
In this article multiple examples from the response time in Godly Play lessons with Kindergarten and elementary age children and with adults show different aspects of “touching deep.” The author offers reflections on children and adult leaders respectively. Finally a roster is introduced to help with focussed and non-focussed observation of such processes, a method borrowed from play therapy and adapted for Godly Play.