Creative Art TherapyPlay Therapy

Is silence golden?!……

By April 9, 2024 No Comments

The term ‘silence in therapy’ may encompass various connotation’s. Therapists and counsellors will have different views on how they perceive the occurrence of silence in therapy. My interest in this area stemmed from a number of therapy sessions with various clients where complete sessions of silence were a key part of their process. The sessions evoked a powerful sense energy and stillness all of which contributed towards significant change for the clients and I believed these moments of silence were key to emotional and developmental processing. The sessions enabled me to delve into my own inner being and respect what my client was experiencing at that particular time. The inclusion of words did not feel necessary, yet the silent space between myself and my client felt sacred. Although words are commonly seen as the principal vehicle used to converse within relationships, I am interested in the usefulness of silence as a communication and a therapeutic technique for the therapist with the client. I am curious at how the use of silence may evoke a deeper level of connection with not only the conscious but unconscious processes of the client and myself.

The role and function of silence in play and creative therapy is apparent and I am certain it is has occurred in many therapist’s sessions with their clients, but it is not an area that has been widely researched. This is particularly because creative mediums are a child’s language alongside the fact that children do not always have the words or cognitive ability to voice their thoughts. Therefore, the occurrence of silence would only be natural. However, I felt this area could be explored further to appreciate the beauty of silence in play and creative arts therapy.

With regard to my earlier reference about my experience with silence occurring in previous therapy sessions, I began to realise the influence silence has as a communication tool toward a client’s healing. Sometimes words are not needed, silence can hold and release a
mass of emotions where words are simply not necessary. Silence can fill a space what may appear empty but it in fact it reflects strength and unity. Sabbadini (1991) also measured silence to be a communicative process between client and therapist, an interpersonal
marvel. Additionally, he insisted on the therapist’s use of silence for heightening the understanding of the client’s inner world. It is viewed as a dynamic tool used for attentive listening, a passage, container and shield (Sabbadini (1991). Also, if and when silence
arises, it can embrace a series of shared interpersonal experiences between the client and the therapist.

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Sabbadini, A. (1991). Listening to silence. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 21(2), 229- 240.