Therapy sessions for stuffed toys – Press play in the pause.

I was talking to my sister last week about how her girls were coping with the lockdown. She said they were doing fine. In fact one of them, let’s call her Zee, was conducting therapy sessions for her stuffed toys to help them through this phase.

I was intrigued. It’s sounded absolutely fascinating that 12 year old Zee had found a creative outlet that allowed her to express herself and help her stuffed animals with their mental health.

I decide to find out more. I spoke to Zee to understand how she got the idea. She giggled a bit and said “The electricity had gone. I had nothing to do and was feeling really bored, so I decided to film these conversations on my mobile phone.”

As I asked her more questions about how she thought of doing a therapy session, I was corrected. “These are not therapy session uncle Nick, it is called a ‘focussed group session’ and they are not stuffed animals they are my toy friends.” 

Let me introduce you to the Motley Crew. 

Barney, age 51, Alcoholic

Creepy Craig, age 42, who can’t understand why people find him creepy

Aryabhata, age 22, Racist in search of fame

Wolfie, age 14, Abandonment issues, since Zee’s elder sister left for boarding school

Jane, age 19, Goth girl facing discrimination issues

Linah, age 27, Creator of the focus group 

All character voices played by Zee, in different accents and tones.

I was absolutely in awe of this 12 years old and her creativity. I asked Zee if she would be willing to share some of the focus group videos with me. Here is a peek into her world. “Hello my name is Linah and we are about to embark on a journey of feelings and deep emotions in this focus group and I am about to introduce you to each and every member, please stay tuned and watch…”

“So just calm down with those opinions of yours, I don’t need to hear them…”

“Everyone has too much prejudice these days…”

As I got to know Barney, Craig, Aryabhata, Wolfie, Jane and the lovely Linah who was helping them through all their problems and mental health issues, I was drawn into this incredible imaginative and fun filled world that Zee lives in. In spite of all the problems that Linah had to deal with, her wisdom, warmth and lightness of spirit shone through.

What did I learn?

  • Express yourself. It takes so little to find a way to keep yourself creatively engaged. A gang of stuffed toys and an active imagination with the desire to do something with her time, resulted in what could be a YouTube sensation if she decides to put these sessions online. Find an outlet to express yourself.
  • “It’s good to let your feelings out. It’s healthy.” Wisdom from a 12 year old. Don’t bottle stuff up find an outlet. It could be journaling, therapy, coaching, talking to a non-judgmental friend. Simply having the courage to acknowledge, accept and express all your feelings. Not just the ones we feel are socially acceptable. Social distancing is a physical need right now. Social connection is an absolutely must to stay in the zone of mental wellness.
  • Talking to your friends and family is important. Stay connected, make the time, find the time, open up and share stuff that’s going on in your head. It’s okay to not be okay and open up in front of people who care for you.
  • Most of all, I learnt that it’s important to find that playfulness in myself. Zee reminded me that serious stuff, anxious times, and difficult situations will confront us again and again in life. She found a happy, playful way to express herself and let all the emotions come to the surface. She had fun doing it and yet dealt with some really important issues with care and concern. Look for those light-hearted moments.

Finding a way to hit play when I pause to catch my breath, is part of the solution. It is so easy to lose sight of that in the fight to stay safe. Days will run into weeks and months. There is much hard work and hardship ahead. All the more reason to make time to play and get in touch with the spirit of playfulness.

Remember to hit play in the pause.


The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Vice Chair of Weber Shandwick India. Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.
Nikhil is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF).
He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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