You could say it all started with an awkward game of chess...
He was a highly intelligent, extremely verbal--but very hesitant--adolescent client, and it was our very first meeting. As we both struggled to frame the reasons he was seeking help, his eyes kept darting to a travel chess set I had set up on one of the shelves as a decoration. I asked if he wanted to play a game. I lost the game…but won something much more important for both of us: a common framework for the work that we were about to do.
That client and I went on to work through some very intense issues relating to his own personal journey to adulthood, all within the context of trading card games, anime, and...yes, sometimes just plain ole' traditional conversation.
Since then, The Workshop has seen successes in other areas through other activities: - A middle-aged man struggling with multiple losses and addiction through a weekly game of pool - One-on-one basketball helping a younger adolescent through anger and abandonment - Social cues and relationship building learned while playing video games - Painting, sketching, and adult coloring books reducing frequency and intensity of anxiety - A fidget cube repeatedly used by multiple clients to help make sense of complex emotions The potential of a place for those who either don't appreciate or can’t afford the opportunity to sit on the other side of my coffee table and “tell me about their problems” is unlimited. Incorporating clients’ preferred activities into the therapeutic conversations is more than a gimmick--any activity that doesn’t hinder conversation is useful to introduce insight, stress-relief, analogy, or just plain fun into the therapeutic process.
Additionally, a facility capable of supporting all these varied activities doubles as a community gathering place, where people could come together to emphasize our common interests and our desire to belong, instead of alienating, marginalizing, or polarizing.
The Workshop is a place where HEB residents can not only receive counseling but additionally offer and attend a variety of classes, from watercolors to minor engine repair. More classes and opportunities exist over the horizon--that’s where you come in. In order reach our next level of service to the community, others must understand and believe in the vision enough to invest. That is where I hope you join our story.
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