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The Wisdom of Nature: StoryPlay®, Connecting Nature’s Gifts of Thriving and Resiliency to Play

Our 16th chapter in Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies entitled The Wisdom of Nature: StoryPlay®, Connecting Nature’s Gifts of Thriving and Resiliency to Play is co-authored byDani Woods, MC LPC LISAC and Joyce Mills, LMFT, RPT-S. Eco-psychology and using the multi-sensory world found in nature are healing collaborators in therapy. Through the combination of metaphor, story, and Erickson’s concept of utilization, the authors write about the resiliency-based methods of StoryPlay® and how they allow clients to find and strengthen their inner resources. The most recent neurological research demonstrates that the use of metaphor activates multiple regions of the brain simultaneously. The natural world can be adapted to provide indirect neural pathways toward healing, making StoryPlay® a multicultural and cross-geographical practice. This chapter examines the ways StoryPlay® promotes resiliency by allowing clients’ hidden strengths and knowledge to take the lead in the therapeutic process.

Joyce Mills expounded on the importance of this topic brought to us through this chapter. She said, "This topic of The Wisdom of Nature is especially important to me because it focuses on the natural healing elements within our natural world, which is the heartbeat of the model of StoryPlay® Therapy and the essential focus of this chapter. Living through a category five hurricane, I have witnessed first-hand the enormous power of nature’s ability to be a resource, and co-therapist for children, families, and communities. What I learned is all of us live through hurricanes in one form or another. What is essential is to become the thriver of our personal storms. I’m honored to be co-author of this chapter along with Danielle Woods to share the stories, metaphors, and experiential StoryCrafts with our play therapy community that will illuminate a path of hope and healing."

Joyce Mills, PhD, LMFT, RPT-S, is the Founder of StoryPlay® model, a resiliency-focused Ericksonian model of play therapy, and she teaches worldwide. She is the recipient of the 1997 Annual Play Therapy International Award. She authored Therapeutic Metaphors for Children and the Child Within (2nd ed.); Reconnecting to the Magic of Life; Butterfly Wisdom: Four Passages to Transformation.

When asked about why this chapter is so meaningful, Danielle Woods said, "StoryPlay® and nature offer ways to reach people, young and old, and allow them to discover what they need to let go of the dark spaces. I’m mostly retired from counseling now, but I bring these bits of neuroscience, metaphor, and nature to my family, to my friends, and to some of the groups where I volunteer as a facilitator. It’s been amazing to see how one or two sessions - based on strength-focused metaphor, and using objects from nature- activate healing."

Danielle Woods, MC, NCC, LPC, LISAC is a StoryPlay® facilitator and director of Faith Works, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a Certified Mental Health and Integrated Medicine Provider and a “Working with Parents in Recovery” coach. She co-authored the chapter “Touch in StoryPlay®,” in Touch in Child Counseling and Play Therapy, an Ethical and Clinical Guide. She offers gratitude to Joyce Mills for allowing her to partner in creating this chapter together.

Be sure to get your copy of Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies and register for your packet of downloadable handouts that accompany the book over on our HOME PAGE.

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