Monday, June 21, 2010

Carol Chrysler, Early Childhood Clinician and Art Therapist made this statement about PlayPals:

"I have been using the PlayPals in my clinical practice for several years. I work with children birth to 6 years old and use play therapy with them regularly. Most of the kids I work with have some kind of behavior issue or have experienced trauma, abuse, or some other significant negative experience that has affected their life. In the play therapy room, children really respond to the size and softness of the PlayPals. They are about the same size as some kids! The children not only like to just be with them, but also use them to express themselves and their experiences through play. One thing I like best about the dolls is the rich and soulful expressions on their little faces. I believe this can help the children to explore a fuller range of feelings and meaningful experience, that it's OK to feel whatever they're feeling even if it's sad or angry or scared. The PlayPals are a valuable, integral part of our play therapy room environment. I even have a couple of dolls at home just because I enjoy them so much."

Carol Chrysler, LPC, ATR-BC
Early Childhood Clinician/Art Therapist
San Luis Valley Mental Health Center

Carol, thank you from EC Hanson and PlayPals!
Signing off,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Evolution.......playpals change and grow

This is Dolly.......the original PlayPal! I made Dolly 21 years ago for my daughter the year before we moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania; I made one for my son too. My idea was to have a friend to keep them company since we were traveling in tandem.......three vehicles. The kids were little, 7 and 4 years old. It was a big change going from a neighborhood to the middle of "no where". It was such a change that the "little friend" would give them someone to hug on the journey.

I wanted you to see how far PlayPals have come in their evolution. So here goes. After our journey to Colorado we visited the next few summers just to give the kids something to look forward to. It was on one of those trips that I made a small bunch of dollies for one of my sisters' grand kids. They were somewhat larger but a little scary. I was then making the faces 3D and it was a bit primitive. It was on one of these visits that one of my other sisters who happens to be a "play therapist" asked me to make some for her playroom and office. The picture you see here are those first dolls.

These are the beginning of a fairly large collection she has in her playroom in Carlisle, PA. Cindy is owner operator of The Beech Street Program. She is quite an accomplished play therapist, family therapist, and filial trainer. She recently won the Guerney Award! A big honor which was given to her this month in Indiana, PA at the Pennsylvania Play Therapy Association yearly conference. This is what Cin has to say about PlayPals.

"PlayPals" have been staples in all of my playrooms and offices since their inception. Over the past 15 years I have amassed a collection of different ages, skin tones, expressions, and outfits.
They have been heavily used in both directive play therapy sessions as well as child centered sessions and offer our child clients opportunities for therapeutic work in many thematic areas. they have been used to work on nurturance, aggression, trauma, victim perpetrator, good, evil, power, control, anxiety, loss, and family and relationship themes. These dolls have been given roles such as perpetrator, robber, victim, jury, police officer, sibling, baby, parent, and student. They are wonderful props that offer endless possibilities for creativity in children's play. They are artistically made, durable and can be easily cleaned. You would be lucky to won one."

This group of dolls was created for the 2001 a National Association for Play Therapy Conference held in Portland Oregon [I think, I've done a few of these conferences]. It was great fun and one of PlayPals and my first introductions to the public other than a call here and there from one therapist who had seen those dolls in Cindy's playroom.

This is Dr. Charles Schaefer who is a well known and respected authority on play therapy. He has written many books and trained huge numbers of people in the field. I met Dr. S at one of the international play therapy conferences and he gave me permission to use this photo. He was very happy with the dollies way back when. I am anxious for him to see the newer dolls this year in October at the 2010 International Association of Play Therapy Conference in Kentucky. This picture was taken, I believe in 2001 and this will be 9 years.................."Thanks Dr. S for your support!"

This little guy is now 16 and has tucked his dolls in a safe place for his day. They stood up to lots of love, hugs, and tosses!

Then and's been a long fun ride. In the past 15 years, I have created 734 dolls including the dolls I have begun creating for the upcoming conference; there will be more, you can count on that! I have sold 697. My hope is that every therapist has at least one doll and every child who finds themselves alone in a bed waiting for mom and dad to finish speaking with the doctor, has a doll beside them. I love making them, I hope you love seeing them and I wish you would all want to have one just because you want to give a hug!

Thanks for taking time to read this, I hope you have someone to hug:)

Signing off,
EC Hanson

Sunday, June 6, 2010

PlayPals reside in many places!

This Little Gal's Grandmother bought her a dolly at a fair in Colorado Springs! The next day, the daughter, mother of the baby came to the fair to tell me that she loved the dolly and that even though she cannot walk she drags it with her everywhere! Mom was very sweet and told me this with a big smile followed by a hug! Why I continue to make PlayPals:)

These two dolls are in Therese P.'s bag of tricks. She is a licensed professional counselor and goes into peoples homes because of her rural location. Here is what T has to say: "
I am a licensed counselor working in a rural area, which allows me to do a lot of therapy in people's homes, including play therapy with kids. I like bringing PlayPals along for this purpose--- they are versatile and portable. Kids (and adults) always have a reaction to PlayPals--- they are hard to ignore: They're big, with bright features. I bring them in and let people make their own decision about "who is this?' and "do I like it?" PlayPals are human-like and useful for role-plays--teaching healthy boundaries and other social skills. While they are non-threatening and super-soft and cuddly; they also have what I would term "neutral" expressions on their faces. Clients can project their own thoughts and feelings onto these dolls. I've seen the dolls tossed in the air, locked in the closet, hugged, thrown on the floor and punched, sat on--- you name it. The dolls are beautifully made, of good quality, durable, and can take what kids dish out. My first one has lasted for years and still looks great. Now I'm using two PlayPals together for twice the effect in my sessions.

As you can see, they reside in varied places but enjoy the love!

Thank you to T and to Katie for the shots and the kind words.

Signing out,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Colorado to LA to Portland & Home!

Maggie on the move from LA to Portland & the next good thing!

WOW! What an amazing country this is. It is beautiful and diverse. We recently traveled to LA to assist our sweet daughter on her move to Portland to begin a new job as a recent Masters Grad. Saying goodbye was sad but life goes on and so begins the move to her new life in the northwest.

What an adventure we had! Knowing that I would probably not go back to LA with her gone, I was careful to take in all the wonders and beauty of her little niche in LA. Everything was blooming [an allergy nightmare] but beautiful. Actually, I don't know why all the jokes were made about the fog and smog in LA because I've never been there when it wasn't sunny and lovely. Even the crowds this time were ok and kind of fun! Then off to San Fran. After a visit with my daughter's friend and family - finally meeting the infamous Connor T, we set our sights north to Portland. Before we left, the conversation was about route 5 being "boring but wait until you get to Oregon". Boring didn't come into play at was amaaaazing! The green and rolling hills were like non I've ever seen......the entire trip was one of such great beauty and awe that my husband and I were loving every minute of the trip. Our travel buddy Ollie [what a great companion] was sitting in his little travel bag [next to his girl] looking out the window also enjoying the view. I would recommend route 5 north to anyone, not so much traffic and the countryside was truly relaxing. Of course, we love 'seeing far' and those rolling hills and farmland WOW!

We got to Portland and the green was to die for! As an artist, I have used lots of color.......but I have never seen as many shades of green as in Portland. It is lush and the lush looks happy:) It wasn't too long before we discovered 'why' the lush looked happy........the rain showers were light and it was lovely. The first few showers were lovely.......the torrential downpour on our walk back to the apt. before starting home was hysterical. There were waves of water running off my brow into my eyes. I could barely see to walk across the street. We were drenched to our undies and had to change clothes just to jump into the car to head home. I found Portlanders to be very friendly except when standing on a corner in the one moved their umbrella to help ward off the downpour, not even a little......they hogged their dry area and averted eye contact but the three of us made it back to our darling's new little nest and dried off in time to begin the next leg of our journey home.
We drove along the Columbia river through the Dalles. What the heck is a Dalle? I should have paid more attention in geology class so I could understand a little bit about the amazing terrain in my own country. The natural regional differences in this country are huge and I have to say I have never [to date] seen anything such as this........along the Columbia river.
The green continued and the rocks were amazing but different from the cliffs and giant rock outcroppings in Colorado and New Mexico. There was almost nothing familiar on this trip. It was all wonderful and new to us. Besides the outstanding landscape, we saw huge windmill farms. It was great to see how some states are utilizing the power of the wind for energy. We stopped a few times to watch and listen. I had heard that wind farms create tons of noise and it would not be desirable to live close by.......we didn't hear a thing. BUT those wind turbines are huge; about two tractor trailer lengths or better and the paddles [probably not the correct word] are taller than my house!

Next state, Idaho! Another wonder, not as green but beautiful, open and mountainous [is that an oxymoron?], similar to Colorado but different. We didn't spend too much time in Idaho but we felt lucky to have traveled through a small part of it. We must have driven around Boise because I didn't see too many people or cars or houses.........they said on the map that Boise is the largest population in Idaho but we didn't see too much except for the mountains and the sky:) It must be a hard go in the winter with all the snow. I heard at lunch that jobs were scarce:(

We entered Utah! Also beautiful; mountains and open spaces, much more familiar, more like the Colorado Rockies. Still amazing to see. It was very curvy coming through that last leg after Moab. We did make a stop south of Provo to have a cup of coffee and a piece of pie with family! It was a wonderful stop and the company was great:) But we had a long way to go so we jumped back into the car and hit the road one more time. As I write this............... the rest of our trip is becoming a bit of a blur, at this point we were beginning to feel that we wanted to be home, pet the dogs, listen to the birds, and look at our mountains out our front window.

Nice, eh?

We had a lovely time and the beauty, as I've said repeatedly was too much for real description. We hear from our sweet girl that she loves the rain and the green and the people are very friendly. She has her own umbrella and is now never without it. There are markets close by with organic foods, the library is close, and the walk to work is a joy everyday.

Life is good. Back to work, weeding, and planting. My poor plants have been in my dinning room window waiting for the wind to die down. They are going into the garden today; I believe we have Summer!

Remind yourself as you drive to work or to your friends house, enjoy your landscape, smell the rain and the roses! Embrace the beauty of where you are, it's all around us and it is amazing.

Signing out,