Play therapy and the aggressive child

In my office I have a dolls house, which I use when I see children and their parents for therapy. I find it can produce valuable information about the psyche of the child. What is going on inside the child’s head at that time.  Some months ago I introduced four policemen dolls. I saw these in a  shop and wondered what responses they would get from a child. Of course a policeman could represent authority and power, just like a parent has over a small child.

Girls face

What is going on behind that nice conformist front?


They have proved to be very useful toys to observe what a chid does with them. Some view them in a protective role and others view them as dangerous and some wont even have them in the house.

The other day I had three sisters with their mother in a session. They are all quite conformist and polite girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 who played quietly by themselves in the doll house. On this occasion I spoke mainly with the mother but did interact with the children a bit.

After they left I was cleaning up and noticed they had broken both arms off one policeman. You can’t stick the arms back on, they are permanently broken! I tried pulling the arms off another and one has to use considerable force to do that. I am not worried about the cost as they were just cheap little things anyways but that has never happened before to any dolls house equipment that I can recall.

Dolls house




I know what the focus of the next session will be! Like who is leading and who is following? A child(ren) uses considerable force to pull the arms of authority. What would motivate a child to do that? I know this family quite well and I can understand what may be going on here. But this was done in complete silence by the three of them and there was no anger or aggression being expressed by any of them that I heard or noticed. 

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