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When LEGO Sets Became a Therapy Tool During My Son’s Counseling Sessions

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My little one, J, visits a counselor once a week. During these visits, he and his counselor build a small LEGO set. Then, during the coming sessions, they tear the set apart and rebuild it as something else. Once they have completed all possible constructions with the LEGO sets, the counselor gives J the set and purchases a new one for them to work on. Sometimes it takes a few months for J to take the set home, and sometimes he takes it home within a few sessions.

Initially, my husband and I thought the LEGO construction sessions were attempts at earning J’s trust (not an easy task) and connecting with him on his terms. We thought her methods were a kind and clever approach to connecting with our son before they started their “actual” counseling. Only later did we learn that the counselor’s attempt to “connect” was the “actual” counseling.

From a very young age, my little one has had a difficult time asking for help when he’s overwhelmed. Instead, his fight-or-flight instincts wrestled for dominance. Asking for help in a socially acceptable and constructive way can be a challenge for him at times. His counselor, being both educated and intuitive, realized this quickly and began to work on a therapy plan that would entice my son’s interest while helping him learn this skill. She did this with the help of LEGO sets.

Each week, she and my son work on LEGO sets. When he becomes distressed or angry — his general signs of needing help — his counselor stops the sessions, and they discuss what he’s feeling and how he should react, based on those feelings. This has helped my little one become more self-aware of his feelings and his reactions to those feelings during stressful times. This has been beneficial in many aspects of his life, and his success in this situation is related to the personalized counseling he has received over the past year. Who would have thought something as simple as LEGO sets could have such a positive impact?

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Originally published: January 18, 2017
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