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Dibs In Search Of Self

            In most cases, play therapy is used to observe the acts of a child. Doctor Axline used play therapy with Dibs to help him feel more comfortable. In the room she could have observed him and how he interacted with the items. If she were in her office, she might not have had any luck in helping him. The environment of a play therapy room must be familiar to the patient. The room would have to contain materials for the child to play with. The room described in the book had a sandbox, dollhouse, paints, and various other toys. The dollhouse was used to simulate Dibs" home life. He could speak through the dolls without having to entirely open up. The paints let him express his feelings without having to use words. Before Dibs was in play therapy he did not have a good relationship with his parents. Doctor Axline immediately picked up on that when she met with Dibs" mother. His mother identified him as being "mentally retarded." Doctor Axline discovered how Dibs" insensitive parents treated him when he was playing with the dollhouse. He observed that all the doors and windows on the house were closed. He began to repeatedly say "No closed doors," in a harsh voice. Doctor Axline later understood that Dibs" father would send him to his room and lock the door. This was Dibs" punishment for not being able to act and talk like a "normal" child. Dibs" father was very impatient with him while his mother tried her hardest to help him. When Dibs" was in play therapy he had more freedom than he had at his home. Doctor Axline let him be himself without being disciplined for it. This made him open up to her. She was no longer a stranger to him. She was someone he felt that no matter when he did around her, he would never get in trouble for doing it. This helped Dibs in becoming more open about his feelings and emotions. He was more enjoyable at home. His parents commented on how he would talk with them without throwing a fit.

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