CHESAPEAKE, Va. — It’s not always easy for children to communicate how they feel.
Suzanne Davis, a licensed professional counselor, says sometimes it takes a dollhouse, board games, or even action figures.
“It’s a way to express, essentially what’s happening internally within a child," Davis said. "And through the toys, they communicate what’s happening. So the play itself becomes, in a way, their communication.”
Davis is a registered play therapist in Chesapeake. As her title suggests, she uses toys and art to help kids work through their thoughts and emotions.
The past year hasn’t been easy for a lot of people, and children aren’t exempt. Lately, she’s seen a lot of children struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“How do you understand something that you can’t see?” Davis asked. “I’m seeing a lot of anxiety and even depression."
Davis wanted to do something to help. During the pandemic, while juggling telehealth visits and law school, she wrote a children’s book.
“I wanted to create a character that symbolizes something where children can project those emotions and feelings," Davis said.
The book is called: "When Rona Visited My Town."
Davis said it’s a story that can help children understand what’s going on and overcome their worries.
“The closing of school, parents losing their jobs, and so forth, and how to navigate that," Davis said.
In addition to the story, the book has interactive worksheets to help children visualize their problems and communicate how they feel about the pandemic.
She said it’s about validating children’s feelings and giving them a sense of control over something that may be hard to understand, so they can better connect with others.
“I was inspired to encourage and empower children and to validate the experiences that they have gone through because of COVID-19," Davis explained.
The book is available for purchase online through amazon.com.
You can also purchase it via her publisher's online book store.
Davis runs her practice, Davis Counseling & Play Therapy Center, in Chesapeake on South Military Highway.