Talking Beans

What are those?
Are those beans?
What are they for?
Can I touch them?

One can learn a lot about a child by watching them play. Play gives us a glimpse into the thought process, emotions, relationships and the way they organise and put things together. With beans, even a teenager or adult can “sort things out” with beans, sand and other materials.  Beans make a good medium for tea parties, hide and seek, play ground play, imaginative water, etc. In fact, beans can bring comfort to all ages. Children who don’t feel like they have a voice or have trouble sharing their thoughts and feelings often find themselves running their hands through the field of beans. The same goes for teenagers. Little ones, of course want to play with the beans, which provides a great opportunity to evaluate self-control, adherance to limits and their depth of imagination or level of organization.

Beans are awesome!

The video shown here represents a variety of bean benefits! An older adolescent, actually, a young adult, worked out many complicated issues in her sessions week after week while sorting beans. This person successfully sorted out ALL of the kidney beans, sorting on many levels!

It is so curious to children to come to their therapy session and notice that something has happened involving the beans. It gives children and teens a real sense of commonality with others as well as insight. They come to learn that some people think like they do and some think differently, and it’s all ok.

They learn that, while I may share something about the “beans,” I won’t “spill the beans.” They can trust that I will keep their confidence, just like I keep the confidence of the last “bean worker.” As you see in the video, a young person is re-mixing the kidney beans. This young person, being someone who really struggles with self-control and had been held back for weeks from mixing the beans that had been sorted out. We shared such a delightful moment when she was finally permitted to “mix!” Timing is so important, but relationship is more!

So the cycle will continue when many young people come in this week and discover the new state of the beans!

Tracy Lamperti, Psychotherapist, Educator, Consultant