Superheroes and Disney in Play Therapy

This one day workshop provides and introduction into using Superheroes and Disney in therapeutic work with children. The facilitator has seen, first hand, how children have used these metaphors in Play Therapy. She will share her experiences on the beautiful ways in which children can heal and use the power of these wonderful characters and stories, such as The Lion King, Inside Out, Wonder Woman, Batman and so many others. This will be an experiential workshop exploring the roles of Superheroes in Therapy and discovering our own Hero’s Journey.

Superheroes have captured the imagination of millions all over the world. Three years after the introduction of Superman, psychoanalysts Lauretta Bender and Reginald Lourie (1941) explored the appeal and constructive therapeutic applications of superhero’s in clinical work with children. They discovered that as a mythological and folkloric icon, the superhero had a definite place in the play room by helping children to deal with the real dangers of the world. Children use superheroes for personal protection, as a barrier against antisocial behaviour, as an ego ideal and a problem solver.

The most defining and recognizable feature of the superhero is his or her unique gift and commitment to using it for the greater good – whether present at birth, acquired through accident, or learned through intensive training. The superhero understands that their talents and powers are used for the good of others as well as themselves. Most superheroes dedicate their powers and their lives to a calling, often sacrificing material pursuits, family bonds, and romantic ties to fight villains or uphold the greater good.

Using superheroes in the playroom can help children in a number of ways just as superheroes have origin and transformation myths, clients both young and old continually attempt to understand their own origin. Superheroes are transformed by circumstances beyond their control, so too, are clients altered by life events and traumatic experiences that include abuse, separation, illness, loss and relocation.

It is this universal attraction of the superhero with which children everywhere readily identify. Children wear Spiderman costumes, Batman T-shirts, sleep on Woodie’s pillow, and head to the cinema to see the latest superhero movie, all in an effort to achieve power. Children in therapy often feel disempowered. Knowing they need outside help can often intensify this feeling. Children need heroes while they are processing difficult circumstances.

The day will provide rich learning in a fun, interactive way and will enhance skills and confidence for those in attendance.


Edel Lawlor
Qualifications:MA Psychotherapy and Play Therapy

Edel is the founder and Director of Expressive play, a child and adolescent therapy centre. Edel has over 20 years experience working in a variety of therapeutic support roles with both children and adults. Edel has an a MA in Psychotherapy and Play Therapy and has also trained in Sandplay Therapy, Art Therapy, Puppetry and Social Care. She has a unique blend of experience in a variety of roles including; play therapy, integrative psychotherapy, family therapy, parent support and teaching. Edel is a highly skilled, and natural, therapist and trainer, she truly is a joy to learn from.

Edel teaches on our Level 6 Therapeutic Play Skills Certificate in Kerry and also designs and facilitates a range of our CPD training events. Edel specialises in facilitating workshops in our series of training events which support the diversification of practice by play therapists and other suitably qualified professionals, including teachers, psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists, early years teachers, family support workers and project workers.

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