Meet Practicum Student of the Month: Kelvyanne

“When our society is so focused on outcomes, it’s healthy and de-stressing to be silly at times.”

JULY 5, 2019
Kelvyanne Teoh

Hello, I’m Kelvyanne from Singapore. I’ve been a therapist since 1999 when I graduated with my Masters in Counselling from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. After graduation I worked at Remuda LIFE, a residential facility in Chandler Arizona treating teens and women with eating disorders, anxiety and depression. I missed having family nearby and returned home to Singapore where I joined Morning Star Community Services as a counsellor in 2001. In my years here I have encountered many individuals and families who have gifted me with their trust in our therapeutic relationship and I consider my journey with them a very sacred one.

I grew up with three siblings and parents who were both working. Being the youngest I did feel at times lonely and yearned for more time with the family. I wish we had Theraplay then! In our very much performance-driven society, a great emphasis is placed on success at work and at school. Relationships can become functional and the three questions parents often ask their children on a daily basis are: “Have you had your lunch?”, “Have you taken your bath?” and “Have you finished your homework?” Work and school schedules can leave the family with limited pockets of time and when there are tasks to be done, that takes priority. So bonding and building positive attachment are more important now than ever. In an article published in June titled Adolescent Connectedness and Adult Health Outcomes by Steiner et al., the authors found that “Compared to individuals with low scores for each type of connectedness, having high levels of both school and family connectedness was associated with 48% to 66% lower odds of health risk behaviours and experiences in adulthood, depending on the outcome.” It’s an exciting time for us to experience the amazing power of Theraplay interventions. When our society is so focused on outcomes, it’s healthy and de-stressing to be silly at times. I feel joy each time a child gets up to hug a parent in session and when they can play and laugh together. It’s heartwarming to see a father and son go outside to play hide and seek after a session knowing that they can have these playful moments beyond the sessions.

My organisation has been grateful to have Donna Gates train 36 practitioners in March and April of this year in level 1 and still there were people on the waiting list! There have been requests for peer learning opportunities as well. Personally, I have found that it’s not easy using the Theraplay principles to its full potential in practise and I would be totally lost without supervision. There is so much I can miss when I’m in the middle of a session and that’s why the videos are so valuable. Parents find it so helpful as well and a mother who was quite discouraged felt so touched and affirmed when she saw the wonderful moment of connection and how much her boy loved her. I have just completed my level 2 training and am undergoing the intermediate practicum. I find Theraplay to be quite a unique modality and truly experiential in nature. It allows me to hone my therapeutic skills to a high level and receive an equally highly structured way of support in doing so. I look forward to journeying with more families in the future.


This article was originally published in The Theraplay® Institute website on 5 July 2019

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