Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Incorporating InterPlay into my social work

Dear friends,

The "mascot" that greeted me in the classroom

I have been a social worker for over 17 years (really all my life if you ask my parents) and one of the things I do is prepare foster care and adoptive parents to get ready to have kids in their homes.  I have been teaching the classes that these parents need (to meet minimum standards in TX) mostly the same way for the past 12 years.  We talk about things like attachment, grief and loss, behavior management, planning for change, etc.

This past Saturday I was in TX to teach Behavior Management.  Since I have been going through the Interplay Leader training and had just completed a leader weekend with +Phil Porter I decided that it would be a great time to incorporate some of what I had learned.

To begin the class instead of the regular seated introductions I had the class meet me in the back of the room in a big circle.  I introduced the concept of deep breathing and releasing the breath with a sigh and tied it in to self-regulation in children and noticing our body data. 

I facilitated a round of "I could talk about..." with the person saying their name and I could talk about...."  One of the participants said his name and said he could talk about theater - BIBO - I totally relaxed and knew this was going to be great!

The beautiful Texas Sky
We ended up doing four rounds of this "game" before we went into the warm-up.  After we finished the warm up and sat back down in our seats to begin the official training I talked about how children who have been through trauma often times are "out" of their bodies since they felt unsafe and the warm up is a safe and great tool for them to get in touch with their own body data and body wisdom.

One of the things I cover in behavior management is the skill empathetic listening. After lunch instead of just talking about it I guided the group through babbling.  It was a great series where they babbled about adoption, leisure time and free time.  They noticed with their second/third partners and then with the whole group.  The responses were very positive and the group enjoyed being heard.

Isn't being heard such a simple thing?  And it is so powerful!  I have taught this for over 17 years and I truly felt like they understood the concept and could apply it with their future children after using the Interplay form of babbling.

Interplay is such a simple and powerful tool.  I have been using it in my own life now for over 10 years (thanks to +Sheila K Collins) and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share it with others.

Flowers from EarthSprings where I did InterPlay the first time

I enjoyed incorporating it in with my Social Work and seeing it make a fun difference in this training and thought it might be fun to share the experience with you.  I look forward to exploring new ways to include it in my trainings!

Where have you incorporated InterPlay in your work life?  I'd love to hear about them!

Wrapping you around with infinite love and playful delight,

Christine Gautreaux, LMSW
"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises & hopes… but no plans." - Peter Drucker 


  1. Christine as a fellow InterPlayer and one who is also training to be a leader, I appreciate what you have written here about integrating the tools of InterPlay into your professional work. When I think about how meaningful it was to the adoptive parents you worked with and their relationships to their children, I am so grateful.

  2. Those were lucky people who got to participate in your training! What a gift your thoughtful and creative leading is!

  3. Beautiful, Christine! I can just imagine being a part of that group and the experience being very meaningful. Thank you for bringing body awareness and wisdom to others!

    1. Thanks Ella! I am enjoying incorporating Interplay with my work and creating something "new"!

  4. Hi Christine,
    This blog is inspiring. Hoorah, for you and InterPlay. Last Friday I used the babbling and three-sentence story in the Reforming Arts creative writing session, and some women were able to relax and let go of their feeling of intimidation surrounding the work. Celebrating more to come. Lynn

    1. So exciting Lynn!!! I love that you used it too - I sure missed you gals last Friday!