How To Build A Lego Bad Dream Prison

Lego has recently launched the Big Emotions campaign, which encourages children to make their emotions out of Lego and pop them in a jar – so parents and carers can help them.

At the AoC Trust, we work with thousands of children to support their mental well-being, and using props such as Lego – also known as ‘play therapy’ – is an area our therapists have a lot of experience with.

We interviewed our Lead Therapeutic Clinician, Andrea Sprio, to understand how to build a Lego bad dream prison, her thoughts on the Lego Big Emotions campaign, and why play is such an important part of therapy. 

Watch: How To Build A Lego Bad Dream Prison Video

Lego Big Emotion Campaign

We managed to catch up with Andrea to ask for thoughts on the Lego Big Emotions campaign. 

“The prompts of ‘I’m making this because…’ are quite nice and really helpful in understanding how a child is feeling; however, ‘because this happened…’ might be a little too much for a very young child.”

Play isn’t just for children, though – objects and props are useful in therapy sessions for adults, too, Andrea added.

Why Is Play Important In Therapy?

“Therapy sessions that use objects like Lego allow children to play and make it easier to talk,” Andrea explained. 

“There is minimal eye contact, and using play to express feelings works as it becomes more open and natural. 

“You can also use characters for different emotions, too.”

How do clinicians use props or objects like Lego to help people?

“Play is used to reduce eye contact and make talking easier,” Andrea tells us. 

“The use of metaphors is also useful to describe a situation, and we use sand play, puppets and many other objects to discuss subjects that might be hard to talk about – regardless of age.”

How long does it take to train to be a play therapist?

It sounds great to play with Lego in a session with a child, but play therapists are highly qualified mental health professionals. 

It takes a minimum of six years to become a qualified play therapist as the play therapy qualification is a post-graduate course – so you already need a relevant degree before you start. 

The play therapy master’s degree takes three years to complete – you also need to be a registered clinician and have completed your placement under supervision before you can work with children.

Being able to unwrap what a child says to bring about a positive outcome is where therapists excel – it’s the questions of ‘what do you with what your child has said?’ that can be tricky.

Can you provide an example of where Lego has helped a child?

“Yes, I had a boy in a therapy session experiencing lots of bad nightmares.

“I used Lego as a tool to create a bad dream prison – it had a gate, a room, and guards outside. The boy took it home and trapped the dreams [Lego creations] inside. 

“The boy stopped having nightmares, and we later discussed why we trap dreams and created a Lego monster to eat the bad dreams.” Andrea Sprio

Watch: How To Build A Lego Bad Dream Prison Video

Do you or does someone you know need therapy? If so, the AoC Trust can help with no waiting list due to having over 30 trained therapeutic clinicians. Email support@theaoc.org.uk or call 01384211168 for more information.

Not ready yet? Meet Andrea Sprio, our Lead Therapeutic Clinician at the AoC Trust.