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A Better Connection offers therapy

By Anna Erickson

Danielle Norby has been working with a unique kind of play therapy for children at her counseling office, A Better Connection Inc., in Park Rapids.

Norby is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

Her office is filled with toys and activities for children, including arts and crafts, a sand table, books and more. A variety of play therapy styles are used with young children to resolve trauma and encourage healthy brain development.

“In sand therapy, kids can create their own world and let go and resolve their issues by making connections,” she said as an example of play therapy.

Other examples of play therapy include drawing, coloring and art projects. Learning how to follow directions and break projects into smaller goals is helpful to some patients.

“Each person communicates differently,” Norby explained.

Using play therapy has worked well in reaching young children because their brain development is often at the emotional state, or limbic system, she explained.

During the first three to four years of life, the emotional brain is developing. This processes memory, emotions, responses to stress, nurturing, caring and more.

The frontal cortex, or the “good decision making” part of the brain, continues developing until 20 to 30 years of age.

Counseling in the traditional sense might work for adults but it’s more difficult for children, Norby said.

“Children don’t have a fully developed frontal cortex,” she said. “By using play therapy we are able to work with the emotional part of the brain.”

She received her undergraduate degree in social work at Minnesota State University Moorhead and graduate degree in clinical social work at the University of Saint Thomas/Saint Catherine’s University. She has worked in a variety of human service settings including county child protection, preschool and high school mental health day treatment, in-home therapeutic services, and outpatient therapeutic services in a center for community violence, as well as in private practice.

Norby also offers group counseling services and has worked with parents and adults. She receives referrals from a variety of sources for her services.

A Better Connection Inc., located at Frank White Education Center in Park Rapids, opened in November 2012.

The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment. For more information, go to www.abetterconnection or call 252-2785.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561