A Radio Show … For Real

Pretending to host a radio show is my favorite Play Therapy technique. And now I have the chance to do it for real.

reel to reelIt started in 1970 with my father’s reel-to-reel tape recorder.  The thrill of that device was intoxicating and addictive … surpassing by far the allure of any toy. From the living room floor, I’d “broadcast” countless hours of shows. Commenting upon momentary whims, meditating on the arrival of my grandparents, singing self-authored songs, interviewing  family members. Beseeching my grandfather to record a bedtime story, preserved for posterity.

And along the way I grew up,  preserving detailed recollections of my development ~ emotional, social, physical and cognitive. Those recollections keep me close to the child mind, fostering insights that assist me today as a Clinical Child Psychologist and Play Therapist.

A Play Therapist must be a flexible, creative creature with a diverse collection of tools. The top of one’s head is often a rich source of inspiration. And one day, from that very location, an idea struck me ~ an impulse rooted in my own childhood play.

A reticent sensitive young boy on the Autistic spectrum was having a hard time settling into in therapy. Until I handed him a microphone.

microphoneIt was not a real microphone – but it was real enough to him. He took the wooden ruler in his hand and began to disclose the observations of his mind and yearnings of his heart to an imaginary audience. “Callers” ~ kids and adults, in as many accents as I could devise ~ requested his sage advice. The “Dr. Beth Show” became our therapy modality as I witnessed his coping efforts advance with grace and confidence. “The Show” became a dependable play therapy tool which has helped many child clients since.

So, when the VoiceAmerica.com Talk Tadio Network contacted me, I was incapacitated by laughter. Soon thereafter, incredulity morphed into musings ~ and musings into a clear vision. I began to imagine a child psychology program that could inform and support parents of young children wherever they are.  With delight, I accepted invitation to host a weekly radio show.


Child Psych Central: Discover the KidBrain will launch December 11th at 10AM PST on VoiceAmerica.com. 

The show will feature my discussions with child mental health experts, local, national and international. We’ll cover issues that cross my desk weekly in my clinical practice.  My guests and I will explore early childhood conditions, issues and services to inform parents in an in-depth, accessible way.  I will ask my expert guests questions I believe parents would ask if they were in studio with me.

Find it on the Health & Wellness channel. Podcasts will be available on  iTunes and social media outlets. My Facebook and Twitter feed will feature guests and links to every episode. This blog will also feature guests and show topics to help you find resources for your family.

Please join me for the launch of Child Psych Central: Discover the KidBrain! Catch it on December 11th at 10AM Pacific on VoiceAmerica.com. Pretending was great fun – but I know this will be even more.  Hearty thanks to my colleagues, friends and client families for their advance support. Tune in – this time, for real!







Tuesday 3:58 pm ~ The Moment Before Play


Tuesday 3:58
Every play therapist knows this moment,
right before the child bursts in – 
we send up a few intentions,
something like these … 

Away papers, away email, away almighty phone.
HE IS HERE, all peals and squeals, with a cheek-breaking smile,
awash in giggles deep and rippling,
body bursting with the joy of movement.  

The intersection of adultworld and childland.
It is time to cross the street.
A path clears, a space opens;
Every pull and press of the day sweeps aside.
An empty desktop am I, ready for work and only this work.

Farewell, logic; I have no need of you this hour.
You will only impede my path,
a puppy at my ankles.  Sit.

Agenda, hold your horses; 
I may use or abandon you.
If this child brings something else I must follow, then follow I will.

Patience, hover near
 and help me.
Long moments may linger before the curtains part.
Keep me attentive, unhurried, alert, and present
lest I miss the moment.

Child, take my hand
, take my brain.
Take me back, I cannot get there without sweet you.
Show me how, show me why;
Show me the missing puzzle piece, right before my eyes.

Make me soft enough to trust
, real enough to tell.
May this space provide enough places in which to hide,
enough corners from which to reveal oneself.
Let me recognize The Invitation and accept it gently
if it arrives.

– Beth Onufrak

The photo above was taken in my office playroom on a sunny Phoenix winter afternoon.
The child’s white board drawing of a flower and heart is labeled, “You can bloom.”