The Magic Key
One of the Projective Drawing Strategies developed by
Dr Crenshaw is The Magic Key (Crenshaw, 2004, Crenshaw & Mordock, 2005).
The therapist gives the following instructions to the
Imagine that you have been given a magic key that
opens one room in a huge castle. There are four floors in the castle and
since the castle is huge there are many rooms on each floor, but your
magic key only opens one of the many, many rooms in the castle. So
pretend you go from room to room, and from floor to floor, trying your
magic key in each door until you finally come to the door that your key
opens. You turn the key and the lock opens. Because this is a magic key
that only opens this door, what you see is the one thing that has always
been missing from your life—the one thing you always believed would make
you happy. Pretend that you are looking into the room. What is it
that you see? What is that one thing that has been missing that you
always believed would make you happy? When you have a clear picture,
please draw it as best you can.
Not surprising in this highly consumer oriented
culture, is that children often draw a big screen or flat panel TV. Some
children, however, draw the missing or deceased parent, a safe home they
never experienced, or a family where the parents don’t argue so often.
They draw a home they always longed for, one which is sadly missing in
their lives. This projective drawing strategy can be very useful with
children whose lives are replete with loss. Many severely aggressive
children have suffered profound, multiple losses. When we dare to see
what there is to see, when we are receptive to hear what there is to be
heard, underneath the gorilla suit (aggressive acting-out) we will often
findnot simply a “bad kid” but a vulnerable, in many cases, traumatized
child (Crenshaw & Hardy, in press).
© Copyright 2004 by David A.
Crenshaw, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Crenshaw, D. A. (2004). Engaging resistant children
in therapy: Projective drawing and storytelling strategies, in The Child
and Family Therapy Guidebook Series, Volume One, J. B. Mordock, (Ed.).
Rhinebeck: NY: Rhinebeck Child and Family Center Publications.
Crenshaw, D. A. & J.B. Mordock (2005). Handbook of
play therapy with aggressive children. New York: Jason Aronson (An
imprint of Rowland & Littlefield Publishing Co).
Crenshaw, D. A. & Hardy. K. V. (in press). Fawns in
gorilla suits: Understanding and treating the aggression and violence of
traumatized children in child welfare. In N. W. Boyd (Ed.), Helping
traumatized children and youth in child welfare: Perspectives of mental
health and children’s services practitioners. New York: Guildford Press.