Thursday, February 21, 2008

Child Psychiatry, Ping Pong, Paper Planes and Toys

When commenting on my Golf and Health blog, a reader mentioned Ping Pong as a hobby. You will be surprised to learn that the child psychiatrist in my book The Cockroach Catcher used the game as a therapeutic tool in several of his cases, e.g. in the chapter “Ping Pong” concerning a boy who allegedly had social phobia:

“…The scene was set for a three game match between the consultant and his patient to decide if his patient could go for a short week-end leave.

Even the headmaster came out to watch, shaking his head in disbelief.

It was spring, still cold but sunny. The sun was streaming in. I lost the first game. I had not played for fifteen years. I took off my jacket. I barely managed the second. That brought some cheers…”

and in the chapter “Wrong Foot” concerning a boy with a limp:

“…One day I was having a game with him after lunch and noticed that he was limping on the wrong foot. So before my next serve, I said to him: Tommy, wrong foot. He saluted me and said thanks and went back to limping on his right foot again….”

In another chapter, paper planes came into play with a mute boy:

a paper plane

“…Paper plane.

I hit on the idea of my faithful friend.

I built one, then two. He had one and I had the other. They flew, made beautiful loops, did aerobatics and he was thoroughly enjoying it.

I sensed that he wanted to take them home to show his dad….”

Of course the child psychiatrists had a wide selection of “proper” toys too, so much so that:

“….One little boy once observed, “Do you live here, Dr Zhang? It must be fun, with so many toys to play with.”….”

Buy the book: The Cockroach Catcher

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