A cup of hot cocoa and a bedtime story
All we need is Red cocoa!
The life of Dóra Soós has been centered on children and tales so far. She has worked in several places, including “Kesztyűgyár”, the Burattino School in Csepel, the Tűzoltó Street Children’s Clinic, the Blue Point, the Odeon cinema, the “Pagony” Bookshop, and her longest and oldest experiences are related to the Noha Studio and Creative Workshop where she was both an organizer and a trainer.
As a children’s psychodramatist, she’s been working with minors for 15 years – this is why she created the blog “Red cocoa” about 3 years ago, where she talks about her job and her everyday life. But what is Red cocoa exactly? According to Dóra: “We make some noise, hide the treasure, compost, and do headstands; we get absorbed in things, watch movies in our outdoor cinema, build bunkers, and find what’s best for everyone. We construct giant board games, go on discovery trips, explore the city’s gateways, observe things that come in all sizes: small, middle, big. We play hide-and-seek in fairy tales, waste some time, do experiments and examinations, call others to adventure, and tie the threads together.”
Red cocoa is a comprehensive brand collecting all those activities that have been created by Dóra: psychodrama groups for children, fairy tale therapy sessions, different camps (Storybook writing camp, Movie camp..) and workshops (Complex sunbathing, a.k.a. monthly investigation), and the protagonists are always the kids.
Psychodrama groups for children are open from October to May – these are very popular and there seems to be a high demand for them. Those who apply come to her with various problems; some of them want to get rid of the week’s stress, while others wish to participate in order to cope with the divorce of their parents, their grief, or their integration problems at school. In some cases, they want to learn how to deal with their anger, their lack of confidence, or they join the group due to a longer hospital stay.
Camps and events
During the workshops, Dóra combines the elements of children’s psychodrama and fairy tale therapy. She pays special attention to everyone while allowing children to discover themselves, their abilities, and to make surface their hidden talents. Some find their voice through drawing or writing, others turn out to be great editors, thus contributing to the whole. The most important thing is to turn all this into a huge common experience.
The activities are very effective, and the changes achieved are perceptible in everyone’s case, but the “big step” means something different for every child. “For example, if a little girl is incapable of being something other than a princess, it is already a huge achievement for her if she has the courage to come out of her castle. It is possible that it will take half a year until she dares to or is able to come out in reality as well. The aim is not that everyone defeat the dragon."
The healing power of tales and paintings
The therapy group called “Painting tale” started two years ago. Its central element is the use of famous works of fine art which are turned into tales with magical power to help children get away from the barrenness of reality and heal by benefiting from these images.
The project is running as part of the MOL Healing Children Program, within the framework provided by the New Europe Foundation, in cooperation with “Játszóház Foundation”, and its target group is composed of the children hospitalized at the department of oncology of the 2nd Department of Pediatrics, Semmelweis University. In this case, Dóra uses two methods: art therapy and psychodrama for children. She wanted to establish a complex program in which every child can find the most suitable way of facing their problems and which is based on a strong backbone – paintings proved to be a good idea. The most important goal is to dissolve children’s anxiety and strengthen their self-confidence during the long hospital stay and to let them spend a happy and carefree hour with the others.
Written by Zsófia
Translated by Mária Kenesei
We thank Dóra Soós for the photos.