As a counsellor I believe when we allow children and young people to engage in messy play we are metaphorically showing them that we can contain and accept their mess. Feelings and experiences can be messy and if we are not able, as adults, to contain the physical mess then how can we be trusted to hold the emotional messes that are held inside?
The messier the play the more satisfying it seems to be for some, especially for those who have experienced traumatic events in their young lives. The mess inside is sometimes too big to hold and the mess has to be expressed,
I can't see a better way for exploring the mess than with paint, glitter and glue. Of course I have to set boundaries and limits but I ensure that within those, mess can be expressed. I find mess making joyful, freeing, sensory and sometimes difficult to look at but an absolutely necessary part of my work and my life!