CHILD-CENTERED PLAY THERAPY
WHAT IS PLAY THERAPY?
- Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. It is typically utilized with children ages 3-12.
- Children don’t always have the ability or desire to express themselves with words. Play therapy allows children to communicate through play, which is their natural form of communication.
- Carefully selected toys are used to help children express their thoughts, feelings, and wishes.
- The unique, empathic responses of a trained play therapist help a child feel accepted and gain self-awareness, which often lead to positive changes, such as an increase in self-confidence and self-control.
WHY DOES MY CHILD NEED PLAY THERAPY?
- To cope with social and emotional issues at home and school, such as disruptive behaviors, divorce, loss of a loved one, abuse, adoption, chronic illness, depression, anxiety, etc.
- No child is too young to be affected by the stresses of life.
- Getting help now can prevent greater problems from developing in the future.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM PLAY THERAPY?
- You will be expected to participate in ongoing parent consultations to receive and provide feedback.
- During the therapy time, all thoughts, feelings, and most actions of the child are accepted, within consistent, clearly defined limits.
- The therapist will not pressure the child to disclose information about his/her life or a traumatic incident.
- Children are allowed to work through their problems at their own pace according to their individual needs.
- Working through issues in play therapy can be painful and emotional. It is common for children to display an increase in acting-out behaviors at home after play therapy sessions. This can be a sign that their time in therapy is being spent productively. It is best to continue therapy until these unwanted behaviors subside.
- Play therapy can be messy, so please dress your child in play clothes.
WHAT TO TELL YOUR CHILD ABOUT PLAY THERAPY
- Say that he/she will be coming to a special playroom with a nice grown-up who has a lot of fun toys.
- In general terms, briefly explain why he/she is coming. Ex: “Things have seemed difficult for you at home (or school), and sometimes it helps to have a special place to play with a special person.”
- You may also tell your child that it is OK to talk about anything in the playroom.
- Please don’t pressure your child to talk.
AFTER EACH SESSION
- When asked about his/her therapy sessions, your child may say, “We just played.” Please understand that the time your child spends in play therapy is powerful and not the same as simply playing at home.
- It is important that your child does not feel pressured to give you an account of what happens in the play therapy room because this could prevent him/her from feeling comfortable enough to participate in certain therapeutic activities or discussions that he/she might find embarrassing to discuss outside of the sessions.
- If your child brings artwork from the session, it is best not to evaluate his/her art either positively or negatively. Avoid offering praise, such as, “That’s beautiful!” Focus on how your child feels about his/her art, and describe what you see, without labeling. Ex: “You covered the page with blue and black marker.”
Therapy is a process, and change will occur over time. Therefore, be patient, and trust the process.
Follow these links to learn about the extensive research that supports the efficacy of play therapy:
To schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our Registered Play Therapist, please contact Mendy Landreth at 817-873-2305.