What is play therapy?
Play is a primary way children communicate. Play Therapy is research based and proven to help children increase their ability to know and communicate feelings, improve behavior at school and at home and increase self-concept. It has been proven to decrease anxiety, fears, depression and PTSD.
Therapists trained in play therapy approaches provide an environment where children can explore, express and integrate experiences. Children are not able to verbalize their feelings the way most adults can – therapy happens through play. Through the therapists skillful facilitation, the play becomes a vehicle of healing for the child and often leads to a reduction in distress, acting out and withdrawal. In play therapy, the relationship with the therapist becomes a “safe enough” place for the child to recreate situations that are linked to their fears, shame, worries or anger.
What happens in a play therapy session?
Play therapy involves the child having the freedom to communicate their internal difficulties through play. It is not likely that these difficulties could be expressed verbally by the child. Every choice the child makes in the play is a step towards developing confidence and comfort with issues that were previously linked to acting out or withdrawal. Play therapy may involve imaginative play, use of toys in the room, sand in the tray or art and movement.
Who can benefit from Play Therapy?
Children who have experienced:
- Death in family
- Separation from caregivers
- School issues or social rejection
- Medical trauma or illness
- Recent move
- Recent marriage
- Trauma including neglect and abuse
- Exposure to community violence: direct or indirect
- Birth of baby
- Blended Family, Foster sibling or Adoption
- Difficulty transitioning
Children who might be described as:
- Separation Anxiety
- Easily Frustrated
- Frequently have nightmares
- Frequently sad or withdrawn
- Lack of interest in activities
- Difficulty with social skills
- Difficulty making, keeping, navigating friendships
Do you involve the parents?
In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, I offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each of my clients individual needs to help attain the personal growth they’re striving for. I meet initially with parents or caregivers to gather a comprehensive history, and together come up with a treatment plan.
Healing for a child involves the whole family. I enjoy working with families that share the belief that for this work to be truly successful, the family needs be engaged in the process of therapy. This may mean some sessions include more than one family member or at the least, the parent or caregiver would have time to speak with me about the work in the playroom. This is something we can talk more about depending on your situation. I offer parenting support on its own or as an adjunct to the play therapy.
When working with families with young children I draw from theories in Attachment Theories, Synergetic Play Therapy, Directive and Non Directive Play Therapy, Family Play Therapy, parenting support and strategies, and skill building. My work is strengths based and we discuss and set goals that align with your needs. Play may be a part of an individual therapy session or part of a family session. Whether you have young children or older children Play Therapy is distinctive therapeutic approach that focuses on the important need children have to express themselves though play. I also use body awareness and movement in sessions while cultivating a sense of safety in which exploration and discoveries are made.
Please call for your initial consultation 720-446-6706