“For children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” -Fred Rogers
Why Play therapy?
Is your child experiencing problems with anger and maybe acting out at school or home? Does your child have problems expressing their feelings? Have they recently been through a life-changing experience or trauma? They may benefit from Play therapy which can help children to deal with many problems or issues that they experience in their daily lives.
Play Therapy is especially beneficial for children aged 3-12. By working with a play therapist, a trained mental health practitioner, the child can be helped to resolve problems and better understand the surrounding world. Play therapy is a way to help your child communicate what they are unable to verbalize in the world – to help us understand what is troubling them.
What is Play therapy?
Play Therapy is a natural way in which children communicate. Play therapy is structured differently than at home because it helps build on the natural learning and communication processes of children. Think of play as children’s language, and the toys are the child’s words. In the play room, toys are carefully selected to build to make sure children can effectively express themselves in an emotional or creative way in a comfortable environment. During play therapy, your child will feel understood an be accepted as they “play out” their reactions with a skilled play therapist.
How does Play therapy work?
Play Therapy can aid in the appropriate expression of thoughts and feelings. It allows the child to develop skills in communication and problem solving as well as building self assurance and self esteem. Play therapy will allow children to take responsibility for their actions or inner conflicts and modify their behavior appropriately. It helps develop empathy, respect for others, and allows for the development of greater communication skills when relating to others.
How long does play therapy take?
Typically, a play session will last 30-50 minutes and research suggests that usually 20 sessions will resolve the problems. However, your child’s play therapist will be able to discuss how much time a child will spend in therapy as this can be dependent on the child’s personality, their perception of an event or trauma and the severity of the trauma. With a few exceptions, all information within a play therapy session is kept confidential in the same way an adults counseling session is not shared.
Your Play therapist will meet with the child’s parent or carer to review general progress and answer any questions you may have about the themes that emerge during therapy. For example, if you have specific concerns regarding your child such as worries about abuse, the Play therapy sessions will allow the therapist to develop a positive relationship with your child where they can observe or gather pertinent information that will support or contradict your assumptions. (Excerpt from the Association for Play Therapy website. Click here for more information.)