Why Child Counseling (Play Therapy)?
At Allen Counseling Center, Play therapy is considered a main staple in our practice because it is a structured, theoretically-based approach to counseling that helps children communicate and process what they’re feeling in a way that is most comfortable for them in their developmental phase of life. Registered Play Therapists (RPT)s are strategic in the way they utilize their toys and play area so as to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings.
The action of play is the expression of emotion; “the toys are the words and play is the language (Landreth, 2002).” Play therapy helps promote a positive relationship between therapist and child, and the therapist can provide a corrective emotional experience while promoting cognitive development and helping a child with their inner conflicts and dysfunctional thinking.
Believe it or not, people of all ages, including teens and adults, enjoy play. We forget how powerful and creative the mind is, and playing helps process in a way that words can never quite grasp meaning of.
Isn’t Play Therapy Just for Young Children?
Children express what they feel while playing because they don’t yet have the cognitive ability to “talk through” issues the way teens and adults do. Playing gives children a safe outlet to experience feelings and think thoughts which are difficult and hard to reach. Seeing a Child Counselor is a great way to get children to “talk.”
Child counseling is a great way to get children act out difficult feelings and thoughts in an order to develop a greater understanding of them. This doesn’t make sense for adults because we have the ability to problem-solve and rationally think through our issues, but children don’t process what bothers them the same way. In play therapy, we meet them where they’re comfortable and help them work through what is bothering them.
Children and teens (and even adults!) lose themselves in play. Whether in the sand box, through a puppet show, or with a one-of-a-kind art masterpiece, emotional expression is realized through play. Most children who are between the ages of 3 to 13 enjoy the play room. The older kids (13 to 17) may enjoy some play or art within their talk therapy session.