Child Counseling (Play Therapy)

“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 acting out at school or home? Does your child have issues expressing their feelings? Have they recently been through a life-changing experience or trauma? They may benefit from Play therapy, which can help children deal with many problems or issues they are experiencing.

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 solve problems and better understand the world around them. Play therapy is a way to help your child communicate what they are unable to verbalize in words what is troubling them.

What is Play therapy?

Play Therapy is a natural way in which children communicate. Play therapy is structured differently than talk therapy. Think of play as children’s language, and the toys are the child’s words. In the playroom, toys are carefully selected to ensure children can express themselves emotionally or creatively while in a comfortable environment. During play therapy, your child will feel understood and 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 allows 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 adult’s counseling session is not shared.

Your Play Therapist will meet with the child’s parent or guardian 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.)