What is child play therapy?
A strong sense of wellbeing is essential in order for children to thrive in all areas of their life including personally, relationally, and academically. Through play therapy, children are able to express and work through their difficult feelings, thoughts and experiences and find healthy ways to manage or let go of their struggles. During play therapy, children discover new, more beneficial ways of being.
Play therapy supports children to develop trust in themselves, trust in others, confidence, resilience, perseverance, a sense of responsibility and other qualities that will lead them to improved mental health and wellbeing.
Why PLAY therapy?
There are several reasons why using play is a developmentally appropriate way to work with children.
Firstly, because their language abilities are not yet fully developed, children are able to express more through play than they are able to with words.
Secondly, children generally don’t develop the ability to think abstractly until around the age of 11 or 12. Using toys gives children a tangible way to work through their experiences.
Thirdly, the world of play feels safe and so empowers children to explore difficult issues that feel too challenging to deal with in other ways, such as through direct conversation.
Can play therapy help my child?
Play therapy is suitable for children aged between 3 and 12 years of age. There is a wide range of both common childhood struggles and more serious concerns that play therapy can help with. Just some of these are:
- Frequent, heightened emotional outbursts
- Withdrawal from situations and/or people
- Low self-esteem or confidence
- Anxiety or excessive worry
- Depression, persistent sadness or low mood
- Insecure attachments with parents and significant others
- Difficulty with social interactions
- Distressing eating, sleeping or toileting patterns
- Dealing with a difficult experience e.g. death or loss of a loved one, family separation, being placed in foster care, adoption, living with a developmental difference or medical condition
- Dealing with a single-incident trauma e.g. car accident, natural disaster
- Dealing with complex trauma e.g. abuse, neglect
What happens for children during play therapy?
I work from home, enabling me to provide a welcoming, neutral space for children to come to.
Most of my work takes a humanistic approach. This approach is based on the understanding that children are intrinsically motivated to heal and reach for their potential. Therefore, during play therapy children are free to decide for themselves which toys and resources to use and how to use them. I relate to children with empathy and acceptance and use therapeutic skills to create a space where children feel safe to express themselves and are empowered to work through their toughest feelings, thoughts and experiences as they play.
How many play therapy sessions will my child need?
Children’s struggles vary greatly in nature, complexity and severity, and each child is unique in how they respond to and are impacted by adversity. For this reason, the number of play therapy sessions needed varies greatly from child to child. A short intervention is around 10 sessions. A long intervention may be 30 sessions. A medium intervention is somewhere in between!
On learning more about your child during our intake conversation, I will be able to indicate approximately how many play therapy sessions I think will be needed for your child to work through and find significant resolution to his/her struggles.