Play therapy is a model of working with children using specific trained therapists, toys and space facilitating the emotional well being of children. Play therapy is a recognized model for therapist to use the language of play in therapeutic relationship with their clients. Children express themselves in play: they mimic, act out, demonstrate, and redo strong emotional moments.
This is a natural and healthy expression of feelings and a way of coping with the world as they see it. I am trained to facilitate this expression and support children in therapeutic play.
Everyone I know would like a moment every now in then to feel completely in control, safe and in charge of their destiny. This is actually one aspect of what all seek in therapy. For children, the words to express these things are just not there yet. And so, in times of stress, grief, crisis and anxiety, children express themselves with behavior, changing of patterns (such as sleeping or eating) and in their relationships with friends and family. Play therapy provides space and time to facilitate the emotions and provide insight and behavior changes for themselves and their families.
Play therapy has applications for all ages, but may look very different to different developing children, teens, and young adults. As parents and guardians, you know your child best, and I will count on you to partner with me facilitating his/her emotional well being. In our initial consult, we can discuss your hopes and goals, and the developmentally appropriate approach for your child.
Thank you for considering 2nd Star Counseling for your family. You have taken an important and courageous step. In the following paragraphs, I have briefly illustrated how play therapy might work for your child at any age, and be a continuing support for your family through times of transition and struggle.
Please note that the ages and approaches listed here are only a general guideline. It will be up to you and I to find the right approach and setting for your child’s overall experience in therapy.
Children (ages 3- 10)
Both of my office locations have a specific space for children to use in session. Each object and toy is chosen by me as part of an overall layout and plan. Children are invited to find whatever toy(s) they wish and they are encouraged to direct me in play as well. There are several opportunities for expression in art and sound as well as play. Through their play, I am looking for themes such as “control, enjoyment, anger, anxiety, and stress.” The opportunity for children to play out these and other higher emotions has shown to provide release and reduction of anxiety, and meditgate other obstacles for emotional well-being. This window into their lives gives the therapist and the parents insight into what is going on with the child. It is this insight, as well as the ability to be expressive and witnessed that provides the therapeutic healing for the child.