Childrens Play Therapy
What is Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a non-directive form of psychotherapy that allows a child to express themselves through the medium of play. Play is familiar and natural for children. Play therapy incorporates different types of play and creative arts in various activities that a child can engage with, allowing them to resolve challenges and issues they may be dealing with. Play Therapy is for chidlren aged 3 ½ - 12 years of age and is available from Boyle Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre.
Children can often find it difficult to verbalize their feelings and emotions as they do not understand them or/and they do not have the vocabulary to define the emotion. As play comes naturally to children, it is a very effective way for them to resolve any issues that they cannot comprehend/ explain. Play therapy is designed to help alleviate any social/emotional/behavioural problems that may be preventing a child from reaching his/her full potential. Play allows a child to feel competent and gives them control over what they want to do and create.
The playroom is a safe space that offers Art and crafts, sand play, small world play, music, movement, puppets, stories, construction, messy play and there is also a cozy corner and tent for relaxing and creative visualization.
A play therapy session is 35-45 minutes and the parent/guardian is asked to wait in the waiting room. For children that find separation difficult there is always a chair outside the play room door for the parent/guardian to sit on.
Who is Play Therapy for?
It helps children (Teens and adults alike) to resolve issues and challenges such as:
- Emotional/ behavioral difficulties
- Bereavement & Grief
- Social anxiety
- Learning difficulties
- Family difficulties
- Sudden Change
- Post-Traumatic Stress
- ADHD, ADD
- And any other challenges that one may encounter where they need a space to express themselves without judgement or pressure.
Parental role during the Play Therapy process?
Your support is essential to the Play therapy process, here is some tips:
- Consistency is very important so please make every effort for the child to attend every Play Therapy appointment.
- Please avoid asking your child to tell you in detail about the session – they may not be able to put their play into words.
- Please don’t worry about your child behaving well or tell them to be ‘good.’ Play Therapy is a place where they can express themselves and different behaviors and feelings can be let out and the child mustn’t feel they should keep them in or not be able to show the whole of who they are.
- It’s best not to suggest what your child should talk about during the session, (but if there is something you want the therapist to know tell them at another time).
- Be aware that your child’s behavior can get worse before it gets better as they may be exploring some difficult feelings. This doesn’t mean the play therapy isn’t working. It may mean that complex suppressed emotions are coming to the surface. Do tell the therapist if you have concerns or questions along the way as they will be able to offer advice and practical strategies to help manage a difficult time. It is often helpful to tell children; it is ok to have more than one feeling at once.
- Children should wear clothes that aren’t too special to play therapy sessions - their feelings can sometimes get ‘messy’ and so can their play! Aprons and wipes will be available to protect the child’s clothes but they have the option not to wear aprons also.
Any information you share with the play therapist in the meetings or through reports will be kept confidential, unless you say it may be shared with someone else.
Play sessions are also confidential too. This means the child can share anything they want about what they do, say or feel in sessions but the play therapist will not share details of what the child has played with or said, and all work created in the sessions is kept in a special box for the child to take home at the end of therapy.
The Play Therapist will explain confidentiality to the child by saying everything they say/do stays in the playroom. The only exception, is the obligation to share information where there are concerns a child is being harmed or in danger. There will be review meetings to discuss how the child is getting on and to agree on a suitable end date for the play therapy. The play therapist can help support your family and child by referring them to other services or writing to their GP with your permission, for example asking for a referral to an occupational therapist.