Play therapy is a therapeutic technique used for children and young teens. It involves the use of toys, art, and games to help young individuals process mental health challenges they encounter throughout their childhood like trauma, behavioral problems, divorce, or bullying.
Thriveworks play therapists in Charlotte work with young individuals to help them express themselves, release stress and other emotions, learn about their emotions, and heal from difficult experiences by using toys, games, and art to work through these issues in more digestible and accessible formats.
Play therapy, on average, can take around 20 sessions to effectively address a young individual's mental health concerns. However, therapy is a very individualized process, meaning that more or fewer sessions might be required depending on the client's condition and symptoms.
As a parent, it’s sometimes hard to know how to help, or who to trust when our children need more than we can provide ourselves. At Thriveworks, you will find experienced licensed professionals to provide not only play therapy but support for you as well as you navigate a path to healing for your child.
Children bring unique strengths and needs into the therapeutic relationship. While most modes of therapy for adolescents and adults center around talk, healing for children is often most effectively achieved using the language of childhood: play. Play is a child’s means of learning, of expressing thoughts and feelings, and of processing experience in order to make sense of that experience and to integrate it into their understanding of life. Play therapy is the use of therapeutic play techniques to actively explore and address the needs and concerns of a child client in a developmentally meaningful way. In play therapy, the therapist and child may use a playhouse and family of dolls to explore family relationships, a sand tray and toy figurines to create a representation of something the child is afraid of, or a game to learn impulse control and social skills. Through these and other play therapy tools, the therapist assists the child to learn, to process, to heal, and to grow.
Play therapy is often the most appropriate mode of therapy for children between the ages of 3 and 12, and can be employed to address a broad range of issues. If your child is dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, grief, sleep problems, difficulty with social skills, poor impulse control or behavioral issues, fears or phobias, separation or divorce, trauma, or issues related to experiencing abuse, or a host of other concerns, play therapy may help. Play therapists also can give you coaching and guidance on how to deal with your child’s difficulties. At Thriveworks, helping kids to thrive is a team effort.
By: Heather Fangman, MS Ed., NCC, LPCA
Heather is a licensed professional counselor associate and nationally certified counselor. She graduated from Miami University with a BA in psychology and completed her masters degree in community counseling at Youngstown State University. Heather began her work in play therapy specializing in the treatment of abuse and neglect. While she has experience providing individual and group counseling services across a broad range of issues with children through adults, Heather has a special interest in play therapy, perinatal mood disorders, perinatal trauma, and high conflict divorce and reunification therapy.