Have you ever asked your child “what’s wrong?” to hear them respond with “oh, I had some conflict with my friend today on the playground and I’m feeling hurt by her actions.” Or, “I didn’t do well on my math test and now I’m feeling disappointed and engaging in negative self-talk.” NO! Of course not!
That’s because children don’t communicate in the same way we do as adults. Instead, they use play to communicate their thoughts and feelings about themselves, the world, and others. Play therapy allows the child to access his/her unconscious mind in a fun way. It also allows the right and left brains to communicate, giving the most benefit to the presenting problem – much more benefit than traditional talk therapy.
Play therapy is a way to engage children in therapeutic activities that repair trauma responses, explore emotions, provide alternatives to negative behavior, and fosters self-competence and mastery. It is typically used with children between age 3 and 12, with some exceptions. Play therapy can help children who are experiencing…
- Anger outbursts
- School refusal
- Separation issues
- Family conflict
- Oppositional behavior
- And much more
Accepting your child may need some extra support can be a difficult task. You may question “why” and “what did I do wrong.” However, the reality is, negative emotional states and abnormal behavior occur as a result of many factors. These may include biology and genetics, experiences in the past, temperament, attachment, relationships, parenting, or learned behavior.
A Thriveworks Play Therapist will take a non-judgmental, caring approach to helping your child and family regain stability and move forward. You will be included in the therapy to the extent necessary for progress and your comfort level. This will include regular updates, joint sessions, parent education, and informational handouts.
Play therapy may include…
- Art work
- Puppet play
- Role plays
- Singing and dance
- Playing with toys
There are two main types of play therapy. These are directive and non-directive. Non-directive play therapy involves the child guiding the play while the therapist tracks the play. Tracking is a way of showing the child you are with them, listening and watching what they’re expressing. Directive play therapy involves the therapist guiding the play and is more prescriptive in nature. Typically, your child will experience both during an episode of care.
Play therapy usually involves weekly sessions around 50 minutes each. The number of sessions your child will need to resolve the presenting problem will vary; but, on average, children need about 20 sessions to resolve issues fully.
If you are interested in learning more about how play therapy may help your child, please reach out to us! We offer free phone consultations.
For more information about play therapy, you can visit www.a4pt.org.