Children & Adolescents
"Play therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium if self-expression. It is an opportunity which is given to the child to “play out” his feelings and problems just as, in certain types of adult therapy, an individual “talks out” his difficulties.” -Virginia Axline
Specific techniques and an abundance of toys are used to assess how the child experiences his world. When the therapist enters the child’s world using Play Therapy the child communicates in a language with symbolic representation. Play therapy provides an opportunity for children to master pent-up feeling and experiment with new adaptive behaviors. Throughout the therapy process the child is empowered and supported while learning more about him/her self.
Research supports the effectiveness of Play therapy with individuals of all ages experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional and behavioral problems. The focus with teens shifts from toys to more expressive play therapies. Expressive therapy incorporates the use of verbal counseling, art, sand tray, music, writing, movement, story telling and role play. Each method is used according to developmental age, personal interest and needs of the individual.
THE PLAY THERAPY PROCESS
A complete history of the child or adolescent is taken during the initial session followed by a clinical assessment and consultation with the primary care giver. Most consultations are completed in 60-90 minutes. The sessions that follow are 45-50 in length and may include the individual child or adolescent with siblings and/or parents. The information attained will determine the appropriate treatment modality. In all cases, the treatment is play-based focusing on the individual needs of the child or adolescent in the family system.
Theraplay® is a structured play therapy for children and their parents. Its goal is to enhance attachment, nurture self-esteem, improve trust in others and create joyful engagement. The techniques are physical, fun and personal, based on the natural healthy interaction between parents and young children. Theraplay® sessions create and strengthen attachment, resulting in a changed view of self as competent and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.
PLAY THERAPY BENEFITS
- Creates or enhances healthy bonding in relationships
- Promotes appropriate behaviors
- Defines healthy boundaries
- Reduces anxiety about trauma events
- Develops a sense of trust in self and others
- Facilitates positive expression of feelings
- Enhances playfulness and creativity