What is play therapy
Play Therapy is a counselling method which helps children process confusing feelings and difficult events in their life. Play therapy uses children’s natural means of communication; play, as a healing process which provides children with a safe and nurturing environment in which to express themselves.
Toys (such as clay, sand, paint, crayons, dolls, etc.) in the playroom make the child feel at home and serve as an instrument of communication between the child and the therapist. The initial focus of the therapy is on building a trusting relationship.
The therapist uses specific techniques to assess how the child experience his or her world and how he or she communicates and reacts to the events and people in his or her world. The therapist guides the child to become aware of what he or she is feeling and provides the opportunity to express these feelings.
Throughout the therapy the child is empowered and supported to learn more about him/herself and to talk about things that are scary or painful, to be self-supportive and to experiment with new behaviour.
what happens in a session
In therapy attention is given to building a trusting relationship with the child. The child is encouraged to lead the session and work in collaboration with me to work towards goals and solutions based on their need. I view the child in a holistic way and therefore take into account all aspects of their life. In play therapy the child learns about him or herself and is able to work through challenges, learning new coping skills and ways of managing their emotions, in this way the child experiences growth.
I primarily use play therapy techniques such as play, art, drama, music, and sand tray therapy when working with children. Every child is an individual who comes to counselling with a unique personality, life experience and needs and therefore the way in which I work with children is dependent on what will work best for that individual. I incorporate strength based and solution focused approaches into play therapy.
My goal is to enable the child:
to deal with difficult emotional issues
to achieve some congruence with regard to thoughts, emotions and behaviours
to feel good about themselves
to accept their limitations and strengths and to feel okay about themselves
to change behaviours that cause negative consequences
to function comfortably and adaptively within the external environment such as school or home
to maximize the opportunity for the child to pursue developmental milestones.