Child-Centered Play Therapy
When children play they are hard at work! Play provides for children a way in which they can work through and process what they are experiencing in their world. Engaging in spontaneous play allows children to communicate and explore their fears, worries, or wishes. Through Play, our little ones are able to gain control and overcome the difficulties they are unable to in the outside world. As children find solutions and gain understanding in play therapy, they develop a sense of mastery and empowerment that helps them feel important and capable. The play therapist accepts the child unconditionally and provides the safety he/she needs to engage in the therapeutic process of play therapy. The therapist allows the child to lead the way and sees the world from their perspective and what is important them. The play therapy process is an art in that the relationship between the child and play therapist unfolds a journey where a healing masterpiece is created.
How do I Know if My Child Needs Play Therapy?
Developmentally, children are not able to verbally express when they are going through difficult moments. When children are experiencing emotional distress they most often display it through their behavior, moods, sleeping or eating patterns. It is important that parents and caretakers pay close attention and listen to children's "behavioral outcries" and seek professional help when nothing else seems to work. Play Therapy can also be an important avenue to prevent future problems even when children are not displaying emotional disturbance but have significant events (divorce, loss, change) happening their life.
Will I be in the Playroom with My Child?
Play Therapy sessions are 45 minutes with the Play Therapist. In my practice I feel it is important to include parents/ guardians in the process of play therapy through private consultations. The logistics of play therapy will be clearly discussed in the initial interview with parents/guardians. There are times, depending on individual and family circumstances, when I will recommend including parents/ guardians in play therapy, suggest sibling sessions or family play therapy.
Filial Therapy was developed in the 1960's by Louise and Bernard Guerney. Filial Therapy is a process whereby parents become therapeutic agents of change with their own children. Parents are taught to engage in play with their children using child-centered concepts and skills so that they are able to communicate with their kids at an emotional level and learn to see the world from their perspective. Filial therapy is a powerful tool to improve or enhance parent/ child relationships, and often this process in itself, becomes the greatest healing force for children. In my practice I may use Filial Therapy as a primary intervention or recommend it when termination with the child approaches, so that parents can continue providing their children with the therapeutic power of play therapy at home.