What is play therapy?
Play is an effective way for a therapist to build a positive relationship with the client (your child), helping your child feel comfortable and engaged, have fun, and feel safe.
During a session, I create a safe environment, a private room, in which your child can play with as few limits as possible. The therapeutic space will contain a selection of specifically chosen items (creative materials including toys) which encourage your child to express their feelings and develop healthier behaviours and coping skills. Your child's interactions with these objects essentially serves as their symbolic words. This allows me to support your child to find healthy ways of expressing thoughts and emotions that they may find difficult to express verbally.
Modern play therapy is based upon principles developed by Virginia Axline, which are Non-Directive. Two major approaches are 'Non-directive play therapy' and 'Directive play therapy'. A skilled practitioner will adopt a mix of both approaches according to circumstances.
Practitioners of Play Therapy and Therapeutic Play use a 'Play Therapy Tool-Kit'. No medication is used in Play Therapy.
What items may be in the room?
Items used in Play Therapy may include a sand tray, miniature figures, art materials, construction toys, puppets, masks, dolls, a dollhouse, miniature furniture, indoor sports equipment, musical instruments and dancing fans.
I use a holistic approach and may, when appropriate, incorporate the use of therapeutic techniques such as clay, therapeutic storytelling, music, dance and movement, drama/role play, and creative visualisation.
Initially, your child can play as they wish, providing, they keep themselves safe, me safe and the items in the room safe. As the sessions progress, I may begin to introduce specific items or play activities which are related to the issues your child is facing.
What are the benefits of play therapy?
Play therapy can benefit children in several ways such as; encouraging creativity, promoting healing from traumatic events, facilitating the expression of emotions, encouraging the development of positive decision-making skills, introducing new ways of thinking and behaving, learning problem-solving skills, developing better social skills, and facilitating the communication of personal problems or concerns.