Children's Play Therapy
What is play therapy?
As adults we have developed ways in which we can communicate our emotions and desires, whether it is through language or actions. Children have not yet developed these means of communication - they use play to interact with their environment, to express their emotions and to make sense of feelings which may feel foreign or threatening.
How will my child benefit from play therapy?
When children feel confused about what they are experiencing or feeling, they may not be able to recognize or understand these feelings. This often leads them to ‘act out’ or behave in an unusual or strange manner (for example: aggressive behaviour, withdrawal or hyperactive behaviour) because they may feel threatened, insecure or misunderstood. When their feelings are validated and identified by the therapist the child is able to feel understood, gain meaning and therefore feel more in control of what they are experiencing. Play also assists the child to regulate their emotions which helps them to control their behaviour.
Play therapy is offered for:.
- Behavioural problems: ADHD, aggression, defiance, bullying
- Emotional problems: Depression and anxiety (withdrawal, low mood, panic attacks, separation anxiety)
- Familial problems: Parent-child relationship issues, divorce, sibling rivalry
- Poor social interaction
- Trauma (being a victim of a traumatic event, witnessing an event)
- Adjustment to life changes (changing schools, moving)
- Poor self-esteem and motivation
- Loss and bereavement.
Children involved in assessment and therapy will always be treated as unique individuals who require care specific to their needs. Confidentiality with the child is of utmost importance throughout the therapeutic process.
A core component of the play therapy process is feedback and discussions with the parents to assess what may be in the best interest of the child. This may require family involvement and/ or sessions to assist the parents to understand what their child may be experiencing.