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Navigating Your Play Therapy Questions

General Information

Here, you’ll find answers to your broad questions about what Play Therapy is, how it benefits children and the principles that guide our therapeutic practices. Ideal for those new to the concept of Play Therapy, this category aims to provide a solid understanding of the therapy’s purpose and effectiveness.

You can take the first step and seek advice here from a professional Play
Therapist, who will work with you in exploring your child’s behaviours,
reflecting on family dynamics and if necessary, facilitating a therapeutic
intervention to meet your child’s needs.

Play therapy is a non-directive child-led form of therapeutic intervention, where
toys and creative mediums act as the child’s words and play and activity is the
language through which they speak. This approach supports your child to be
able to make sense of their ‘muddled’ feelings and/or any upsetting events in
their lives. So, if a child is stuck in their development due to something that
happened, accessing this therapeutic approach can help get them back on track.
As well as relieving symptoms the goal of Play Therapy also helps to build self-esteem, improve ways of expressing emotions, helps improve communication,
and helps improve relationships.

The physical space of the ‘play room’ and the trusting therapeutic relationship
create a safe place for your child to bring all their hopes, fears, thoughts and
behaviors. During each weekly 40-minute session, they decide what creative
medium or activity to engage in or not. They direct the session and instinctively
know what they need to do in order to process what is going on for them. This
can be deep work, working from the unconscious to the conscious but always at
the child’s pace.

The role of the Therapist is to provide a trusting relationship in which the child
is felt ‘held and safe’. This makes it easier for the child to express themselves
and seek out a solution to their problems. Through this support children gain
insight and become aware of their mental wellbeing and what is needed to stay
on track now and in the long term.

The proverbial, ‘how long is a piece of string’ comes to mind. Each child is
unique and will respond to the intervention in different ways. The recommended
initial contract is a 12- week duration with a review meeting around week 10
where we will discuss your child’s progress, if referral concerns have improved,
it is time to end, if not enough of a shift has occurred we may agree to re-
contract and continue the intervention until you are happy your child has made
appropriate progress with their emotional wellbeing.

Your child is a little individual person who needs the time and space to explore
their world at their own pace. This is a core principle of play therapy. Whilst we
set hopes and expectations at our parent consultation and we reflect and review
as the child presents both in and out of the play therapy room, we simply must
move at their pace, alongside them as they move through their therapeutic
process. (Also see the role of parents below)

The importance of the therapeutic relationship is paramount in order for any
therapeutic benefit in your child to occur. The child must trust the Therapist and
know they are in a safe space, that is non-judgmental and totally accepting.

Just like if an adult attended a counselling session, when a child attends, they
too need to know ‘I won’t tell anyone what we do in here’. However, I do
update you on how the sessions are progressing generally. The only limitation
to this confidentiality is, if your child tells me someone has hurt them. I then
inform your child; we will talk to someone who can help them. As parents, you
are their guardians and will be informed of any concerns or disclosures in
advance of appropriate action being taken.

Honesty is the best policy! Using age appropriate language, explain to your
child that I/we have found a lady named Anna/Susanne/Karla who has a lovely
space with lots of things that you can use to help you sort out your ‘muddled,
angry, sad, worried or confused feelings about things, this may help you feel
better’ whatever is most relevant to your child’s referral concerns.

As parents, be consistent and encouraging to your child about attending sessions
regularly. Be there to listen, reflect on what you hear and connect with them in
positive ways, this will help support them to know they are safe and understood.
Resist the urge to ask them about their sessions, as this may put pressure on
them to comment on something, they have difficulty understanding themselves.
Don’t insist your child tells certain things, this is their time and they need to
express themselves at their own pace. Beware things may get worse before they
get better-please keep in regular contact with your child’s therapist and we can
navigate this process together.

Still Have Questions?

If you didn’t find the answers you were looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.

Ready to Take the First Step?

Schedule a consultation with one of our expert therapists today and take the first step towards a brighter, happier future for your child.