Children Grow, Heal and Learn Through Play Therapy
Play Therapy is a process in which we build on the natural way children learn about themselves and their relationships, their play, to help them process through the issues and struggles in their lives.
Play Therapy is based upon the foundation that play is the child’s natural way of self-expression. Play Therapy gives the child an opportunity to ‘play out’ their feelings and problems, just as adults ‘talk out’ their difficulties.
In Play Therapy, the child uses the whole self (mind & body) to express unconscious thoughts, fears, anxieties and wishes, which helps them process or resolve “stuck” thoughts and feelings. This often happens in subtle ways, with effects noticed in the child’s daily functioning. Children are encouraged to play as they wish while we create a safe and understanding environment to help guide them through the process.
The Play Room is viewed as the child’s “kingdom” where they are free to explore and express themselves through various mediums such as fantasy play, sandplay, puppets and miniatures. The toys are carefully selected to offer an opportunity to engage the child’s imagination and express various feeling states and experiences.
During the process of Play Therapy children play in a way that resembles the emotional experiences they are currently struggling with. These experiences cannot typically be expressed verbally, and often result in misbehavior or acting out at school or home. Children pick toys that help them to recreate issues in a safe way, and then their play evolves until they gain understanding, comfort, empowerment, and a sense of mastery over their emotions. This leads to higher self-esteem, increased enjoyment in activities, and an increased ability to control their disruptive behaviors and challenging emotions.
What Age Children Is Play Therapy Suitable For?
Play Therapy as a suitable intervention for children aged between two and a half and sixteen years. Play Therapy is helpful for: Children who are dealing with parental conflict, separation or divorce. Children who are dealing with self-esteem issues. Children who feel overwhelmed, anxious or depressed. Children who are experiencing school or adjustment difficulties. Children who have been traumatized (sexual, physical or emotional abuse). Children who are dealing with issues of loss such as illness or death of a loved one. Children who have been hospitalized. Children who have witnessed domestic violence. Children who have experienced serious accidents or disasters. Children who have disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder, autism, or physical disabilities
Play Therapy Can Help Children
- Improve self-esteem and confidence
- Change worrying behavior
- Take responsibility for their behavior
- Deal with conflict/angry feelings in more appropriate ways
- Make sense of life experiences by playing them out at their own pace
- Come to understand the impact (cause & effect) of their behaviors
- Replace inappropriate behaviors with more effective and successful behaviors
- Develop creative and lasting solutions to problems
- Gain greater acceptance of self and others
- Improve social skills and enjoy stronger relationships with family and friends
- Grow and thrive
How will I as the parent be involved?
Parental involvement is very important in the play therapy process. Parents will be asked to meet with Dr. Sullivan on a regular basis. In addition you will be asked to contribute to your child’s progress by following recommendations for home life which may include activities outside the play room that support the play therapy process.