Adults seek counseling to improve their mental and emotional well-being. Even children have the ability to benefit from therapy. While adults typically gain from talk therapy, this type of therapy is not developmentally appropriate for children. Unlike adults, Children's brains are not fully developed have difficulty verbalizing complex thoughts and feelings. So unlike adults, typical talk therapy is not developmentally appropriate for children.
Play therapy is a unique tool that gives children an outlet for self-expression. Often when children play, they are expressing inner beliefs, thoughts and feelings. Through observation and empathy, the therapist translates the play behavior into a deeper understanding of the child’s internal perspectives and motivations.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Play Therapy?
Most parents that seek play therapy want to help their child but don’t know how. Typically Parents or guardians may ask for the help of a professional to improve their child’s behavioral, social, or personality problems.
For many parents, asking for help is difficult. Feelings of frustration, anger, and guilt are commonly express by parents bringing their children to counseling. Although it may be hard for a parent to ask for help, the child’s well being is of greater importance.
What Goes on in the Playroom?
The playroom is special place that is unlike any other in the child’s life. It is designed to be a safe place for a child to explore, learn, and build self-confidence. The basis of play therapy is that children use toys as a tool for self-expression. Toys are used as a medium for child’s internal workings. Toys in the playroom are carefully chosen with a specific purpose. Each is selected to represent a wide range of emotions.
Play therapist understands the developmental needs of children and administer appropriate treatment techniques within the playroom. Through these therapeutic techniques, the play therapist enters the child’s world to gain insight into their internal struggles.
A play therapist is credentialed through the Association of Play Therapy. According to the Association for Play Therapy, a credentialed therapist must already have a mental health license, possess a Master’s mental health degree or higher, and have completed 2,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Those credentialed in play therapy are highly educated and trained in developmentally appropriate interventions for children and maintain high level of professional ethics.
What can I expect as a parent?
It is important for the parents to trust the play therapy process. During this development, it is common to see a child’s behavior get worse before it gets better. Play therapy is not a quick fix for a child’s behavior. Having patience and an understanding positively effects the counseling progression. It is the responsibility of the parent to continue counseling throughout these ups
Parental involvement is very important in the play therapy process. Parents should expect to meet with their child's therapist periodically for "parent consults" to discuss treatment methods and progress.