Is Play Therapy appropriate for this child?
"For children, to 'play out' their experiences and feelings is the most natural dynamic and self-healing process in which they can engage". Landreth, 2012.
PLAY THERAPY MAY HELP A CHILD WHO HAS SUFFERED OR EXPERIENCED- ABUSE, BEREAVEMENT, PARENTAL SEPARATION/FAMILY BREAKDOWN, A TRAUMATIC EVENT, WITNESSING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ADOPTION AND SEPARATION, ATTACHMENT DIFFICULTIES, BULLYING AND DISCRIMINATION, DIFFICULT TRANSITIONS SUCH AS CHANGING SCHOOLS, OR CHILDREN WHO ARE EXHIBITING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING BEHAVIOURS OR SYMPTOMS: ANXIETY, AGGRESSION, HYPERACTIVITY, MANIC BEHAVIOUR, EXTREME EMOTIONS SUCH AS ANGER, FEAR, CONFUSION, OR SADNESS, WITHDRAWAL, DETACHMENT, DISINTEGRATION, REGRESSION, BEDWETTING, SELECTIVE MUTISM, CONSISTENT SLEEP DISTURBANCES, SEXUALISED BEHAVIOUR, OR SELF HARMING.
In a play therapy session, the child is free to play in 'almost' any way he likes; his feelings are listened to and accepted unconditionally, however boundaries are applied to keep the space safe. As a therapist, I follow the child's lead and remain present, whilst reflecting back his feelings and experiences, and encouraging him to trust his impulses so he may learn who he is and what he wants. The space can become a safe container for him to project, organise and integrate his thoughts, feelings, and desires, both consciously and unconsciously.
I provide a range of equipment, toys, and art materials to allow the child optimum range for expression:
- Coloured pens, paints, play-dough and clay, and a range of different textures and materials.
- Sensory art materials and toys.
- Specialist sand world trays and miniature figurines.
- Puppets and dolls.
- Dolls house and furniture.
- A range of miniatures including- people, vehicles, heroes and villains, mythical creatures and animals.
- Therapeutic books.
- Toys for physical play, including balls and skittles.
Play therapy can help a child to develop
- Self-esteem and confidence.
- Independence and motivation.
- The safe integration of traumatic experiences.
- Emotional regulation and coping strategies.
- Communication skills, empathy, and interpersonal relationships.