Could Play Therapy help?
"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.
In a play therapy session, I provide a range of equipment, toys, and art materials to allow the child optimum range for expression; materials include:
- 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.
In a session, the child is free to play in 'almost' any way they like and they may choose how or if they would like to involve the therapist; the child's feelings are listened to and accepted unconditionally, however some actions need to be considered more carefully, and boundaries are applied to keep the environment safe. As a therapist, I follow the child's lead, and remain present; reflecting back their feelings and experiences, encouraging them to trust their impulses and understand who they are and what they want. Once the child feels safe and a therapeutic bond is established, the space can become a safe container for the child to project, organise and integrate their thoughts, feelings. anxieties and desires, both consciously and unconsciously.
Play therapy may not always be the right intervention for a child, in order to assess this I offer a free consultation so that I may listen to your concerns and ask questions about the child's early years, family history, and his or her presenting problems.
Play Therapy can help a child who has experienced:
- A significant bereavement
- A traumatic event.
- Abuse (emotional, physical or sexual).
- Family breakdown.
- Mental illness in the family.
- Attachment difficulties, and adopted or looked after children.
A child suffering from underlying symptoms including:
- Disturbed sleep, bed wetting, nightmares, phobias, eating disorders; or extreme changes in personality, including regression, anxiety, manic behaviour, aggression, withdrawal, anger, confusion, or sadness.
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.