Play Therapy is the most developmentally appropriate approach for assisting children aged 3-12 years. In play therapy toys act as the child’s words and play is the child’s language (Landreth, 2006). Play Therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them and allows children to make their internal world external.
By creating a safe, free, and protected space, the child is provided the opportunity to work through deeper emotional fears, anxieties, and experiences that may be driving other behavioural symptoms. Children are given permission to express themselves in whatever way they are comfortable, using the therapeutic selection of toys and creative materials in the special playroom. Child Centred Play Therapy with a Play Therapist is a special time in a special space where the unconditional positive relationship between the therapist and the child is of paramount importance.
At times the child may require a slightly more directive play approach when working on a set of skills or processing a specific traumatic event. In these sessions, the therapist may use therapeutic storytelling, therapy games, narrative themes, directed sand tray and art therapy activities, and assign certain characters for role plays, dolls or puppets.
Play therapy is suitable for children who have experienced social, emotional, or behavioural concerns such as: meltdowns, early trauma experiences and high stress environments, anxiety, separation anxiety, depression, grief, hyperactivity, concerns related to adoption or foster care, chronic illness or disability, inattention, trauma including abuse, oppositional behaviours, aggression, attachment issues, school refusal, attention deficit problems, violence, selective mutism, obsessive-compulsive behaviours or parents who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and wanting to feel more confident in their parenting skills.
Parents play an integral role in the process in CCPT. After the initial assessment to determine suitability, the Play Therapist will be in regular contact with the parents/carers via scheduled meetings and phone catch ups so that we can work as a team tracking progress at home and in sessions.