What is Play Therapy?
Play is essential for children to develop physically, emotionally and socially. It fosters imagination and creativity and encourages confidence and concentration.
Play Therapy is an effective form of therapy for children and young adults with a wide range of emotional and behavioural difficulties including anxiety, aggression, depressive thoughts and issues relating to difficult life experiences such as abuse, loss, family breakdown and trauma. It is particularly effective for children with communication difficulties, a disability or a diagnosis of autism, ADHD.
Using a variety of play and creative arts techniques Play Therapy helps children develop confidence and self-esteem, healthier ways of communicating and positive coping mechanisms. As the child in Play Therapy is helped to gain control over difficult feelings, memories and reactions, and learns to deal with them more effectively within the playroom, they transfer these newly developed skills to their everyday life.
By providing a free atmosphere within safe boundaries the therapist allows the client complete freedom to explore at their own pace issues from the past or present, conscious or unconscious that are affecting their lives and functioning in the here and now.
The use of unconstructed materials such as sand and water, paint, clay as well as miniature figures of people, animals, trees, mythical creatures, is important to allow the imagination free rein. Making a world in the sand, for instance, gives a child the opportunity of making sense of his or her experience and gaining some control over his or her world.
Play therapy enables the client to access inner resource and resilience and through the therapeutic alliance allows growth and change to happen.
- Referrals are received from parents, social work, schools, GP, CAHMS, disability services.
- At the referral stage a meeting takes place with the referring body.
- A meeting is then held with the child’s parents/carer(s).
- Meeting with the child, in the family home (if possible).
- Sessions are weekly and regular. The amount of sessions is determined by the referral and reviewed regularly. An initial 12 sessions is usually agreed.
- Regular review sessions take place with parent/carer.
- Regular reviews take place with the referrer if requested.