What is Play Therapy?
It's a way of working with children who are experiencing emotional distress which can affect they way they develop, behave and function in everyday life.
Play Therapy is a process that helps a child communicate their thoughts, feelings and behaviour through play. Play Therapy is child-centred and non-directive – the child isn't put under pressure to talk about their difficulties but the therapist will help them explore some of the themes that come up in their play. The relationship between the child and therapist will enable the child to process their feelings and through play:
- Learn to value themselves
- Imagine other possibilities
- Imagine other ways of being
- Process life events
- To act out and release pent up feelings of tension, frustration, insecurity, aggression, fear and/or confusion
It's particularly useful for children aged 3ys to 8yrs and can help with a variety of emotional, social and physical difficulties including (but not limited to):
- Domestic violence
- Attachment difficulties
- Loss & trauma
We also use other child-lead creative therapies such as art and dance movement therapy.
Our therapy sessions take place in dedicated play rooms in our partner nurseries and schools or at our office, on the same day and same time. There will be initial assessments and once sessions are underway there will be regular feedback meetings with parents/carers. Confidentiality is vital in the therapy, the therapist will not disclose the content of sessions unless they are concerned that the child or someone else might be hurt.
A Snapshot of Play Therapy over some weeks
Defences – the child has blocked up all the doors and windows to keep themselves safe.
Therapist: “I wonder what’s happening?
Child: “It’s safe in there”
Therapist: “Ah, but nothing can get in or out”
Inner Turmoil – the rooms are in disarray and the children are left alone.
Therapist: “Looks a bit scary in there, I
wonder who’s looking after these children?”
Child: “No one”
Vulnerability – the child has shut themselves away, things are scary and threatening outside. However, the ladder signifies hope and a move towards accepting help.
Therapist: “Sometimes it’s hard to let people help”
Hope – things are better at home. Some rooms are still in disarray but the family is together and mum is nurturing them.
Therapist: “I wonder what’s happening here?”
Child: “The mum’s making dinner”