Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. Play is a child’s natural language. In the playroom, toys, games and activities are used like words. Children are provided therapeutic toys to enable them to say with the toys what they have difficulty saying with words…. They can use dolls, puppets, paints, or other toys to say what they think or how they feel. Many times, difficult things happen in life and even the adults involved have difficulty understanding or explaining the events or their feelings about the events. It is easy to see why children, who lack the verbal skills of an adult, find it even more difficult. Play therapy allows children the opportunity to work through, heal, and move past the difficult times in their lives. It does all this in the most efficient, effective, and child-focused manner available.
Through Play Therapy children learn about themselves and their surroundings, their capabilities, their limitations, they learn new skills, learn how to handle anger and frustration, heal, work through difficult times, and increase their self-esteem and ability to communicate. If a child needs counseling, play therapy is usually the answer. In fact, extensive research strongly supports the effectiveness of play therapy on a most social, emotional, behavioral and educational problems. Some of these problems include depression, anger, ADHD, anxiety/fears, conduct disorders, abuse issues, aggression, post-traumatic stress disorders, low self-esteem, poor social skills, impulsivity, learning difficulties, divorce issues, coping skills issues, handling trauma, grief, divorce or many other childhood problems.
Q: When does a child need therapy?
A: All children exhibit what adults might call “abnormal behavior” from time to time. Many times, these behaviors are nothing to worry about and sometimes go away as quickly as they came. However, sometimes these behaviors are indicators of a child in distress or a more serious underlying problem. Some children may experience difficulties coping with events like a move or a change in schools, and some life events like divorce, death of a loved one, and trauma, are almost always difficult for a child.
If your child appears to be in distress for a long period of time or have intense or frequent problems with a particular issue you may be well served to get an assessment done to see if counseling would assist your child. If you child appears depressed or angry much of the time or if their grades, school performance, or attitude at home gets worse, it may be an indicator that your child needs a little help with whatever is bothering them. Play therapy is usually the best tool to use to help your child.
Q: Who can provide play therapy for my child?
A: Play therapy is very different than just playing with a child, and therefore only a therapist with specialized training should provide this service for you and your child. All therapists at New Hope Counseling are trained in and utilize non-directive play therapy, directive play therapy, and TBRI (Trust-based Relational Intervention).
Q: What should I tell my child About play therapy?
A: When bringing the child for the first session, the child can be told that he/she will be coming each week for a little while to play in the playroom. If the child questions further as to the reasons for coming, you can state that it usually helps to have someone to play with about things and best of all, “most kids find it really fun!” Children love to play and usually it does not take a lot of convincing to get them enjoy themselves during play therapy. If you have difficulty preparing your child, please contact us and we will be glad to assist you with this issue.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress. All of our therapists at New Hope Counseling, LLC are fully trained in EMDR therapy and use it on a regular basis. Additionally, we are all either certified in EMDR therapy, or in the process of becoming certified.
Professional counseling provided with integrity, compassion and grace.
Judy Gardner, MS, BSN, RN, LPC, NCC, EMDRIA Approved Consultant, Mediator