Play Therapy in Counselling Children in Southside Edmonton
Play Therapy is a modality of helping children express and process their feelings and experiences. Play is a child’s language and the toys in the playroom they select to use are their words. Just as in traditional adult therapy, adults talk out their feelings and problems, in play therapy a child plays out his/her feelings and experiences.
Play therapy can be directive or child-centered. In directive play therapy the therapist directs the content and flow of the child’s play experience often by structuring the toys and processes the child experiences. On the other hand, play therapy can be non-directive or child centered, here the child determines the content and flow of the play process, and the therapist follows the child and supports them in their experience. The principle of child-centered play therapy is to promote the child’s experience of unconditional acceptance, mastery and control over their life, and self-directed growth.
My style is predominately semi-structured, which is a combination of both styles. That is, I sometimes incorporate proportions of both directive and child-directive activities within a counselling session. In the early stages of relationship building I will be more child-centered or non-directive but on occasion, depending on where the child is in their process, I may step in and out of a more directive role. In a directive portion I may set out a therapuetic game for the child and I to play, or I read a issue-related story with them, or act out a related problem with puppets or miniatures in the sandtray. In the non-directive portion the child is invited to explore the playroom and select the toys or activities that they are interested in playing with, the child then engages in that play while I witness, validate and reflect on their feelings and experiences, and support their process – making them feel heard, safe, and accepted.
Demonstration of What Play in Therapy Looks Like
Individual sessions with a child is confidential. Parents do not get to observe their child’s engagement and many are left wondering outside the room, “what’s really going on in there?”
Below is a link to a video – Play Therapy Works by the American Association of Play Therapist (APT) illustrating in more detail the benefits of play and play therapy. (#playtherapy)
Watch Video: Play Therapy Works – Child Therapy https://youtu.be/_4ovwAdxCs0
Talking To Kids About Going To See A Counselor or Psychologist
Do you wonder how to talk to your child about coming to see a counselor? Below is a great article by another play therapist on what to say before bringing your child to counselling, and how to talk with your child about therapy once counselling has begun.
Open Article: Explaining Play Therapy to Children
My Qualifications to Do Play Therapy
I have been studying play therapy since summer of 2001. Over the years I have attended dozens of professional development courses. As part of my Masters Degree at Simon Fraser University I conducted research on the dynamics of Parent-Child Play where I observed mothers playing with their children and interviewed both parents and children about their experiences of play at home. I am a member of the British Columbia Play Therapy Association (BCPTA) and the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT) and in the process of completing my certification as a Registered Play Therapist. My work is supervised by two registered play therapist supervisors both of whom have made noteworthy contributions to child psychotherapy locally and in Canada.