Children & Adolescents
What is Play Therapy?
A child’s most comfortable method of communication is most often not through talking (despite our best efforts as parents!), but rather they are more apt to communicate and share through play. Have you ever had the experience of trying to talk with your child about some important issue and after about 2 ½ minutes, their eyes start rolling up towards the sky, they start tapping their foot or messing with the buttons on their shirt, or just walk away? Then you have just seen why traditional “talk therapy” is not usually effective with children.
Child-Centered Play Therapy gives the young child an opportunity to “play through” any issues that may be concerning them, either consciously or subconsciously. The role of the play therapist is to provide a relationship and environment of empathy and unconditional positive regard, where the child can feel safe to work on whatever they need to. Specific toys are chosen to provide the child with opportunities to explore a variety of life themes.
“Play remains a child’s most powerful way of learning. She can test out many different situations and actions to find which one works for her. It is a child’s work, for she’s testing herself and her new ideas. Watching her play gives an adult a window into her mind. It is hard to overestimate the importance of play for a small child.” An excerpt from Touchpoints, by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
What about teenagers?
Adolescents and teenagers are experiencing a time in life that is exciting, chaotic, confusing, and full of important milestones. Remember back to your years in middle and high school…tough, huh! Therapy can be very beneficial for a teen, as it provides them with a safe, confidential place to share and a relationship with a healthy, non-judgmental adult who, most importantly, is not related to them!
Whether it’s shooting hoops or walking along the creek outside, painting or doing other creative activities, or just sitting and talking, I will strive to provide a comfortable environment for your adolescent and an opportunity for them to move forward towards self-realization, self-discipline, and balance.
The role of parents and caregivers
Although your child may be the “identified patient,” you (the parents/caregivers) are an important part of the therapeutic process and making changes at home can be key to the healing process. The first appointment will be with the parents only and then we will schedule subsequent parent consults frequently. While I will always respect your child’s privacy, I will share with you any concerns that I have and will work with you on tools to promote healthy changes at home.