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How can play therapy help your child?

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Sometimes a child will start to develop patterns of behaviour that may be causing disruption to their lives and to the lives of those around them. Parents, carers and teachers may recognise signs such as excessive anger, fear or worry that may be affecting a child’s development and their ability to get along with their family and friends at school.

While adults experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties can seek help in the form talking therapies, children tend to find this therapeutic setting threatening and almost like an interrogation. As a result, play therapy is used to help children communicate at their own level and at their own pace. This enables them to understand confused feelings and upsetting experiences that they haven’t yet had a chance to process.

What is play therapy?

At KNBP we offer play therapy to 5-11 year olds. The therapy helps children to express themselves, explore their thoughts and feelings and make sense of their life experiences. The medium is considered highly effective as play is a natural activity of learning, exploration and communication for children. It can help a child to ‘play out’ what they may find difficult to put into words.

Play therapists will work in a safe and trusting envrioment with the child, for example at their school. This will help to shift perspectives of difficult experiences and increase self-esteem and confidence. Play therapy aims to equip children with adaptive behaviours and better coping mechanisms for everyday life. This is to help them develop a more positive view of their place in the world.

What can play therapy help with?

Some of the common types of problems play therapists deal with include:

  • Children who have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD).
  • Children who are dealing with parental separation, divorce or conflict.
  • Children who have witnessed domestic violence.
  • Children who are in hospital.
  • Traumatised children who have experienced sexual, emotional or physical abuse.
  • Children in care – adoption and fostering.
  • Children dealing with stressful life experiences such as loss, illness or death of a loved one.
  • Children who have experienced a serious accident or disaster.

In particular, our practitioners help children with parental separation, divorce or conflict. At KNBP we use a non-directive approach, this allows the child to trust and express their feelings on their own accord.

What can you expect in a session?

Sessions are generally 45 minutes to one hour long. Some of the resources can consist of toys such as small figures and animals, sand and water, musical instruments, dressing up props, puppets, clay, books and art and craft materials. Rather than encouraging the child to use verbal explanations of what is troubling them, the therapist will help them to express difficult thoughts and feelings through the metaphors of play.

What are the benefits of play therapy?

Some of the specific benefits children can gain from play therapy include:

  • Reduced anxiety about traumatic events.
  • Improved confidence and a sense of competence.
  • Better able to form healthy bonds in relationships.
  • Improved ability to trust themselves and others.
  • Enhanced creativity and playfulness.

At KNBP we offer 12 sessions with one play therapist. This is recommended and gives the child enough time to trust and feel at ease with the therapist.


Source: Counselling Directory

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