If you’re reading this page it’s because, at some level, you’re worried about your child.
You’re concerned about the changes you’ve seen in your relationship with them or you might be worried about the shifts you’ve seen in their behavior at home or at school.
Your child’s big feelings and the way they are expressing (or not expressing) those feelings concern you and, perhaps, also concerning your child’s teacher and/or pediatrician, too.
You’ve tried different parenting interventions suggested by the best books and articles but still, nothing seems to be working.
You feel stuck, lost, and maybe even a little heartbroken.
You need more support right now in this stage of your parenting journey.
That’s where we come in and, honestly, we’re so glad that you’re here and exploring play-based child therapy.
What is play-based child therapy?
In essence, play-based child therapy is an effective way of meeting your child where they’re at developmentally, learning what’s going on for them that’s causing the shift in their behaviors and big emotions, and then helping them learn more adaptive, functional behaviors to support their relationships, emotional regulation, and overall psychological development.
We do this through a combination of play, art, and sand tray-based work. You see, developmentally, children lack the ability to engage in insight-driven verbal processing that older teens and adults can do in normal therapy sessions. But when a trained child therapist conducts play-based child therapy, the child can express themselves - their inner experience, their conflicts, fears, worries, and psychological and behavioral patterns - through the medium of carefully curated play tools.
You see, the work of children is to play, and doing so in the therapeutic context helps create distance for your child between them and their problems so that they can act and play it out on a micro-scale, symbolizing their concerns and conflicts through toys, vignettes, and art in a way that doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming to them. For children, play is liberating and joyful and it both reduces resistance to being in therapy and allows a trained child therapist a portal into your child’s inner life.
So in this way, play-based child therapy translates what’s going on in your child’s inner world to the therapist, bypassing the need for verbal processing. And then, also through play-based interventions in a safe, supportive environment, the child therapist can help your child process and metabolize their stressors, discover how to solve their problems, learn more helpful coping mechanisms, resolve maladaptive relational patterning, and develop more pro-social behaviors both at home and at school.
What kind of issues are appropriate for play-based child therapy?
- Big feelings that they are having a hard time regulating without outbursts or shutting down such as anxiety, depression, and rage
- Difficulties at preschool, kindergarten, or middle school
- Fractured, impaired, or strained relationships with family members, caregivers, authority figures, and peers
- Nightmares and sleep challenges
- Difficulty managing transitions such as divorce, separation, moves, or the arrival of a new sibling into the family
- Impairments in confidence and esteem and body image issues
- Challenges coping with accidents, surgeries, or ongoing medical issues themselves, or witnessing a family member go through this
- Experiencing loss or trauma in the family system or in the community
- And more
How will my child’s therapist work with the family?Are You Ready to Begin?
Unlike in adult therapy, a child therapist will usually work closely with the family unit, especially when children are younger.
Your child’s therapist will include you from the very beginning in the intake process, history taking, having you in the room (when needed and appropriate), and consulting with you to ensure the best possible care for your child outside of the sessions based on what’s showing up in the child therapy sessions. Your child’s therapist will be a teammate for you in your parenting journey.
What if I’m Not Ready?
If you don’t feel quite ready to book a complimentary consult call yet, that’s completely fine.
We don’t want you to feel pressured and we know that the choice to seek out play-based child therapy can feel like a big decision.
Whatever the reason, no matter how ready or not ready you feel to seek out play-based child therapy, we want you to have the information you need to make an informed choice.
So, to that end, please explore the additional information below to learn more about us as a center and staff but also, if you find your questions unanswered on our other pages, the best thing to do is schedule a complimentary consultation with us so we can answer all of your questions personally.