Is your child showing signs of stress, sadness or difficulty coping?
There’s nothing quite as scary as being the parent or guardian of a child- you want the best for them, and yet the world can be a hard place to navigate for a growing child. Play Therapy is a well-established therapeutic tool for young children, who aren’t suited to the same techniques as adults, and can be a great way to help your little one through life’s rough patches.
How does this work?
Play therapy provides a space that’s confidential [as with all therapy] but also safe and nurturing for a struggling young child. Children are encouraged to play and explore with as few limits as possible, while under the
supervision of the counselor. Sometimes the therapist will reflect on the session with the child, and they may discuss strategies to help the child face their difficulties positively. There’s a few strategies that may be used in the sessions:
Sand trays and building
Dance and movement
Story Telling/Social Stories
Age appropriate creative visualization
Does this really have a proper therapy background?
The use of play as a therapy has been well established and its effective use dates back to the 1920’s. A few different methodologies are used- some address the core reason for the child’s need of counseling directly, while others reach the same by indirect routes. These interventions are generally appropriate for children under 12, especially as a guide for them to interact meaningfully with adults not in their family [so from around 3 upward].
These strategies of learning through play helps children develop adaptively by:
Facilitating healing from trauma by exploring historical situations in a way that helps the child process what occurred.
Allowing the child a safe space to express their feelings.
Encouraging the child to be open to new, adaptive, behavior and
functional thought patterns.
Allowing them the space to rid problems and concerns.
Helping develop their decision-making skills in a healthy way.
Enabling new ideas and thoughts.
Establishing important life themes such as: morality, fairness, appropriate advocacy, respect, as well as accepting self and others.
Often times, sitting still in an office chair and not having an activity to engage in will impede a younger child from feeling comfortable in that setting. Many younger children aren’t even really able to makes sense of their feelings, let alone think and reason about situations in the way an adult mind can. A play therapist will help guide the child creatively through an environment that’s much more familiar to them- the play room- and engage with them at their level this way.
The therapist can help children explore concepts they are having difficulty working through, and help them better understand actions, scenarios or situations they cannot process fully on their own. Some children may be hesitant to express certain feelings to parents and other close adults for fear of ‘disappointing’ them in some way, but can be encouraged to reveal them through play.
Play therapy is a great way to engage younger children who need the help and support of a counselor- why not consider adding this tool to your child’s toolbox and help them develop to their full potential?
Call Rocky Mountain Counseling today to see if your child would benefit from Play Therapy! (720) 252-0345