Bringing a child to therapy / counselling is not something you decide lightly and if you are undertaking some individual or family work of your own, you might have plenty of questions about the subject.
How can Play Therapy help my child?
Play Therapy helps children in a variety of ways. Children receive emotional support and can learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. Sometimes they may re-enact or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their future. Children may also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways. The outcomes can be general such as raised self esteem and a reduction in anxiety or more clearly defined such as improved relationships with family and friends or changes in behaviour.
What happens during Play Therapy sessions?
Your child's Play Therapist will have a selection of play materials from which your child may choose. These may include art and craft materials, dressing up props, sand and water, clay, small figures and animals, musical instruments, puppets and books. The Play Therapist will enable your child to use these resources to express him or herself without having to provide verbal explanations. Your child will be allowed to take the initiative and for an hour have the complete attention of a respectful and non-judgmental adult
Will it be Confidential?
Yes. Information that you share about your child and family will usually be kept confidential. A Play Therapist may share information with other colleagues and professionals for the benefit of your child with your permission. A Play Therapist must share information with other professionals if they are concerned that a child is being harmed, hurting others or themselves. They will usually talk to you about this first. (As a professional working with children in the UK I follow Child Protection Guidelines).
I will meet with you at regular intervals to discuss progress in therapy sessions and any changes and developments you have witnessed or experienced at home. However I will not disclose specific details of what your child has played. This is important in order to maintain your child's trust and feelings of safety in our therapeutic relationship.
How long does it take?
It varies according to the circumstances and the child. Some children will respond to a short term intervention (for example up to 12 sessions). On the other hand, when problems have persisted for a long time or are complicated a longer-term intervention may be needed. In such cases some Play Therapists have worked with children for two years or more. Sessions are usually once a week and consistency on a regular day and at the same time and place is very important for developing a trusting relationship. Unplanned missed sessions may disrupt the progress which is why it is important to keep good communication with the therapist in relation to holidays and other types of breaks during treatment.
How can I help my Child while he or she is in therapy?
By supporting him/ her in their Play Therapy Work, making sure they attend their sessions on time and are collected on time. It would also be of benefit to attend feedback sessions with the therapist and resist the urge to question your child about what he / she said or did during the therapy sessions. He/she might want to tell you or he/she might not.
How can I get this service?
Children and young people might be refrred for Play Therapy by education, social work, mental health and other agencies, but you do not have to always follow this route. I welcome self referrals, so if you are thinking about engaging this kind of service do not hesitate and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the the Get in Touch page details.