For many children in emotional distress, play therapy is the psychotherapy treatment of choice. Play therapy is effective for children with issues including relocation, adoption, anger, low self-esteem, ADHD frustrations, post-divorce adjustment, anxiety, depression, grief, trauma and more. Adults are able to process children’s’ concerns in talk therapy, but children can better express themselves using the symbolic language of play. In play therapy, children find ways to cope with difficult emotions, discover solutions to problems, increase self-confidence, develop effective social skills and build trust in life and in those around them.
In the warm, encouraging theapeutic setting at Beautiful Child, we first establish a safe, trusting relation-ship between therapist and child. We use both directed creative/expressive activities and non-directive play using toys specifically selected for the processing of emotions and resolution of problems. Symbolic play allows the child a safe distance from difficulties, making it easier to express conflicts and feelings. Interac-tive play is used to work on emotional regulation and social issues, and to develop coping strategies. In the play therapy room, children learn how to be in control of themselves and their own lives. Behavioral patterns change as children’s emotional distress subsides and their confidence grows.
Parental support and involvement in the therapeutic process is very important. Family activity sessions, in which both children and parents participate, assist members in understanding each other’s needs, and in communicating effectively and compassionately with each other. Periodic appointments with parents, with-out children present, are used to maintain a collaborative effort toward enhancing the child’s progress.
Children and families are resilient, and can find a path to healing through play therapy at Beautiful Child.
- By Catherine Meiburg, MS, NCC, LPC, RPT
www.beautifulchildplaytherapy.com • 404-271-7458