THERAPY FOR CHILDREN
“A dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child to fully express and explore self through play, the child's natural medium of communication, for optimal growth and development..”
— Garry L. Landreth, EdD, LPC, RPT-S and author of "Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship (3rd ed.) (2012)
Adults like to think of childhood as a carefree time full of play and enjoyment, but that's not true for all children. Children are susceptible to emotional health issues and mood disorders just as adults. As many as one in five children and adolescents may have an identifiable mental disorder that requires treatment. At least 1 in 10 has a serious emotional disturbance. Yet unlike adults, children do not have the cognitive development, emotional aptitude, or life experience to cope.
Since children are not "miniature adults", therapy for children should and will look different from that of an adult. Finding developmentally appropriate therapy can assist children (and parents/caregivers) navigate such concerns as: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), various learning differences, sexual orientation/gender identity concerns, and trauma of all sorts.
What is Child Centered Play Therapy?
Play therapy is a well studied, empirically valid, and developmentally appropriate method of treatment for children ages 3 through pre-adolescents who are having difficulties coping with life situations.
Just as adults talk out their feelings, children often play out their feelings. Play therapy is to children what talk therapy is to adults. As children lack the cognitive skills to express themselves with words, they are fluent in the language of play. Play therapy allows them to express themselves in the way in which they are most comfortable.
The play therapist will facilitate an environment in which children can explore the connection between how they see themselves and how they operate in their environment. Toys are carefully selected for the play therapy room to facilitate creative and emotional expression.
Through play therapy, a child will develop coping skills, responsibility, decision-making skills, and self-control which will help him or her be more successful in school.