Play is the most natural method of self-healing that childhood affords. -Erik Erikson
Play therapy allows the child to work through difficult emotions in the child’s most natural form of self-expression. As child psychologist, James L. Hymes, Jr. says, “Play is thinking time for young children. It is language time. Problem-solving time. It is memory time, planning time, investigating time. It is organization-of-ideas time, when the young child uses his mind and body and his social skills and all his powers in response to the stimuli he has met.” Play is children’s primary mode of communication, self-expression, learning and experiencing the world. Thus, it is through this supported play in a safe space with the therapist that the child can express and process his/her emotional stresses, gaining empowerment and obtaining tools to cope with future stresses.
As a play therapist, my role is to provide a safe, nurturing and validating environment in which children are free to play as they wish. Through therapeutic play, metaphors emerge and feelings arise that represent the emotional struggles the child is internally experiencing. As these struggles (fear, anger, frustration, sadness, loss, etc.) are expressed and processed with the support of the play therapist, healing begins. When children feel safe, accepted and understood by the therapist, they internalize this experience and learn to feel safe, accepted and understood within themselves. Play therapy is highly effective for children experiencing struggles with issues including:
• Behavioral Challenges
• Divorce or Separation
• Separation Anxiety
• Grief and Loss
• Social Adjustment
• Sleep Disturbances
Each session with the play therapist consists of 45 minutes of play therapy for the child. Following each session is a 10-15 minute phone call or email, processing the child’s session with parents and giving them the opportunity to ask questions and be involved in the child’s therapy. I work to foster a collaborative approach to a child’s health and well being by encouraging parents and caretakers to be involved and up to date with the play therapy process.
I also offer parenting support and parenting groups. Raising a child can and will trigger our unresolved issues and unmet needs. Together, we can address those issues and ensure that parents are receiving compassionate support and guidance. Here, parents can bring forth any and all issues they are experiencing internally and in relationship to their child(ren). I provide an open, caring space for parents to work through the issues that are posing obstacles to their relationships with their children and beyond. Email me for more information about parenting groups. These groups are an invaluable place to receive further support and validation from other parents who experience successes and challenges similar to and different from your own.