So, maybe you read the last post on the blog and decided that you are ready to bring your child to play therapy to support them with anxiety or through life transitions. You also might have realized you would like to have more support as a parent to learn new techniques. Still, though, the idea of play therapy can sound strange to parents who have not heard of it before. Here are some common questions about play therapy and child counseling:
“Are you just going to play with my child?”
Many parents are curious about how play therapy works, but after talking through what play therapy is, parents can become some of the greatest champions for this approach. Children often do not have the words to describe their feelings. Through play, someone trained in play therapy can act as an interpreter to discover meaningful themes, help a child to learn how to describe their feelings, and can empower a child to feel a sense of control over their lives. Children often replay their feelings through play and experience great joy and connection in sharing this with a therapist.
“Will I know what is happening in session?”
Working together with parents is a vital part to helping the child’s therapy experience be positive and productive. Through regular parent consultations, we can discuss progress at home or at school, and I can provide relevant feedback about themes presented in session. In these discussions, I can provide suggestions for strategies and techniques you can try at home to support the work done in session.
“How long does it take?”
Child counseling sessions are usually 45-50 minutes and are scheduled weekly. Sometimes, parents wonder if sessions can be every other week, but this is something that typically is not conducive to progress. A week is a long time for a child. When play therapy sessions are missed, children lose trust and comfort in the therapy space and it can actually cause the child to need more sessions to see progress. It can be hard to say how long therapy will last. As Garry Landreth says, “Some children are like popcorn, and some are like molasses.” This means that some children come to therapy and quickly warm up to the therapist and are motivated to learn new strategies. Other children need more time invested in developing the therapeutic relationship to feel safe in expressing their emotions.
“Do I need to be in the room?”
Most of the time, the parent will not be present in the play therapy room during the counseling session. That approach is called Filial Therapy, and that is something that will be discussed with you if it is clinically indicated. It is important for the parent to stay on site while the child is in session in the event that the child becomes distressed and chooses to end the session early. This does not happen often but is a consideration.
“Do kids like play therapy?”
Parents often wonder how kids respond to being in the play environment. At Nourish Counseling Studio, play therapy is conducted without technology. Parents sometimes worry that their child, who may really, really enjoy computers, games, and iPads may feel uncomfortable in a space without all the bells and whistles that come with technology. Kids tend to love the toys in the play room and enjoy trying new things. Toys are carefully selected for therapeutic value.
As you can see, play therapy is an approach to child counseling that is therapeutic because it allows the child to speak their natural language. If you are ready to take the next step, reach out today!