As a child’s main way of processing thoughts, feelings and events is sensory (through play) and not verbally (by talking), Play Therapy is the model of choice for most children.
Children have difficulty articulating their innermost struggles, often they have no words for these, so the best and most comfortable way to express them (and have the opportunity to process them) is via play.
Child Centred Play Therapy is a non-directive model; this means that the content of the session is provided by the child. It’s the therapist’s job to create an atmosphere of trust, acceptance and psychological safety in the child’s session and in their relationship with the child so that the child feels able to bring their current preoccupations to their therapy sessions. The child can then express (via. what they choose to do and how they choose to do it) the issues that are most important to them at the time of the therapy.
Most children who have had adverse experiences (e.g. a bereavement, an accident or injury, a parental split up) will express thoughts and feelings about this, perhaps in an abstract way, which the therapist then puts words to whilst keeping the child psychologically safe.
Children who come to therapy because they are experiencing difficulties in their current life for reasons that the adults can’t put their finger on use play therapy sessions in the same ways.
The process of presenting and processing experiences, thoughts and feelings within a therapeutic relationship enables a child to feel seen, understood and fully supported. It is a process that supports the development of emotional literacy (being able to express emotional states verbally rather than just behaviourally) and the development of the capacity to regulate emotional states in a healthy manner.
Our Play Therapist
Our Play Therapist did her training later in life, after years of classroom teaching in primary schools. In 2012, she chose to train with the British Association of Play Therapists; completing a two-year, Master’s level, university based course which provides a very robust and intensive training, resulting in an excellent level of preparation for this very important work with children and young people.
Please get in touch if you are wondering if Play Therapy sessions could be an option to support your child.