Play therapy is effective with clients, regardless of age.
For school age children, therapy takes place in a well-stocked playroom with a variety of carefully chosen toys and materials designed to provide a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Subsequent to completion of history forms, a therapy release form, a play history form and a parent conference to provide a full developmental history, children spend approximately one to two months exploring the playroom and developing a therapeutic relationship with me. The child, according to their interests, largely leads these sessions. Once a positive and trusting relationship has been established, I utilize a variety of directive and non- directive play therapy techniques to aid in exploration and resolution of social and emotional issues. Such techniques may include floor play, use of a sand box, therapeutic storytelling, art materials, games and computer programs.
Adolescents do not use the playroom, but are invited to use a sand tray and a wide variety of miniatures, artwork, music and the computer to express their inner lives. Although I am a prescriptive therapist, carefully selecting and combining a variety of therapy tools, I also use cognitive behavioral therapy and collaborative problem solving to improve social and emotional functioning.
Parents are an integral part of the therapy process. Every fifth session is a parent conference to discuss progress and issues current to the therapy process. Although I do not discuss children in their presence, I do encourage phone or email communication of positive and negative situations. In order to establish and maintain trust in the therapeutic process, specific details of your child’s sessions will not be shared. Rather, general information about techniques, areas of focus, and parenting issues will be discussed.
Some families may participate in Filial Therapy, a form of play therapy which strengthens the bond between parent and child. This is most effective with young children, although older children also enjoy this process.