Children are born knowing how to play. Play therapy is a way of using this innate knowledge of play to communicate with children and help them to develop new skills and hone existing abilities.
By engaging with children through play, they acquire skills which can help them solve problems, change negative behaviours, and learn new abilities.
If your child is experiencing difficulties such as anxiety or behavioural issues, or if they are having trouble adjusting to a new experience or transition, play therapy can be a helpful and positive way for them to process their emotions and experiences without fear of judgement or negativity.
Sarah Harwood is a counsellor, psychotherapist and play therapist in Brisbane who offers a warm, accepting and playful approach to treating children. Call Sarah today on 0490 232 773 for a chat about how play therapy could help your child move through a difficult time with dignity and gentleness through play.
Play therapy is a structured form of therapy which offers a way for children to work through difficult emotions and experiences, and change the way they think and feel about things in a positive way. Play therapy is excellent for children because children are born with an innate language of play. A play therapist draws on this and engages with children in such a way that makes working through issues easier.
In play therapy, the toys and tools a child uses forms the child’s words; their play is the language. What children express through their play therapy experience can be shaped with guidance from the play therapists to improve a child’s adaptive behaviours, social skills, and emotional abilities.
No two play therapy sessions are the same, but a typical session might see your child playing and engaging with:
For example, a play therapist might be working with a child who has had or is going to have a surgical procedure. The child might feel anxious or stressed about this experience.
By engaging in some medical role-playing with toys, the play therapist can help the child gain a sense of control and greater understanding. Or, a therapist might engage in toy telephone play, where questions are asked over the phone.
If the child is uncomfortable with a question, they can just hang up their phone. Play therapy is led by the child and guided by the therapist with the aim of developing a positive relationship between child and therapist and encouraging independence, emotional understanding, and constructive decision making.
Play therapy is a helpful treatment option for children of all ages who are going through a difficult emotional or behavioural time. Children can benefit from play therapy if they are experiencing troubles with:
Families and parents of children seeking play therapy will be involved in the treatment and therapy session. Play therapy can be a hugely beneficial tool for improving your relationship and strengthening your bond.
You play a huge role in your child’s healing, and the interaction between your child’s problems and your family can be, at times, complex. Your role in play therapy is critical to their future development and successful navigation of this tough time.
Sarah Harwood is a counsellor and play therapy specialist with a background in music education and a deep interest in treating and helping families, children and individuals in a dignified and respectful way while ensuring that every session is playful and productive.
Sarah can work with young children from 0-6 years and can help children with autism and specific disorders, as well as adolescents and teens.