It is in the playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, it is only in being creative that the individual discovers self.
In essence, play therapy relies on the child’s natural language of play to communicate and facilitate healing. It is much easier for children to express themselves through play rather than sitting on a couch and talking as an adult. Beyond “just playing,” trained play therapists utilize resources such as carefully selected toys, art, puppets, dolls, play-doh, therapeutic games and books, and sand tray to work through issues and help children heal.
An important aspect of play therapy is helping children learn that all feelings are okay by allowing a safe non-threatening way to express their feelings, beliefs, concerns, and thoughts. It also focuses on teaching children self-regulation and healthy coping skills. Through play therapy, children can learn to overcome challenges, resolve emotional and behavioral issues, develop a sense of mastery, and increase self-esteem. In addition, it targets the inherent ego-centrism of children to help them understand that they are not responsible or at fault for things outside of their control.
Play therapy will not “fix” all issues and we can assist with assessing whether it may be appropriate for your child. We work with children ages 4 and up.
In working with children, it has been our experience that intervention involving the entire family system allows for transformation to begin. Thus, parents are involved through the therapy process at Monarch Wellness. Although it is important for children to have individual sessions to be able to build trust with an objective therapist, parents are also encouraged to participate in family sessions with their children. This allows parents to gain a better understanding of their child, reinforce new skills at home, and prevents the child from becoming solely dependent on the therapist as a source of safety.
We also encourage parents to role model a healthy lifestyle for optimal effectiveness of treatment. This may include recommendations for healthy stress management services, parent support, individual, or couples therapy.
Further, adults participating in individual therapy may also be challenged to reconnect with their inner child or the developmental stage at which a trauma occurred through sand tray therapy (a form of play therapy).