Play Therapy Child Adolescent Psychotherapy
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play,
than in a year of conversation” – Plato
INTRODUCTION TO PLAY THERAPY by Karen Stewart
Play Therapy uses the power of play to help children achieve optimal growth and development, and prevent or resolve a range of developmental and/or emotional difficulties.
Possible referral issues include:
- Emotional or behavioural issues
- Delayed development
- Learning difficulties
- Relationship difficulties
- Parental separation
- Family disruption
- Sibling rivalry
- Bereavement or loss
- Abuse or neglect
- Low self-esteem
- Poor play skills
To schedule the appointment and therapeutic sessions, please contact a qualified Play Therapist, Karen Stewart at 071-9663311
Karen has also trained in psychotherapy and has experience working with children of all ages. The interventions used are appropriate to the age and developmental stage of the client. She also works with adolescents and adults, utilising a creative approach, to facilitate communication.
PLAY THERAPY is a dynamic interpersonal relationship between a child (or person of any age) and a therapist trained in play therapy procedures who provides selected play materials and facilitates the development of a safe relationship for the child (or person of any age) to fully express and explore self – feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours through play.
Play is the natural medium of communication for the child. It is to the child what verbalization is to the adult. Play is the language and toys are used like words. Children are able to use toys to say what they cannot say, do things they would feel uncomfortable doing, and express feelings that they might be reprimanded for verbalizing. In play children discharge energy, prepare for life’s duties, achieve difficult goals and relieve frustrations. It gives opportunity for their imaginations to run free, to try out new ways of being, to act out aggression in socially acceptable ways and to learn skills. It facilitates development on all levels.
In the child-centred non-directive approach, the child chooses what he/she wants to play with. He/she selects the theme, content and process of the play and sets the pace. The therapist does not make suggestions or decisions for the child. Thus the child is encouraged to accept responsibility for him/herself and discovers his/her own strengths. Through the process of play the child experiences a feeling or sense of being in control and this is vital for emotional development. When necessary for safety to be maintained, the therapist will carefully introduce therapeutic limits and this helps the child learn self-control and responsible freedom of expression.
In play therapy the relationship between the therapist and child is the key to growth. The therapist endeavors to be fully in tune with all that the child is experiencing and actively reflects the child’s behaviours, thoughts and feelings. This helps the child to become more self-aware and self-accepting. The therapist accepts the child, is genuinely interested in him/her and develops a warm and caring relationship. The feeling of safety and permissiveness in the relationship enables the child to fully explore and express him/herself completely. The focus is on the person of the child and not the problem.
Underlying the whole process is the strong belief that children have a capacity for self-direction and they will take the play to exactly where they need to be in that moment in time. The therapist at no time tries to speed things on. No questioning is made of the child’s verbal or acted out descriptions of experiences and/or feelings. The therapeutic process emerges from a shared living relationship developed on the basis of the therapist’s consistently conveyed acceptance of children and confidence in their ability to be of help to themselves, thus freeing children to risk using their own strengths. The emphasis is on facilitating the child’s efforts to become better able to cope with current difficulties in his/her life and also with possible future problems. Resiliency is developed.
Children do a lot of work in the playroom and they have fun doing it. The play gives concrete form and expression to their inner worlds. Here they have the opportunity to play or act out their sometimes confused and ‘impossible to express in words’ feelings. Here they are allowed to BE!