Approach to Play Therapy
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, children need to play. The United Nations has identified play as a fundamental human right for every child. Opportunities for child-centered play (or “free play”) contribute to the children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and even physical development. Yet academic pressures, extracurricular activities, family stressors, the availability of technology, and other factors have reduced the time available to kids for self-directed play.
Much like adults, children experience big emotions like anger, sadness, frustration, and confusion. However, because children are still developing the ability to put their feelings and experiences into words, kids will readily use play to distance themselves from difficult feelings and process uncomfortable memories through symbolic expression. Children also use play to test hypotheses about themselves, their relationships, and the world around them. Through a creative process of trial and error, kids begin to explore learn new ways of solving problems.
My work with young children is influenced by current play therapy, neurodevelopmental, and interpersonal research. By integrating child-centered, experiential, and psychodynamic approaches, I create a space for your child to connect her/his/their experiences with one another, develop more effective strategies for coping with difficult feelings, and feel more satisfied in their relationships.
Through the use of carefully selected play materials such as sandtray miniatures, games, puppets, and dramatic play items, I focus on creating a safe therapeutic relationship in which your child may begin to explore these areas of themselves. I also work closely with parents to deepen your understanding of your child and monitor progress as we work to develop a collaborative treatment plan. I also offer parent phone consultations every 3 weeks to discuss your child’s progress — both in our work together and beyond the therapy room.