Play Therapy Overview
My Introductory Session with the Child
My playroom has a variety of toys (doll house, cars, people, animals, blocks, doctor’s kit, bugs, puppets, soldiers, dinosaurs, food, cash register, pots and pans etc.) There’s also a selection of art materials: markers, paints, crayons, pastels, pencils, scissors, coloured paper, plain paper etc. These toys and art materials encourage creative and therapeutic play.
Limits of Confidentiality and Who Am I?
I will explain to your child that I am a “feelings lady” who has special training to help children with their feelings. I will ask your child if he/she can name some feelings. I will explain that we all get difficult feelings and that through art, play and talking I can help with feelings. I let children know that everything we talk, play or draw about is private unless someone is hurting them and then I would have to get help for them. I will let them know that before I talk to moms and dads I will chat with them about the kinds of things that I’d like to talk to their parents about. I will let them know that their play session is not a secret. They can talk about what they’ve been doing to people such as their parents, but they don’t have to.
As parents, after the session, please refrain from asking “How did you like it?” or “What did you do?” It is important that the child not feel as though he/she has to behave a certain way in counseling. Likewise, it is important not to “prep” your child for a session ahead of time. This is a child-centered process and the child needs to lead the way, unconsciously and consciously. If you make suggestions to your child, as to what he/she should talk about or play about, this will disrupt the unconscious from expressing itself. Furthermore, if you have any questions please ask me directly during a parent session.
If your child seems reluctant to come to counselling, please let me know by phone or e-mailing the ABLE clinic. Please don’t give consequences, rewards or bribes.
In play therapy, it is part of the therapeutic process that the child is not required to clean up. I will explain to the child that this is the one room in the world where he/she does not have to clean up.
If your child shows you a picture that she/he has drawn, feel free to comment on the colours, “Oh I see you used some red and blue and green” but please don’t praise the picture or guess what he/she has drawn “Oh look you drew a dog” … “No it’s a cow!”
The most important therapeutic factor is for me to develop a positive relationship between myself and your child. Thank you for your support with the aforementioned points.
For some children, depending on their particular issues, once we have developed a trusting relationship, I will add the cognitive behavioural therapy component to our sessions. For some children, the rapport is developed within one session, for other children it may take a few sessions. Play therapy is a research-based practice that is shown to be a very effective and a natural form of counseling for children. If you have any questions, please let me know.