Why Play Therapy?
When you think about therapy, you probably imagine talking to a therapist while they listen and process with you. But how does this work for children who may not have the vocabulary to match their feelings and experiences? Children’s natural form of communication is through play, and they can express themselves more comfortably through self-initiated, spontaneous play because they are most comfortable in that environment. It is important to go to a child’s level and communicate with children through the medium in which they are most comfortable, and playing out feelings and experiences can be incredibly self-healing for children.
What issues/concerns can be addressed through play therapy?
➤ Anxiety/Excessive Worrying
➣ Social and Separation Anxiety
➣ Anxiety/Panic Attacks
➣ Fears and Phobias
➤ Anger and/or Aggressive Behavior
➤ Sadness or Withdrawing Behavior
➤ Processing Grief
➤ Processing Parental Separation
➤ Difficulty Regulating Emotion
➣ Examples: Temper tantrums, “acting out”, excessive whining/complaining, increased argumentative communication, increased physical violence towards self, others, or objects (hitting, kicking, punching)
➤ Disruptive Behavior
➤ Exposure to Trauma
➣ Including physical, violence, sexual, medical/health, emotional, disaster, sociological and community related trauma
➤ Attachment Concerns
➣ Including Adoption and Foster Youth Attachment
➤ Trouble Focusing/Easily Distracted
➤ Low Self-Esteem
What Does Play Therapy Look Like?
Play therapy may look different than the type of play that may occur in your home. The play therapist will provide different types of toys that have been selected with a purpose of providing a slate for the child to enact out experiences through play. You will typically find play therapy rooms having dollhouses, people and animals figurines, building blocks, sandtrays, and art supplies.
As a clinician, I utilize both directive and non-directive play therapy. Non-directive play therapy means the child is directing the play and I am following their lead, joining in on conversations as they evolve. Directive play therapy involves introducing specific interventions, whether through pre-selection of toys or introducing new scenarios in play.
Both the therapist and present caregivers will also develop a new approach to communicating during play, using reflection, direct praise, and description and avoiding the use of questions or commands. This type of communication increases the child’s ability to direct play sessions, increases self esteem, and builds problem solving skills.
What Do Sessions Look Like?
Our first session will be with caregiver(s) only to allow for us to discuss the child and their needs and arrange the best structure for sessions moving forward. Most sessions will start with a 10 minute check in between the therapist and caregiver(s) and then proceed to play sessions with the caregiver present. There will also be a monthly “parent/caregiver session.” In some cases, it may be appropriate to have only the therapist and child present during play sessions but this will be discussed in the first session. Structure and frequency of sessions may change depending on the child’s progress and goals.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long are sessions?
Sessions are 50 minutes.
How often are sessions?
Play therapy will typically begin on a weekly basis. As your child progresses towards their treatment goals we may move to a bi-weekly schedule.
How long will my child have to be in therapy?
It depends. The average number of sessions that is typical for play therapy is around 20 sessions, but there is no way to know how many sessions that your child will need as it depends on presenting issues and the type of treatment we select.
What will I have to do?
I encourage parents/caregivers to be present during play therapy, unless otherwise specified during our first session. Your presence helps your child communicate their experiences and feelings to you and will strengthen your attachment bonds.
It is also important that you are consistent with attending sessions and following up at home with any “homework” assigned between sessions. This might include designated play time between you and your child outside of therapy or introducing behavioral reward systems. Homework is only given when it will be beneficial for your child’s progress towards meeting treatment goals.
Fees & Payment:
I accept Cigna insurance.
My out of pocket fee is $150 per session. However, if you commit to paying for four sessions at one time, the fee will be reduced to $130 per session.
I can provide Superbills for you to submit to Out-of-Network insurance providers if they allow reimbursement. I offer a free 15 minute consultation for you to ask further questions and explore if this is the right choice for you and your family.