Play Therapy

"Children play in order to grow into their true potential, to find and express their true selves,

to programme the brains problem solving networks, to preserve psychological health and well being and to develop a sense of agency and responsibility. " - Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Play is a child's world and therefore their most natural medium of expression. Play therapy provides a therapeutic space where a child is able to fully express themselves in ways that they are not able to verbally. As such they are enabled to work through difficulties that might be hindering their development and well being. During this therapeutic time of play, the child feels understood, valued and accepted and develops a sense of safety in the relationship, a permission and freedom to express themselves more fully and to instinctively play out problems and difficulties that they may be experiencing. Through this play they have the chance to symbolically resolve conflicts and problems and find solutions to them, giving them a helpful sense of control over their environment.

"Toys are a Children's words and play is their language" Garry Landreth.  

Session Structure:

Initial Parenting consultation

  • The purpose will be to gain an understanding of what might be going on for your child and to look at how their needs can be met in relationship to remedy these difficulties

  • Preparation for the playroom

  • The provision of literature that will support our work

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Sessions 1-4 in the Playroom - 50 mins per session

  • These sessions are about your child developing a sense of trust in the relationship so that they feel safe enough to express whatever they need to through play and work through difficulties

  • They might test the boundaries to see just how safe they are to express what they need to

  • Often themes are set out in these first sessions
     

Subsequent Parenting consultations - 1 hr - monthly

  • Monthly consultations will occur following sessions 4, 8, 12 and 16

  • This will be for the purpose of noticing changes, supporting you in your role as parent, preparing you in regards to what to expect, providing education around their behaviours and needs.

 

Sessions 5-8 in the Playroom - 50 mins per session

  • These sessions typically represent a time where the child expresses a deeper, more vulnerable and expressive self, often displaying aggression and working more deeply through conflicts and problems

  • Full expression of feelings within safe, loving boundaries allows improved self understanding, self esteem, self regulation and self-control

  • Faulty beliefs about the self are often challenged and they start to see themselves, others and relationships differently
     

Sessions 9-12 in the Playroom - 50 mins per session

  • This change in the internal view of themselves, others and relationship is demonstrated and processed through these sessions.

  • They might regress to earlier developmental stages which haven't been mastered
     

Sessions 13-16 - 50 mins per session

  • A release, expression and enjoyment of their unfolding esteemed, creative, capable abundant life-giving self – A delighting in themselves and others. An experience of I am loved therefore I am loveable and this is what they are then able to give out.

“If you trust play, you will not have to control your child’s development as much. Play will raise the child in ways you can never imagine.” - Vince Gowmon

The Benefits
Play Therapy can enable...

  • improved self-esteem and a belief, valuing and trust in themselves and others in relationship

  • improved emotional regulation and self control

  • a discovery of and belief in their capabilities, an I can do attitude 

  • rest from a preoccupation with pursuing their needs in a way that can push others away i.e. the problematic behavioural strategies which have been instinctively developed as a way of ensuring they get their relational needs met, become increasingly redundant

  • able to relate more healthily with others which invites a positive cycle of communication

  • an increased psychological rest that enables their drive towards maturity, growth and development to be released

  • reduced anxiety

  • improved brain development and resiliency 

  • more energy left for exploration and learning

Within the safety of the therapeutic relationship, children can explore and seek to resolve their past losses and traumas. - David Howe.

Helen Huston Therapy, Whangaparaoa, 021 422 045

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