Phone: (03) 9439 2450

Play Therapy FAQs

General Information About Play Therapy

Does my child need Play Therapy?
As a parent or caregiver, you know when something is upsetting your child.  Sometimes you may know what is bothering them and at other times you may not be sure.  Perhaps you can see that they don’t appear to be coping very well. Maybe you have noticed that they are too worried, sad, anxious, shy or angry. Maybe you just have a feeling that they just don’t seem to ‘fit in’.  You may have reached this conclusion yourself, or maybe teachers or another professional has recommended that you explore some options that may help your child. Play therapy can assist your child with a broad range of issues. Please contact us to see how Play Therapy Melbourne can assist your child.
What is Non-Directive Child Centered Play Therapy?
Children are often unable to access and express their feelings through verbal communication. Instead, they naturally use toys to communicate and express their inner world much like adults may use counselling to talk about their concerns. Non-Directive Child Centered Play Therapy takes advantage of children’s natural inclination towards play by providing them with an experience where they can use  toys, instead of words, to work through their problems.
Are there different types of Play Therapy?
Yes, there are many forms of Play Therapy. At Play Therapy Melbourne we practice Non Directive Child Centered Play Therapy. This is a specific type of therapy that allows children to use toys as the primary mode of healing rather than words. One of our principle beliefs is that, given the right therapeutic conditions, children will guide themselves towards healing. In this way, the therapists at Play Therapy Melbourne allow children to choose what, and how, they play in each session. As the child plays, the therapist works very attentively to create an environment of complete acceptance while reflecting back the child’s play. In this way children more fully experience their inner world and are able to work through their issues.
How does Play Therapy work?

Your child will be welcomed into the play room, where they are free to explore and create. The therapist will work hard to create a relationship of safety and trust with your child, while also creating a space of permissiveness and freedom, with healthy boundaries and limitations.

At Play Therapy Melbourne our techniques are strongly grounded by the principle that, given the right therapeutic environment, children will guide themselves towards self-healing. In this way, children choose what they do in each session which allows them to work on exactly the things they need to work on in order to heal. As children play, the therapist will work very hard to create an environment of complete acceptance while helping the child reflect on their inner world. Through this process children begin to reach new understandings of their experience and new decisions of who they are and how they want to behave.

At Play Therapy Melbourne, we believe that targeting problem behaviours directly can stop us from seeing and addressing the problem underneath.  As master play therapist Garry Landreth says, when the therapist focuses their interactions with a child on solving the child’s identified problem, then the message communicated to the child is “Your problem is more important than you are”. When you focus on the problem you lost sight of the child.

What ages are appropriate for Play Therapy?

As Play Therapy does not rely on words, the therapists at Play Therapy Melbourne can work with children as young as 2 through to 13 years. We also have therapists who can work with adolescents. While the principles of Play Therapy are used with teenagers, the therapy is adapted to be age appropriate, for example, more arts and crafts materials would be utilised while using a person centered approach.

How long will my child need to receive Play Therapy for?

It is very difficult to predict how long your child will need Play Therapy for until we have worked with them for a while. Often it may be dependent on how far back the issue that is concerning them occurred, but it may also be impacted by how open to forming new relationships they are. Twenty sessions is a general guideline as to the average length of Play Therapy, with some children needing more time to resolve their issues. Remember, we are working to bring significant and lasting change in your child and this takes time, but the results can be very rewarding and will stay with them throughout their lives.

What is the difference between Play Therapy and just playing with my child at home?

Play Therapy is a very different experience than every day play for a child. The Play Therapy Melbourne therapists have completed specific and intensive training to help children use play for deep healing. They use a set of skills in a consistent and predicable manner while creating an atmosphere of acceptance, empathy and understanding. This environment allows the child to fully explore and express their feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours. Play therapy is not the same as playing. Play therapy uses the child’s natural tendency to play out their reactions to life situations and help the child feel accepted and understood while gaining a sense of control or understanding of their difficult situation, emotion or behaviour.

Are there any negative side effects to Play Therapy?

The opportunity for any child to have one on one contact and interaction with an adult who is giving them unlimited acceptance is a wonderful and rewarding one, which every child benefits from. Play Therapy is a very gentle form of therapy that is developmentally appropriate for children aged 2-13. As such the child is not ‘forced’ into anything, or lead somewhere they are not willing to go, which may have very damaging side effects. In Play Therapy, unlike other forms of therapy, we make the child the focus, not the problem. One negative side affect that very occasionally occurs is that, as your child progresses through stages of therapy, some of the behaviour and themes that they are working through may occur outside the play room, in your home or occasionally at school. This lasts for a very short period, and although it can be a challenging time for parents, it is a sign that therapeutic progress is being made. Often this does not happen at all, and the ‘acting out’ in the play room with the therapist is enough, however, if it does occur, it is generally short lived and they will then move on to the next and final stage of their therapeutic journey. Your therapist will work carefully with you at this time and provide strategies for coping with this at home.

What training does it take to be a Play Therapist?

Many therapists may call themselves ‘Play Therapists’, with little formal training. To be a qualified Play Therapist takes years of specialised training. The therapists at Play Therapy Melbourne have a mental health qualification and have also trained through Play Therapy Australia’s intensive training program which is one of the top five training programs world wide. We encourage you to carefully examine the credentials of anyone you are considering choosing to work with your children, and to ask plenty of questions about the type of therapy, whatever that may be, that you are considering.

Information About Play Therapy Sessions

How long does each session take?

Each session lasts for 45 minutes. For very young children 30 minute sessions may be recommended. During this time you will be asked to remain close by in the waiting room in case your child needs to ‘check in’ with you. You will be made very comfortable and we hope you will find time to relax and take some time out – we are all about making your experience a comfortable one also.

What toys are in the play room and why?

The toys in the playroom have been carefully chosen to facilitate creative and emotional expression in children. The types of toys selected can be played with in many ways which allow for decision making in children.

Can I watch my child's Play Therapy sessions?

Just as a therapist who works with adults keeps the information shared in those sessions confidential, your child’s Play Therapist will keep the information from their sessions confidential (exceptions apply). However, the Play Therapist will meet with you regularly to discuss your child’s play in general themes, hear your concerns, and talk about any questions you may have related to your child’s progress in therapy.

What is Play Therapy?

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