Child Centered Play Therapy
At Play Therapy Melbourne, our child psychologists, social workers and counsellors specialise in developmentally appropriate child therapy. Non-Directive Child Centred Play Therapy is a gentle form of child counselling where the therapist enters the world of the child through their play.
Play therapy is a way of being with a child that honours their unique developmental level and helps them work through difficulties in their ‘language’ – play. In the same way that adults use words to discuss their concerns through counselling, children use play to work though their thoughts and feelings. Licensed mental health professionals therapeutically use children’s natural inclination to play to help children, most often aged two to 12 years, to better express themselves and resolve their problems.
Children report valuing having their own concerns and experiences responded to. “She understands us. She understands children… You feel happy because you are being understood and not ignored”.
Play Therapy research
Research suggests that Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem. Feedback from children who have experienced play therapy sessions attests to its popularity and usefulness.
How do the toys help?
Developmentally, it is difficult for children younger than 12 years to verbalise their feelings. So toys can act as children’s ‘words’ as they can use them to express their inner world. Play Therapy Melbourne has carefully selected toys that help children to communicate and share their world, their inner thoughts and feelings, and the meanings they make of their world.
What does a Play Therapist do?
The therapists at Play Therapy Melbourne have completed post graduate training in play therapy and have had extensive training in areas like child development and attachment (the bonding process). The therapists use play, a child’s natural form of expression, as a means for understanding and communicating with children about feelings, thoughts and behaviour.
A Play Therapist will begin by carefully listening to your concerns about your child and family. They will review their history and find out about the stresses the family have been through so that they can help your child make sense of it. They may ask to seek information from school and other significant adults in their lives. An assessment is made of your child’s strengths as well as their difficulties.
Play Therapists sometimes work with parents in the playroom with their child. When this is the case, they train parents in how to relate better to their child using child-centred techniques.
How is Play Therapy different from normal play?
The play therapists at Play Therapy Melbourne have done intensive training and are specifically trained to use a set of skills in a consistent, predictable manner while creating an atmosphere of acceptance, empathy and understanding. When this therapeutic atmosphere has been created, children are able to fully explore and express their feelings, thoughts, experiences and behaviours and release the things that are holding them back from reaching their full potential.