Play Therapy is an approach to counselling which uses mediums such as clay, drawings and paint as well as games and toys as a way of assisting children to express their emotions, thoughts, wishes and needs. Play therapy offers children a space to understand complex feelings and process difficult life events that they have not had the chance or the skills to previously. Thus, rather than having to explain what is troubling them verbally, as adult therapy usually expects, children are encouraged to use their spontaneous play to process various difficulties. Play therapy aims to work at the child’s own level and pace, in a safe and containing space.
What happens in play therapy?
There are many different types of play therapy, so what happens in a session can be quite varied depending on the individual child’s specific difficulties and needs. However, having said this, during any play therapy session the play therapist will use play or playful activities in a mindful and empathic way to communicate with the child.
If you need more information on play therapy, Kirstan has a detailed information pack available for parents.
How long does play therapy take?
The number of sessions needed after the initial assessment period depends on the difficulties the child is experiencing. For some children 10 to 12 sessions will alleviate symptoms. For others, long term therapy is considered. Again, the length of time is specific to each child and their unique needs.