Counselling for Children/Child Play Therapy
Depending on the child's emotional, physical and intellectual development some children benefit from play therapy as young as three years of age. Toddlers (2-5) and school age children (6-12) benefit from the process of play therapy. Play therapy is a child's language where no words are necessary. Children around the world have play in common as a universal language. Play is the language of childhood. Play therapy involves the use of play to communicate with children and to help children learn to solve problems and change their negative behavior. Guided by trained play therapists children learn to express whatever challenges they may be experiencing. Through play, children learn to express their emotions, develop relationship skills, develop empathy, and explore new and different ways of coping. At times development can be impacted by traumatic events and attachment issues that occur during childhood. Play therapy can assist a child in resolving these issues that otherwise may delay developmental achievements.
The Playroom Experience
The playroom is a child's world and becomes a safe place to grow emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually. The playroom is equipped with various expressive methods such as:
- art supplies
- castles, knights and dragons
- dollhouse and accessories
- dress up chest
- therapeutic games
- puppets & puppet theatre
- sand play and a wonderful collection of figurines too extensive to list
As an Adlerian trained therapist Bonnie places emphasis on building a relationship and deeply connecting with each child prior to addressing their therapeutic issues. Once a child has a sense of trust and safety, the work begins with assisting the child to gain insight into his/her beliefs and behaviours. In the playroom the role of an Adlerian play therapist is described as active and directive. Bonnie is also trained in non-directive child-centered play therapy. This approach allows the child to control the pace at which they will process their healing. This therapeutic decision involves on-going clinical assessment and judgment depending on the challenge the child is coping with.
Expectations of Parents
An important element of play therapy with children is the support and involvement of parents. Working together with your child's therapist will help the child process through their emotional struggle feeling supported and safe. Children are entitled to confidentiality of their counselling sessions and often learn healthy boundaries while in therapy, along with effective social skills and healthy relationship skills. Trust and respect are very important in developing a good therapeutic relationship with a child. We encourage parents to respect their child's right to confidentiality and not explore details of their counselling session with them.
Parental involvement is an expectation of the counselling process and at times involves family therapy, education on developmental issues and parenting challenges. Parents will be provided with clinical observations, progress and conclusions about their child.
Depending on the developmental stage of the child and the presenting concerns parents may be requested to attend the first session without their child. If the child has experienced a trauma it is necessary to discuss this without the child being present. This allows for an opportunity to explore all developmental stages and gather all necessary details to begin formulating a treatment plan. This also allows parents to tour the playroom and explore the philosophy of the practice to ensure we are the best fit for your family. When the child comes for their first session they are aware their parents have already met with their counsellor which helps the child feel comfortable.
At the time an appointment is scheduled you will receive by e-mail or mail the following forms:
- developmental history
- explanation of play therapy
- how to support your child while in therapy
- general intake form
- what to tell you child about meeting his/her counsellor