Therapy has benefits for everyone. For adults, therapy can help us process unresolved issues, learn to build healthier relationships, and cultivate self-awareness and self-confidence. But guess what? Therapy has the same benefits for children too. The only difference is that sometimes children need a different messenger to deliver the same information. This is where play therapy comes in.
Children often hold trauma and other negative experiences inside of them. They may lack the necessary verbal skills to express what is wrong, they may not even realize that something problematic has happened, or they may feel shy or insecure about talking to an adult. The result is often increased feelings of stress and anxiety, problematic behaviors in school and social settings, aggression, depression, moodiness, or withdrawal.
The goal of play therapy is to create a safe space for children and preteens to express what is troubling them without needing the necessary verbal skills to do so. It is a form of therapy that takes a child’s developmental stage and emotional ability into account. Play therapy is most often used with children ages three to twelve and can either be conducted on its own or in addition to family therapy.
The clinical setting for play therapy is a safe and comfortable playroom. The child is presented with many different toys and games, arts and crafts, storytelling, theater, and musical instruments to play with. He or she is invited to explore the room freely and play spontaneously. With time and trust, the child begins to act out, play, or draw in a way that reflects what they are experiencing in their own life. As the child plays, the therapist observes the child’s play style and decisions, making sense of how he or she is expressing themselves with very little interference or intervention. With time and gentleness, the therapist will help the child to process and release whatever trauma they have experienced.
The most important job of the child therapist is to cultivate a relationship with the child that is centered on trust. He or she must create an environment where the child feels safe to express themselves fully. As families are an integral part of a child’s mental and emotional health, it is the job of the child therapist to decide when and how to involve the family, at the very least keeping them updated and aware of their child’s progress.
Play offers all of us opportunities to explore the world and express ourselves. For children especially, play is essential: it is a gateway into their world and the language with which they express themselves. Play therapy is a wonderful resource to help children learn tools to manage stress and anxiety, develop problem-solving skills, strengthen self-awareness, increase empathy and respect for others, and learn to navigate the world and communicate in a healthy way.
What Mental Health Concerns Can Be Treated With Play Therapy?
Play therapy is appropriate for children who have witnessed or experienced any form of abuse or trauma, including domestic abuse, the loss of a family member, a divorce, separation, or big move. It is also appropriate for children who are displaying social or emotional problems, aggression, fighting at school, or academic issues. Play therapy is also helpful for children with anxiety, depression, extreme or persistent sadness, PTSD, nightmares and bedwetting, and those on the autism spectrum.
It is important for your child’s health and safety that you work with a certified child therapy specialist who has had thorough training in play therapy. The Relationship Therapy Center has therapists on staff who are licensed, play therapists. These therapists have undergone extensive and specialized training that focuses on how to best allow children and preteens to express themselves, their emotions, and their experiences through play.
If your child is struggling, don’t wait to get help. Talk to our certified play therapists today and start the journey for you and your child to find your way back to greater happiness.
Begin Play Therapy in the Sacramento Area:
Play therapy can help your child thrive and succeed. Working with a play therapist not only benefits your child but your whole family as well. To begin child counseling and play therapy in the Sacramento area, follow these steps:
Contact the Relationship Therapy Center and schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more about in-person or online teen therapy
Make an appointment for your teen to meet with one of our compassionate child therapists
Get the support your teen needs to navigate adolescent challenges with confidence!
Other Counseling Services at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to teen therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.