Children are usually referred to play therapy to resolve challenging behavior problems…these behaviors are letting us know there is a need. As adoptive and foster parents, the children in our homes have not received consistent safety, comfort, protection and have been removed from their biological parents. It is our responsibility to recognize their unique needs and to understand the resources that can help them along their path to healing.
But if I’m being honest…my initial thoughts upon hearing about play therapy for the first time, went something like this…
“You’re kidding, right???”
“How much am I paying for the therapist to sit on the floor and play with my child?”
And, “What kid needs therapy to learn how to play?”
While those are all fair questions, it didn’t take much education and personal experience to realize that there is way more to it, than I initially thought.
According to The Association of Play Therapy, Play therapy is implemented as a treatment of choice in mental health, school, agency, developmental, hospital, residential, and recreational settings, with clients of all ages … Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, including: divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters.
Play therapy helps children:
-Become more responsible for behaviors and develop more successful strategies.
-Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
-Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
-Learn to experience and express emotion.
-Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others.
-Learn social skills and relational skills with family.
In today’s episode we are exploring play, not only play in our homes, but the therapeutic value of play with a qualified play therapist. I have invited seasoned, play therapist, Kellie Cole to share her 25 years of experience working with children using this highly regarded, evidence based, therapeutic approach. Kellie uses play therapy to help children process difficult emotions, improve communication, develop problem-solving skills, and heal from traumatic experiences.
Kellie says in the play therapy world…
“Toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language.”
Here are just a few of the things Kellie shares in this episode:
-How we know when a child needs play therapy
-The purpose and intention of carefully selected toys in the play therapy room
-The exploration of the child’s inner world through play therapy
-The “dos and don’ts” as parents join in play at home and much more!
DEEPER DOWN THE WELL
For much more information on play therapy and to find a therapist near you, check out https://www.a4pt.org/