Play Therapy | Counselling in Melbourne

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Play Therapy

What is Play Therapy?

Play Therapy is a developmentally apt, evidence-supported method of counselling for children. Recognised by developmental psychologists as a critical pathway to healthy physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development, play therapy involves the use of play as a communication tool. It provides a safe, dynamic interpersonal relationship where children can express and explore their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and behaviours, using the language they are most familiar with – play.

How does Play Therapy work?

Play therapy delves into the innate, creative, non-verbal capacities of children. Within the safe parameters of the guided environment, children can metaphorically play out their inner and real-life experiences. Play therapists utilise a range of carefully selected toys representing various play themes such as nurturing, aggression, fantasy, and real-life scenarios. The interactions help children express, regulate, communicate, and master new skills, thereby building insight and capacity.

What is Play Therapy used for?

Play Therapy is used for a range of personal, social, and behavioural difficulties. Children experiencing issues like behavioural disorders, psychosocial problems, physical and learning disabilities, anxiety, abuse-related trauma, domestic violence exposure, depression, grief, and post-traumatic stress have been found to benefit from play therapy. It’s also a beneficial tool to help children develop emotional responses and enhance their coping abilities.

What can I expect from Play Therapy?

During Play Therapy, children get the freedom to express their fears and concerns in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting. They can choose what, how, when, and whether to express their worries and wishes. Over time, they can gain self-awareness and insight into their behaviour. Play Therapy also respects children’s ability to solve problems and make decisions independently within carefully established boundaries.

When doesn’t Play Therapy work?

While Play Therapy has been found to be beneficial for many children, it may not be suitable or necessarily the best form of assessment and intervention for all children or presenting issues. For instance, for children showing symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, behavioural interventions should be used in the first instance. Also, in some circumstances where children display challenging behaviour, the optimal intervention may involve working primarily with parents.

Things to consider before choosing Play Therapy

Before choosing Play Therapy, parents need to undergo a thorough assessment to understand the best way to assist the child. It’s also crucial to consider the child’s individual needs, developmental stage, emotional state, and specific issues when considering Play Therapy. Parents should also acknowledge that when children are deemed to be at risk of harm, safety planning and relevant child protection notification is above all else.

 

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903 – 530 Little Collins St Melbourne CBD, VIC 3000

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