Is your child capable of going into a stranger’s office, sitting down and discussing what’s bothering them? If so, consider yourself very fortunate. Play therapy meets the child where she or he is developmentally. We have a variety of rooms specifically set-up to make children feel safe and give them a space to process whatever they need to work through. Garry Landreth, founder of The Institute for Play Therapy, says “Play is the child’s language and toys are their words”. Through a very specific selection of toys and language, the play therapist builds a relationship where the child feels safe to explore the issues causing them stress.
When children feel unsafe or misunderstood or otherwise stressed, they can start to exhibit behaviors parents want to correct. Symptoms like tantrums, or shows of disrespect, can embarrass parents. When working with children, it is vital to have a complete picture of the world they live in. How does their home function? What are their relationships like with parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, friends, neighbors, etc.? We typically find stress within these relationships when children start to act out. Play therapy will give them the self-esteem and emotional regulation to handle the stress in their life.