“In play therapy, toys are the child’s words and play is the child’s language (Landreth, 2002)
Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and learning problems, including life stressors such as divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, assimilate stressful experiences, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters (Reddy, Files-Hall, & Schaefer, 2005)
As a Registered Play Therapist (RPT), Sarah has training and experience working with children ages 3 and up. Sarah is trained to engage children in a variety of play therapy techniques that cover a range of presenting issues. She truly believes in the power of play to propel children towards healing in a safe and accepting environment. Sarah is passionate about including parents in their child’s therapy and provides parent education about the child’s emotional, social and behavioral well-being, along with facilitating effective parenting skills.
Sarah believes that the family plays an important role in a child’s healing process. After the evaluation process, she will determine how and when to involve some or all of the child’s family members in the play therapy. She communicates with the child’s caretakers to provide parenting training skills and to develop a plan for problem resolution.
What is Play Therapy?
… toys are the child’s words!
Initially developed in the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.
How Does Play Therapy Work?
Children are referred for play therapy to resolve their problems (Carmichael; 2006; Schaefer, 1993). Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, may act out at home, with friends, and at school (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children’s play. Further, play therapy is utilized to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to problems (Moustakas, 1997; Reddy, Files-Hall, & Schaefer, 2005). By confronting problems in the clinical Play Therapy setting, children find healthier solutions. Play therapy allows children to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their concerns (Kaugars & Russ, 2001). Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in play therapy and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered and adapted into lifelong strategies (Russ, 2004).