woman observes child partaking in play therapy While it may look like ordinary activity, play therapy is an excellent means to observe how children interact with their world. By paying attention to how a child addresses their toys, has them interact, expresses their own emotions while playing, and even how they react alongside other children, pediatric therapists gain insight into the issues that may be pressing on a child’s mind and affecting their emotions and actions.

While verbal communication may be difficult for a child or simply out of their reach, the play gives them control and the means to ‘talk’ to others. Astute therapists like those at Grace Counseling can learn to read these expressions to see what is and what isn’t being done.

What Is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is a form of child therapy where a trained therapist will help a child overcome some challenge. Everything about playing is dictated by the child, helping them relax and encouraging them to open up. In this comfortable, trusting environment, children can best express their feelings, and the child therapist can witness more natural behavior. As the treatment progresses, the therapist will determine how directive they will be in the child’s play. The idea is to create a safe and supportive environment for the child to feel comfortable enough to open up.

Kids don’t always have a great home growing up or even in their first few years. That could be due to outside circumstances or something else that disrupted their life. Whatever happened, they might be defensive or aggressive or moody. Play therapy can help them process their feelings in a safe environment. Through this process, kids can be kids again and overcome their issues. Every child is different, but play therapy has been proven to make a tremendous impact.

Some of the ways play therapy helps children of all ages include:

  • Encourages creativity
  • Assists with problem-solving
  • Promotes healing from traumatic events
  • Facilitates the healthy expression of emotions
  • Encourages positive decision-making
  • Fosters new ways of thinking and perspectives
  • Develops social skills
  • Cultivates better communication skills

How to Get the Most from Pediatric Counseling

Your child must be as comfortable as possible for a proper evaluation. Our child therapists at Grace Counseling are very experienced and have a knack for setting children at ease. However, parents can do things to help reduce anxiety, increase the child’s motivation, and improve cooperation. Thus, keep the following in mind as you prepare your child for our play therapy program:

  • Advanced notice: Avoid surprising your child. Familiarity is perhaps the best way to get results. So provide at least a day’s notice for each year of a child’s age and remind them periodically.
  • Purpose: There’s no reason not to let a child know the reason for their play therapy sessions. Explaining it is a means for therapists to learn more about them to help them be their best is simple and true.
  • Comfort: Explain they will meet with an adult who will want to talk with them and ask questions. But they will be able to do puzzles, make drawings, tell stories, etc. Try not to present it as a test or some schoolwork-like task.
  • Questions: Every child has the right to ask questions and get clear truthful answers. No therapy can be successful without trust.
    Rest: Ensure that your child has a restful night’s sleep before therapy.

Therapy takes time because building trust isn’t something that happens overnight or after a single session. Pediatric counseling is no different from adult therapy in this regard. So to get the most out of child therapy, make sure you and the child are prepared.

Find the Right Children’s Therapy at Grace Counseling

Because it can be a challenge for children to put their feelings, motivations, and desires into words, play therapy can be very useful. It’s been proven effective in treating anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, developmental delays, inattention and hyperactivity, and grief.

The pediatric counseling we offer at Grace Counseling is just one of the several therapeutic services we offer. Some of our other therapy programs include:

Our child therapists can give parents and caregivers another tool in fostering positive mental health. So reach out to us today at 844.564.0712, or contact us online.