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Exploring Play Therapy FAQs

Play therapy is a dynamic and effective approach to supporting your child's or teenager's emotional, social, and behavioral well-being. As a parent or caregiver, you may have lots of questions about what play therapy entails, how it works, and whether it's the right fit for your child or teen. In this blog, we'll address some common FAQs we receive about play therapy to help you gain a better understanding of this therapeutic approach and its potential benefits for your child or teen.

What is play therapy?

Play therapy is a form of counseling or psychotherapy specifically designed for children or teens aged 4 to 16 years. It utilizes play as a means of communication and expression, allowing your child or teen to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and supportive environment. A play therapist is a trained mental health professional who uses play techniques to help your child or teen resolve emotional conflicts, develop coping skills, and promote healthy development.

How does play therapy work?

In play therapy sessions, your child or teen is given access to a variety of toys, games, and art materials that are age-appropriate. They are encouraged to engage in free, unstructured play or directed play activities under the guidance of the therapist. Through their play, children may reenact real-life experiences, express difficult emotions, or work through conflicts and challenges. The therapist observes your child's or teen's play and uses it as a tool to gain insights into their inner world, offering support and guidance as needed.

Won't my teen find ‘play’ therapy childish?

The underlying principle of play therapy is the use of non-verbal and creative methods to engage teens in expressing their thoughts and feelings. So while the word ‘play’ may sound childish, the approaches and methods are anything but. Play therapy sessions for older children and teens up to the age of 16 years old involve different activities that are age-appropriate and aligned with their interests. For example, sand tray therapy is a great way for teens to act out their thoughts without feeling judged. They can ‘paint a picture’ of their issues using miniature figurines in a safe environment without any pressure.

It’s important for us as adults to understand that teens are at their own unique developmental stage where they’re learning important skills that they’ll carry into adulthood. I think we can all agree that adolescence is generally a challenging time. You know the drill: physical and hormonal changes are happening, and they are forming their identity at the same time. There’s also academic stress and peer pressure. Some teens may experience emotional turmoil and parental conflicts at home too. In this day and age, the ubiquity of social media doesn’t make things easier either. Our teens face new challenges such as online bullying, comparison with others, and excessive screen time. As such, parents may feel that their teens are becoming less communicative, prone to mood swings and emotional ups-and-downs. All these make it challenging for us to understand a teen’s thoughts and feelings.

What types of issues can play therapy address?

Play therapy is beneficial for children or teenagers experiencing a wide range of emotional, social, and behavioral difficulties. These may include anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss, family disruptions, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and adjustment issues related to divorce, relocation, or school transitions. Play therapy can also help children oe teenagers with developmental delays or disabilities learn new skills and improve their social interactions.

How long does play therapy last?

The duration of play therapy varies depending on your child's or teen's needs, goals, and progress. Some children or teenagers may benefit from short-term, focused interventions lasting several weeks or months, while others may require longer-term therapy to achieve lasting changes. The frequency and duration of sessions are typically determined collaboratively between the therapist, your child or teen, and their family.

What role do parents play in play therapy?

Parents play an essential role in supporting their child's or teen's play therapy journey. While the therapy sessions themselves are typically conducted one-on-one between your child/teen and the therapist, parents may be involved in the treatment process in various ways. This may include participating in parent-child sessions, attending parent education and support groups, implementing therapeutic strategies at home, and collaborating with the therapist to set goals and track progress.

How can I find a qualified play therapist for my child?

When seeking a play therapist for your child or teen, it's essential to choose a qualified professional with specialized training and experience in play therapy. You can start by asking for recommendations from your child's pediatrician, school counselor, or trusted healthcare provider. Additionally, professional organizations such as the Play Therapy United Kingdom (PTUK) offer directories of certified play therapists in your area.

Can I read more about play therapy experiences and insights?

Absolutely! We've partnered with reputable publications like HoneyKids Asia and Sassy Mama to share in-depth articles about play therapy and its impact on children and families. Check out our exclusive features in HoneyKids Asia's parenting section and Sassy Mama's family-focused content for firsthand accounts and practical tips on navigating the world of play therapy. These articles offer valuable insights and inspiration for parents seeking to understand the benefits of play therapy for their children.

Play therapy is a valuable and evidence-based approach to supporting children's emotional and behavioral well-being. By providing a safe and nurturing space for children to play and explore, play therapy empowers them to heal, grow, and thrive. If you have further questions about play therapy or are considering it for your child, don't hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support.

Do you think your Teen or Child could benefit from therapy? Speak to a qualified Play therapist to learn how your Teen or Child could benefit from play therapy, Click here to get in touch today, or if you want to know if Play Therapy could be suitable for your Teen or Child, click here to take our quiz!

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