Make an Appointment: (479) 360-9080

Why Play Therapy?

Why Play Therapy?

“Can’t I just play with my own child?”

Sure, you could… and you should! Your therapist will recommend it!

Although it has the word “play” in its name, and children typically love going, it is often hard work for the child.
When placed in the right therapeutic environment, with a good therapist relationship, a child will gravitate towards acting and working out tough problems that cannot be verbally expressed. Therapeutic play is very different than regular play.
Play Therapists are trained to recognize themes in play, promote emotion regulation, self-control and mastery.
There are different types of Play Therapy theoretical models. Two of the main distinctions in Play Therapy approaches are directive and nondirective. Some therapists (like myself) use a blend. Directive simply means instruction (sometimes the child will have activities to do in session or take home sheets) Directive approaches are best with ages 6+. Nondirective relies more on trusting the therapeutic process and holds the belief that the child, when given the right environment and support, will have the natural ability to heal. Nondirective is ideal for younger clients, non/pre-verbal clients, and autistic children.
Children 10-18 can still benefit from Play Therapy using directive approaches or Sandtray Therapy.

What are behavioral signs of trauma?

Major changes in eating

Nightmares, refuses to sleep alone

Anger, rage, easily irritated

Separation Anxiety or unreasonable fear

Unusually strong startle reactions

Isolation, decreased sense of worth, cries frequently

Sudden loss of interest in hobbies or sports

Acting out sexually or inappropriately

Trauma is defined as “a very difficult or unpleasant experience that causes someone to have mental or emotional problems usually for a long time”.

1. Before Therapy- The Intake Session
Choose a therapist right for your location and schedule. Try asking for a reference from your family physician.
Your first appointment will involve meeting the therapist and giving any relevant information for your therapist to know. This is called the Intake Session. Some therapists will request that you come without the child, or bring someone to watch the child while you talk to the therapist.

What’s Expected From You?

Therapists recognize that it takes a village to raise a child, and behavior is unlikely to change if it just done one hour a week.

Here’s various example of arrangements you could make with the therapist:

meet with the therapist for a few minutes before or after every session

meet with the therapist for a longer amount of time every third session

Get an email of therapy updates and skills to implement at home (not many do this) (I typically do not do this)

Come at the end of the session so the child can teach you the skills learned in therapy

Complete take-home work with child and implement strategies into the home

As you can see, what is expected on your end as the parent changes depending on the therapist’s style and whatever is agreed upon at the intake session.

The intake session is a good time to come with a list of concerns about the child including any recent life changes, troubles at school or home, traumas, or family history of mental concerns. Also share what is great about your child so the therapist knows what works well with the child!
Before you go to the intake session, have an idea of the end goal in sight. As the therapists like to call it the “Miracle Question”, if you woke up tomorrow, and you knew your child did not need to be in therapy, what would your child be doing differently?
Discuss ideas for what a treatment plan and therapy goals could look like.
Let the therapist know you are willing to try implementing skills learned in therapy at home.

Also of course be knowledgeable of costs, projected length of treatment time (typically 6mo-1 year), and sign any releases of information that your therapist could use to contact other professionals or family that may have information relevant to treatment.

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Rogers Location
Sunnyside Baptist
210 East Locust Street
Rogers, AR 72756

Fayetteville Location
Interventional Pain Specialist of NWA
4019 Remington Drive
Fayetteville, AR 72703
(479) 360-9080

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