Play is a child’s natural form of expression. Play therapy uses play as the primary medium for helping children express and communicate their feelings. Through play therapy a child can explore their feelings, express themselves and make sense of difficult life experiences such as abuse, trauma and loss. Play therapy provides a safe contained space for children to explore issues that are pertinent to them to reach resolution and recovery. It does not require them to put experiences into words and they can use the materials (art and craft, small world figures, sand, water, dressing up, role play materials etc) to express themselves often creating metaphors and stories in which to communicate and contain difficult experiences. The play therapy relationship helps the child make sense of their life experiences and to express difficult feelings through the metaphors of play.
This approach is most suitable for children between the age of 3 and 12 and for children who struggle with more direct approaches. It promotes emotional resilience, a more hopeful view of the world and an increase in self -esteem. Weekly sessions take place in a neutral therapeutic space with the parent or carer waiting nearby. Although it is a child focussed therapy the parents or carers and wider network are actively engaged in the process. At times it may be appropriate to facilitate child/parent play sessions or involve the parent within the sessions.
Although some children may respond to a shorter-term intervention (12 sessions) a longer intervention may be required (20 sessions or more). An initial assessment and reviews will inform this. Parent sessions alongside may be recommended.
Prices start from £60 per session.