Children show us what they think, and how they feel, experience and understand the world in which they live through their play.

As adults, we usually benefit from talking things out, whereas children will play things out since they don’t have the verbal skills and understanding like adults do. Have you tried to talk to a child about a problem?

I love to help kids that are having worries that are too big to manage. They’re not enjoying activities (if you can even get them to go to one) and any family outing is rife with worry about how they’re going to handle it. How do you even go about carving some time out for activities and family time plus some ‘YOU time’ when your child is having meltdowns, tantrums and refusing to go anywhere without you. Play-date’s are a far off dream right now, as you worry about judgment from other parents as well as how your child is going to cope with a new place. You worry that they’re not socializing and can’t even imagine how you’re going to tackle getting to school when you can’t even get out the door. Maybe they’re shut down, or they’re having meltdowns of an epic proportion; one thing for certain is that something has to change.

The purpose of having them play is to give them a safe space that they can get it out.

My work as a play therapist is to provide a wide variety of carefully chosen play and other expressive materials (costumes, art, sandtray, music) to help your child open up and express what they’re struggling with, whether it’s challenging behaviors or difficult feelings. It helps them feel seen and heard. I explain it to kids that it’s like when you have a really big, yucky owie, that is infected. First it might really hurt and you see the Dr a lot about it, and it hurts to poke at it,  and it’s uncomfortable. But then it starts to feel better and then you don’t have to go to the Dr as much, and it gets better and you see the Dr less. And then maybe you come back if it’s not feeling good again, or maybe you won’t need to because you know how to handle oweies better.

After our initial meeting, play therapy is conducted either with you and your child or with the child alone, depending on what best fits the situation. Regular communication between myself and you, the parent is also important so we can discuss progress, concerns, and to help you support and enhance your child’s process.

Play therapy is helpful for children who:

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Are anxious, whether it’s about school, friends, family changes, anxiety is getting in the way of enjoying life
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Seem to struggle with sensory information such as how their clothes feel, textures, lights, and noise
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Highly sensitive, easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes and the emotional distress of others.
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Frequent angry outbursts, quick tempered and often easily set off
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Experienced trauma, whether from a car accident, medical complication or life event
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Seem withdrawn, sad, not enjoying life, often comparing themselves negatively to others
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Are struggling in their step-family with the introduction of a new partner, sibling or new home
What is Synergetic Play Therapy?
My approach is Synergetic Play Therapy, which literally gets to the root of the struggle, helping transform the child (and the family) from the inside out.

As human beings we are given a marvelous coping mechanism in our biology called the nervous system. In simple terms, the nervous system acts like a “honing mechanism” constantly trying to keep us in an optimal state of regulation. When we perceive any form of challenge in our lives, our nervous system gets activated to either rev us up or slow us down—whatever we perceive is necessary to take on the challenge.

Every symptom that a child struggles with is rooted in an inability for the nervous system to get them back to a state of regulation. When we have an experience that we have labeled as “challenging” in our perceptions, we will attempt to move away from the physical sensations, emotions and thoughts related to that experience. Neurobiology now shows us that in order for integration to occur, we must move towards the physical sensations, emotions and/or thoughts rather than away from them. Whether a child is struggling with anxiety, depression, loss, impulsivity, sibling rivalry, school issues, friend issues, sensory overwhelm, emotional sensitivity, etc, Synergetic Play Therapy can help.

I’ve included this awesome link, from the creator of Synergetic Play Therapy

It describes for parents, how children communicate. I hope you find it helpful.

Explaining Play Therapy To Children
Parents often ask me how to explain play therapy to their children or even the idea of seeing a counsellor.

My suggestion is to be honest about seeking some help, that you’ve noticed that they have been having a hard time with their worries, or meltdowns, or big feelings, or sad feelings or whatever it is that you are concerned about, and that you’ve found someone that helps kids figure out what to do with these feelings. I encourage parents to keep it positive, keep it normal – this helper helps lots of kids because there are other kids who have a challenge too, you’re not the only one. It should never be used as a punishment i.e. “If you don’t smarten up I’m taking you to the counsellor”. If you’re still not sure, we can talk about this during the phone consultation or intake appointment.

Play Therapy: How Children Learn

Want to learn more?

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