Play Therapy

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?

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

Play therapy is helpful for children who:

  • Are anxious, whether it’s about school, friends, family changes, anxiety is getting in the way of enjoying life
  • Seem to struggle with sensory information such as how their clothes feel, textures, lights, and noise
  • Feeling really intense feelings and can’t seem to find a way to regulate themselves
  • Frequent angry outbursts, quick tempered and often easily set off
  • Experienced trauma, whether from a car accident, medical complication or life event
  • Are withdrawn, sad, seem down and not enjoying life, often comparing themselves negatively to others
  • Are struggling in their step-family with the introduction of a new partner, sibling or new home

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.

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



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 before your meet and greet.

Want to learn more? Book a free 15 minute consultation to meet me and see my play therapy space here.
(250) 714-1641

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