Play Therapy

—Play is essential for a child to develop physically, emotionally and socially and is a natural medium of self-expression. Children may experience problems with feelings or behaviors that cause disruption to their lives and the lives of those around them. —During Play Therapy the child is given the opportunity to ‘play out’ their thoughts, feelings and problems, just as, in certain types of adult therapies, an individual ‘talks out’ their difficulties.
This play occurs in a environment of non-judgemental acceptance, warm positive regard and respect for the child client. The client choose what activities and toys to engage with and the therapist follows the client lead.  These activities and toys are part of the Play Therapy Tool Kit and include;
  • Painting and Drawing
  • Puppets
  • Sandtray
  • Music
  • Dramatherapy
  • Therapeutic Stories
  • Creative Visualisation
  • Clay
  • Dance and Movement

As a Play Therapist I work to Play Therapist Virginia Axline’s principles. She said that the therapist;

  • Must develop a warm and friendly relationship with the child.
  • Accepts the child as she or he is.
  • Establishes a feeling of permission in the relationship so that the child feels free to express his or her feelings completely.
  • Is alert to recognise the feelings the child is expressing and reflects these feelings back in such a manner that the child gains insight into his/her behaviour.
  • Maintains a deep respect for the child’s ability to solve his/her problems and gives the child the opportunity to do so. The responsibility to make choices and to institute change is the child’s.
  • Does not attempt to direct the child’s actions or conversations in any manner. The child leads the way, the therapist follows.
  • Does not hurry the therapy along. It is a gradual process and must be recognised as such by the therapist.
  • Only establishes those limitations necessary to anchor the therapy to the world of reality and to make the child aware of his/her responsibility in the relationship.

Any child can benefit from Play Therapy as it promotes self-confidence, imagination, creativity, concentration, problem-solving skills, self-esteem and a sense of happiness. However clients also present with issues such as;

  • Developmental delay
  • Behavioral problems such as; bedwetting, sleep or eating problems
  • Bullying
  • Emotional difficulties such as; anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or aggression
  • Bereavement or loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Difficulty with peer groups

There are a limited number of spaces available for reduced-cost Play Therapy, offered on a sliding scale and dependent on the client’s parent’s income.