Often, children are unable to put their feelings, motivations, and desires into words. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t experiencing complex and important emotions and working through decision making. Instead, children use play to make these things clear to others and not infrequently themselves. Play therapy provides children with a safe, non-judgmental opportunity to express themselves at their own pace, in their own way, and their own language. This kind of therapy is perhaps best appropriate for children ages 3-12. It’s been proven effective in treating anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, developmental delays, inattention and hyperactivity, and grief. Insight Into Action Therapy provides play therapy for children in VA, giving them and parents another tool in fostering positive mental health.
What is Play Therapy for Children, VA?
While it may look like ordinary play, a play therapy program is an excellent means to observe how a child interacts with their world. By paying attention to how child addresses their toys, has them interact, expresses their own emotions while playing, and even how they react alongside other children, therapists gain insight into the issues that may be pressing on a child’s mind and affecting their emotions and actions. While verbal communication may be difficult for a child or simply out of their reach, the play gives them control and means to ‘talk’ to others. Astute therapists like those at Insight Into Action Therapy can read these expressions to see what is and what isn’t being done.
Typically, within a play therapy program therapists will use a couple of approaches:
- Nondirective: This approach assumes a child will strive to resolve their issues on their own if given the right conditions and freedom. With limited supervision or instruction but keen observation, therapists can come to see what issues are present and the way the child opts to deal with them.
- Directive: By contrast, directive play therapy has therapists give more instruction to the child or children. Usually, this approach is a way to get at underlying issues in a faster manner allowing there to be other therapeutic plans devised.
However, both approaches are frequently used together and provide children with means to:
- Deal with unresolved trauma
- Learn new coping mechanisms
- Understand how to redirect inappropriate behaviors
How to Prepare Your Child
Your child must be as comfortable as possible for a proper evaluation to take place during our play therapy for children VA program. By reducing anxiety, you will increase the child’s motivation and cooperation. Therapy, just like other psychiatric evaluations, can take time. For younger children, this can be especially challenging. Thus, keep the following in mind as you prepare your child for our play therapy program:
- Advanced notice: Avoid surprising your child. Familiarity is perhaps the best way to get results. So provide one day’s notice for each year of a child’s age.
- Purpose: There’s no reason not to let a child know the reason for their play therapy sessions. Explaining it is a means for therapists to learn more about them to help them be their best is simple and true.
- Comfort: Explain that they will be meeting with a therapist who will want to talk with them and ask questions. But they will be able to do activities like doing puzzles, making drawings, telling stories, etc. Try not to present it as a test or some kind of schoolwork-like task.
- Questions: Every child has the right to ask questions and get clear truthful answers. No therapy can be successful without trust. A play therapy program is no different.
- Rest: Ensure that your child has a restful night’s sleep before therapy.
Insight Into Action Therapy
At Insight Into Action Therapy, we believe good mental health requires the same attention as physical health does. Good mental health starts at an early age. Thus, our play therapy program is a superb way for parents, therapists, and children to understand what emotional and mental issues they are dealing with and developing positive habits. Also, when children are struggling with behavioral or emotional issues, our play therapy program can help get at the underlying causes.
Insight Into Action Therapy is committed to getting you or your loved one the treatment necessary. Therefore, we provide several other therapeutic services, such as:
These treatments help improve mental health. So reach out to us today at 703.935.8544 to learn more. Explore our options and discover how we can help.