WHAT IS PLAY THERAPY
Play therapy is a technique whereby the child’s natural means of expression, namely, play, is used as a therapeutic method to assist him/her in coping with emotional stress or trauma. It has been used effectively with children who have an understanding level of a normal three to eight-year-old, who are distraught due to family problems (e.g. parental divorce, sibling rivalry), nail biters, bed wetters, aggressive or cruel, socially underdeveloped, or victims of child abuse. It has also been used with special education students whose disability is a source of anxiety or emotional turmoil.
Practitioners of play therapy believe that this method allows the child to manipulate the world on a smaller scale, something that cannot be done in the child’s everyday environment. By playing with specially selected materials, and with the guidance of a person who reacts in a designated manner, the child plays out his/her feelings, bringing these hidden emotions to the surface where s/he can face them and cope with them. In it is most psychotherapeutic form, the teacher is unconditionally accepting of anything the child might say or do. The therapist never expresses shock, argues, teases, moralises, or tells the child that his/her perceptions are incorrect. An atmosphere should be developed in which the child knows that s/he can express herself/himself in a non-punitive environment. Yet, even though the atmosphere is permissive, certain limits may have to be imposed such as restrictions on destroying materials, attacking the teacher, or going beyond a set time limit.
THERAPY FOR CHILDREN
I offer play therapy for children between the ages of four and twelve. Children communicate in a different manner than adults, as they use non-verbal means to express themselves. For this reason, it is important that when dealing with children, I enter their world at their level of communication. I integrate parental counselling with play therapy as I believe that it is vital that parents are supported and given the necessary skills and understanding to develop a better relationship with their children.
For the first session, I meet with the parents alone in order to gather a developmental history and more information on the presenting problem or concern. In the second session, I then meet with the child to gain an understanding of his/her emotional functioning. This information guides me in my recommendations for intervention.
B PSYCH (HONS) (MGI)
MA PSYCHOLOGY (NWU)
HPCSA NO: PRC0014621
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 19:00
Saturday: 09:00 - 14:00
Tel: 073 683 0895