Play is a child’s natural language. Instead of trying to force a child to enter our verbal world, the therapist enters their world of play. We let them lead, we watch to see which mediums they choose each session, we observe their behavior and language they use with the objects they choose. After a few sessions, patterns develop in their play and once therapeutic trust has been established, the therapist can begin gently shifting the play at times (the intervention) which creates an internal emotional shift within the child. Sometimes the child can figure out their own resolution, sometimes the therapist will gently introduce a new way of interacting in a situation.
Once the anger, depression and/or anxiety begin to be resolved the behaviors begin to decrease, as well. Before, the child was unable to verbally express their complex feelings so the feelings built up with no place to go but to externalize through the behavioral system. Basically, now that the feelings are resolved, there is no reason for the behaviors. We do not just stop with play therapy, however, we do create awareness for the child, empower the child to find their development age voice and be able to communicate their feelings so they have developed tools to take with them after therapy.
We utilize play therapy with children approximately eight years of age and younger. Play therapy works well for children who have experienced grief, loss, trauma, parental separation, divorce, anxiety, depression, etc. At Crossroads we truly believe in a tailored and individualized approach that fits your family best. Even in play therapy for children, there will always be some level of family therapy involved because we believe at Crossroads that parents have the most influence with their children.