What is Play Therapy?

May 19, 2017

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation” – Plato What is Play Therapy? For a child, play is a safe medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self-fulfillment. Children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, so they feel safe to […]

What is Play Therapy?

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation” – Plato

What is Play Therapy?

For a child, play is a safe medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self-fulfillment. Children’s language development lags behind their cognitive development, so they feel safe to communicate their awareness of what is happening in their world through their play. In play therapy toys are viewed as the child’s words and play as the child’s language–a language of activity. Play therapy to children is similar to counseling or psychotherapy to adults. In play therapy, the symbolic function of play is what is so important, providing children with a means of expressing their inner world. Emotionally significant experiences from a child’s inner world can be expressed more comfortably and safely through the symbolic representation the toys provide. Using this, counselors can experience the inner thought of the child.

Who can Benefit from Play Therapy?

Ages 3 – 12yrs benefit from Play therapy. All children go through stages of emotional distress. But some children can have serious problems, often caused by:

  • Loss of loved one
  • Family Conflict
  • Neglect
  • Family Violence
  • Abuse (Sexual, Emotional and Physical)
  • Divorce and Separation
  • Moving to a New School/Place
  • Bullying
  • Hospitalization
  • Learning Disabilities and Mental Challenges
  • Autism and ADHD
  • Chronic Illness
  • Deaf and other Physical Challenges
  • Burn Victims
  • Disassociation and Schizophrenia

Often the child needing help present the following traits or behaviors

  • Poor Academic Performance
  • Speech difficulties like Selective Mutism
  • Elimination disorders – E.g. Bedwetting after toilet training age
  • Sleep Issues – Bed time Anxiety, Nightmares
  • Fear of school
  • Test Anxiety
  • Excessive worry and sadness
  • Anger outbursts
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety when separation from caregivers
  • Relational conflict with parents, peers or siblings
  • Attachment Difficulties

How does it work?

Each play therapy session lasts 45-50 minutes and is usually held weekly. Studies have shown the average length of time for a child to receive play therapy is 20 weeks, although some children need fewer or additional sessions.

Benefits of Play Therapy

  • Children learn to accept ownership of their actions and responsibility for behaviors
  • Establish creative problem solving skills,
  • Acceptance of self and others
  • Identify and Express emotions in a healthy age appropriate way.
  • Self-regulation when in distress
  • cultivate relational skills with family,
  • Increase in Self Esteem

Reference: Adopted from Association of Play Therapy and American Counseling Association

If you want to explore Play Therapy for your child, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

Do You Suffer from Anxiety? Yoga Can Help!

May 17, 2017

Life is full of moments that cause us to feel stressed or nervous. Getting up and speaking in front of a large group of people, starting a new school, and trying to ace that important job interview – all of these scenarios can make us fearful, resulting in sleepless nights and performance jitters. The problem […]

Do You Suffer from Anxiety? Yoga Can Help!

Life is full of moments that cause us to feel stressed or nervous. Getting up and speaking in front of a large group of people, starting a new school, and trying to ace that important job interview – all of these scenarios can make us fearful, resulting in sleepless nights and performance jitters.

The problem starts when this fear becomes persistent and overwhelming and interferes with everyday life. At this point “normal fear” becomes a full-blown anxiety disorder.

While a certified therapist should be consulted to develop a plan for treating your anxiety disorder, yoga is an effective and natural way to get some relief from symptoms like trouble sleeping, muscle tensions, and chronic digestive upset.

Yoga, it turns out, can help control anxiety in a few different ways:

1. Yoga Builds Confidence

Anxiety can result from a lack of confidence in our ability to handle negative situations, either real or theoretical, that may arise. We are not so much fearful of public speaking as we are fearful that we are somehow going to “screw up.”

Yoga is a major confidence-builder because it works to strengthen the body and mind at the same time. The practice includes body postures and breathing techniques, along with ancient meditation approaches, and combined, these can help a person feel calm, centered, and able to handle any situation that crops up in their life.

2. Yoga Distracts Your Mind from the Negative Loop

What can you do when your mind seems to be stuck on an endless loop of negative and worrisome thoughts? Distract with other thoughts.

Yoga trains a person to focus their thoughts on the moment, specifically by thinking only of their rhythmic breath. As soon as the mind wanders to its typical negative thinking, the practitioner simply guides it back to the breath without anger or judgement. Feelings of calmness and acceptance naturally follow intense breath work.

3. Yoga is like Your Inner Therapist

Yoga is a wonderful compliment to therapy because, like your therapist, yoga helps you to observe how your mind works. And, also like your therapist, there is no judgement involved. Mediation is simply about paying attention to the thoughts you are having, keeping the thoughts that are helpful and releasing those that are harmful.

Yoga and meditation will also help you to train your mind to focus on the positive aspects of your life. When you surround yourself with positivity, the fear of negativity subsides.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment for your anxiety disorder, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

May 8, 2017

The birth of a child is a wondrous event that, along with some sleepless nights, brings joy into a family’s life. Unfortunately, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness for mothers experiencing postpartum depression. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the […]

3 Signs of Postpartum Depression You Should Be Aware Of

The birth of a child is a wondrous event that, along with some sleepless nights, brings joy into a family’s life. Unfortunately, this joy can be overshadowed with feelings of sadness and hopelessness for mothers experiencing postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a very serious illness that can occur in the first few months after the birth of a baby. It can also happen after a miscarriage and stillbirth as well. Beyond feeling sad and hopeless, the affliction can make it very difficult for a mother to bond with and care for her new baby.

It’s important to mention that postpartum depression is not the same thing as having, what is typically referred to as, the “baby blues.” These “blues” are milder and, more often than not, go away in a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression, brought on it is thought by significant hormonal changes, can last for several months.

If left untreated, women experiencing postpartum depression are in danger of hurting their baby and themselves.

Signs of Postpartum Depression

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please speak with your doctor who can connect you with a professional therapist. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Extreme Anxiety or Worry

All new mothers are nervous. After all, taking care of a newborn baby is a huge responsibility. But when fears become irrational and even increase in severity over time, this can be a sign of PPD. For instance, a mother who refuses to leave the house because she is convinced she and her child will get into a car accident. Or a mother who is terrified to bathe her baby because she believes her baby could drown.

Changes to Sleeping or Eating Habits

A change in eating or sleeping habits is always a sign that something may be going on with a new mother. For instance, if you or someone you know suddenly begins eating far more than you used to, or, stops eating altogether, this is a red flag that PPD may be the cause.

Also, new mothers are usually exhausted and should have little trouble falling asleep when given the opportunity to rest. If sleep cycles seem disrupted, it could be a sign of a bigger issue.

Feelings of Rage

New mothers who have PPD may find themselves with feelings of chronic irritability and even rage. Should a woman suddenly find herself flying off the handle or acting out in angry, aggressive ways, something she’s never done in the past, it could be a sign that something more may be going on.

Mothers experiencing PPD need a lot of support. This means asking not just how the baby is, but how she is and really listening to the answer. It also means helping take care of the baby so the new mother can rest and get the help she needs.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.