Play Therapy

Parents and carers often worry when a child has a problem that causes them to be sad, disruptive, rebellious, unable to cope or inattentive. You may be concerned about your child’s development, eating or sleeping patterns and how they are getting along with family, friends and at school. Every child is unique and special but sometimes they experience problems with feelings or behaviours that cause disruption to their lives and the lives of those around them. Some parents and carers often delay seeking help because they worry that they will be blamed for their children’s behaviour. Feeling responsible for a child’s distress or problems is a normal part of caring. The fact that you have the commitment to start addressing the difficulty is a significant part of helping your child.

Here at Vexatas, our experienced play therapists recognise that many children need extra support in emotional literacy. Others may have behaviour or mental health problems at some stage that prevents them from fulfilling their full potential. Children often need support through play therapy to help them work through issues of; nightmares or disturbed sleep; being excluded from school; trauma; emotional, physical or sexual abuse; witnessing domestic violence; has a lifelimiting illness or a sibling with a lifelimiting illness is (or in the process of being) adopted or fostered; whose parents are separated/divorced or who are going through a difficult time themselves; suffers from anxiety, stress obsessive and repetative behaviours or phobias; has suffered a loss or bereavement of any kind; is withdrawn or continually unhappy; is ill, disabled, or autistic; finds it difficult to make friends; quarrels frequently with peers or siblings; bullies others or is bullied themselves; displays inappropriate behaviour; doesn’t play; or is generally not enjoying their childhood.

Play Therapy helps your children understand muddled feelings and upsetting events that they haven’t had the chance to sort out properly. Rather than having to explain what is troubling them, as adult takling therapy usually expects, children use play to communicate at their own level and at their own pace, without feeling interrogated or threatened. Play is vital to every child’s social, emotional, cognitive, physical, creative and language development. It helps make learning concrete for all children and young people including those for whom verbal communication may be difficult. Play Therapy helps children in a variety of ways. Children receive emotional support and can learn to understand more about their own feelings and thoughts. Sometimes they may re-enact or play out traumatic or difficult life experiences in order to make sense of their past and cope better with their future. Children may also learn to manage relationships and conflicts in more appropriate ways. The outcomes of Play Therapy may be general e.g. a reduction in anxiety and raised self-esteem, or more specific such as a change in behaviour and improved relations with family and friends.

Our Play Therapists will begin by carefully listening to your concerns about your child and family. They will review their history and find out about the stresses the family have been through so that they can help your child make sense of it.

They may, with your permission ask to seek information from school or your GP. Your child’s Play Therapist will talk with you about what to tell your child about their Play Therapy and how to anticipate and answer your child’s questions.

All Information that you share about your child and family will be kept confidential. A Play Therapist may share information with other professionals for the benefit of your child with your permission. A Play Therapist must share information with other professionals if they are concerned that a child is being harmed, hurting others or themselves. They will usually talk to you about this first.

Your child’s Play Therapist will meet with you at regular intervals to discuss progress in therapy sessions and any changes and developments you have witnessed or experienced at home. However the Play Therapist will not disclose specific details of what your child has played. This is important in order to maintain your child’s trust and feelings of safety with the therapist.