Play therapy is a type of therapy that helps children to express their thoughts and feelings, and make sense of their experiences. This is particularly important for children who may struggle to verbally express how they feel. Play therapy offers an opportunity for the child to express themselves freely in a safe and comfortable environment, and at their own pace.
Play therapy can be used with children in distress from a range of sources, including abuse, neglect, trauma, bereavement and family breakdown. Other common reasons for referral may involve supporting children in care, or those with behavioural and emotional needs.
The purpose of play therapy is to support the child in being able to cope with their feelings and gain a new sense of confidence. Other benefits of play therapy include reduced anxiety, enhanced creativity and resiliency, and being able to form healthy relationships moving forward.
At CCATS, we have staff with extensive experience working with children, including a therapist qualified in play therapy techniques and a dedicated play therapy room. Our therapists usually work with children from the age of 5 to 10 years old, however therapy can take place beyond this age in some cases.
The number of play therapy sessions depends on the individual needs of the child; typically, this is a minimum of six to eight sessions, through to longer term intervention if needed. The first appointment is an assessment and will involve discussion with caregivers to obtain some history and goals and expectations for play therapy.