My first career had me immersed with children, as a Primary School Teacher. My interactions and observations throughout thirty years in the system taught me much about how kids learn, how they express themselves, and what they need (and a whole lot more).
Children learn through play, and they attempt to make sense of their world through play. Play Therapy is a vehicle through which children can express their inner worlds, work through their personal struggles, and attempt to make sense of what is happening around them. Language for any of us can be limiting in accessing what is troubling us.
Developmentally, children are more limited cognitively, linguistically, socially, and so on. Stress also interferes with accessing those skills. Play therapy transcends expressive language limitations, and allows for free flowing processing and expression. Play Therapy (or Expressive Therapy) can include a wide variety of toys and dress-ups, the play house, drawing and painting, Sand Tray, and lots of physical movement.
As a teacher, I found that when parents and I supported one another and worked together to support their child, the child benefitted in many ways. As a counsellor, I work closely with the parent(s) as well. I meet with the parent(s) prior to seeing their child. If the child is more comfortable having the parent present in our initial sessions, I am absolutely fine with that. In fact, it not only benefits the child, but allows the parent to observe, or even participate in, the therapeutic play. It is crucial that the child be comfortable with me (a stranger, at first). Eventually the child does not need mom or dad present, and we do some of the work on our own. There are times when I will invite the parent to join us in our session, depending on my intentions for both the child and the parent.
I help children experiencing:
- Separation & Divorce
- Grief and Loss
- Social and Friendship Challenge