What is Play Therapy?
A Play Therapist is someone who is trained to help children who have some kind of problem in their lives. When you hurt on the outside you feel sad so the people that care for you might put a plaster on the sore bit or take you to a doctor to make you better. The job of a Play Therapist is to help children who are hurting on the inside, with their feelings.
The Play Therapist has been asked to see you because you feel sad or angry or scared about something or perhaps because something horrible has happened. Maybe you can’t help fighting or crying or you feel bad about yourself. Sometimes, it is hard to talk about your feelings so your Play Therapist will try to help you feel better without you having to explain things. That’s because children play their feelings better than they talk about them.
Your Play Therapist will meet the grown ups who know you best to find out how you are and plan how to help you. Then you and your Play Therapist will play together, so you can get to know each other. Your Play Therapy sessions will usually last about an hour and happen at the same time and in the same place each week.
When you first meet, your Play Therapist will talk to you about what is private and just between the two of you and what they might sometimes need to share with other people. Your Play Therapist won’t tell anyone the actual details about what you have played or talked about, but sometimes they will need to talk to a grown up about how you are. Your Play Therapist will have to tell other grown ups if they are really worried about you – it is really important that other people get to know if you are not safe. Your Play Therapist will want to talk to you about this.
That’s up to you – Play Therapy isn’t a secret. You can talk about what you’ve been doing to anyone you want to, but you don’t have to. If you feel like keeping it to yourself, that’s OK.
Your Play Therapist will help you to understand your feelings while you play. Children’s problems can get better when they understand their feelings. There might be something going on in your life that makes you confused, worried and even annoyed or upset. The play therapist will have lots of toys and arts and crafts materials that will help you express these feelings without having to talk about them if you don't want to.
Children's worries often get better when they understand their feelings. It's hard to talk about your feelings so your play therapist will try to help you feel better by playing in ways which helps you to share your feelings. It might take a long time but in the end you and your Play Therapist will both feel ready to say goodbye and you will feel able to manage without them. This ending bit might feel hard but your Play Therapist will help you with this.
What is a session ?
In the play room you can play with lots of different toys in lots of different ways, there is no right or wrong way to play, the play therapist won't make you do things that you don't want to do. The play therapist will explain to your parents, teacher or carers that mostly everything that you play and say in the play room is private, they wont be telling people all the things you do but sometimes they will need to talk to a grown up about how you are.
Are there rules ?
There is mainly one big rule in the play room that is the safety rule. The play therapist is in charge of keeping you safe and you are in charge of the play although sometimes the therapist may be in charge for some of the play time. Play therapy is completely non-judgemental and the child is neither praised nor blamed during the session.
What's in the play room?
The play room consists of a wide variety of toys including sand boxes, messy play, art and crafts, dolls and dolls house, kitchen, lego, bricks etc. For adolescents there may be addtional materials added to the room.