Traditional “talk therapy,” while effective for most adults and adolescents, can often be intimidating and challenging for children, especially young children. Because of this, Family Therapy Center of Bethesda, LLC has created a special space in our office for play and sand tray therapy. Whether your therapist is using traditional play therapy techniques or integrating art and play into your child’s talk therapy, you can rest assured that your child is being met where he/she is and is given the space to express themselves in a way that feels comfortable and safe.
Why Play Therapy?
Play therapy is one of the most effective alternatives for children and has the following key benefits:
Play helps children feel comfortable in therapy because they enjoy games, art, and play.
Research shows that play helps children develop cognitively, emotionally, and socially.
Children often communicate through play and thus will have the ability to express themselves more easily than through the use of traditional “talk therapy.”
What can I expect with Play Therapy?
A comfortable and safe space, known as the playroom, where your child can engage in play with as few limits as possible.
A therapist who is taking a non-directive stance (one that allows your child the freedom to play and resolve their own issues) and who is observing and reflecting on your child’s interactions with the toys.
A playroom equipped with toys, art supplies, and a sand tray which will encourage your child to openly express and work through their feelings.
A session length of 45-50 minutes, with adjustments to length as needed depending on your child’s developmental level and/or their emotional needs and tolerance for therapy.
How can I expect Play Therapy to help my child?
Play therapy may benefit your child in a variety of ways such as, promoting healing from traumatic events, facilitating the expression of emotions, encouraging positive problem-solving and decision-making, introducing new ways of thinking and behaving, developing healthy social skills, increasing self-control, and facilitating healthy communication skills.
Play therapy can be helpful in addressing the following issues:
Stress (i.e. peer problems, family relationship problems, life transitions)
Behavioral problems (i.e. acting out, tantrums)
Family Play Therapy
While play therapy is often done with your child and their therapist alone, Family Therapy Center of Bethesda also sees the importance of involving other family members and therefore often engages families in family play therapy. Family play therapy can help parents and their children or siblings to enhance communication, understanding, and emotional connection.