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    Play is a child’s language!

    Play therapy is a therapeutic approach used primarily with children, to help them express their feelings, thoughts, and experiences through play and creative activities. It recognizes that children may have difficulty verbalizing their emotions and may not have the cognitive or communication skills to express themselves in the same way adults do. This approach fosters unrestricted expression, allowing therapists to observe a child’s choices, and their behaviors. Play therapy provides them with a safe and structured environment, where they can use toys, art, games, and other creative tools to communicate and work through their challenges.

    Play Therapy Benefits?

    Enhance accountability for behaviors and acquire effective strategies.

    ● Fosters the development of innovative solutions to problems.

    ● Cultivate self-respect and acceptance, as well as respect for others.

    ● Enhances abilities to experience and express emotions in a healthy manner.

    ● Foster empathy and appreciation for the thoughts and feelings of others.

    ● Acquire new social and relational skills within the family context.

    ● Cultivate self-efficacy, leading to increased confidence in their abilities.

    “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning” — Fred Rogers.

    Meet Flora Lai M.S., LPC, NCC

    Flora is a bilingual (Mandarin/English) Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas and Washington State. Flora attended the University of North Texas, home of  The Center for Play Therapy which provides the largest Play Therapy training program in the world! Flora has experience working with children, teens, young adults, adults, and immigrant family from Asian Countries, as well as the use of Filial therapy. She is a trusted Play Therapy specialist in Plano!

    When is Play Therapy used?

    Therapeutic play fosters improved communication, behavioral adjustments, problem-solving proficiency, and positive interpersonal connections for children dealing with social or emotional challenges. It proves beneficial for children facing stressful events or situations. Play therapy effectively supports children grappling with academic and social issues, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, anxiety, depression, grief, anger, attention deficit disorders, or those on the autism spectrum.

    How long is Play Therapy?

    The duration of each play therapy session may vary, typically lasting around 30 to 50 minutes. These sessions are commonly scheduled on a weekly basis. Research indicates that it usually takes an average of 20 play therapy sessions to address the issues of an average child seeking treatment. However, some children may show faster improvement, while more complex or persistent problems may require a longer duration to resolve.

    How does Play Therapy look like in practice?

    Play therapy is typically non-directive, meaning the therapist allows the child to take the lead during play sessions. The child has the freedom to choose the toys and activities they want, giving them a sense of control and autonomy.

    Directive play therapy involves more active input from the therapist to expedite results. Play Therapists employ both approaches based on the specific circumstances they encounter.

    What are the benefits?

    What to expect

    In play therapy for children, the parent or caregiver holds a significant role. Initially, the therapist conducts an intake interview with the parent to gather essential information about the child. In many cases, a separate interview with the child is also conducted to gather additional insights. This process allows the therapist to assess the child before commencing treatment and determine the most suitable approach. Inside the playroom, the child is encouraged to engage with carefully chosen toys, specifically designed to promote self-expression and facilitate the development of positive behaviors.

    How can the family get involved?

    The play therapist will assess and determine the extent and timing of involving some or all family members in the play therapy process.

    What can caregivers do to support?Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in supporting their child during therapy and beyond. To create a nurturing environment, they can:

    Maintain regular communication with the therapist, meeting for parent consultation (every 3 or 4 play sessions) occasionally to gain a deeper understanding of the child’s progress, discuss goals, address concerns, and adjust the treatment plan as necessary. By working as a team with the therapist, parents can create a nurturing environment and support their child effectively during therapy and beyond.

    Foster a Supportive Home Environment: Identify triggers for challenging behaviors and implement effective strategies at home with the therapist’s help.

    Approach with Empathy: Understand that behavior change takes time and be patient and supportive throughout the therapy journey. It is important for parents to know not to ask if the session went well. Instead, let children choose if they want to share.

    By following these strategies and working as a team with the therapist, parents can promote positive development in their child.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    We strive for your child’s Play Therapy experience to be effective, please view these common questions.

     What if the family needs support?

    Child-Parent-Relational Therapy can help

    CPRT is a form of Child-Centered Play Therapy that focuses on strengthening the parent-child relationship while helping children address emotional and behavioral issues. CPRT is designed to empower parents with the skills and techniques to effectively connect with their children, understand their emotions, and provide support in a nurturing and responsive way.

    The therapy process typically involves a series of sessions, during which parents learn and practice CPRT techniques to enhance their relationship with their child. Ultimately, CPRT aims to create a more loving, understanding, and connected parent-child bond while addressing the child’s emotional and behavioral needs.