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- Dec 20 2017
PLAY THERAPY FOR KIDS
Play therapy is a form of psychotherapeutic approach primarily geared towards children. In this form of therapy, a therapist encourages the child to explore life events that may have an effect on current circumstances, in a manner and pace of the child's choosing, primarily through play, followed by language.
WHEN IS IT REQUIRED?
Some children may have social or emotional deficits that make it uncomfortable for them to communicate and express. Children could be undergoing or be a party to some stressful events such as death of a loved one, illness, domestic violence, abuse, trauma, family crisis, bullying or a negative change in the environment. Play therapy can also be indicated for kids with social, behavioural, academic problems, learning disorders, anxiety, anger, autism and ADHD. Play therapy allows these kids to express freely, develop problem solving mechanisms and have a positive outlook towards people and events.
HOW DOES PLAY THERAPY WORK?
Play therapy responds to the unique developmental needs of young children, who find it more comfortable to express themselves through play and other creative activities than verbal communication. When children are going through some personal issues, they act out and indulge in inappropriate behaviour. Parents may not be able to help as the child is not willing to discuss the issue and may not respond well to direct methods to resolve the problem. There are two ways how play therapy works:
Non-Directive Play Therapy: The child is allowed to lead the therapy. They receive limited instruction and supervision from the therapist. The child is placed in a comfortable environment and is given the freedom to play, believing that he/ she would resolve their issues on their own.
Directive Play Therapy: This uses more input from the therapist to move the therapy forward if the child is unable to do so on his/ her own.
Most often, play therapist use a combination of both the above approaches depending upon the condition of the child.
Play therapy is one of the most effective means to help children experiencing emotional or behavioural challenges. The children are placed in a counselling space, referred to as the playroom, where they are allowed to play as freely as possible. The toys are specifically chosen to encourage the child to express his/ her feelings in a healthy manner. The therapist notes down the interaction between the child and these toys as they represent the child’s symbolic words.
A typical play therapy session can last for 30-45 minutes and may be conducted individually or in groups; depending on the child’s case history.
AN IDEAL PLAY THERAPIST
Play therapist are registered practitioners with specialised training and appropriate experience. The therapist must possess certain qualities to be able to help the child. The therapist must accept the child the way they are without judgement. They should be warm and friendly towards the child and alert enough to recognise the feelings of the child. They should allow the child to lead the therapy and should not direct the child’s actions. The therapy should not be hurried and be allowed to proceed gradually.
PLAY THERAPY KIT
The Play Therapist makes use of a variety of toys and therapeutic aids along with specialist techniques such as empathetic listening and reflection to aid the therapeutic process. A play therapy kit generally consists of:
• Therapeutic Storytelling
• Creative Visualisation/ Imagery
• Drama therapy
• Puppets & Masks
• Dance and Movement
• Sand play
• Painting & Drawing
• Clay, Plasticine & Play dough
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Parents have a crucial role to play in their child’s therapy as they are the ones who will be providing information about the child’s case history. What parents must understand is that therapy is not an easy, one-way road and would require effort from the child as well as the family. Also the therapist must be given the freedom to decide the best form of therapy and indulge with the child at all possible levels.
Play therapy uses a variety of play techniques that encourage self-expression and facilitate positive behaviours.They help the children communicate, explore suppressed emotions and address unresolved trauma;experiencing personal growth.
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