PLAY THERAPY

: a form of counseling used to allow children to express their feelings through play.

Children learn to identify issues and to properly respond to challenges in their life with the help of a counselor.

Play Therapy can be beneficial to children ages 3-12 who may be dealing with family problems, stress, social situations, pre-adolescent adjustments, anger management, self-esteem concerns, and many other issues.

If you would like to know more about play therapy please visit the Association for Play Therapy (APT) website. We have copied a small portion of this website below:

WHAT IS PLAY THERAPY?

… toys are the child’s words!

Initially developed in the turn of the 20th century, today play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist helps children to address and resolve their own problems. Play therapy builds on the natural way that children learn about themselves and their relationships in the world around them (Axline, 1947; Carmichael, 2006; Landreth, 2002). Through play therapy, children learn to communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn a variety of ways of relating to others. Play provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows expression of thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.

APT defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.”

HOW DOES PLAY THERAPY WORK?

Children are referred for play therapy to resolve their problems (Carmichael; 2006; Schaefer, 1993). Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, may act out at home, with friends, and at school (Landreth, 2002). Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children’s play. Further, play therapy is utilized to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to problems (Moustakas, 1997; Reddy, Files-Hall & Schaefer, 2005). By confronting problems in the clinical Play Therapy setting, children find healthier solutions. Play therapy allows children to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their concerns (Kaugars & Russ, 2001). Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in play therapy and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered and adapted into lifelong strategies (Russ, 2004).

WHO BENEFITS FROM PLAY THERAPY?

Although everyone benefits, play therapy is especially appropriate for children ages 3 through 12 years old (Carmichael, 2006; Gil, 1991; Landreth; 2002; Schaefer, 1993). Teenagers and adults have also benefited from play techniques and recreational processes. To that end, use of play therapy with adults within mental health, agency, and other healthcare contexts is increasing (Pedro-Carroll & Reddy, 2005; Schaefer, 2003). In recent years, play therapy interventions have also been applied to infants and toddlers.

Retrieved February 23, 2007 from Association for Play Therapy (APT) website.

PRE & POST ADOPTION COUNSELING

PRE ADOPTION COUNSELING

The many layers of adoption can make the process overwhelming. Counseling is a great way to gain a sense of stability during this time. Through counseling, families are able to work through existing issues that could present challenges once the family dynamic is changed. Counseling is also effective in facilitating the development of the skills and tools needed to manage the emotions that come along with the ebb and flow, and uncertainty of the adoption process.

POST ADOPTION COUNSELING

Post-Adoption Counseling is catered to serving the children, parents, and families involved in the adoption process. Children and parents experience the adoption process differently and it is Compassion’s mission to understand these needs and provide a safe and supportive counseling experience. Here, therapy is personalized to fit the needs of all individuals involved. Some of the issues encountered during Post-Adoption Counseling are:

•Trauma
• Identity Development
• Family Identity & Family Structure Changes
• Grief & Loss
• Attachment Loss
• Emotional & Behavioral Struggles
• Trust

TEEN GIRLS GROUP

This group will focus on improving teen’s self esteem and self worth in a supportive and safe environment.

Compassion Counseling offers a teen girl’s group. This group will explore topics such as depression, self-image, coping skills, healthy problem solving, eating disorders, and self-harm.

BENEFITS OF GROUP THERAPY:

• Decreased feelings of Isolation
• New coping skills
• Increased sense of community
• Improved Social Skills
• Developing Ability to express thoughts and feelings
• Cost effective

During the group process, people develop a support network through each other. They no longer feel isolated by their condition and gain a greater sense of normalcy. Research has demonstrated that various forms of group psychotherapy are equally beneficial with positive results found across the board for a variety of disorders. Group therapy is also cost-effective when compared to individual treatment. When a therapist’s time is spent with an entire group instead of one person, the expense for individuals is significantly reduced while the benefits remain and, in some instances, prove to be even greater.