Here at Cornerstone we are blessed with skilled counselors who differ in education and experience, and are excited that we’re able to offer a variety of counseling techniques and specialties that meet people at every age and stage of life. Jessica Klika, a certified Synergetic Play Therapist, along with Mary Dominguez and Casey Bain bring with them experience and training in this area.
Sometimes it is hard to find words to express trauma or pain, but play therapy allows the child to use toys to express themselves.
Check out these statements from the Association for Play Therapy (APT):
“Therapists strategically utilize play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when they do not have the verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings”. (Gil, 1991). “In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language“. (Landreth, 2002)
“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.
The play therapist sets limits to keep themselves and the child safe, and moving towards healthy expression of emotion.
Who Is It For and How Does It Help?
Research suggests play therapy is an effective mental health approach regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process.
- Behavioral problems, such as anger management, grief and loss, divorce and abandonment, and crisis and trauma.
- Behavioral disorders, such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism or pervasive developmental, academic and social developmental, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders.
What Are the Benefits?
The APT has found that there are an overwhelming amount of benefits to engaging children in play therapy. Play therapy is a great method of Christian counseling for kids as it helps children to:
-Become more responsible for behaviors and develop more successful strategies.
-Develop new and creative solutions to problems.
-Develop respect and acceptance of self and others.
-Learn to experience and express emotion.
-Cultivate empathy and respect for thoughts and feelings of others.
-Learn new social skills and relational skills with family.
-Develop self-efficacy and thus a better assuredness about their abilities.
Interested in Christian Play Therapy for Your Child?
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References derived from The Association for Play Therapy website, check it out for more information!