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Play Therapy

Has there been a crisis or traumatic event in your child's life like a move, divorce, grief, or abuse?  Is your child not talking to you or has their behavior changed?  Play therapy is a way for a child to express feelings without words.  Wellspring Center has three play therapists who can help your child.

The theory behind Play therapy is that a child may not have the words and/or maturity to express her feelings with words.  A specially chosen selection of toys including sandtray and miniatures will become the child’s vocabulary to express her feelings.

Sometimes feelings are expressed directly through the toys but more often feelings are expressed through metaphor in play. It is more important that the child have the opportunity to express their emotion than it is that we correctly interpret their intent.  Play Therapy can be used for children ages 3 and up. The sandtray is a powerful tool for teens and adolescents as well as younger children.

Your therapist will have parents sign consent and information forms. Individual therapists have different ways of introducing clients to the process. The therapist may ask that the first meeting be alone with parents to get a family history and the history of the presenting problem. In cases of divorce, the parent must bring proof of custody and if parents are not comfortable meeting together, separate appointments may be set. Sometimes the therapist asks that the child come to the first meeting and then splits the session between the child and parent.

Once the therapist begins the process, typically the child plays alone with the therapist in the session. Parents may be asked to come in at the end of the session or may be asked to come meet alone with the therapist after every 4 sessions. Regardless of therapist preference, a parent can expect frequent communication about what the therapist is seeing.  Email, phone and text communication is often used so that the parent and therapist are not discussing the child in the child’s presence.

Sometimes, after an initial period of evaluation, the therapist may ask for a family session to observe the family interaction or they might suggest joint sessions with either  parent.  Sometimes it takes 4 or more sessions for the child to fully explore the playroom and for any themes to emerge.  Generally children enjoy play therapy sessions. They are fun and there is a room of new toys to explore. Initially the play therapist will let the child explore the toys on her own.  After the therapist better understands the needs of the child she may become more directive in how the child spends her play therapy time.

Regardless of the individual approach it is important that parents are in communication with the Play Therapist and feel free to raise any questions they may have about the process.

Finally payment will be expected at the end of the session. If the therapist accepts insurance the co-pay or deductible payment will be required and the therapist will file insurance.