What is Play Therapy?
Play Therapy is a treatment approach particularly suitable for children to handle their emotional, social and behavioral problems. Counsellors provide an atmosphere with acceptance, empathy and security in the therapy process.
When children experience emotional problems, or when things begin to bother them, they do not have the vocabulary or the insights of adults to talk about them. It is often manifested as different behavioral or social problems, or even physical discomfort.
Therapy for children therefore is held in a playroom where children can demonstrate their problems to the therapist. Children can freely use toys selected by counsellors, to play out their thoughts and feelings. When children experience being understood, being accepted and feeling secured, they are more likely to fully express and explore their feelings, thoughts experiences and behaviors, for optimal growth and development.
Objectives of Play Therapy (Landreth, 2002)
Counsellors believe that every child has the tendency to achieve self-actualization, when an appropriate environment is provided. Such environment allows children to
Develop a more positive self-concept.
Assume greater self-responsibility.
Become more self-directing.
Become more self-accepting.
Become more self-reliant.
Engage in self-determined decision making.
Experience a feeling of control.
Become sensitive to the process of coping.
Develop an internal source of evaluation.
Become more trusting of himself.
Dr. Landreth, an internationally known pioneer in play therapy, recommended play therapists to finish at least master-level play therapy training and supervised clinical practicum, to ensure treatment effectiveness.
Our play therapist has received professional training in play therapy and counselling, and was awarded Master of Social Sciences (Counselling) at the University of Hong Kong. During the study, our play therapist received 1-year intensive play therapy training and supervised practicum. She was familiar in children's psychological, emotional, behavioral and social development. In particular, she was experienced in working with children with developmental problems and children with family problems.
Out center's play therapist also holds a speech therapy degree, she has been working in the field of child development for years. With extensive professional knowledge, children and parents will be receiving the optimal care and intervention.
What to expect?
We mainly follow the principal in analyzing & devising treatment plans for our child. Below is the common stages of play therapy:
Some child might be a better candidate of the Marschak Interaction Method(MIM). During the assessment, our play therapist would observe and analyse the relationship between the parents and the child (including Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge).
The MIM assessment leads us to think of how to implement the Theraplay® approach in treatment.
- Through Theraplay®, a child could develop their self control, attention and listening skills.
- Through engaging in Theraplay®, a child could develop positive personal relationships, improve the child's emotion development and expressive skills.
- Through the range of activities in Theraplay®, a child could develop a trust relationship and improve the child's communication intent.
- Through challenging activitives in Theraplay®, it could enhance the child's self confidence.
- Through parent training in Theraplay®, parents would learn about skills to interact with children.