Supporting the Process:
Parents should maintain a supportive attitude toward the therapy process. This includes being patient, showing interest in the child’s participation without forcing engagement, and respecting the therapeutic space.
Effective communication with the therapist is crucial. Parents are encouraged to share observations, insights, and concerns, which can provide invaluable information to the therapist.
Consistency and Routine:
Maintain consistency with appointments and routines. Children feel secure when their schedules are predictable, which can contribute positively to their therapy experience.
Implementing Strategies at Home:
Therapists may suggest strategies or activities to be continued at home. Parents’ commitment to these can reinforce what is learned during sessions and integrate therapeutic goals into daily life.
Modeling Appropriate Behavior:
Children learn by imitation. Parents should model healthy emotion regulation and adaptive coping strategies.
Parents should inform themselves about the principles and practices of play therapy to better understand the child’s experiences and progress.
Privacy and Confidentiality:
Respect for the child’s privacy is vital. While therapists may share themes or progress, specific details of what occurs during play should remain confidential to preserve the therapeutic alliance.
Provide a safe space for children to express their emotions and thoughts at home, mirroring the acceptance they feel during therapy sessions.
Collaborating on Goals:
Parents and therapists should work collaboratively to set and revise goals for the child’s emotional development.
By actively participating in their child’s play therapy, parents not only foster a supportive environment for their growth but also contribute to building a healthy foundation for their child’s future well-being.
Therapeutic play can help children learn more adaptive behaviors when there are emotional or social skills deficits. The list of conditions that play therapy can effectively address includes:
- Adjustment challenges, such as adapting to change, which may occur after moving to a new home or school.
- Anxiety-related disorders that can manifest in children as fear, nervousness, shyness, or avoidance.
- Attachment-related disorders, including difficulties with forming emotional bonds or connections due to early negative experiences.
- Attention and hyperactivity disorders, such as ADHD, where children may have trouble focusing or exhibit hyperactive behavior.
- Bed wetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, which may be stress-related or linked to developmental stages.
- Blended/stepfamily adjustments, which involve adapting to new family dynamics after parental re-marriage.
- Depression and other mood disorders that might present as persistent sadness, irritability, or fluctuation in mood.
- Developmental delays, including challenges in meeting emotional, cognitive, or social milestones.
- Divorce recovery, which involves working through feelings of loss, anger, or confusion following parental separation.
- Eating and elimination issues that can include a range of problems with food or toileting.
- Grief and loss, processing through the complex emotions associated with losing someone or something important.
- Parenting and co-parenting challenges, helping children adjust to parenting styles and co-parenting scenarios.
- Self-harming behaviors, which may be a sign of distress and a way of coping with emotional pain.
- School-related problems, including issues with peers, academic performance, or behavior in a school setting.
- Social skills training, assisting children in developing more effective interpersonal skills.
- Survivors of abuse and other traumas, helping children heal from and process traumatic experiences.
Play therapy offers a non-threatening way for children to confront their problems and develop healthy coping mechanisms. It is an evidence-based approach, and trained therapists use different types of play—including storytelling, art, and games—to help children work through their issues.
Treatment for children and adolescents are not just focused on the child, but the whole family. For this reason it is important for care-givers and possibly other members of the family to take an active role in the child or adolescent’s treatment.