Possible Questions

What does a Play Therapist do?

A Play Therapist is a skilled professional who has received extensive training in subjects such as child development and attachment (the bonding process between parent and child).

A Play Therapist is also trained to use play, a child’s natural form of expression, as a means of understanding and communicating with children about feelings, thoughts and behaviour. This enables a child freedom of expression in a safe and quiet place where judgements are not made. It also helps to build trusting relationships, offering the child the support they need to enable them to explore and experiment with some confusing or unpleasant feelings they might be trying to understand.

The Play Therapy can take place through the use of sand, slime, water, clay, paint, role play, art work, movement, music, puppets and other toys and story-telling and creating.

Who is Play Therapy for?

Play Therapy is for children aged 4-16 years old. Play Therapy can also work with adults, who may require a less verbally-based therapy to process different experiences. Play Therapy can help children and young people with varous emotional and behavioural difficulties, attachment difficulties, abuse issues, issues with loss and bereavement, family breakdown, children who are ill and also for those who have witenssed violence. Play theray can also help develop stronger attachments with fostering or adoptive relationships.

The Play Therapist will meet with the parent/carer at regular intervals to discuss progress in therapy sessions and any changes and developments you have witnessed or experienced at home.

Consistency is also important so play therapy sessions usually take place once a week, at the same time. This may be at the child’s home, school or clinic.

How long does Play Therapy take?

Some children will respond to a short term intervention (for example up to 12 sessions) with a review after six weeks. However, when problems have persisted for a long time or are complicated a longer-term intervention may be required. In these circumstances some play therapists have worked with chidlren for two years or more. Sessions are usually once a week and consistency on a regular day and at the same time and place is very important for developing a trusting relationship. Unplanned missed sessions may disrupt the progress.

How can parents or carers help?

You are very important in supporting your child in the following ways:- encourage your child to attend sessions regularly; try to bring and collect your child from therapy; try to listen to your child if they tell you what they have done in their play therapy session, but otherwise please avoid asking your child about the session. As this will put pressure on them to comment on something they are still trying to understand.

Please try to avoid raising any concerns about your child’s behaviour in front of them

Please don’t be alarmed if the child expresses any “bad” feelings in their session. This is often a significant way that the child can explore these uncomfortable and confusing feelings and so come to understand them better and not be frightened of them.

Is the service confidential?

The content of the play therapy sessions will be kept confidential, unless a child/young perosn discloses that they (or someone else) is at risk of significant harm. In which case I would have a professional duty to inform social services.

Why do we need to have an initial assessment?

In order for the Play Therapist to provide the best service possible, an assessment will need to be undertaken to assess whether play therapy is the most appropriate intervention for the child or young person. This usually includes the first meeting with the parents where information will be gathered about family history and also the details about the relationship difficulties with the child, as well as details of any behavioural difficulties. I will also briefly meet with the child on their own in the family home to introduce myself and explain simply what play therapy is and why I have become involved. At this stage the parent or referrer (if referred by an agency) will be asked to sign a consent form agreeing to the proposed service and also giving me permission to gather information at the child’s school or from any other interested party.

What is the next step?

Please contact Debra at debraplaytherapy@aol.co.uk so any questions, concerns or queries may be answered.

What happens if I need to cancel an appointment?

It is important that your child does not miss sessions unless absolutely necessary, as it can disrupt the therapeutic process. However, it is accepted that sometimes appointments have to be rearranged or cancelled. It is asked that you give a minimum of 48 hours notice for any cancellation. Otherwise the session will be charged at the normal rate.