How can therapy help my child?
A number of benefits are available from participating in play therapy. Play therapists can provide support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as adjustment problems, anxiety, relationship troubles, unresolved childhood issues, grief, stress management, body image issues, and creative blocks. Many parents also find that play therapists can be a tremendous asset to managing personal growth, interpersonal relationships, family concerns, school issues, and the hassles of daily life. Play therapists can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem or point your child in the direction of a solution. The benefits you and your child obtain from play therapy depend on how well you and your child use the process and put into practice what you learn. Some of the benefits available to your child from play therapy include:
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Does my child really need therapy? I can usually handle my child's problems.
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while your child may have successfully navigated through other difficulties, there's nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, play therapy is for children and parents who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where your child is in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Play therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving your child the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges your child faces.
Why do parents taketheir child to play therapy, and how do I know if it is right for my child?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Your child may be going through a major life transition (new school, divorce, life crisis etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some children need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, death, relationship problems, learning difficulties and social situations. Play therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Children may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more successful and ready to make changes in their lives.
Does what we talk about in play therapy remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a child and counselor. Successful play therapy requires a high degree of trust with highly sensitive subject matter that is usually not discussed anywhere but the therapist's office. Every therapist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”.
However, state law and professional ethics require therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.