Frequently Asked Questions – Play Therapy

What is play therapy?

Play Therapy taps into language of metaphors and symbols to produce therapeutic change, with toys or concrete objects normally serving as the media used to symbolise experiences.  The play objects and indirect communication serve as an emotional anaesthesia of sorts to make processing difficult situations and emotions less painful.

The Benefits of Play Therapy

Play Therapy is beneficial to help a child have a sense of control over their environment. A child’s world who is out of control, starts to lead the play giving a sense of being in control. Helping the child’s emotional development & creating a positive mental state of being.

Supporting my child through the process of play therapy.

Just as the work in Play Therapy is important, so is the work after leaving your session and returning home to the real world. Parents will be provided with parent support at the 6 week & 12-week parent review sessions. Parents are welcome to book extra parent support sessions when needed.

How long does play therapy take?

This question will depend on the child and family’s circumstances. According to the experts in the field the average number of sessions for moderate to complex issues is 22 sessions (Van Fleet, 2010). Some children have more complex issues and it is not uncommon for children to be in therapy for 6 months or longer. However in many cases, benefits can be seen in 12 sessions if the sessions are consistent and there are no frequent breaks or changes to appointments.

Are you just playing with my child?

A common misconception about play therapy is that the therapist is “just playing” with the child. It is important to understand that play therapy is serious business and requires specialist training and skills to be delivered effectively and ethically. In order to practice as a Play Therapist in Australia you must meet the requirements to practice as a counsellor or similar discipline & be registered with a professional body. It is also important to know that play therapy is not a stand-alone intervention; it is a form of communication grounded in an established theoretical model.

What do I do whilst my child is in session?

It is requested that parents please stay in the waiting room whilst your child is in session with the therapist. A child will feel more supported knowing their parent is close by. Remember your child may need your support when leaving session, but please remember to avoid asking questions about what happened in session, so your child does not feel pressured into having expectations placed on them. A gentle hug always provides the best comfort.

Where can I get more information about Play Therapy?

Please ask your therapist for further information on Play Therapy and where you can learn more. There will be books, articles, journals, magazines about Play Therapy in the therapist’s office. There are also many good websites about Play Therapy such as:

The Association for Play Therapy (USA) – information and research focusing on Child-Centred Play Therapy: www.a4pt.org

The Family Enhancement and Play Therapy Centre of Dr. Rise Van-Fleet (USA) information on Play Therapy and resources for parents: www.play-therapy.com

Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association – is the peak professional body for Play Therapists in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific Region. Website includes a full list of Registered Clinicians within Australia – www.appta.org.au

The National Institute for Play (USA) – information on research into the benefits of play for people of all ages including videos of Stuart Brown speaking on the subject of play: www.nifplay.org

What if we are currently engaged in a court process?

When legal issues are impending, or ongoing violence is taking place within the home, a child needs immediate crisis support. Britton Play Therapy and Counselling will not start working with your child until the court process is completed, and there is safety within the home. When a child feels safe, they are better able to process feelings & express the language that is right for them.

Frequently Asked Questions – Individual Adult Counselling

Is counselling effective?

Counselling can be very effective if a client is ready for change and is willing to keep evolving outside of the counselling room.  A person has to remember that even though the conversation within the counselling room is important, so is the work in real life. We are all a work in progress, forever changing and growing.  It’s how we deal with this growth and change that matters.

How many sessions should I attend?

A client may only attend one session in a counselling relationship, this will all depend on the clients current needs.

“My 9 year old daughter had been suffering severe anxiety before seeking help.  She was pulling out her hair and becoming self conscious of her looks, resulting in low self esteem on top of the anxiety. My daughter loved the quiet space Kati provided within the play room so she could share her thoughts and feelings.  Her therapist was amazing and I didn’t realise how beneficial play therapy would be. My daughter has stopped pulling out her hair and has better coping skills in her everyday life. I can’t thank you enough for your support”

Claire