Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy used primarily with children. The therapist uses play, a child’s most natural form of communication, to understand and communicate with the child. This assists the child in finding more socially acceptable ways to get their needs met.
There is a wide range of normal behavior in children. Sometimes a normal response to a difficult situation can be a call for help.
Children’s difficult behavior is usually a response to emotions they do not fully understand. The child may be experiencing frustration with relationships in which she is not able to get her needs met. Therapy can help the child and the family to understand and communicate about the child’s emotional needs, and strengthen the child’s primary relationships with the parents. This usually decreases the child’s need to act out in ways that are disruptive to the family or community.
There are many issues that can put extra stress on a child and the family. Families often seek help following a divorce, an accident or illness, or the death of a parent or other significant figure in a child’s life. Families coping with a disabled family member (either child or adult), families dealing with adoption issues, and families coping with addiction and recovery can often benefit from professional help.
Sometimes stress comes from more subtle causes that we can explore in therapy. A child’s behavior can be very different from his or her peers’ behavior when there is no immediately known cause. This can lead a family to seek therapy.
That varies widely from individual to individual and from family to family. Some issues are relatively simple to resolve, and the family may get what they need in a few sessions. Other issues can take a few months, or a year or more to resolve. In general, the sooner issues are addressed the more quickly and completely they can be resolved.
I help parents understand their child’s behavior. I help parents find solutions based on the particular needs and temperament of their child or children. I help parents communicate more effectively with the child around any particular issues that may have brought them into therapy. I help parents recognize their own emotional triggers so they can find more effective ways of coping with their children’s behavior.
I also help parents learn to engage more fully and playfully with their children so the relationship is more enjoyable for both the parent and the child.
Many parents today are caught in a paradigm shift about how we raise children. Many of us were brought up when strict discipline, including physical punishment, was the norm. We find we do not want to use these methods with our children, but we are not always sure how to replace those methods as we strive to raise our children to be responsible adults. We find in the heat of the moment it can be easy to revert to what we learned as children from our own parents, even when those methods have consequences that we do not like. I can help parents find child rearing methods that work effectively by helping parents understand the needs and the temperament of their particular child or children.
I help parents understand their own values and how those values impact their decision-making as parents. I can help parents recognize their own strengths and the strengths of their parenting partners. I help parents communicate with each other about their values and about their own reactions to their children.
For parents who are married, therapy supports their work together as a team. We work with issues about how the work gets shared, how differences in values can be resolved, and how to parent together so that their individual strengths complement each other.
When parents are divorced, the goal is to separate the parents’ feelings and frustrations about each other as former life partners from their feelings about each other as co-parents. Therapy supports the need to work together as co-parents while keeping the needs of the child for loving and consistent parenting as the primary focus.
Currently I see children from preschool through adolescence. There is no youngest age that I am willing to work with.
Yes. I enjoy working with adults in individual therapy. I find that my extensive background in child development can be useful in helping adults understand how primary relationships have and have not met their needs, and to see where, as a consequence, they have gotten emotionally stuck. I have an extensive sand tray collection and a variety of art supplies in my well-stocked playroom. Many adults find these useful therapeutic tools as an additional way to access and express feelings.
No. I am not on any insurance panels and do not generally accept payments directly from insurance companies. I can, however, provide monthly receipts so that clients can seek reimbursement from their insurance companies.
My full fee is currently $110 per fifty minute session. I am able to accommodate some families with a lower fee.