I began working with and advocating for children as the mental health partner of a multi-disciplinary team addressing child abuse from 2012 to 2014. I became trauma certified and continue to train with local trauma therapist Melissa Boley, LCPC in the Trauma Resiliency Model.
I feel that play-based interventions and creativity are the gateway for clients as they work toward greater resiliency. Children are amazingly complex, and they frequently have feelings, both good and bad, that they are unable to address verbally. It is critical to choose a therapist who is skilled in interacting with children at the child’s level. Children are not miniature adults, and counselors must adjust any counseling intervention to the child’s current level of development. When counseling a child, it is imperative that the therapist approaches each child holistically by assessing the child’s thoughts, observable behavior, family systems and social/peer systems.
I work with children from a “child-centered” perspective, which requires that I address the developmental needs of each child. This “child-centered” focus also takes into consideration the way play behavior changes over the course of a child’s development and the way play behaviors change when a child is struggling with difficult issues.
Child-Centered Play Therapy has the following objectives:
To help the child:
- Develop a more positive self-concept
- Assume greater responsibility
- Become more self-directing
- Become more self-accepting
- Become more self-reliant
- Engage in self-determined decision-making
- Experience a feeling of control
- Become sensitive to the process of coping
- Develop an internal source of evaluation
- Become more trusting of themselves
In play therapy, children learn:
- Responsible freedom of expression
- Responsible control of feelings
- Responsibility for self
- Respect for self
- Creative, resourceful problem-solving
- Acceptance of their feelings
There are many reasons that cause parents to look for counseling help for their children, including family changes, such as moving or divorce, academic struggles, difficulty with siblings and/or peers, nightmares, and behavioral issues, to name a few. If you are considering counseling for your child, please call to schedule a time to discuss your concerns and the role professional counseling may have in your child’s life.