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Counseling Children through Play

Plato said it well: “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation.” For young children (even many adolescents and teens), the cognitive capacity to verbally process thoughts, feelings, and needs is lacking.

Play therapy is a developmentally appropriate and effective way for children to process feelings, needs, experiences, and hurts. Children can “play out” a problem — similarly to the way an adult would “talk out” a problem in therapy. Play provides children a safe psychological distance from their problems that allows them room to process and grow. With the help of a trained counselor, the child and family are able to identify the root cause of their troubles, and then a healing process can begin.

Play Therapy can benefit a wide variety of children with struggles such as:
□ behavioral concerns and conduct disorders
□ anxiety
□ depression
□ grief and loss
□ anger management
□ ADHD
□ Autism spectrum disorders
□ low self-esteem
□ trauma, crisis, and abuse
□ social skills
□ divorce and family transitions
□ bullying
□ school and academic problems

Play therapy can help children:
□ strengthen relationships with caregivers and family members
□ develop communication skills
□ improve social skills
□ learn to express and regulate emotions in a healthy manner
□ respect self and others
□ develop conflict management
□ encourage self-esteem and feelings of self-worth
□ master developmental stages
□ become more responsible for their behaviors.

Contact Laura Van Camp, LMFT at the counseling center for more information.

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