For most children and pre-teens, talk therapy doesn’t really work too well. To them, it’s like they are sitting with someone who is speaking a different language. Play is a child’s natural language, and play therapy is a way to help children and pre-teens struggling with difficult emotions both express themselves and better understand what they are feeling.
Play therapy doesn’t rely on conversation. Children can have a difficult time expressing themselves through language. Instead of talking through what’s bothering them the way older teens and adults are more apt to do children have the opportunity to express themselves using games, toys and art to work through their behavior and emotions.
It’s not uncommon for parents to struggle to get through to their children. Children and teens see the world through different eyes. They face unique struggles, speak their own language and reason and handle their emotions in very different ways.
As a result, many families find themselves falling into ongoing patterns where parents try to connect with their children in ways that are roundly ineffective. For example, repeatedly telling a child how to behave, or trying to get them to act in a certain way through a series of suggestions, consequences and reward.
Something positive might come out of this kind of parenting strategy, but parents’ frustration and loss of hope often lingers in the background, along with their children’s feeling of frustration and anxiety or lack of motivation. Despite a parent’s best attempts to, what in their mind is help, the children are off on their own little adventure, not listening and behaving in ways that are sometimes incomprehensible. This kind of situation only maintains the sense of helplessness on the part of the parents, who, in an effort to avoid a power struggle, will remain quiet and just let things remain as they are.
Fortunately, in addition to not being alone in your experience, you don’t have to continue down this path. At Amy Wine Counseling Center, we help families find the emotional clarity and social strength to move past your family’s inner conflict. With our support, children and teenagers will find a place where they can feel free to be themselves, express themselves openly and resolve though and feelings that are troubling them. Through play, games and expressive art, children will find a place to explore, learn and grow.
Play Therapy can help your child to:
- Take responsibility
- Change behavior to get more positive outcomes
- Develop respect and empathy for others and compassion for themselves
- Increase self-esteem
- Manage intense emotions, like anger and anxiety
- Make better adjustment to change, like moving, divorce or loss
- Resolve traumatic events more adequately
- Learn positive social skills
- Increase healthy coping mechanisms