One thing we know here at Transitions Counselling, is that therapy looks different for everyone. This especially applies to children! When a child is dealing with something difficult, they will almost always show it, it simply may not be in the way that we recognize as adults.
Children express how they feel in such different ways. Because they do not yet have the emotional intelligence and skills to articulate verbally, their struggles may come out in a way that speaks volumes. They may lash out, fall behind in school or demonstrate unusual outburst of energy and emotion. Whatever expression it may be, it’s important that kids have access to the support they need to grow into healthier, more productive ways of being in the world!
Play Therapy is something we offer here at the clinic, and it’s a wonderful service specifically geared to the needs of children! Through the use of hands-on exercises, various techniques and the support of our therapists, children gain the tools that they need to flourish and thrive.
Throughout this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and importance of this modality, as well as the value of experiencing Play Therapy in person at our clinic. Read on to learn more about this valuable service!
What is play therapy?
Being one of the only clinics in the Lower Mainland offering this service, Transitions Counselling is proud to be able to support children in their journey to healthy development and wellbeing. When it comes to therapy, we know that it’s not a “one size fits all” model, and for kids, they especially require a different approach.
Play therapy is unique because it allows for kids to sort through their feelings in a language they all understand—play! This type of therapy is used as a tool to help children work through their more difficult emotional issues and can be used to address issues such as:
● Behavioural concerns
● Communication Development
● Emotional concerns
You may be wondering just how play can be so powerful when it comes to a child’s healing and development. Well, oftentimes, when a child is introduced to an environment that feels formal and with a counsellor present – they may feel inclined to shut down. Because they know the nature of the environment, they may be less inclined to show their true emotions and therefore, those problematic behaviours will not be present.
In a play therapy session, a child is immersed in a relaxing and comfortable environment—one where they feel safe to fully open up and explore themselves fully. Through the use of engaging, fun activities, the child may loosen up enough to actually express themselves and open up to a counsellor. It really is an amazing process to witness!
What Makes Transitions Counselling Different Than Other Clinics?
Other than being one of the only clinics to offer play therapy in person, there are a couple of other reasons why Transitions Counselling is the best choice.
The therapists at Transitions Counselling take additional training in play therapy and all hold a certificate in play therapy. This means when you work with a therapist at our counselling clinic in Langley, you know that you’re getting the professional care you deserve. It’s also important to note that we have supervisors who are also trained as play therapy supervisors.
Secondly, all of our therapists are also trained in sand therapy.
Sand tray therapy, or sandplay therapy, is a therapeutic approach used for people who have experienced a traumatic event such as abuse or a catastrophic incident. Although this type of therapy is used most often with children, sandplay therapy also can be helpful for teens and adults.
As we offer a wraparound approach to health and wellness, we knew we needed to offer sand therapy as well.
Why offer play therapy in person?
Human connection is so essential. Although we’ve been living in a time for the past 2 years that has encouraged screen time more than ever, there truly is so much value in doing such therapeutic work in a face to face setting. At Transitions Counselling, although we do offer forms of therapy in an online space, we really do find that therapy works best when it is happening in person. We especially see the value of this when it comes to our play therapy program.
Less screen time.
Kids have never experienced more screen time than the current times we are in. With so many advances in technology combined with the effects of COVID-19, spending hours looking at a screen has become pretty commonplace. The issue with this is that with so much screen time, children are at risk of developing more serious issues later on—many of those relating to slower cognitive development and shortened attention spans. With play therapy being offered in person, kids have the chance to connect in an environment that is engaging, fun and hands on. The child not only has an opportunity to improve their overall communication, but they also get to stretch their social skills, create relationships and find new and healthy ways to practice engaging with others in real time.
In addition to having less screen time, play therapy can also increase more tactile interactions! As important as it is to be in face to face learning environments, it’s also important that a child has access to things they can feel and touch. Part of what makes play therapy so effective is that it gives a child the chance to become lost in an activity or in some form of play. When a child is able to simply be present with a task at hand, they are that much more likely to open up and express themselves freely.
At Transitions Counselling, we have an entire playroom filled with various toys and activities so that children can learn, grow and explore through the act of being hands-on. Tactile learning is also essential for a child’s cognitive growth and overall emotional development! Being able to touch and feel objects allows them to experience learning through their senses and discover meaning this way.
What’s happening at home stays at home.
Another important benefit of experience play therapy in person? What’s happening at home gets to stay at home. If a child is experiencing behavioural issues, or perhaps going through a hard time at home, play therapy can help create and set that healthy boundary.
Being able to physically land into a safe space where the child can explore and play freely can be a major source of healing and reprieve for them. It allows them to let go of any stressors they may be feeling on the home front and completely drop into a space of pure presence and focus.
Home can often be a distracting place for a kid, especially if they are having a tough time. If a child is engaged in an online space, they may not actually retain the benefits in the same way that they would in person. Getting out of the regular routine of home life and into an environment that supports a child’s growth may be exactly what they need to evolve and gain new habits.
Could play therapy be right for your child?
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why your child could benefit from play therapy! Introducing play as a form of therapy can not only help your child overcome behavioural issues, it can also support them in developing healthy habits that will nourish them in the long term. Being immersed in an environment that is supportive and safe is a wonderful way to encourage a child to open up, express themselves and grow into their most unique self!
If you think your child could benefit from play therapy, we at Transitions Counselling would love to support you! We now have 4-7 new soundproof rooms, all which are dedicated to supporting our play therapy and music therapy programs.
As one of the only clinics offering these types of services in the lower mainland, we are truly proud to be offering such a unique and effective approach to a child’s development. Contact us today if you think our programs would be a good fit, we are here to support your family in your journey.