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Play Therapy Counseling Designed Especially for Children Georgia CTAE Resource Network Instructional Resources Office July 2009 “What‟s wrong?” Merely asking a child what is wrong or “Is something bothering you?” is ineffective. Children are not able to verbalize adequately their feelings or verbally describe frightening or traumatic experiences in their lives until approximately age 10. Communicate feelings Toys act as the child‟s words and play is the child‟s language. Play therapy is to children what counseling or psychotherapy is to adults. Play therapy is the recommended approach to help a child when there is concern about their behavior, difficulty adjusting, or inability to cope. Symbolic language and self expression can reveal… What the child has experienced Reactions to what was experienced Feelings about what was experienced What the child wishes, wants, or needs The child‟s perception of self Relationship and Setting A play therapist creates an accepting relationship in which a child feels completely safe to express himself through his play – fears, likes, dislikes, wishes, anger, loneliness, joy, or feelings of failure. There are NO… Reprimands Put-downs Evaluations Requirements to draw pictures a certain way Judgments (about the child or his play as being good or bad, right or wrong) A child learns… To accept him/herself He/she is worthwhile His/her feelings are acceptable To control the expression of his/her feelings To assume responsibility for him/herself To be creative and resourceful in confronting problems, self-control, and self- direction To make choices and be responsible for those choices Rules when relating to children… Children… Are not miniature Are capable of positive adults self-direction Are people „s natural language is Are unique and play worthy or respect Have a right to remain Are resilient silent Have an inherent Will take the tendency toward therapeutic experience growth and maturity to where they need to be „s growth cannot be rushed Play Therapy Toys Crayons School bus Paper Airplane Paints Medical kit Scissors Toy stove Tape Dishes Play dough Plastic food Toy soldiers Zoo animals Dolls Farm animals Doll house and furniture Balls Bottle Telephone Puppets Play money Cars Blow-up bop bag Stuffed animals www.centerforplaytherapy.com Visit website to read summaries of play therapy research studies or to take a virtual tour of a typical play therapy room in the Center for Play Therapy at the University of North Texas.
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