Counseling Children

sad and happy hands“To play it out is the most natural self healing process in childhood.”

– Erik Erikson

In Child-Centered Play Therapy, I help young clients tap into their strengths and resources to heal the mind, the body, and the spirit. I believe that every child has the innate ability to heal and grow when supported in a positive therapeutic relationship.

I am experienced working with children in schools both as a counselor and as a para-educator. My ability and willingness to work collaboratively with teachers, families, and community organizations contribute to lasting healing, growth, and change.

Child-Centered Play Therapy

Child-Centered Play Therapy is a way of being with children rather and simply a set of therapeutic techniques. In his book, Play Therapy: the Art of Relationship, Gary Landreth outlined the following tenets of CCPT (summarized here by Amy Wickstrom in the July/August 2007 issue of The Therapist):

  1. Children are not miniature adults, and the therapist does not respond to them as if they were.
  2. Children are people. They are capable of experiencing deep emotional pain and joy.
  3. Children are unique and worthy of respect. The therapist prizes the uniqueness of each child and respects the person the child is.
  4. Children are resilient. Children possess a tremendous capacity to overcome obstacles and circumstances in their lives.
  5. Children have an inherent tendency toward growth and maturity. They possess an inner intuitive wisdom.
  6. Children are capable of positive self-direction. They are capable of dealing with their world in creative ways.
  7. Children’s natural language is play, and this is the medium of self-expression with which they are most comfortable.
  8. Children have the right to remain silent. The therapist respects a child’s decision not to talk.
  9. Children will take the therapeutic experience to where they need to be. The therapist does not attempt to determine when or how a child should play.
  10. Children’s growth cannot be sped up. The therapist recognizes this and is patient with the child’s developmental process.

Just like talking out a problem can be therapeutic for adults, play is how children work through issues in their lives. In Child-Centered Play Therapy, I hold space for children to engage in play that they direct. Just like adults, children often benefit from a therapeutic relationship in which they can express themselves fully and be accepted for who they are. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for your child, please go to the Contact Stephanie page to get in touch.

Click HERE to see a video that introduces Play Therapy to children. It was created by Dee Ray, PhD, LPC-S, NCC, RPT-S, Professor-Counseling Program, Director-Child and Family Resource Clinic, University of North Texas.

And HERE is one for parents, also created by Dr. Dee Ray.

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