When you bring your child to play therapy you might wonder what we are actually doing while you wait outside.
Many parents are like “okay so you played, now what?” and we often explain it this way: “kids, especially young kids, often don't have the words to express themselves or the self-awareness and when we give them toys, like the ones we have in our playroom, they can use those toys to express themselves in a way they couldn't without words.”
In other words: play is the kids’ language and toys are their words. And that's exactly how we view our time when we play with your kids during play therapy. All the toys in our playrooms have some sort of expressive component. For example, we have a sand tray in which your kids can put in any kind of figurines that we have on the shelves, such as action figures, animals, dragons, dinosaurs, fences, etc. They can put it into the sand tray in whatever way they want without any prescriptive way on how to do it. Even the Lego and Duplo that we have in the rooms are purely without any instructions; there is no right or wrong way to play with the toys that we have. The only things that come close to having instructions are board games but even then, we follow the rules the kids come up with.
So, when your kids come out of session and they say, “oh we played all session with Lego” and you think “great, I just paid so much money for that?!” keep in mind that it's not just Lego and playing; it is expressing themselves and working through things which they otherwise couldn’t.
One of the other great things about play therapy is that kids can not only use the toys to express what’s going on inside, but at the same time they can literally change the situation by moving things around and thus create a whole new way to problem solve. This gives them power, agency and confidence to look at the situation differently and come up with possible solutions.
Yes, sometimes it seems like we didn't do much in our sessions with your kids and maybe some sessions we didn't do much but play and therapy with young kids looks quite different than with adults or teens that can actually use their words and sometimes we just need those sessions where we are where we can be together where your child can be themselves in a room with a therapist that knows how to be themselves with your kids.
If you want to learn more about play therapy, there's a fantastic resource it's called “synergetic play therapy Institute”. Lisa Dion is the director and founder, and she has an amazing talent and explaining play therapy so if you have any questions of course always reach out to us but also if you're free to look up her podcasts and talks and videos.
Play-therapy is an evidence-based intervention
Play is a child's language, toys are the words
Our toys are focused on helping kids express themsleves
Play-therapy is a lot of fun as well as effective
Your kid is not "just playing" in therapy, but processing what's
on their mind
We have toys for everyone, even adults :)