Play is the child’s language, toys are the child’s words We all know the importance of helping our children, but it can be hard to know where to turn when children need to express themselves. Many of the traditional avenues, such as counselling, are not available to them, as children can find it difficult to express themselves verbally. Play Therapy gives the child an opportunity to ‘play out’ their thoughts, feelings and problems in a non-directive way, in a safe environment with a caring therapist. What counselling is to adults, Play Therapy is to children. Play Therapy is a method of helping children with behaviour and emotional problems to help themselves, and is the child’s natural medium of self-expression. Deborah Elder, Purple Giraffe Play Therapy, told The Muskerry News, “Children find it difficult to express themselves verbally and so traditional talking therapies can be difficult for them. Play is a child’s natural way of expressing themselves, and Play Therapy provides them with an opportunity to ‘play out’ their thoughts, feelings and problems in a non-directive way, in a safe environment with a caring therapist. In a Play Therapy session, the therapist follows the child’s lead and allows them to explore the wide range of toys available. As their relationship develops the child gains greater insight into their personal problems, through their play. The therapist uses a Play Therapy Tool Kit as well as specialist techniques such as empathetic listening and reflection to aid the therapeutic process. “Play Therapy can also be more directive, for example when used with groups rather than individuals. The therapist will form a plan for the group, incorporating different parts of the Play Therapy Tool Kit, and working toward a therapeutic aim such as to increase self esteem, or to develop an understanding of loss. “ Play Therapy is generally geared towards children aged between 2 and 12 years and is used to alleviate many children’s issues including children who have witnessed domestic violence, come from divorced or separated home environments, have been subjected to any kind of abuse, suffered bereavement/loss, have been bullied or are bullies, show signs of behavioural/anger issues, have suffered any kind of trauma, are on the autistic spectrum, suffer from nightmares/bed wetting and / or self-esteem issues. In conclusion Deborah said, “The benefits of this therapy are vast as it provides a safe space for emotional expression and children learn how to express their thoughts and feelings in constructive ways. Play Therapy fosters decision-making and acceptance of responsibility, and the development of problem-solving, coping skills and resilience.” The Play Therapy process involves an initial consultation with parent/carers and other relevant professional, and initial assessment of and meeting with the child, a block of weekly Play Therapy sessions which are 50 minutes to an hour in duration and regular review meetings with the parents/carers and other relevant professionals Deborah Elder completed her training with APAC (The Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy) in 2013 to become a qualified Play Therapist and qualified as a Practitioner of Therapeutic Play Skills in 2011. She is a member of PTIRL (Play Therapy Ireland) and works within the ethos and values of the organisation. She has worked in the Childcare Industry for 13 years, as a crèche worker, a Special Needs Assistant, a home tutor for children with autism and as a Play Therapist. The majority of her work has been with children from 2 to 12 years.
If you would like to make an appointment at Deborah’s clinic which is based in Carrigaline, or if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact Deborah on 086 3843106, or find Purple Giraffe Play Therapy on facebook.