THE COUNSELING CONNECTION
FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KANSAS 66207
(913) 649-4905

THERAPY FOR CHILDREN
Have you ever questioned if your child could benefit from therapy?  Many parents wonder if
what they see going on with their child is ‘developmental’. They question whether their child will
simply outgrow it, or if their concerns are more serious and need to be addressed on a different
level.  Hopefully this will help with your decision!  

Most times, as parents, we are able to cope with the changes in behaviors and moods that our
child exhibits.  We talk with friends at work, family members, or neighbors, to see if their kids
are doing similar things, or they did when they were that age, etc., and we can usually tell when
things are out of the range of what other families are experiencing.  

Being a parent is hard work, and most parents are always questioning whether or not they are doing
a good enough job or doing all they can to understand their child and have a good relationship with
them.  Sometimes we just ‘know’ that things are not getting better...no matter what we do, nothing is
working.  Sometimes someone suggests that we consider getting ‘some help’ with what we are going
through.  No matter what our reaction is to what is happening, a nagging thought continues to linger
in the back of our heads…”Does my child need therapy?”

There are warning signs that can signal us that a child could be struggling:
_  Separation Anxiety                                                      _  Excessive shyness
_  Behavioral regression                                                   _  Low self esteem
_  Learning or other school problems                                 _  Mood swings
_  Preoccupation with sexual behavior                               _  Poor relationship with parents
_  Difficulty adjusting to family changes                           _  Recurrent nightmares
_  Defiance / Challenging adult authority                          _  Excessive anger, worry, sadness or fear
_  Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches that have no medical cause                   
WHY PLAY THERAPY?

Play Therapy is the most effective type of therapy for young children because they mostly express their issues
non-verbally.  This is because children do not have the life experiences or the vocabulary to 'talk' through whatever
is bothering them, but will play for expression attempting to get release.  (The way adults will have a drink, smoke
cigarettes, eat, overwork, take drugs, etc., to avoid feeling something.)

Through "clinical play', the therapist enters the world of the child and meets them on their level, verbalizing their
actions and following the child's lead. There are many different 'types' of Play Therapy, and each has a theoretical
base.  What parents want to consider is whether or not the therapist they are considering is trained to work with
children by graduate programs, workshops, or specific trainings.  One such accreditation is by the Association for
Play Therapy, where credentialed play therapists are licensed or certified practitioners who have earned a Master's
or higher mental health degree, 150 or more hours of specialized play therapy training, substantial clinical and play
therapy experience and supervision, and are required to earn at least 36 hours of continuing education during
subsequent three-year renewal cycles.  To find a credentialed therapist in your area, go to
www.a4pt.org and search
under the state you live in.  Look for the letters 'RPT' (Registered Play Therapist) or 'RPT-S' (Registered Play
Therapist-Supervisor) behind the therapist's name to be assured that you are getting a therapist that has been
trained specifically for children, since a lot of therapists say they do 'play therapy'.

Play Therapy may be Directive or Non-Directive, depending upon the therapist and the needs of the child.  In
Non-Directive Therapy, the child will choose the type of play and the therapist will observe and make clinical
observations and/or enter the play if invited or directed by the child.  Directive Play (by the therapist) will
include activities, specific games for specific issues, clay, painting/art, play with certain toys, sand tray, and
many other modalities to assist children in the expression of their pain.  The older a child gets, the more talking
will be incorporated into the sessions, along with age-appropriate therapeutic experiential activities.  

If you would like to see a video about Play Therapy, click on this link:

Play Therapy Video:    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=_4ovwAdxCs0&vq=medium
CHILDREN'S THERAPY ROOM