Individual child therapy provides an opportunity for children to think through their emotional experiences and the struggles in their lives. Dynamic play therapy is a highly regarded approach to therapy with children, ages 3-12. Play itself is fun. It connects us to people in constructive ways that enhance creativity and exploration, nurtures self-regulation, and improves self-esteem. Through play we expand our ability for self-expression, gain increasing awareness of our own feelings, wants, and needs, and nurture our ability to control our behaviors within social environments.
Dynamic play therapy is not the same as regular play. Through play therapy the therapist helps a child address and resolve their own problems. The therapist teaches the child strategies for coping with intense and powerful feelings as well as new ways to communicate with others, express feelings, and try out new, more constructive behaviors.
Therapy with children can be short- or long-term often depending on the seriousness of the child's difficulties when they begin treatment. The therapeutic process is greatly enhanced when caregivers are involved in the child's treatment in the form of regular in-person meetings with the therapist, and when warranted, joint caregiver(s)-child sessions.
Therapy for children can be effective when the child is dealing with or demonstrating:
- Difficulties with anger management
- Low or depressed mood
- Difficulty sleeping and/or nightmares
- Academic difficulties or resistance to attending school
- Greater than typical amounts of fear
- Behavioral difficulties (sometimes associated with ADHD)
- Loss or changes in the family structure (divorce, moving, loss of a caregiver)
- Low self-esteem (sometimes associated with bullying or learning disabilities)