Play Therapy is a model of non-directional psychotherapeutic approach, aimed at children from 3 to 12 years old and is part of the Therapies through Art.
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Why the game?
Children use toys to express their own story and emotions without necessarily using words. In Play Therapy, the game itself, which is the natural means of expression and communication of the child, is the means of therapy.
Therapeutic game is an advanced form of psychotherapy, which through play helps the child to better understand himself, his feelings and actions (ie his inner world) but also the feelings and actions of others (ie the outside). of the world). The goal of therapy is to unleash the child's potential and to be able to express emotions in his environment, the way he experiences his relationships with others, how he understands the environment around him and to feel safe and confident in the process. It helps the child to express himself, to explore his feelings and to understand the situations he is experiencing. It's an effective way to help children:
To discover and understand the difficult and painful experiences
To express and explore difficult emotions
To achieve a more positive view of themselves and their own worth
Self-esteem and self-confidence
Improve family and social relationships, behavior and readiness to learn
To develop emotionally and socially due to increased awareness and trust
Improving communication skills and emotional literacy
Where is it used?
To children who have experienced
Separation anxiety and school refusal
Emotional or behavioral difficulties
Learning difficulties, distraction, developmental delay
Loss due to mourning, family damage or relocation
Sickness, hospitalization and disability
Trauma due to an incident or prolonged injury
Bullying of oneself and / or bullying of others
Abuse, neglect or any other type of traumatic experience
With a syndrome (autism, Asperger's, Down)
Children with low self-esteem, sociability difficulties, phobias, nightmares, anger, aggression
Attend incidents of domestic violence or substance abuse
Children with emotional difficulties and / or behavioral problems as a consequence of what they have experienced
Differences with traditional counseling
Young children do not have the verbal or emotional maturity to express their feelings in the traditional way used in speech therapy with older children and adults. They find it difficult to find words to express their emotional world. In fact, children express themselves better through play. During the familiar activity of the game, children feel confident and have a sense of control.
After a first meeting and evaluation, a regular weekly 45-minute period will be agreed for the child. The therapist will discuss the duration of the required intervention. Meetings are weekly. A short-term intervention may only take 12 sessions, however parents can evaluate progress every 6-8 weeks or so. After this period it is generally possible to determine if a) the child has made sufficient progress to end the sessions, b) the child requires additional sessions to make progress or c) the child needs long-term intervention. One of the basic principles of child-centered non-directed therapeutic play is that the child will not rush, but will follow a rhythm depending on what is appropriate for him. The philosophy of therapeutic play is to enable children to help themselves. Therefore, excessive long-term dependence on a therapist is not what we ask for.
Keywords: Autism, Parental Counseling, Therapeutic Game
Author: Dimitra Papadopoulou, Graduate of the Department of Preschool Education of the University of Thessaly, Postgraduate Studies in Play Therapy, at Centro Humana, La Coruña, Spain and a member of Play Therapy International (PTI)
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