• Play Therapy

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    Play Therapy

    What Is Play Therapy?

    Play therapy is to children what counseling is to adults. Young children’s ability to heal can be limited by their underdeveloped ability to verbalize their feelings. Play therapy is geared towards a kid’s developmental stage and allows them to access their creativity to understand their feelings and help them heal, all while having fun. Play therapy utilizes play, children’s natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words.

    Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as “the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development.” This basically means, your child will get better when playing with our play therapist. It looks like play, but with a trained professional, it really works to help your child figure out what’s going on inside his or her world.

    Info from: https://cpt.unt.edu/what-is-play-therapy

    There are two types of play therapy that will be used here at Authentic Connections Counseling Center: 

    Child-Centered Play Therapy

    CCPT is a developmentally responsive, play-based mental health intervention for young children ages 3 to 10 who are experiencing social, emotional, behavioral and relational disorders. CCPT utilizes play, the natural language of children, and the therapeutic relationship to provide a safe, consistent therapeutic environment in which a child can experience full acceptance, empathy, and understanding from the counselor and process inner experiences and feelings through play and symbols. In CCPT, a child’s experience within the counseling relationship is the factor that is most healing and meaningful in creating lasting, positive change. Based on person-centered principles, the overarching goal of CCPT is to unleash the child’s potential to move toward integration and self-enhancing ways of being. Child outcomes following CCPT include decreased symptomatic behaviors and improvement in overall functioning.

    Info from: https://cpt.unt.edu/what-is-play-therapy 

    Synergetic Play Therapy

    Synergetic Play Therapy (developed in 2008) is a research-informed model of play therapy blending the therapeutic power of play with nervous system regulation, interpersonal neurobiology, physics, attachment, mindfulness, and therapist authenticity. Initial research suggests that SPT significantly improves emotional tolerance and regulation. SPT is not just a play therapy model that can be used in conjunction with any other model of play, like CCPT, but it is also a way of being in relationship with self and others. The therapist plays an important role reflecting the energy and emotions that arise as a result of how the child is playing with the toys during the session. 

    Info from: https://synergeticplaytherapy.com/what-synergetic-play-therapy/ 

    Why is play therapy helpful?

    “Efforts to communicate with children on an exclusive verbal level assume the presence of a well-developed facility for expression through speech and thus confine children to a medium that is often awkward and unnecessarily restrictive. Play is to the child what verbalization is to the adult. It is a medium for expressing feelings, exploring relationships, describing experiences, disclosing wishes, and self-fulfillment. The problems children experience do not exist apart from the persons they are. Therefore, play therapy matches the dynamic inner structure of the child with an equally dynamic approach.” 


    What to expect for your child and yourself as caregivers? 

    Your child will more than likely enjoy coming to therapy as it will be a space for them to have fun and to build a trusting relationship with the therapist. The therapist will work with you as parents/primary caregivers to address the client’s needs and goals for treatment. The therapist will regularly check in with you about any changes or new concerns you have, and will regularly relay information about how the client’s goals are being addressed in the play room. Play therapists will provide a space for you to discuss your concerns and there may be times that the therapist will want to conduct a session with just you, to discuss useful skills to use at home.

    Here are some more websites that could be helpful:



    Our Play Therapist is Ali Sasse. If you’re interested in learning more about play therapy and how it can help your child grow, contact us today to make an appointment. Call 720-370-3010 x100.