Why play therapy?

Play therapy has been found to be effective for children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, and behavioral troubles. Children’s counseling is also an excellent way to help children recover and heal from experiences of loss, stress or trauma. Through the therapeutic relationship and freedom of self-expression, children gain the skills and strength to face difficult emotions and find solutions inside of themselves,allowing for greater self confidence and better relationships with friends and family.
Play Therapy can help children take responsibility for their behavior, develop new solutions to problems, develop respect and acceptance of themselves and others, express emotions and experience empathy, learn new social skills and more.

“ In therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language.”
-Gary Landreth

Role of the counselor during play therapy

As the the therapist, I observe the nature, process, and content of the child’s play, giving full attention to the child. I work to understand what the child is communicating through the play, and put words to that play. Through this relationship, the child is able to make sense of his or her thoughts feelings and experiences. In sessions, problem solving skills are gained and an acceptance of responsibility develops.

Role of the parents

Play therapy works in collaboration with parents/caregivers to help fully support and understand the child and help rebuild family cohesion. I generally meet parents/caregivers for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of every play therapy session and consider you a partner in the process. You will be given support and tools on how to build the qualities and behaviors that you want for your child and support for those with which he/she currently struggles. Concerns of parents are addressed, and family sessions or individual parent sessions may be useful. 

Now what?

Initially a consultation takes place between the parents/caregiver and the play therapist. This meeting is held to gather information relevant to the presenting difficulties and to discuss the process of play therapy. Parents are given 10-15 minutes at the beginning of each session to discuss any concerns. If a parent/caregiver needs more time, a separate session may be arranged so as not to take away therapy time from your child.

What Should I Tell My Child About Play Therapy?

You may tell your child, “When things are difficult for you at school ( home,with friends etc.) it helps to have a special time and place to play and figure things out.” Reassure your child that they can express whatever they want to during their time in the playroom. As adults, we can’t predict what is bothering our children, so allowing them to choose issues they are ready to resolve accelerates the therapeutic process.

What Do I Do Before and After the Play Therapy Sessions?

Before the session:
Tell your child you will be right here (in the waiting area) when they are through. Please do not tell the child to be good or to have fun. The child will use the time for their expression of emotions, and limit setting from the therapist allows development of self-control and understanding of the connection between emotions and behavior.

After the session:
Your child may or may not want to talk about what happened in the session. Allow your child to lead the discussion rather than asking, what your child did, what happened, or if he or she had fun. If your child does tells you about what he/she did in the playroom, listen and reflect what was expressed back to your child. i.e. “Oh, you made a world in the sand”

 Does Playful Therapy take insurance?

Playful Therapy does not accept insurance at this time. Clients may be provided a statement that can be submitted to their insurance company for reimbursement.   If you wish to determine if you have mental health coverage, contact your insurance carrier and find the answers to the following questions:

  • What are my mental health benefits?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
  • How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
  • How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • Is approval required from my primary care physician?
  • How do I go about submitting claims for therapy sessions?

Sliding Fees/
Reduced fee services are available on a limited basis. If a financial concern arises during the course of our work together, please feel free to discuss it with me.

Cancellation Policy

If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, please notify me at least 24 hours in advance, or the full fee is incurred.

What if I have an Emergency?

If you need to contact me regarding your child/family in-between sessions, please leave me a voice or text message at 727.560.9082. I check messages frequently and will get back to you as soon as I am able. In the event that you are faced with an emergency, please call 911 or go to your local emergency room for immediate attention. Please contact me as soon as you can to inform me of the event.

Tenets for Relating to Children (by Virginia Axline):

  • Children are not miniature adults and the therapist does not respond to them as if they were.
  • Children are people.  They are capable of experiencing deep emotional pain and joy.
  • Children are unique and worthy of respect.  The therapist prizes the uniqueness of each child and respects the person they are.
  • Children are resilient.  Children possess tremendous capacity to overcome obstacles and circumstances in their lives.
  • Children have an inherent tendency toward growth and maturity.  They possess an inner intuitive wisdom.
  • Children are capable of positive self-direction.  They are capable of dealing with their world in creative ways.
  • Children’s natural language is play and this is the medium of self-expression with which they are most comfortable.
  • Children have the right to remain silent.  The therapist respects a child’s decision not to talk.
  • Children will take the therapeutic experience to where they need to be.  The therapist does not attempt to determine when or how a child should play.

Children’s growth cannot be sped up.  The therapist recognizes this and is patient with the child’s developmental process.