About Play Therapy

Play Therapy is a counseling approach using interactive, age-appropriate mediums to allow your child to process thoughts and feelings blocking them from happiness. Through toys, games, or art materials, counselors make the process as comfortable and effective as possible for the child’s unique healing needs. Often, because they feel they’re “just playing,” children and teens often don’t realize that they’re processing important emotional issues while doing so. Through Play Therapy, children learn to: communicate with others, express feelings, modify behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and learn various ways of relating to others. Play Therapy differs from regular play in that the counselor guides the sessions and works closely with the children to address and resolve their problems through play-based interventions. Playing provides a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows them to express thoughts and feelings appropriate to their development.

Play is a child’s natural language. In Play Therapy, instead of relying on conversation (which can be difficult for children of all ages), they use games, toys, and art to process their behavior and emotions. They do so in guided therapy sessions that allow them to explore themselves and their experiences, when words and conversations fail them.

Struggling to get through to your child is a highly common parenting dilemma. Children and teens see the world differently than adults do. They face unique struggles and speak their own language. In short, children and adults’ reasoning abilities are vastly dissimilar.

As a result, many families enter into cyclical behaviors where parents attempt to reach their children through ineffective methods: Telling children how to act, a million times. Trying to effect change through suggestions, consequences and maybe even some good old-fashioned bribery.

Such outreach may reveal some improvement, but parents’ frustration and lost hope often remain, as well as their children’s frustration, anxiety, and lack of motivation. Despite parents’ “best” attempts to help, their children don’t listen. So, the cycle of feeling helpless continues — and remaining quiet to avoid a power struggle becomes an easy answer.

Fortunately, you, your child and your family don’t have to go through this cycle.

At Appalachian Child and Adolescent Counseling, I am passionate about helping families find emotional clarity and strength so they learn how to move beyond the storms. Through our support, children and teenagers have a safe environment for:

  • Feeling free to be themselves
  • Expressing themselves openly
  • Resolving thoughts and feelings around their inner conflicts
  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Change their behavior to have better outcomes
  • Develop respect and empathy
  • Increase their self-esteem
  • Control strong emotions, such as anger or anxiety
  • Adjust to life changes, such as moves, divorce or loss
  • Find resolution to traumatic events
  • Learn positive social skills
  • Increase healthy coping mechanisms

By using play, games, and expressive arts, counseling becomes a safe place to explore, learn, and grow.