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Children and many adolescents often find they can communicate best through a combination of talking and playing. Through art, music, imaginary or fantasy play, games and movement, children and adolescents can more fully explore and express their feelings, sensations, thoughts and beliefs.

Depending on the child’s presenting issues, I will use either a child centered approach where the child selects the toys and activities, or a more directive approach, where I guide the play with particular outcomes in mind. Sometimes it is helpful to use a combination of child centered and therapist directed play to more expediently meet the therapeutic goals. If there has been trauma, I may also incorporate a form of EMDR Therapy geared specifically to the child’s emotional and chronological age.

Purple Buds

As the play and talking evolves children gain increased insight and mastery over their situation, and also learn new ways of communicating and problem solving. Follow-up sessions provide opportunities for children to practice and master these new behaviors so they can then be adapted into lifelong strategies.

Additionally, at the end of each session there is time reserved for a parent check-in to review progress, concerns and questions. This check-in time serves to increase the parent’s understanding of the play therapy process, the child’s inner experience, and playful ways to connect with the child at home.

Research supports the effectiveness of play therapy with children experiencing a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral and learning problems, including:


  • Anxiety and Depression

  • Aggression and Impulsivity

  • Low Self-Esteem

  • Social Withdrawal

  • Divorce, Death and Loss

  • Post Traumatic Stress

  • Chronic Illness and Hospitalization

  • Attachment Issues

  • Adoption

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