By experiencing a therapeutic relationship in which they feel valued and accepted, children learn to accept and value themselves (Axline, 1947). Through working collaboratively with children and adolescents and creating a supportive and safe environment, they feel freer to explore feelings, attitudes, and experiences that lead to personal understanding and change.
Play and Creative Expression guide children and adolescents to self-mastery, and to develop emotionally and socially. They can express their thoughts, needs and feelings more fully and directly through self-initiated spontaneous play and creative expression. In addition, play and creative expression fosters imagination and creativity, and encourages confidence and concentration.
Play and Creative Expression:
•Promotes Social Skills
•Enhances Parent-Child Interactions
•Promotes Emotional Literacy and Physical Coordination
•Fosters Development of Thinking andCommunication
•Develops Self-Knowledge, Reliance, Responsibility, and Direction
About Expressive and Play Therapy
Play and Expressive Therapy is a well researched and evidence-based form of psychotherapy for a wide range of emotional, behavioural, social and psychological difficulties. With deep beliefs in children and adolescents' growing potentials and resiliency, this approach aims at helping to strengthen children and adolescents' inner resources and enhancing their coping abilities. These newly developed skills contribute to overall wellbeing, and are transferred to everyday life.
Neuroscience research indicates that Play and Expressive Therapy, with its use of metaphors, provides new experiences that develop the function of the brain and mind. More brain centres light up in response to metaphoric and symbolic play than any other form of human communication, which forms new neural pathways (Levin, 1997; Modell, 1997). This guides the child and adolescent find solutions to problems and to create more positive and secure relationsips with others.
Group Play Therapy
Children observe the emotions and behaviours of others and can learn coping and problem-solving skills vicariously through one another. Self-growth and self-exploration occurs in groups, and is facilitated by the responses and reactions of group members. Besides learning about themselves and others, children can benefit from the reciprocal encouragment of the group process. The group allows children to practice for everyday life and gives children the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills, experiment with alternative expressions of emotions and behaviour, and master new behaviours. In the group environment, children learn important lessons about social interaction, and develop communication and interactive skills.
Who can Play and Expressive Therapy Help?
Play and Expressive Therapy is appropriate for children and adolescents aged between 3 and fifteen years, because it is uniquely adaptable to developmental needs.
Research on Play and Expressive Therapy found that humanistic, non-directive methods of Play and Expressive Therapy are a particularly effective intervention for children and adolescents experiencing social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties (Brattin, Ray & Rhine, 2005).
These include but are not limited to:
• Adoption and Fostering Issues
• Strengthening Attachment in Relationships
• Adjustments and Transitions
• Anxiety and Phobias
•Challenges at School
• Emotional Difficulties
• Peer Relationships
• Selective Mutism
• Self-Esteem & Identity Issues
• Sibling Rivalry
• Chronic Illness & Hospitalisation
• Encopresis & Enuresis
• Grief & Loss
• Sleeping & Eating Difficulties
Play and Expressive Therapy is also a highly effective adjunctive treatment for the emotional difficulties which can arise when a child or adolescent has been accurately diagnosed with a neurological, biological or organic disorder (Coachran, et al, 2010).
This could include the following:
• ADD & AHDH
• Autistic Spectrum Disorders
What to expect
• Initial Consultantion and assessment with parent(s) (1-1.5 hours)
• Each session with child/adolescent is 50-minutes
• Number of sessions are dependent on the presenting concern(s)
• Possible follow-up sessions with parent(s) throughout therapy
• Concluding interview with parent(s)
For more information and to determine if your child or adolescent is suitable for Play Therapy and Expressive Therapy, please contact us at Psynamo.
Axline, V. M. (1974). Play Therapy: The groudbreaking book that has become a vital tool in the growth and development of Children. New York: Ballantine Books.n
Bratton, S., Ray, D., & Rhine, T. (2005). The efficacy of Play Therapy with children: A meta-analytic review of treatmen outcomes. Professional Psychology, Research & Practice, 36(4), 276-390.n on on on on
Coachran, H. H., Nordling, W. J. & Cochran, J. L. (2010). Child-centered Play Therapy: A practical guide to developing therapeutic relationships with children. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Son.