What is Play Therapy?

Play is the primary way that a child learns and develops their emotional, social, cognitive, physical, creative and language development. Play for children is also a natural medium for expression and communication. Therefore, just like an adult can go and talk about their difficulties in types of adult therapy; Play Therapy uses play to allow the child to safely ‘play out’ and communicate their feelings. It helps them to understand muddled feelings and upsetting events that they have not yet had the chance to process. This is sometimes done through playing out or re-enacting traumatic or difficult experiences.

How does the process of Play Therapy work?

To make a referral for your child, you can contact Alison via email, phone or on the contact me section of my website.

Alison will arrange a Free introductory meeting. During this meeting, Alison will listen to you to find out about your child’s strengths and difficulties and provide a space for you to share your worries and concerns that you might be having and any stresses the family has been through, so that Alison can help the child make sense of it. If it is possible, Alison will speak to school, other agencies and any other significant adults in the child’s lives to obtain additional information. Alison will also use this meeting to explain more about Play Therapy and the process.

Alison will organise a time with you to carry out some assessment sessions with your child (usually 6 sessions). This will usually place at the same time, once a week for 45/50minutes. During the first session with the child, Alison will explain Play Therapy to your child in age appropriateness language to help them understand what play therapy is about and why they are attending, introduce the materials and explain the rule and procedures of the Play Therapy space.

Following the assessment period, Alison will then meet with you again to provide you with some feedback. Following this, if you would like to continue, a therapeutic plan is put in place, being reviewed every 6/8 weeks. The number of sessions depends on the individual child. For some children they will respond to short-term intervention of roughly 12 weeks. Children whose problems have persisted for a long time or are complicated may need a longer-term intervention.

Child-centred play therapy cannot take place without the parents/carers consent and the child’s assent

What will happen in the Play Therapy session?

In the sessions your child’s Play therapist will have a large selection of play materials. These may include art and craft materials, dressing up props, sand and water, clay, small figures and animals, musical instruments, puppets and books. These will be used in the sessions as a way to allow children to explore their feelings. Alison will enable your child to use these resources to express him or herself without having to provide verbal explanations.

What are the benefits of Play Therapy?

Child-centred play therapy helps children:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Have healthier relationships
  • Raise self-esteem, confidence, self-belief, and self-reliance
  • Make sense of difficult life experiences
  • Learn to experience and express emotions in a healthier way
  • Develop a sense of trust in self and others
  • Focus on learning

Alison Play Therapy covers the areas of Hertfordshire, North London including Radlett, Mill Hill, Edgware, Barnet, Bushey, Watford, Potters Bar, Elstree, Stevenage, St Albans and the surrounding areas.