Play intervention

WHY DO WE PLAY?

As adults we sometimes forget that our children, even though clever, are just children and at times it can feel as if you and your children are from two completely different planets, communicating in two different languages.

This is where play comes in, whether it is playing in the sand, drawing or playing dress-up, play is the universal language of children. We as counsellors are trained to understand what they are telling us, we listen and ask the correct questions. If talking is difficult, we look at what they are showing us through play.

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WHEN CAN IT BE USEFUL TO SEND YOUR CHILD TO PLAY?

Play intervention is a therapeutic approach where the counsellor makes use of various play techniques in order to help your child deal with trauma or other problem situations. This can help you, as parents, to better understand your child and for your child to have an “outlet” for emotions they might not understand or aren’t able to express in a different way yet.

Play intervention is recommended in the following circumstances:

  • Aggression, isolation, sleep disorders and acting-out behaviours
  • When you are having trouble understanding your child’s personality, needs and behaviour
  • Traumatic events such as accidents, death of loved ones, divorce, high-jacking or when they are victims of abuse
  • When they are talking about things not appropriate for their age yet

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WHERE DOES THE PROCESS START?

The process begins with a parental interview, during which the counsellor invites you as parents to meet face-to-face. During the interview the counsellor will get a full history about your child and your concerns are discussed.

The parental interview is also where learning begins, through gaining all the background information the counsellor can identify whether sessions are necessary and assist you as parents to prepare and plan for it.

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PLAY TIME AND WHERE WE PLAY?

The focus is on gaining information about your child’s emotional and social well-being through playful, fun activities and games. The sessions are child friendly, they choose what they want to do for example play with toys in a sand tray, build something with clay or draw pictures.

To them it is simply “playing” and having fun.

I am mobile so I bring all the fun stuff to your home or, if it can be arranged, to an aftercare venue.

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TYPE OF INFORMATION PLAY CAN OFFER?

Based on the below-mentioned information the counsellor can give the parents the right recommendations going forward:

  • Your child’s ability to make contact with others and his/her ability to build a relationship
  • Your child’s ability to take control and make choices
  • Your child’s ability to understand and stay within reasonable boundaries
  • Your child’s ability to have fun and to be creative
  • Your child’s awareness of himself and his/her body
  • Your child’s awareness of emotions and possible emotional issues
  • Your child’s awareness of social relationships – including your child’s experience of school, friends and family
  • Information relating to your child’s sense of self
  • Information relating to your child’s specific temperament – this will help you to understand your child better and to identify what they need and how to give it to them
  • Information regarding possible traumatic issues or emotional themes

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HOW LONG DO WE PLAY?

It will take sometime for your child and the counsellor to build a relationship and trust. We usually have 4-5 sessions of about 1 hour each with your child.

The time frame is tentative and can be adjusted to suite you and your child’s needs.

After every session the counsellor gives verbal feedback to the parents on what was done and observed during the session. When the sessions are completed a final parental feedback session are arranged and a written report are given to the parents.

Parents must take note that play intervention is not a cure or an answer to a problem.