Mental Health Services and Consultation
Resilient Child Therapy Institute (RCTI) provides a safe space for children, adolescents, and families to feel heard through individual, family and group therapy. We use play therapy, along with expressive art-based interventions (e.g. music, art, drama, writing) for children. In our work with adolescents and young adults, we typically use expressive art, along with integrative, eclectic talk therapy.
Play therapy is the primary treatment modality used in our work with children, ages 2-12. Unlike adults whose natural medium of communication is verbalization, children’s natural medium of communication is play. Children do not yet have the cognitive ability to verbalize the complexities of their experiences. With the use of carefully selected toys, children are able to process and explore painful fears, anxieties, and inadequacies.Birds fly, fish swim, children play.– Dr. Gary Landreth
Does my child need play therapy?
Children experience difficult times throughout their lives, including the divorce of their parents, trouble making friends or adjusting to changes at school or at home. Some children need more help than others to get through these times. If you or other adults in your child’s life are concerned about your child’s behavior, play therapy can help. It is the most appropriate treatment for helping your child work through difficult times, as well as helping you gain perspective of what your child is experiencing.
What are the benefits of play therapy?
- Builds trust and mastery
- Fosters learning and acceptable behaviors
- Improves emotion regulation
- Reduces anxieties
- Promotes creative thinking and problem solving
- Encourages open communication
- Elevates spirit and self esteem
How long does a child receive play therapy?
The length of play therapy varies from child to child because it’s dependent upon a child’s presenting symptoms, trauma history, and environmental factors. Research shows that a minimum of 20 sessions is recommended, with most long-term progress taking place around 40 sessions. Most children will show change around 20 sessions. Therapeutic progress will be discussed with parents during parenting support sessions.
What’s the difference between play therapy and playing with my child at home?
Play therapy is not the same as playing. Children “play out” their feelings and reactions to life experiences in the presence of a trained play therapist. The play therapist helps the child feel accepted and understood while gaining a sense of control and understanding of difficult situations.
How does play therapy work?
There are three critical phases in the therapeutic process, which include:
- Engagement: The child explores the environment and tests the limits
- Working Through Phase: The child and therapist establish a relationship of trust and the child begins to play out underlying issues. A decrease in the child’s maladaptive functioning may accompany this phase.
- Therapeutic Growth Phase: The child is empowered and has re-worked their earlier concerns and difficulties.
- Termination Phase: This important phase includes the therapist and child summarizing their time together and preparing to end the relationship.
Can I watch my child in play therapy?
It is not recommended that parents sit in on their child’s play therapy session. A child’s play in session is confidential (exceptions apply), as is the information that is shared in an adult session. The therapist will meet with parents periodically to discuss their child’s play in general themes, address questions related to progress, and provide support. For more information about play therapy, visit the Association for Play Therapy.
In our work with children and adolescents, we also use expressive arts as a medium for exploration and healing. Expressive arts therapy may incorporate writing, drama, movement, music, drawing/painting, and clay work. Clients and families are encouraged to explore their responses, reactions, and insights through these expressions of art. Artistic ability is not required in order to use and benefit from art-based interventions.